Shakshuka with Challah

A couple years ago, when I was studying in France with my best friend, Maggie, we became the best cooks. Not because we were studying at Le Cordon Bleu or using the best ingredients (although that did help), but simply because our kitchen was so tiny that we had to learn how to be resourceful. We also wanted to limit our grocery bill during the week so that we could save our pennies for indulgent weekends away eating pannenkoeken in Amsterdam, paella in Barcelona, and gauffres in Brussels. 

After cooking for four months using only a mini fridge, one hot plate, no oven(!!), and an airplane-sized sink, I came back to Canada with tips and tricks to last me a lifetime. One of my favourite stove-top dinners was shakshuka. At the time, I didn't know that it was being served up in mini cast iron pans at almost every trendy brunch spot. To us, eggs in tomato sauce was simply the easiest, cheapest weeknight dinner. 

I recently remembered how good this recipe was and scavenged the web for some yummy challah that I could make (now that I had the luxury of oven access) to go with my dinner. Take a look below if you would like:


1 Tbsp coconut oil (for frying)
1/4 red or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
14 oz (half a can) crushed tomatoes
2-3 eggs
Crumbled feta or soft goat cheese (optional)
Chives to garnish


  1. Heat coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. It doesn't need to be cast iron but I've always made it in one cause gosh it looks so pretty and it has the right height in the sides. 
  2. Sauté the onion, red pepper, and garlic until soft.
  3. Add in the spices (paprika, cumin and salt), mix well and let cook for a minute.
  4. Slowly pour in the tomatoes and let simmer for about 10 minutes to let it thicken.
  5. If you're feeling fancy, you can add in your choice of cheese. I like mine with goat cheese.
  6. Make little wells in the tomato sauce for your eggs and then crack them in.
  7. Turn down the heat to medium-low and put a lid on your skillet. Let the eggs cook until the yolks have just set, about five minutes. Garnish with chives.
  8. Serve with on toast or if you're channelling your Jewish roots you can make your own challah.

Challah Recipe

I have made [this recipe] twice and it's pretty fool proof. I have the BIGGEST fear of making bread because yeast freaks me out. I'm so scared that it will fail, but believe me this recipe is made in a ziploc bag and although it's time consuming it's super straightforward and people are so so so impressed by fresh homemade bread. I brought this challah to a dinner party once and you would have thought I brought a new born baby or the first draft of the Harry Potter. 

**I'm also going to put in a plug for our very first Cookbook Club happening TOMORROW. Get cooking ladies and gents, this is going to be good! More details [here].

Cookbook Club

Chocolate Chip Cake

Something is happening, guys. The air is crisp, school buses are filling the streets, and coffee shops are serving pumpkin-flavoured everything. And although I'm still not completely done with summer, the cool air tickling my toes on my walk this morning made me want to jump into bed with a book, a hot cup of tea, and a piece of my aunt Nini's chocolate chip cake. 

This cake has made its fair share of appearances at Patenaude family gatherings because it is so dense and delicious. Its bundt shape and lack of icing or fancy toppings aren't going to win any awards for looks, but I can assure you that it's been my favourite cake since I could say "one more piece please". 

If you don't have a bundt pan, don't sweat it, I'm sure you can make it in a rectangular pan or even a large loaf pan. Just be extra careful about checking it while it's in the oven. 

1 cup melted butter 
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla 
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk chocolate chips

  1. Blend together the butter, eggs, and sugar. Add in sour cream, milk, vanilla, and mix well. 
  2. Then add flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Once all is mixed, add the chocolate.
  4. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. 
  5. Bake at 350ºF for 40-50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool slightly and then flip it out onto a plate.

Avocado Strawberry Caprese

Happy Friday, friends! I just tried my first recipe out of the Love & Lemons cookbook and I can't stop raving about every dish and each beautiful photograph within its pages. Love & Lemons is a mostly vegetarian cooking blog that recently came out with the best book filled to the brim with fresh, easy, colourful recipes. Just to give you an idea of how wonderful this book is, the blog has won Saveur's Best Cooking Blog Award (basically the Oscars of food blogging) and the New York Times Book Review said that "happiness itself is tossed into every bowl". Serisouly. So. Good.

The cookbook is organized in alphabetical order by main ingredient (apple to zucchini) which I love because when I'm thinking of what to cook for dinner I usually start by thinking of one main vegetable or fruit that I have in the fridge and then build off of that main ingredient. Some of the recipes I'm really excited about are:

  • Blackberry Basil Bruschetta
  • Brussels Sprout Breakfast Tostadas
  • Carrot Gazpacho with Lemongrass
  • Grilled Mexican Corn Salad
  • Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas
... and so many more!! I think this book is going to need a more permanent spot on my cookbook shelf.

Today, I made the Avocado Strawberry Caprese Salad and it was the perfect light lunch. You could serve it on a bed of quinoa or kale if you wanted a heartier meal or how good would it be alongside a yummy quiche for brunch?


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup halved mini mozzarella balls (I just tore up a big ball of fresh mozzarella)
1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1/3 cup pecans, toasted
1/3 cup loosely packed basil, torn
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a small saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a high simmer over medium heat. Stir, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vinegar has thickened and reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place the strawberries, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, avocado, pecans, and basil in a shallow bowl or on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Gently toss. Drizzle with the reduced balsamic. 

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