Earlier this month, I celebrated an exciting milestone in my life – my first article was published for Gourmet Magazine here in the UAE. The May issue not only marks the beginning of my monthly column, it’s also the start of new chapter in my life, and I’m thrilled to dive into it!

When I started this blog six months ago, I never would have imagined that I would be writing as a columnist for a major publication. I’m excited at this opportunity and extremely grateful for finding this blog space – a place that has given me the freedom to expand on my love of cooking, and to share some of the stories that surround it.

Here is the article with my take on a Spicy Shakshuka, as written for Gourmet.

I’ve included some extra photos to lead you through the recipe. I hope you love this dish as much as I do!

Gourmet Magazine UAE


Article & Recipe by Lidija Abu Ghazaleh, Lidija’s Kitchen

Enjoying the finer things in life while juggling the demands of family, work, and general everyday craziness is no easy feat. The mad school rush starts at the crack of dawn, and it’s go go go for my two older boys. Reasoning with my 3 year old daughter before 8 am, however, is a newly acquired skill.

Recipe testing, writing, cooking, catering, entertaining – all while trying to squeeze in a quick trip to the gym – fill my days to no end! Since weekdays at my house can get pretty hectic, I look forward to getting the kids to bed and sorted for the next day. A couple of hours to relax and unwind with my husband, and my morning coffee is just a few hours away!

When it comes to cooking and exploring culinary pleasures, I strive to adhere to the 80/20 rule – sticking to great nutritious food 80 percent of the time, leaving the extra 20 for moments of pure indulgence. While some days fall more to the side of 50/50, it all manages to balance out somehow. There really is no time for deprivation!

I like to keep things fluid and schedule-free on the weekend, which means Friday mornings are often spent in our pajamas. A lazy brunch at home is always a welcome proposition.

This spicy Shakshuka fits the bill for the perfect Friday brunch! You’ll be hard pressed to refuse this one-pan meal made of eggs poached in a saucy concoction of tomatoes and capsicum. Serve with grilled bread brushed with olive oil to soak up the juices from this fabulous dish.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 red, yellow, or orange capsicums, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 kilo (2 pounds) chopped fresh tomatoes, or the canned equivalent
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 to 6 organic or free range eggs

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Special equipment: 9 to 10 inch pan with minimum 2-inch high sides

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, sauté onions until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add capsicum and garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes or until the capsicum begins to soften.

Add cumin, coriander powder, chili, and paprika. Sauté for 30 seconds, add 2 tablespoons of water and stir.

Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until sauce is thick and fragrant.

Crack each egg individually into separate bowls (ex: five eggs in five individual bowls). This will make it easier to slide the eggs into the sauce without breaking the yolks.


With the back of a spoon, make an indentation in the sauce. Gently pour one egg into the indentation. Repeat with the remaining eggs.



Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let eggs simmer gently for 8-10 minutes, or until eggs are still runny but lightly set.


Remove from heat and let stand for two to five minutes depending on how you like your eggs cooked.

To serve, gently scoop out the eggs from the pan along with the luscious sauce and enjoy.


Grilled bread (Optional)

  • Sour dough bread or baguette
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Preheat a grill or frying pan on medium heat.

Cut bread into 2-inch thick slices, brush with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Grill bread until toasted and lightly browned.



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