Guinea Pig Kitchen: Shakshuka

This is the first installment of Guinea Pig Kitchen. The most frequent questions I get asked about touring are generally related to food. Usually it comes down to, what do you eat? Since my first tour in 2008, I have put down about 15,000km touring and since that first tour everything has changed. Then I was on a track bike with an overloaded backpack eating at cafes and staying in hostels (or under the occasional bridge). Now I have 2, going on three tourable bikes (including that old track bike coming full circle), I own multiple stoves, switch regularly between tent and hammock camping. I would say I have my grub down pretty good.

I like food. I like good food a lot. I fancy myself a pretty damn good cook. When I became a vegetarian, half my life ago, my mom told me it was time to learn to cook. The memory mangled press worthy quote was a long the lines of “I’ve have too many children to cook for one that wants to be different”. So I have some practice.

OK, STFU now and talk about the food.

Shakshuka! This is a recent addition to my arsenal. A friend and fellow Team Moustacher taught me this one about a year and a half ago before we threw the Team Moustache Albany Bulb race.

Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎; Hebrew: שקשוקה‎) (also shakshuka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoeschili peppersonions, often spicedwith cumin. It is believed to have a Tunisian origin.[1][2]

 

This is as delicious as it sounds. Having realized last year carrying eggs isn’t as hazardous as it sounds I quickly adopted this as a touring food. This is my recent Hawk Overnight rendition along with some prep tips for short trips.

Ingredients:

  • Mushrooms
  • Green Onions
  • Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • seasoned with salt and pepper
  • container
Ingredients
Ingredients.

Since I was just doing an overnight I was only going to cook breakfast, this meant I could prep everything ahead of time.

Dice up all the veg, chuck it into your container, add seasoning and your preferred cooking oil for a light saute*.

* optional, see next step

The veg is contained
The veg is contained.

Next you can optionally saute your veggies. It will be just as good if you wanted to chuck them straight into the sauce and soften them up there. Ideal if you want to minimize your cookware kit. Just leave out some or all of the oil from the previous step and give the veggies 2-5 minutes before adding the eggs.

Veg in Sauce
Veg in Sauce

Put your veggies in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Once its simmering carefully crack and drop your eggs in the sauce.

 

Eggs in sauce?! You talkin’ crazy!

The eggs cook differently than normal poaching. I usually give it about 10 minutes with the lid on and the lowest simmer I can get my stove (MSR Whisper Lite) to do. This will vary between stoves and cookware but the egg should be much firmer than you’d do for something like Eggs Benedict.

Done
Done!

My egg looks like a dumpling. But it is not, so serve with bread or toast.

Last step is find a beautiful view and enjoy.

Brekky
Brekky

 

Morgan Allen: Hedge Hog Whisperer

In my journey through New Zealand I saw my fair share of hedge hogs. Cute little guys they are. Sadly the bulk of them resembled the bulk of… err… disassembled kangaroos I saw in Australia. So when I saw one if these lil’ fuckers rootin’ around the side of the road my protective instinct kicked right in. Right after a squee of joy!

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Be seen, be safe my little hedge hog.

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Now there is a happy and safe hedge hog.

Next!

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Heading off from Wellington where I’ve been almost a week. Three days riding should get me to Taupo where a mountain bike is waiting for me to ride Caters of the Moon! All up 919km to Auckland with a loop leading up to Comomandel and 15 days to do it. Couple big says and a couple casual days and I should be good.

Unacceptable losses

Not only did I realize this morning I’ve lost my Team Moustache cycling bibs, when I pulled into a service station about 40km into my day I noticed my sleeping mat was hanging off the side and…..

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The extremely nice, moderately expensive hammock lent to me by a friend was gone. Fuck. With over 100km ahead this was the last thing I wanted. Unloaded all my gear at the station and headed back. Would ride the whole thing if needed. Luckily it was only about 7km back but still took up about 45 minutes. And just as I guessed it was under one of the trees with a magpie that attacked me before. I choose to blame the bird.

Slow day

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Going to take it slow and easy today. Yesterdays big roll took it our of me and now my knees and ankles are feeling it. On top of that I camped too close to the road and the trucks where engine breaking before enter town and to wake me up I’m pretty sure. 9am ans I’m enjoying my second coffee, going to see about a camp chair then rollout. Still cannot find a flag..

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This is going to be my mobile home for the next week or so. Its the amazing Hennessy HyperLite. My buddy Tom lent it to me to make sure I was too tall before I buy my own. I’m buying one.

Did 140 someodd km today. Camping in a Lions park in Bulahdelah. 661ish km to go. Oh and broke my (friends) cycle computer so I’m am guessing and using gmaps to figure out my distances.