Dear Laura,

Oh geez, I thought I had published this letter. How many months has it been now? We’re in the sweltering heat of the long weekend when I made this shakshouka after that winter storm at your place. And now, you’re making it again with homemade bread and fresh herbs from your garden for brunch this weekend. Regardless, thank you for introducing my newbie taste-buds to this delicious dish.

Shakshouka (North African-Style)
Recipe from Serious Eats
Makes enough to serve 4-6.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño, thinly sliced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 ½ tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
Salt and pepper
Large handful minced cilantro, parsley, or a mix
4-6 eggs (depends on how many eggs each person wants)
Feta cheese (crumbled) and crusty bread (toasted), for serving

  1. Choose your vessel, we’ve made it in both a cast iron skillet and a straight-side sauté pan. Heat the olive oil until it’s shimmering. Then add the onion, red pepper, and chili and cook until they’re browned and starting to char.
  2. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, and tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let the dish simmer for about 10 minutes. Seriously, if you can make pasta sauce, you can make this sauce.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add in half the cilantro or parsley.
  4. Egg time! Using a large spoon and make little wells in the sauce. Break an egg into the well and cover the edges with a little bit of sauce so that it’s partially submerged. Repeat with the rest of the eggs, work around the perimeter of the pan. Simmer until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny.
  5. Take it off the heat to serve and garnish with the remaining cilantro, parsley, and feta cheese.


Love how easy and hearty this is!


banana leaf mural

Dear Laura and Richard,

You know, when most people offer to paint a mural in your newly renovated home, rarely do people take on the offer. But I’m so glad you’re both so trusting and adventurous (I believe Howard called it “brave”) because now we can brush aside the naysayers.

Banana Leaves Mural

Thanks for laying down the tape and prepping the wall for me to doodle on. And thank you for finding me a relatively easy design and colour scheme of one.

Banana Leaves Mural


Painter’s Tape
Molotow ONE4ALL Acrylic Paint Markers in 4 mm, Mister Green
Molotow ONE4ALL Acrylic Paint Markers in 15 mm, Mister Green
Molotow ONE4ALL Acrylic 30ml Refill in Mister Green
⅛ inch or ¼ inch paintbrush
Paint holder

  1. Apply painter’s tape on the ceiling, adjacent walls, and over the floor or floor trims. Also around any shelves, sink, toilet paper holders, light fixtures, mirrors, or windows.
  2. Draw a light outline in pencil of the banana leaves.
  3. Trace the outline with the 15 mm paint marker. Go over it a few times to make it as thick as you like.
  4. Then, use the 4 mm paint marker to draw in the leaf details. These are simply straight-ish horizontal lines.
  5. Pour out the refill paint into the paint holder and touch up the lines with the paintbrush.

Banana Leaves Mural

How weird is it that I summed up 7 hours of work in 5 steps? Except, I’m sorry that the paint still got past the painter’s tape and it required you to repaint some places white.

Banana Leaves Mural

Thanks for pitching in and giving me snack breaks. I love that this was a group project and we all got to exercise the creative part of our brains. I also won’t forget the delicious shakshuka, homemade bread, crispy potatoes, smoothie, Bún bò Huế, and Daim cake.

Banana Leaves Mural

Stay tuned for my next post where I try to recreate the shakshuka!

Banana Leaves Mural

I hope you like the finished wall, I can’t wait to come back and tag it!