Gerard Doran, Head Chef,

Whilst we’re not lucky enough to be able to visit Buba or hop on a plane this Easter weekend, Head Chef Gerard Dornan has shared a cooking demonstration and some tips with us so that we can give our taste buds a middle eastern inspired treat from the comfort of home.

I’ve always loved that the aroma of spices as you walk through the door of Buba instantly takes me back to my times spent working in the Eastern Med and holidaying in the Middle East. It’s not surprising then that Gerard has shared that his store cupboard essentials are ground cumin, chopped tomatoes and tinned pulses, the base of many dishes from around the world including curries, salads, pastas and soups to name but a few.

With eggs on our mind this weekend, Gerard has shared his recipe for shakshuka with us so that we can make ourselves a treat of a Mediterranean style breakfast or brunch (ideal fuel for Easter egg hunting around the house!).

Simple to do using only one pan, especially as Gerard has provided a video demonstration for us, many of us will have the ingredients for Shakshuka in our kitchens already. If you don’t, it’s a good time to follow Gerard’s piece of advice for Love Belfast home cooks -‘Don’t be afraid to experiment, if you don’t like a particular herb, spice, vegetable, meat you can always substitute it for something you do’.

And if the Shakshuka has you wanting more inspiration for holiday style recipes to enjoy during your time off at home, Gerard’s family favourite of harissa spiced roast chicken thighs served with flat breads, hummus and salad may just be what you need to start raiding the cupboards!

Gerard’s Shakshuka Recipe

This recipe is for 2 but ingredients can be multiplied for additional people.


4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or high quality oil of choice

3 Bell Peppers / Tinned Peppers / Jarred Peppers

1 or 2 fresh chillies (depending on your spice preference / 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes

4 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tsp paprika – can be sweet or smoked

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs per person

Spring onion and parsley to garnish

Bread of your choice to serve


  • The real key to this recipe is to keep everything at a gentle simmer.
  • Heat a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the oil, peppers and a pinch of salt. Let them sweat until they collapse. This should take 20 minutes. If you are using jarred or tinned peppers you can omit this cooking time.
  • Add the chillies and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Then add the garlic and cumin and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and gently simmer for 10 minutes. The colour should become darker and more intense.
  • Then add the paprika and salt to taste.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes. (If using any left over or raw meat this would be the point to add to cook or reheat)
  • Make four little wells in your sauce and crack an egg into each.
  • Simmer on a very low heat for 10-15 minutes until the egg white is nicely set, but the yolk is still runny.
  • finish with spring onions and parsley
  • Serve in the pan with toasted bread.

The sauce portion of the recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Thanks to Gerard for sharing his tips and recipe with Love Belfast to help us all get cooking as we stay at home this Easter.


Gerard, a native of Newcastle Co.Down, found his calling to the food industry when he was 16 years old. After graduating from Southern Regional College in Newry, he moved to Belfast and gained experience over the next 14 years working with in some of the best restaurants in the city, before taking on the Head Chef role at Buba when it opened in 2018.

They say cooking is an art form, and Gerard combines his passion for using local products and produce with spicing up his culinary repertoire, to serve up Eastern Mediterranean inspired, flavoursome treats at Buba.

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