Eggs are the Best
I think eggs are an essential ingredient in any kitchen, they add to every meal or snack and if you have nothing else but eggs in the pantry you can still have a nutritious and tasty meal. I give a lot of thought to buying them and always try and buy free range but apart for my love and appreciation for them, I have never really given them a second thought. Of course I had to do a little research to be able to write this blog and there are loads of interesting facts out there on the internet. Feel free to skip to the bottom of the blog if you just want to get to the recipes.
When I was a child the eggs you bought from the shop were both white and brown, they regularly had two yolks in the one egg and they were all different sizes. Science, technology and farming has developed over the years so that our eggs are standardised and graded, date stamped and will all be the same size and colour and with one yolk per egg. I really appreciate this standardisation when I’m in the bakery but at home I miss the thrill of a double yolk and picking out the big egg to make boiled eggs.
You can tell a lot from the colour of the egg shell. Apparently if the egg is white the bird has white feathers and if its brown the feathers were reddish brown. If the yolk is a deep yellow colour the bird will have had a varied diet including green vegetables.
If you have ever cracked open a bad egg you will never forget the horrendous smell so if you are in any doubt about freshness just pop your eggs in a bowl of cold water and if they sink they are fresh and if they float throw them away!
I lived in South Africa for some time and had the dubious pleasure of cooking scrambled eggs using an ostrich egg. It was a strange experience. I don’t remember enjoying it much just that it took a considerable amount of time and effort to break the shell and get the egg out.
Wikipedia has pages of information about eggs; eggs as food, the history of egg cartons, decorating eggs and faberge eggs; so here are a few “fun” facts I picked out: -
- Thomas Peter Bethell fromLiverpool, invented the first Egg Box in 1906, but it was Joseph Coyle in 1911 who apparently invented the Egg Box as we know it today to resolve a dispute about broken eggs between two farmers in British Columbia.
- Decorating eggshells dates back 60,000 years when ostrich eggs were decorated and engraved.
- Faberge eggs are the most famous of all eggs and they were made out of gold and precious jewels by Peter Carl Faberge for the Russian Tsars. They were Easter gifts for the Tsars family from1885 to1917.
- In 1873, JS Fry & Sons, the well known chocolate company introduced the first chocolate Easter egg to Britain. Cadburys, however, created the modern Easter egg as they developed a cocoa butter that could be easily moulded.
THE SECRET TO THE BEST POACHED EGGS
I’m always amazed when people tell me they can’t cook poached eggs, as it’s the easiest way to cook them. Forget vinegar and all the tricks you have read about, the only thing to remember is your eggs must be really fresh. If the white is runny it will break up in the hot water so the white must be jelly like. The best chef in the world can’t make good poached eggs with old eggs!
I like to use a deep frying pan to make my poached eggs as it is easier to get the eggs in and out of the water. It also means you can cook 4-5 at a time.
Put enough water in the frying pan so that the egg(s) will be submerged
Once the water has come to the boil turn it down so it is just off the simmer. If the water bubbles there is more chance your egg will break apart.
Crack the egg into a small bowl and add the egg to the water from the bowl
Gently stir the water once or twice during cooking, so the egg doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan
The egg will be ready in 2-3 minutes
Pat dry with a little bit of kitchen roll and serve on buttery toast.
BAKED EGGS WITH CREAM & CHEESE
This is a great brunch recipe, which is quick to make, very indulgent and is great for a lazy Sunday morning.
Grease the inside of a ramekin with a little butter
Three quarters fill the ramekin will cream, salt and pepper and pop in a pre-heated oven at 180°C, 350°F/Gas 4 for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes remove from the oven.
Crack an egg into a bowl and then gently pour it into the hot cream so you don’t splash yourself. It also means you can retrieve egg shell easily if you drop some into the bowl.
Once the egg is in the hot cream, sprinkle the top with grated mature cheddar cheese and pop back in the oven for about 10 minutes for runny eggs and 15 minutes for hard eggs or until it is brown and bubbly on top. Depending on your oven you may need to pop it under the grill to get the cheese to brown.
Word of warning be very careful serving this,it will be boiling hot and will need a few minutes to cool before you can eat it!!
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