Posts Tagged: eggs


21
Oct 10

Taste of home

scrambled_560.jpgI’ve tried some incredible food whilst travelling around the world and indeed on our own fair shores. I’ve eaten Hainanese chicken rice at a stall in Bangkok, sat on a tiny plastic stool in the street. I’ve tried jamon in Valencia’s central market, tasted some of the finest steak imaginable cooked at Goodman’s restaurant in London. And I’ve tucked into raw scallops plucked straight from the sea by Masterchef winner Mat Follas on the Dorset Coast.

There have been some incredible eating experiences, unforgettable with tastes that I can still remember as if I had just eaten them.

When I get home, though, there’s always one thing I crave. Whether I walk in the door at six in the morning or midnight I always reach for a saucepan, pop some toast in the toaster and scramble some eggs.

It’s a hugely comforting and easy and yet deceptively luxurious dish. I don’t gild the lily either – no smoked salmon, truffle or cream for me. The method though, is key – patience is required.

I take 3 eggs (medium size) and whisk till smooth. I add pepper, no salt at this stage as it prevents the eggs from coming together. I melt butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and then pour in my eggs, stirring
constantly.

I don’t rush, I don’t turn the heat up, I just let it do its magic, thickening slowly, until it finally comes together at which point I season it well, remove it from the heat and spoon it only toast thick with butter. This is, after all, my comfort food.


27
Apr 10

The perfect poach

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Poaching is a wonderfully delicate, gentle and subtle method of cooking. A poached egg is a luxurious, melting treat – breaking into one and watching its golden, silky yolk flowing across a piece of buttered toast is as close to food perfection as one can get. A scattering of sea salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill are all the garnish this plate needs.

Poaching is a great way to cook fruit too – their flavour is sweetened, their flesh softened, taking even the hardiest of ripen-at-home fruits and turning it into a fragrant and luscious pudding. Vanilla flecked thick Greek yogurt makes an ideal accompaniment.

Rhubarb seems to lend itself best to a very gentle poach. I’m sure London’s top chefs would cook it sous-vide (in a temperature controlled water bath) for hours on a very low heat. For me though, a fairly weak sugar syrup (1 part sugar to 8 parts water) is all that is called for. Finger-length pieces swim around over a very low flame, cooking for maybe eight to ten minutes.

A gentle turn half way through to ensure even cooking, then I spoon them out of the liquor before cranking up the heat and reducing the syrup to a quarter of its volume or so. I remove it from the heat, add a splash of Prosecco and spoon it over the rhubarb before serving it alongside one of my favourite puddings -caramel panna cottas.

A final sprinkle of some crushed Amaretti biscuits is all that is needed to give the final dish some contrasting crunch to go with the perfectly cooked rhubarb.


5
Apr 09

Getting arty with eggs this Easter

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Egg-painting is a great thing to do with the children over Easter. They make fantastic table decorations for Sunday lunch and will keep the kids occupied for hours.

If you’ve decided to go down the ‘blowing’ route, the fun begins right away. Don’t forget to save the contents to use in a cake or pud!

Wash and dry a needle or pin. Carefully puncture a small hole in the small end of the egg. Make a larger hole at the other end and pop the egg yolk. Placing the egg over a bowl, blow through the small hole until all the egg is gone. Give it a rinse and then leave it to dry.

To make a natural paint combine an egg yolk with half a teaspoon of water then divide the mixture between several pots, adding a different food colouring to each. That’s it, you’re ready to go…

Painting the upper half one colour, then pop the egg into an egg box to dry for a few minutes before painting the bottom half.

For all-over colour use food dye, natural dye or water-based felt pens. Add colouring drop by drop until you reach the desired colour before submerging eggs for a few minutes then removing and drying them.

For extra embellishment try sticking on small pasta shapes, like minestrone, or dried lentils and beans. A little help from mum to glue them on will probably be necessary! Another approach is to cut out stencils or patterns on paper and use this to paint shapes on to the egg. When each ‘masterpiece’ is finished, apply a coating of clear nail varnish to protect it.

If you’re using hard-boiled eggs – which are often easier for children to handle as they are less fragile – they can later be added to a special Sunday salad.

Stick to natural dyes – things like beetroot, carrots or coffee – boiling them with water until you’ve got the desired colour. Once the ‘dye’ is cool immerse your eggs in it, shell on. Remove and polish them with a dry cloth and oil – or decorate with edible paints available from cooking shops.

To dye eggs various colours, cover up sections of the eggs with masking tape. After the first dip, remove some of the tape and repeat to get different coloured strips on your eggs.

If you’re really pushing the boat out, good cook shops sell edible transfers, powders and gold leaf – all of which would make fantastic additions.
The key thing is not to use any marker pens or anything toxic, as this will leach through the shell and make the eggs inedible.

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