Previously I posted an item about a rice cooker which I found on a visit to Lisbon ( Portuguese Treasure ), however, earlier this year while staying on the Algarve in Olhao I found an even more strange and wonderful kitchen utensil, namely this:
As those of you who have visited Portugal and tasted their wonderful pastries will know many of these scrumptious morsels have egg yolks as one of their main ingredients; the reason for which dates back to when the nuns in the convents ran laundries and white linens were “starched” with egg whites leaving an abundance of egg yolks remaining for baking!
Beaten eggs yolks are put in the can and poured into a hot sugar solution to create fine threads of egg called fios de ovos. Apparently the pouring technique is an acquired skill! Thanks to Portugal’s colonial history fios de ovos is found in many other parts of the world including Japan (keiran somen), Cambodia (vawee), India (muttamala), Thailand (foi thong), Spain (huevo hilado) and elsewhere, when is often simply called angel hair.
After buying the initial rice cooker I managed to order three more and used them to create a lighting feature in the corner of the kitchen while still having one spare to use as a prop; needless to say this has yet to happen.
Today is National burger Day or as “Burgerac so ably expressed it: “In order to celebrate the UK’s buzzing and burgeoning burger culture, Mr Hyde (the daily email newsletter from the same folks that create Shortlist magazine) has declared that the 27th August is National Burger Day here in the UK…”
So here is a burger with a difference or at least it is if you define a burger as a bread roll with some meat sandwiched in between two halves of a bread roll. In this case the meat is a slice of Nick Nairn’s superb black sausage (blood pudding; available from Morrison’s) lightly fried in olive oil and combined with a slice of tomato and a spoonful of scrambled egg in a miniature bread roll (Waitrose); a perfect breakfast!
Black Pudding Burgers
Perhaps I should have revised the order of the fillings and the this dish could have become the national dish of Germany or Belgium!
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Eggs are a key ingredient in many recipes but it is at breakfast time that they really come into their own. The supermarkets are full of a bewildering variety of eggs added to which there a numerous farm shops and the like selling free range eggs. However over the last few years I have become a fan of the Burford Brown and Old Cotswold Legbar eggs produced by Clarence Court. These eggs are widely available in the supermarkets ranging from Morrisons and Waitrose right through to the food hall at Fortnum and Masons) and they never fail to delight. The Burford Browns with their rich brown shells are especially appealing when it comes to that all time favourite of boiled egg and soldiers. Cooking and eating is not only about taste all the other senses play a key role as well and appearance and colour in particular can make all the difference to the appeal of a dish. Both the Burford Browns and the Legbar eggs have rich yellow yolks and they give a really intense golden yellow colour to any dish that they are used in (see for example the earlier post “Croissant with scrambled egg and bacon”).
Much is said about storing eggs and their freshness, personally I keep my eggs in the fridge and usually use them within a week of buying them which means that they are generally eaten 2 to 3 weeks before their sell-by date.
What are your favourite eggs and do you ever use duck or goose eggs?
Boiled eggs and soldiers, what could be simpler? Well for me they were all too often a game of Russian roulette – would they crack or not and of course there is nothing worse than a cracked boiled egg and a pan full of frothing egg white the day can only go down hill after that! Then I was told the secret add a tea spoon full of salt to the water (thanks Josie!), it will not absolutely guarantee that you eggs will not crack but the odds are very much in your favour. It amazing how such simple tricks can make all the difference when cooking.
Boiled Eggs and Soldiers
Prep time 5 minutes and Cooking time 5 minutes Total time 10 minutes. Serves 2
4 eggs (straight from the fridge is fine)
Boil a pan two thirds full of water. Keep the lid on until the water is boiling; it will boil much more quickly this way
Once the water is boiling remove the pan lid, add a tea spoon of salt, reduce the heat to medium high and gently place the eggs into the water; a Spaghetti Server is ideal for this. The eggs should be totally covered by the now simmering water. Do not replace the saucepan lid.
Set a kitchen timer for 5 minutes (extra large eggs will require 1 minute longer while small bantam eggs typically take in the order of 4 minutes, similarly if you keep your eggs at room temperature a shorter cooking time may be needed).
While the eggs cook pop the slices of bread in to the toaster and when ready butter with lashings of butter