I thought I’d start up a new little recipe series, based on simple how-to’s, basic cookery bits that will built up a beginners repertoire and hopefully allow they to feel more confident in the kitchen.
The inspiration for this series? I’ve finally, finally managed to learn how to boil an egg. It’s taken a long time. My mum makes the best dippy eggs and soliders, and I crave them when I’m away from home. It’s the first thing I ask for when I get back and she’s tried teaching me countless times. It doesn’t matter if I follow her instructions to the letter, my eggs are always over-done or hardly done at all. I’ve tried numerous methods from the internet, wasted far too many eggs. Every weekend I’ve not seen W since July has seen at least one attempt at boiling an egg. And now I’ve managed it. I finally feel like a cook!
But equally, I’ve also discovered what pretty much amounts to an adoration for eggs. Whilst they haven’t quite replaced porridge of overnight oats as my go-to breakfast, I’ve instead turned to them for lunch. When I’m in the house at midday there’s nothing I like more than a hearty but healthy lunch and eggs are perfect for this. And for the essential weekend brunch of course…
The classic, and the one that took me SO long to learn how to do. It’s embarrassing really! I tried to learn how to boil an egg a few times in my early teens, but it was never quite as good as mum’s so I just gave up. I’ve now picked up a method that’s a little odd, but it really works and does give me perfect eggs anytime.
Pour a small amount of water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil – you want barely half an inch depth. Once boiling well add your egg and immediately place the lid on the pan. Cook for 6 minutes for a room temperature egg, adding another 30 seconds if it’s been in the fridge – I use medium eggs so increase/decrease timings slightly if you have different sizes. Remove from the water and run briefly under a cold tap to stop the cooking, then slice of the top and get dunking your soldiers!
This is probably my favourite way to have an egg at the moment. It feels a bit more special than boiled eggs, but doesn’t involve burning my fingers trying to crack the top off. It’s slightly quicker, easier to serve with anything other than toast, and has just the right combination of oozy yolk and barely set white.
I do cheat a little and use the cling-film method – but it works! Bring a small pan of water to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Meanwhile line a small ramekin with clingfilm, and smear with a little oil. Add seasoning if you like (I occasionally like to add some chilli for a spicy twist). Crack in an egg, then seal by twisting two ends together and folding over the middle. Lower into the simmering water, then cook for 3-4 minutes (I go for the lower end of this as I like a justtttt cooked egg). Lift out, gently remove from the film and serve. Make sure you instagram that #yolkporn…
I adore scrambled eggs. However I’m also very fussy about mine. I like them softly cooked, barely set, buttery, a tiny grinding of pepper and plenty of salt. I also hate them being place on the toast (nothing worse than soggy toast!).
Simply melt a knob of butter in a small pan until foaming. Meanwhile crack two eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk together, along with 1-2tbsp milk (or cream – my treat whenever there’s a little in the fridge) and salt/pepper. Swirl the butter around the pan to coat the base, then tip in the eggs. Immediately turn down the heat to low. Using a rubber spatula, carefully stir the eggs every ten seconds, giving them time to start setting before each stir. Continue cooking until they are set to your liking – I know some people like a firmer set to their scrambled eggs, whereas I pull mine off the heat whilst still a little liquidy!
Sometime that took a little bit of time to get right, but these are so worth it. They feel so much more luxurious than any of the other egg-based options, but are probably the least hands-on way of cooking.
Crack one (or two!) eggs into a small buttered ramekin, topping with salt, pepper, 1tbsp of cream and a teeny bit of grated parmesan. Put the ramekin baking dish, and pour boiling water into the larger dish until it comes to 2/3 of the height of the ramekin. Back at 180C for 12-15 minutes, or until the eggs are set to your liking. Enjoy with plenty of butter toast.
I have to admit, I hate frying eggs and if possible it’s something I’ll always get W to do for me (along with grating cheese – possibly the worst kitchen job in existence!). I hate how fried eggs tend to ‘bang and spit,’ it always makes me nervous. That said there’s nothing better than a plate of fried eggs and bacon, and I’ve recently rediscovered the joys of a fried egg sandwich too. 3 rashers of streaky bacon, two lightly toasted slices of ‘plastic’ white bread, a gooey fried egg, all sandwiches together is a piece of handheld heaven.
So, for a perfect fried egg simply get a (lightly oiled) pan nice and hot. Crack in your egg, turn the heat to medium and crack over a little pepper. Then simply leave on the heat until the white is set. I don’t bother with basting the top with fat or trying to get a crispy base, I’m happy with a simple fried egg. As long as it’s got a runny yolk I’m happy!
Ah, my favourite meal. I’ve honed my recipe over several years and I’ve pretty much got it spot on now. It’s my go-to when I’m having a ‘poor’ week as I always have the ingredients in, it’s perfect for nights when I’m short of time,and it’s easily adapted to be a little healthier too.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add your pasta and cook for 9 minutes. Meanwhile dice one rasher of bacon and fry in a little butter until crisp. In a small bowl, finely grate 30g parmesan, 20g cheddar. Crack in an egg and whisk together. After about 7 minutes boiling, stir the pasta and then add around 3 tablespoons of the pasta water to the egg mix, beating well with a fork after each addition. This should partially melt the cheese and stabilise the egg a little. Once cooked, drain the pasta then add to the bacon. Toss together and turn the heat off. Add a little of the egg mixture, toss together, add a bit more, stir well, then add the rest – if it starts to scramble hold off adding any more for thirty or so seconds. Once all the egg is added stir well until thickened, putting back on a low heat if necessary.
And that’s it – my perfect, simple carbonara recipe, as well as other super-easy ways to cook eggs.
How do you like your eggs, in the morning or otherwise? What other ‘how-to’ guides would you like to see?