For this month’s What’s On Your Plate we’re going to discuss eggs. Yes, eggs.
I was all set to write about menu planning – but just a couple of paragraphs in, I was bored, so I dread to think how you, dear reader, would have felt. You see, despite being a project manager in my corporate day job, I’m not one of life’s natural planners. Day job aside, if there’s a plan in place, rather than it helping me feel in control, I tend to feel controlled. It’s a fine but important difference – and one that applies to my writing as well. While I might begin a book with an opening scene or image in mind, I tend not to know what my characters are up to until they get up to it.
So, while I am doing the whole menu planning thing at the moment because I know rationally that it helps me, well, stick to plan, it’s weeknights only, leaving me with the impression that I can free-wheel if I want to. I plan holidays the same way – basic structures such as flights and accommodation in place and the rest flexible.
Anyways, I was bored. So what to write about instead? While I was thinking, I began watching the new HBO show Julia – based on Julia Childs and, therefore, my cup of tea entirely. In the first episode, Julia demonstrates how to cook a three-egg omelette in two minutes. Impressive.
The thing is, while I love omelettes, I’m not great at making them – other than the type that you don’t fold but rather finish off under the grill, like Nigella’s masala omelette – my omelettes tend to turn into a scramble instead. (As an aside, while it doesn’t look very pretty, this is a super quick, tasty and healthy lunch. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.)
Grant is, however, good at them – he makes me one every Sunday morning and I eat it sitting up in bed. No, you can’t have him.
I mightn’t be an omelette master, but I’m good at the other types of eggy things and am super fussy about them too. I also probably eat more of them than I should. Hey ho.
At least a few mornings a week I’ll have a boiled egg with rye sourdough toast fingers.
The egg is cooked for 5 minutes 20 seconds exactly in already boiling water. Heaven forbid if we buy our eggs from a different supplier and I have to change the timing to take account of the different sizes.
Scrambled eggs are a weekend treat – I add a little double cream (I know, I know), and scramble them slowly over low to medium heat.
They’re also great in quick and easy Japanese-style suppers.
As for poached eggs, I love them with asparagus and do them Nigella’s way – into a tea strainer to get rid of the straggly bits and then into water that was previously boiling but is now turned off.
Fried eggs need to be still runny but not snotty (I pop a lid on for the last minute of cooking to firm the white up) and are best on top of Asian mince dishes.
Then there’s the egg that’s tossed through pasta with parmesan cheese and a little cooking water to become the best sort of carbonara – no cream in sight.
And finally, one of my favourite egg recipes and a simple and tasty lunch – Nigella’s Turkish Eggs. Give it a try.
Omelettes though? In theory so simple, but why haven’t I tried making a proper one?
Given though that I had “making an omelette” on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, I decided that if Julia could do one in two minutes, so could I – and you know what? It worked. It mightn’t be perfect, but practice will make that. And it was done from go to whoa in under three minutes. Lunch done. (And another tick off my list…)