If there was a perfect food then the egg would be a top contender. Eggs are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. They’re easy to cook, readily available and very affordable.
Boiled, scrambled, poached or fried, eggs make wholesome snacks, breakfasts, brunches, lunches and main meals.
Eggs should be gently treated not only during storage but during cooking. If cooked too quickly at a high heat then the egg’s protein becomes tough.
I prefer to boil eggs by the ‘cold start’ method. Place the eggs in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them by about three centimetres. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a simmer — the water shouldn’t boil. The eggs can be stirred occasionally to centre the yolks. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stand the eggs — covered — in the hot water for four minutes for soft-cooked eggs or 12 minutes for hard-cooked eggs. Drain and chill the eggs in icy water if serving cold. This will prevent a dark ring of iron forming around the yolks.
If you crack the shells while the eggs are cooling they will be easier to peel. This should be done as soon as they are cold.
EGGS BENNY BURGERS
Hollandaise Sauce: 2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
100g butter, melted
Burgers: 250g trimmed spinach
2 small cloves garlic, crushed
4 rashers bacon
4 burger buns, halved and toasted
4 tablespoons butter or table spread
To make the Hollandaise, place the egg yolks, lemon juice and salt in a small blender and mix well. With the motor running, slowly pour in the warm melted butter mixing until thick. Stand the blender in a bowl of warm water or store the sauce in a vacuum flask to keep it warm.
Wash, chop and steam or microwave the spinach until limp. Add the garlic. Squeeze dry. Fry or microwave the bacon until crisp. Poach the eggs.
Place the hamburger bun bases on serving plates. Spread with butter. Top with the spinach, then the bacon and eggs. Drizzle with the Hollandaise. Cover with the burger bun tops. Serves 4.
FRAGRANT SCOTCH EGGS
Buy plain sausage meat or squeeze the meat from 500g of good-quality sausages.
1 cup each: coriander, mint, basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 spring onion
500g sausage meat
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 eggs, hard-boiled and shelled
1-2 tablespoons plain flour
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the herbs and the spring onion in a food processor and mix until finely chopped. Combine well with the sausage meat and black pepper. Divide into 4 equal portions.
Flatten each portion. Dust the hard-boiled eggs with the flour then place in the centre of each meat portion. Wrap the meat around each egg rolling it in your hands until it is firmly in place. Dip into the beaten egg then coat in the breadcrumbs.
Place on a baking paper-lined oven tray. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sausage meat is cooked.
Serve warm or cold as a light meal or a lunch. Excellent lunch box food. Serves 4.
FETA & BACON QUICHE
Pastry shell: 6 sheets filo pasty
3 tablespoons rice bran oil
Filling: 8 rashers streaky bacon
125g feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped basil
420g can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place a baking tray in the oven just below the middle to heat. This will help cook the pastry base.
Brush the filo sheets lightly with the oil. Line a deep, 23cm flan dish with the filo placing each sheet on a slightly different angle so the flan is evenly covered.
Grill or microwave the bacon until crisp, then crumble. Sprinkle the feta, bacon and basil over the base of the flan.
Whisk the condensed soup, milk, eggs and pepper until well mixed. Carefully pour into the shell. Place on the hot oven tray.
Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180°C. Continue baking for 30-40 minutes, until just set and golden. Serves 6.