Scotch Easter Eggs in Africa

Two weekends ago, being Easter and a long weekend, the market regulars took it upon themselves to do something a wee bit different for the Saturday Market.  We couldn’t do a night market like we had, the Friday before Christmas:  for many Good Friday remains sacred and the market takes place on church property next to the hall, in the shadow of the church spire.

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A sunset view of the spire

So, when the notion was flighted, the challenge was two-fold.  What could I do that was different, and which didn’t need “instant” cooking?  I don’t have the accoutrements for that.  It needed to be something that could be eaten for breakfast and/or taken home. Besides, there are other people that do bacon and eggs, and the philosophy of our little market is mostly collegial rather than competitive.  It’s too small, and the custom too limited to kill each other with competition.

My approach to an offering is based on both my own leanings towards meat-free and understanding that there are increasing numbers of people who don’t do meat and/or gluten.  What could I do that involved eggs (it was going to be Easter, after all) and no meat, preferably eaten with the minimum of cutlery?  It couldn’t be quiche or frittata – for the same reason as it couldn’t be bacon and egg…

I experimented with spinach, egg and tomato.

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The theory was good:  egg on a nest of spinach and onion, baked in the oven to be served with a tomato relish.

The results shared among friends on the social media got mixed reviews.  The Husband’s:  it was imminently edible but not on the run, let alone cold.

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There was a torrent of unrepeatable, hilarious repartee on my personal Facebook page in response to this picture.  Instagram followers were much more polite.

The vegetarian option was abandoned.  Sometimes I do know when I’m defeated.

I settled for a single offering and one which harks back to my childhood and yet another occasion where I chose a dish based on its name.  I don’t recall which birthday it was, but remembering where we lived the time, I must have been around about this age:

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My sister and I (at the back), 1974, in Bots, Grahamstown

Even then, I used to spend time browsing through Mum’s cookery books and one recipe that appealed to me was Scotch Eggs.  It was in this book that now forms an important part of my collection of recipe books.

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As luck would have it, Mr J’s mama had presented us with a clutch of little eggs from her fowl family, and my dummy run was a great success.

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This time, the response on both Facebook and Instagram was enthusiastic, to say the least.

Decision made, plans were set in place and all that had to be done was the work.  A production line was called for.  Not difficult at all:

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Scotch Eggs

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As you see, and as usual, I made the recipe my own by adding chopped fennel and parsley to the meat;  I used two variants of a local Worcester Sauce instead of a commercially available one.

Other tips

  • To ramp up the recipe to make a large quantity (I did 16), I used medium eggs and worked on 105 to 110g of mince per egg.  Weighing out the mince helps with managing portion control and also keeps the final product uniform.  It was a lot less hassle than I thought it would be.  Actually, it made things a lot easier.
  • For perfect hard-boiled, “peelable” eggs, the first thing to remember is that in this instance, fresh is not best.The Husband, as a former poultry farmer who before he retired, was in large scale free range egg production, really knows his eggs:  an egg’s flavour is best developed about three days after it’s laid.  A fresh egg is impossible to peel.  Because eggs have a really long shelf life and because aesthetically you want a perfect egg, you can comfortably buy your eggs 7 to 10 days before you need them.
  • To hard-boil a large quantity of eggs that have no blue ring around the yolk, place room temperature eggs into a pot of cold water.  Bring to the boil.  Boil for 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  For a medium egg, boil for 4 minutes.  All of this with the caveat that altitude does affect the length of cooking to get the perfect product….

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It seems that the eggs, served with a choice of homemade tomato chutney or curried beans*, were a hit:  sold out and requests for more.

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Also on offer at my Easter table was the pickled fish, a South African tradition.

*Recipe to come in the next while.

© Fiona’s Favourites 2016

 


13 thoughts on “Scotch Easter Eggs in Africa

    1. The Husband tells a story, which still gets his hackles up, of a manager in the premium chain store they supplied. The deal was that the eggs were delivered in less than 24 hours of lay. In actual fact they were delivered in 12. The ignorant sod called for a hard boiled egg as part of his “quality control”. Complained that it wouldn’t peel. Said it wasn’t fresh. Sod wouldn’t listen to reason. What do ignorant farmers know, that couldn’t possibly be correct, could it?

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      1. It’s one of those rumours/myths though. I’ll be honest I was brought up with it, which is weird as my grandfather on my mum’s side kept bantams! But it doesn’t take a long time of actually having chickens to work out that fresh eggs are a nightmare to peel.

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      2. That’s exactly the point, isn’t it: it’s having real chickens…. and then the eggs that they lay… It’s a bit like children from urban areas thinking that milk comes out of a carton or a tin. What a world. Sigh.

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  1. Great choice indeed Fiona. Definitely something I am going to try. Thanks for sharing the recipe and for the great photos. My mouth is really watering now. LOL!

    Also, putting a teaspoon of bicarb of soda (baking soda) in the water when I cook the eggs, the shells come of much easier. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting. I’ve never had a problem peeling them – unless they were fresh. The Husband is of the opinion that even bicarb won’t help if they’re “too fresh”!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Around here we always have that problem and we don’t get many fresh ones, unless we go to Jasmyn, but with the traffic here on weekends, we prefer not to go anywhere far. 😀

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  2. Looks wonderful. Being an ex-Pat in the US I haven’t had Scotch Egg in ages, but now we have chickens I don’t have any excuse not to make my own having seen your inspirational recipe!

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    1. Thanks, Richard, and for stopping by. By ex-pat, I’m assuming you mean British, not South African, right? Scotch eggs, a bit fiddly but certainly worth the effort! Enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

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