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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
- 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….
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.
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