How do you like your eggs in the morning? Well after today every student in the country will be able to offer them soft boiled or scrambled - perfectly cooked every time!
As students across the UK prepare for freshers' week, John Torode is taking it right back to basics with his cookery masterclass. Alison is live with three students at the University of Leeds as they take part in John’s egg-cellent student cook-off. They’ll learn how to make a perfect soft-boiled egg and make scrambled eggs live, with the best student taking away £1000!
John says: We as a nation eat thousands of them everyday, but it seems that some of us are not even able to boil one. Isn’t it about time we all learnt and understood the fundamentals of the great egg?
Buy organic where possible, the colour of the shell is of no consequence to the flavour of the egg, it has to do with the breed of the hen. Eggs should be as fresh as possible. Few of us are privileged enough to have a few hens out the back.
All eggs to be eaten hot must be served as soon as ready. The white (known as the albumen) and the yolk of the egg are made primarily of protein. By applying heat to protein the strands will change in colour and form, the egg cooks. In the case of a boiled egg it will continue to cook when taken from the heat, this is why you may have experienced the phenomena of a hard-boiled egg when you are convinced it should be soft. Left in the warm water or covered by a cossie for a few minutes will change that little gooey egg for ever.
The scrambled egg, when over cooked, goes watery. The protein has been so destroyed that it can no longer hold the water. This makes the toast soggy and the eggs taste a little tinny rather than rich and creamy. Take the eggs from the heat a few minutes before you think they are ready. No soggy toast at my breakfast table!
Salt is the raw eggs enemy, it breaks down the white and makes it sloppy. When making scrambled eggs I add the salt and the pepper to the butter as it is melting in the pan.
The freshness of an egg can be tested by placing it in some water if the egg lays flat it is fresh if it starts to stand up or even floats it is time for it to go in the bin.
If you break an egg onto a plate the white should be jelly like and hold the yolk up in a well formed mound. If the white is watery and the yolk flat the egg is old, still usable but better for baking than boiling.
The perfect eggs for boiling are best a few days after laying rather than totally fresh. Natural gases accumulate between the fine membrane holding the white and the shell as the egg ages a little. A fresh egg will be harder to peel if cooled.
For the perfect soft boiled salad egg: Bring a pot of water to the boil, gently lower 4-6 eggs into the pot, return to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for exactly 5 minutes. Lift the eggs from the water in to a tub of cold water to stop the cooking. Take from the cold water and pop in an egg cup.
100mls crème fraiche
Salt & Pepper
Bread, or toast, and butter, to serve
In a large bowl, mix the eggs with the crème fraiche and season with pepper (but not salt). Just stir them together, don’t beat it or its goes a bit squishy when cooked.
Heat a flat bottomed heavy pan and add the butter
Add the egg mix and cook slowly, just moving it gently around the pan, it will take only a few minutes
Now season with a little salt
My best advice is to take the pan of the heat when the eggs are still runny, from when three-quarters cooked and the remaining heat will do the rest.
Butter the bread or toast well, spoon over the egg and finish with more salt and ground black pepper.
Put the vinegar and 2 litres of water in a deep pan and bring to a rolling boil. Break the eggs into the pan at 12 o'clock. You need to keep the water at a rolling boil as you add the eggs so keep turning up the heat as necessary. Once the eggs float to the surface, cook for a further two minutes.
Heat a frying pan, add olive oil and when the pan is hottish, crack in the eggs. I like the edges of mine crispy so I keep the heat high and the eggs will splutter, but it's your call. Cook yours how you like them.