Cooking With Eggs

The colour of the egg you buy does not affect its food value — although a speckled brown egg, fresh from a farm, boiled and served in an egg cup with home-baked, toasted bread and creamy butter is the image of an ideal breakfast for many people.

Commercially produced eggs are generally sold in date-stamped cartons. Sizes one–two (70-65 g; 3-2½ oz) are large; three–four (60–55 g; 2½-2 oz) are standard; sizes five-six (50-45 g; 2-11/4 oz) are small; size seven is under 45 g (1 ½ oz).

There is no need to refrigerate eggs but if you do, take them out one hour before using. This prevents cracking and makes whisking easier.

Separating eggs Have two small basins ready. Crack the shell sharply on one, let the white pour into one bowl and tip the yolk into the other.

Whisking Use eggs brought to room temperature. Beat vigorously using a whisk, fork or electric whisk to incorporate a large volume of air. Do not leave to stand; use straight away.

Folding in egg whites Using a metal spoon, gently cover the beaten egg whites with the thicker mixture, without beating, to avoid loss of air.

Bolling eggs Place eggs in cold water and then bring to the boil. Time eggs from the point of boiling and simmer thereafter for about 4-6 minutes. The larger the egg, the longer it takes to go hard-boiled.

Frying eggs Use about 50 g (2 oz) butter or lard for four eggs. Heat the fat until it starts to bubble, then lower the temperature as you drop in the broken eggs, one at a time. Fry for about two mites (or to taste). Remove with a slice.

Scrambling eggs For four eggs, allow 25 g (1 oz) butter. Beat the eggs, and season with a little salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan over a low heat, then mix in the eggs, stirring with a wooden spoon, until they are thick and creamy.

Poaching eggs There are two methods of poaching eggs: the easier is to use a poaching pan. You need a little skill and practice to poach eggs directly into water.

Using a wide, shallow pan, add water, bring to the boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer. Break eggs into a saucer and slip them into the water, one at a time. Let them simmer.

Making omelettes

An omelette is one of the most versatile and creative dishes you can make with eggs. You can choose any kind of filling, savoury or sweet.

In a Spanish omelette, add a prepared blend of lightly fried onions, peppers, diced cooked potato, bacon — or Whatever else you have to hand.

For a basic omelette, allow two eggs for each person, 5 ml (1 teaspoon) water, and about 15 g (½ oz) butter.

Break the eggs and beat lightly with the water. Season to taste. Heat the butter in a heavy-based omelette or small frying pan until it sizzles, then pour in the eggs. Tilt the pan so that the mixture cooks evenly. When the omelette is almost set, add a filling, then fold.