Tuesday 28 October 2014

Homemade Scotch Eggs and Electronic Egg Boiler Review

Is it just me, or is it really hard to boil eggs to the exact moment of perfection where the white is solid and the yolk still runny, just right for dipping in soldiers?

Saying that someone can't even boil an egg is a statement of derision, implying that it's the easiest thing in the world. I can only assume when people say that they are talking about hard boiled eggs, which are very easy. But when it comes to soft boiled, I can never remember how many minutes, and even then it depends on the size of the egg, how many you are cooking at once, and how long the water has been boiling for before you put the eggs in (I have a tendency to wander off and let the pan boil for a while). And if you take the eggs straight from the fridge and put them in a pan of boiling water they can crack, which has happened to me more than once. Making an omelette is also supposed to be really easy, but is something I've never actually done before!

So when I was offered an egg boiler to review on behalf of British Lion Eggs, I was intrigued. I'd never come across one of these gadgets before - they are designed to give you the perfect boiled egg every time.

The Severin egg boiler was more compact than I was expecting, and looked like a very cute little gadget. The box didn't contain an instruction leaflet however, so I had to Google what to do and luckily found a PDF of the instruction manual online.

You pour water into the base of the machine, prick the bottom of your eggs with the device included and that's it - you select how hard you want your eggs from a dial and switch it on. I cooked three eggs on the soft boiled setting and if I recall correctly, it took about seven minutes. It uses less energy than boiling a pan of water which is another benefit.

The eggs were perfectly cooked and I decided to use them to make Scotch eggs - something I've never made before and never really liked eating despite them being a regular on picnics and salad dinners as a child. A friend told me that 'picnic eggs' are different to Scotch eggs - the egg in the middle is chopped and mashed up and formed into a ball, which explains of course why these Scotch eggs are smaller than an actual egg. When we were in a restaurant recently a friend ordered a Scotch egg as a starter that had crab if I recall instead of sausage meat (we were in a fish restaurant) and the egg in the middle had a runny yolk. It looked delicious and I've since discovered that getting the outside of the Scotch egg cooked through and the inside of the yolk still runny is considered the holy Grail of Scotch eggs.

I made three large Scotch eggs, quite simply: I squeezed the meat from 9 sausages (I could have gotten away with using less if I had chilled the sausage meat longer then rolled it out). I mixed the sausage meat with some chopped parsley and a little wholegrain mustard and after peeling the eggs, rolled them in flour so the sausagemeat would stick, and shaped the meat around the egg. I then dipped each one in a shallow bowl of first flour, then beaten egg, then breadcrumbs.

I was wondering whether to deep fry or oven bake the Scotch eggs; the former is the standard way and means there is more chance of the egg remaining soft boiled, but the latter is healthier. The decision was made for me when I realised I had run out of cooking oil, as I usually use Fry Light which wouldn't have been suitable for this. I had a little vegetable oil left so I ended up frying the Scotch eggs to brown them then finishing them off in the oven.

They tasted very good - my boyfriend said he didn't like Scotch eggs but really enjoyed these. They made a very nice weekend lunch served simply with some bread and butter and salad. The egg inside was perfectly cooked but the yolk was sadly only ever so slightly runny. I will have to try making these again!

I love eggs for breakfast as well so this morning I used my egg boiler to make soft boiled eggs. I followed the instructions exactly, had the machine on its lowest setting and plunged the egg into cold water as soon as the machine beeped, but the inside of the yolk was barely runny at all. That was very disappointing, but I wonder if it's because I used smaller eggs, or only cooked one egg and if the timer is optimised for cooking more at once. I will have to try this again with larger eggs or perhaps find a way to time the machine myself and turn it off just before the beep says it's ready! Even so, I have a tendency to under boil eggs and when I cut into them, find that not only is the yolk runny but the white is as well, and this egg boiler meant the white was cooked perfectly, even if the yolk was a little overdone for my taste.

The British Lion is the UK's most successful food safety mark with nearly 90% of UK eggs now produced within the Lion scheme. The Lion Code of Practice has effectively eradicated Salmonella in British eggs.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Severin egg boiler to review. I was not required to make positive comments and all opinions are my own.

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