It looks like winter is finally arriving in Cape Town. We had lovely rain all day yesterday, and today is sort of rainy, sort of overcast, somewhat windy but gloriously grey. You remember I love winter right? As I am typing, I’m sitting with a freshly brewed mug of coffee right under my nose – letting the aromas of strong, bitter, black coffee waft up my nose and entice my senses. And whilst I’m lost in my heady coffee aromatherapy, I’m daydreaming of soups and stews and one-pot wonders which naturally comes with the cold season – served in one bowl, perfect to cradle in my lap while I’m snuggled under a blanket in front of my TV, watching my stories. Winter. A wonderful, whimsical season. A wonderful, whimsical reason to indulge in bowls of steamy, hot, edible comfort.
But alas, I totally just side-tracked myself, and need to stop my rambling and get to the matter at hand. Agree? Okay. So the back-story is that the beau and I have started something new on Sundays, which I have (after our successful first adventure) dubbed Scrumptious Sundays. This is different to our failed Try-It Tuesday misadventure last year. Here’s why: I don’t want to feel pressure while cooking during the week. I just don’t have the time to try something entirely new, have it fail, and then whip up something else on a Tuesday (or any other weekday, for that matter). However, during the weekend we’re more relaxed. We’re laid back. And yes, then we have the time and energy to try an entirely new recipe, and run the risk of failing. Because it’s Sunday. And we have time (and I have the patience with my sous chef)! So obviously, we take time during the week to discuss what we want to make on Sunday. We only have 3 criteria. 1. It has to be a recipe we haven’t made before. 2. It has to be a treat. Something that wouldn’t be on our weekly rotation. 3. We have to do it together. The third point is clearly aimed at me – for I do not share well in the kitchen. When we have made our decision, I spend some time sourcing the recipe, taking the time to look at as many recipes as I can before deciding which would suit us best.
Our first attempt was something we’ve eaten only once before, bought at an artisinal fresh food stall, but after we ate it (about 3 years ago, mind you) we knew we loved it. So it was a natural decision that we would have to make it. Have you ever had a Scotch Egg before? If you had, you can skip this part. If not, hold on to your pantaloons! It is a soft boiled egg. A lovely, golden, sunny, happy example of what a soft boiled egg should be. Just barely holding it’s shape. A soft boiled egg cocooned in perfectly seasoned pork meat, breaded and then fried. Yes, fried. Deep fried. When you bite into it, the crunchy, crispy, golden exterior belies the goodness that awaits you. The pork is salty, and savoury. It is juicy and dripping down your chin is an absolute given. And then you get to the egg, the yolk still miraculously runny, golden and rich, almost sweet. Then you take another bite, and relive the entire joyride of scrumptiousness. It is magic. It is pure heaven. And honestly, not that hard to make. Let’s get to it.
Scotch Eggs (makes 4 large Scotch Eggs)
Adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1414645/scotch-eggs
- 7 large eggs
- 500g* good-quality fresh pork banger sausages, skinned (they MUST be fresh – no processed junk!)
- 200g bacon strips, roughly cut into bits
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp English mustard powder
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
- Plain flour (for breading stage)
- Dried breadcrumbs (for breading)
- about 1 litre sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
- scraps of bread, for testing oil
- Put 4 eggs into a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, set the timer for 5 mins. When 5 mins is up, quickly lift the eggs out with a slotted spoon and plunge into a big bowl of cold water. (We cooked the for 4.5 minutes, which was great, but you must then be careful because they are very fragile and the yolk WILL break and run). You can give the eggs a quick crack on one end and then put it into the cold water. This will cause the cold water to seep in, stopping the cooking and making peeling easier.
- Put the sausage meat, bacon, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder and nutmeg into a food processor with plenty of seasoning. Break in 1 of the remaining eggs and mix everything together.
- Crack remaining 2 eggs into a bowl, beat with a fork. Tip the flour into another bowl and season well. Finally, tip the breadcrumbs into a third bowl.
- When the eggs are cool peel them carefully. If you hold the eggs over the bowl of water as you peel, all the shell bits will collect in there and you can dip in the egg to wash off any fragments.
- Now coat the eggs. We set up the ingredients along our counter like a conveyer belt: cooked eggs, mince, then flour, beaten egg and finally breadcrumbs, plus a baking parchment-lined tray at the end to put the finished scotch eggs on.
- Take a good chunk of mince and pat out to thinly cover one hand. Sit the egg on the meat, then mold over the mince to cover, squeezing and patting so it is an even thickness. If you keep moving while you spread the mince, it’s much easier. You’ll probably have a gap (depending on how big your hands are – just patch and pat with a bit more mince). Roll carefully in the flour, shaking off excess. Dip in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs to coat, gently squeeze the finished eggs to compact the breadcrumbs – this will ensure a crunchy exterior, and transfer to your tray. Repeat to cover all 4 eggs, then cover with cling film and chill for 4 hrs or overnight. (You can fry them immediately, which is what we did. The chilling will just keep them together better. It really wasn’t an issue though.)
- To cook, pour the oil in a large, deep saucepan to about 4cm deep. Heat until a small chunk of bread browns in about 1 min. Carefully lower in a scotch egg and fry for about 5-8 mins, turning gently, until evenly browned. Depending on your pan, you can probably do 2-3 at a time, but don’t overcrowd. Lift out onto a kitchen paper-lined tray. If you like your scotch eggs warm, pop them into a low oven while you fry the rest – but they stay hot quite long on their own too. Keep an eye on the oil – if the scotch eggs start browning too quickly, the oil might be too hot and you risk the pork not being cooked before the scotch egg is browned. If the oil gets too cool, the scotch egg may overcook before it is browned. Enjoy warm or cold; best eaten within 24 hrs of frying. We loved it served with a bowl of mayo, but it’s really up to you.
* We ended up having a little bit too much of the pork mixture. I wouldn’t use less pork though – rather have too much than not enough to cover all your eggs. We just used the remaining pork mixture, rolled mini meatballs, breaded them and deep fried them too! They were darling and delicious!
So? What do you think? Are you going to try it? Let me know how it goes if you do!
Until next time, Much Love.