Tuesday, October 23, 2007

About The Whole Egg Boiling Thing

If you're a regular you'll know that I'm trying to learn to cook, out of necessity and desire. I've got to a level now of having about ten things in my repertoire. Hardly the standard of Indyana or someone but I'm reasonably pleased with the progress.

So far I've concentrated on the things that I consider as essentials; chicken curry, beef and potato curry, dhal and then a few dishes that the girls will happily eat. There's a couple of western dishes in the armoury for me too, just in case I have a sudden inexplicable desire to eat something bland.

I'm struggling with some of the basics though and the other night there was some fun and games involving eggs, a prawn curry and me. Here's the score.

I'd made a prawn curry on Wednesday evening. It was a spur of the moment move, I'd opted to cook for me rather than to eat the bolognese or chilli con carne thing that I'd cooked up for the girls. I say bolgnese or chillie con carne because they're not really that different, there's just a can of kidney beans and some cumin that separates them to be honest.

Quantity isn't one of my chosen fields. I can cook stuff but most of it is made in enough quantity to feed a medium sized town. The balance of flavours is invariably ok, but the amount of food prepared is always sufficient for a few days more. The prawn curry was no exception to this. I gorged myself silly with it and was left with at least enough for another meal.

Thursday night was going to be the second night, I claculated that the addition of a hard boiled egg would fill out the curry, making plenty for a hearty dinner.

That's when I found out about boiling eggs the hard way. Or rather that's when I didn't find out, because it's quite hard, and they don't teach you about it on the cookery programmes.

I boiled some water, remembering to leave the egg in the water. Then, when the water started to boil, I turned it down a bit and set my vastly over priced but highly trendy kitchen timer to about 5 minutes and waited. As the bell pinged I took the egg out of the water and attempted my new method of peeling an egg, as seen on Jamie Oliver a few weeks ago. I used to like Jamie Oliver, particularly with him being a drummer and all. After trying his egg peeling thing I can only conclude that he must be a guitarist, there's no other explanation. Or just a tosser.

On one of his programmes he showed this way of peeling an egg that took about 2 seconds. It involved holding the egg with your hand clenched and then smashing the egg downwards in your fist, then rolling your fist backwards and forwards on the work surface. It's a bit hard to describe but the theory is that you end up with and egg and some shell that comes away from the egg in a matter of seconds.

We all know about "in theory". I tried it and ending up with runny egg all over my fingers and a work surface that looked like one of those griddles in a fast food place. There were bits of egg shell floating everywhere and I was getting the firm idea that this egg wasn't going anywhere near my mouth. Some people might take a blinkered view of this and say that blame should lie at my door for not cooking the egg for long enough. I say that's rubbish and kick the blame firmly in the direction of Mr Oliver.

I cleared up the mess, runny egg white, tepid yolk and shell. All went in the bin and I started the boiling thing again. Sparing no expense I went for a fresh egg, the recycling brigade would have a heart attack at the thought but I was in a generous mood. I threw the egg in the water and set the timer to 6 minutes, an extra minute should ensure that the egg would be suitably hard boiled.

The timer pinged, I took out the egg and went for the "Jamie". There was more confidence and a bit of swagger in my approach. I thought that I needed to go for it, the extra minute would take care of the egg and the firmness of touch as I banged the egg in fist on the work surface would help with the peeling.

In theory.

Seconds later I was mopping up another runny and eggy mess from my kitchen worktop. A chap can love an egg but times like this are testing ones indeed. I abandoned the egg in the prawn curry plan, the prawns on their own were fine tasting and eggs just weren't going to do it for me. Of course I realised that the problem was because I'd hurled the egg in the already boiling water, I hadn't put it in cold water and started from scratch.

I'm not sure on this egg boiling business. Anyone know how to do it?


enTRpy said...

Oooh... getting runny egg all over the place doesn't sound like fun. I just follow my mom's advice on when it comes to boiling eggs. 5mins for soft and 10min for hard. But in most cases, me being the absent minded person I am, I tend to forget all about the boiling egg and when I eventually do remember the shells started to crack anyways. :)

Confab said...

typical drummer...can pound away, but forgets the melody of it all...;)

mate, if u want a half boiled egg, u take the water off the fire...if u want a hard boiled egg, u leave the water boiling on the stove and dump the egg in...set ur trusted timer to 5 mins, and u'll have a hard boiled egg...actually, set it for about 8 mins...i dont want my method failing...dont want u drummers to have something bad to say to us guitarists:)...

u got all that young chap?

yellow suddi said...

hmm, I think the problem is that you're turning the temp down when the water starts to boil. I always just keep the water boiling for 10 minutes...

Anyway, regarding your last post: very interesting because this morning on the radio in Vancouver, the hosts were talking about PDI (personality disorder individuals) and had the author of "Say goodbye to your PDI" on.


PDIs are the "energy drainers"

Indyana said...

Honestly, I'm still learning myself, and have so much to learn.

Well, boil the egg(s), for at least 10 minutes.Then place them in really cold water for another 10 mins. Don't do the smashing thing, just carefully tap the sides onto the work surface, till it cracks a little. Then do the rolling onto the surface bit.Once it's all cracked up, it's easy to peel off the shell.

Hope that helps!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thank you all for the advice, clearly there are many ways to boil an egg.

Confab - Thanks for that advice, us young drummers need it!!

Darwin said...

There's nothing I hate more than a half-done egg when I want it completely hard-boiled. So err...I leave it for like 15mins so there is absolutely no chance of it being runny!

Angel said...

ummm the last time I boiled an egg, I was in the hostel where we're forbidden to cook any food of any sort inside the room. It was 11pm and I was famished.. and the only thing we had to eat was bread, butter and 3 raw eggs. Ended up dumping them into the kettle and flipping the switch. They turned out quite ok, nice and hard boiled... but one egg cracked half way and we had to drink egg-flavoured tea every morning for a week.

Chickenbutt said...

There are many many ways. What i do is put the egg into cold water, bring it to boil, let it be like this for 8 minutes and then cover it and switch the fire off and leave it on the stove for a further hmm 3-4 minutes?

After that dump it in cold water(easier on the hands when peeling), crack it on the side of a saucepan or anything hard and start peeling. All this for an egg!