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The best egg tips

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Eggs are the complete package in terms of health and convenience. Buy cage-free, free-range eggs from chickens that are living a good life.

– A healthy person with no cholesterol issues can eat up to 7 eggs a week, while someone who needs to lower their cholesterol can eat 4 eggs a week comfortably.

– Eggs should be at room temperature before you use them whether you are making boiled eggs or whisking them to make meringue. Remove them from the fridge at least 20 minutes beforehand or if you forget, warm them in a bowl of warm water. The exception is when you are making a recipe where you need to separate the eggs. In that case it’s best use cold eggs straight from the fridge, seperate them, and leave the seperated egg yolks and egg whites to come to room temperature.

Raymond Blanc says to use a fork – not a whisk – to mix eggs for an omelette so you don’t ‘cut’ the eggs.

– In baking, the recipe often asks for eggs in a certain size, eg small, medium or large. The good news is that the only time the size of eggs makes a difference is when the recipe calls for two or more eggs. In that case, if you have large eggs and need medium eggs, you can always put them in a bowl, lightly whisk to combine, then add a little less to the recipe.

HOW TO CHECK IF AN EGG IS FRESH – Take 200ml of water and add 2 teaspoons of salt to a bowl. Put the egg in and if it sinks it is fresh;  if it is too old to eat, it will float. This is because as an egg gets older it becomes lighter.  If you are in doubt at all about the freshness of the eggs, throw them away and buy new ones.

– Roll a boiled egg gently over a hard surface and it will crack the shell and make it easy to peel. Some people say that adding a teaspoon of salt to the water helps but as our tip is so easy, it doesn’t make sense to waste the salt!

– Here’s a tip to turn fried eggs into something special. Fry your eggs as normal. While they are cooking, add 4 tablespoons of butter to another clean pan. Cook over a moderate heat until the butter has coloured to a dark brown, but is not burnt. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, mix and pour over the eggs. Serve with a sprinkling of freshly chopped capers and parsley.

– You can make an egg frittata in the oven, without having to fry anything, with our quick recipe. Oil a baking dish. Crack 4 eggs into a bowl, add finely chopped garlic, 3 chopped anchovies and a 1/4 teaspoon of dried herbs or some chopped fresh herbs. Add salt and pepper and whisk. Pour into the baking dish and cook in the oven at 200ºC for 8 minutes or until the eggs begin to firm up. Turn on the grill and bake until brown, puffy and golden. Serve with a green salad.

– You don’t have to boil an egg over heat for the full duration of the cooking time. Save electricity and get a perfectly boiled egg with a soft middle when you do it this way. Place the egg in the saucepan. Cover with cold water. Turn the heat to high. When the water boils, turn off the heat,  put the lid on the saucepan and leave the egg for 15 minutes sitting in the water. Lift the lid and you have a boiled egg (and no steam in the kitchen!).

– Instead of buying rashers, buy a slab of greenback or streaky bacon and cut it into thin slices and fry it. It has a better flavour and is less salty. Add a few eggs on top of the bacon when it is cooked, pop a lid on until the yolks are cooked, and serve. Now you have authentic French Ouefs et Bacon.

– Save a pan by frying rashers in a large frying pan or skillet and when they are just done, cracking the eggs on top of the rashers. Turn the heat down to low and put a lid over the eggs (but not touching the egg yolks). Let the eggs steam until they are almost done, take the lid off for another minute, then serve in the pan.

– When you are making fried rice, here’s a great tip. Make a hole in the centre of the rice and pour in one or two beaten eggs. Stir until the egg is two thirds cooked – then fold into the rice. That saves you having to cook the eggs in another pan.

– If you pierce a tiny hole in an egg before you boil it, it should not crack.

Save a pan by frying rashers in a large frying pan or skillet and when they are just done, cracking the eggs on top of the rashers. Turn the heat down to low and put a lid over the eggs (but not touching the egg yolks). Let the eggs steam until they are almost done, take the lid off for another minute, then serve in the pan.

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