Monday, 7 January 2013
Eggs-citing Meals Once More!
I won't go as far as to say that spring is in the air, as it's done nothing but rain since Boxing Day, but the shortest day has been and gone and the bantams are beginning to lay us some eggs again. Nothing from the hens, ducks or quail just yet, but it's early days and there are only two of us here eating eggs, plus a neighbour who will buy any surplus as and when available.
Egg laying has begun before I even needed to use the frozen duck eggs, so it's a double whammy - enough freshly laid ones for mealtimes and a dozen or so duck eggs in the freezer for baking.
What I miss most about freshly laid eggs is the ability to whisk up a souffle omlette! So here's how it goes in the Frugaldom household. The bowl for all the bits and pieces gathered throughout the days goes to compost, wormery, garden, fire accordingly - tea from bags go in the garden bed where I have heathers and blueberries, as they like acidic soil.
First of all, you'll need two bowls - one large glass bowl for the egg whites and a smaller cup or bowl for the yolks, the omlette in my photos was made using 4 bantam eggs, so that's equivalent to 2 large eggs or 3 medium ones. Separate them carefully, as you don't want yolk in your whites at this stage.
Next, you want whatever you have available for your omlette - in this case, it was a few slices of bacon and a bit of diced onion. I always remove the rind from bacon but that's personal choice. I also always finely dice the onion so it cooks quicker, hence costs less in electricity (or gas) if you're using a cooker. Bacon gets chopped so it fries quickly - everything about this recipe is quick, despite it sounding slow by way of the 'souffle' part.
You can literally use anything in this omlette - chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, ham, chopped sausage, peppers, sliced hot dog... if it cooks quickly and needs using up, it's in the frying pan!
While this is cooking, beat the egg whites until they can stand in peaks, as though making meringues. I don't add any salt when cooking with bacon, as there's usually enough salt in that. Salt is one of those things that's down to personal choice, so I won't dwell on the subject - I choose not to use it unless it's a plain omlette.
Once your egg whites are ready, tip in the yolks and fold them in gently with a metal spoon. I don't know the relevance of the glass bowl or the metal spoon, it's just something my gran told me years and years ago - plastic bowls and wooden spoons are no good for whisking eggs. Perhaps it's something to do with the temperature and heat reflective qualities, I really don't know.
Once you have mixed the yokes with the whites, you'll have a bowl of yellow foam. Don't over beat or over mix it, or this lot will begin to separate and you'll kill all the bubbles that are holding the 'foam' together.
Now tip the whole lot over the top of whatever you have sizzling in your frying pan and let it cook through. Give it a few minutes before you attempt to loosen it from the edges or turn it. I remember learning how to make suffle omlettes at school, where the teachers said fold it in half and allow it time to cook through the middle, but that's far too tempting to then serve as a single dish for one person! It's purey psychological, as far as I'm concerned. If you really want to make an impression and don't feel confident in turning the omlette, CHEAT!
It's less frugal to cheat, as it means switching on the grill, but a quick blast under there ensures the top is cooked and you can take the time to melt some grated cheese over it, if you're feeling particularly extravagant. For some, presentation is very important. For others, like us at lunchtime, it's taste that counts, so I don't mind if the thing breaks in the middle when turning it. This is how it looks on the underside and, in my opinion, it tastes delicious, is very filling, is nutritious and is a speedy hot snack that can be made with leftovers whenever you have sufficient eggs.
If you end up using duck eggs, use no more that two. If you are forced to use quail eggs, use a full dozen. As far as I am concerned, these quantities will adequately feed two hungry adults.
This is a link to my list of '101 Things to do with Eggs' page, a great starting point for the times when you find yourself with a glut of eggs and a shortage of willing buyers. Recipes are not included but you can easily find them online by searching the appropriate terms.
Now I need to concentrate on more healthy meals for a few months, as I have begun my 2013 'Get Fitter, Not Fatter' challenge, which I'd like to complete before the summer holidays. If anyone is interested in taking part, join us in the Frugaldom forum, where you can either share your progress or follow the endeavours of others. There are no faddy diets or expensive gym memberships, it's frugal fitness at its best - fun and free!