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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Pickled Eggs

I am holiday for the next couple of days and all next week and I have lots to do and lots to play with. I am meeting a friend for lunch shortly so that we can have an extended lunch and catch up as normally when we meet it is literally about half an hour's chat and catching up and then off we run in different directions.

My second batch of cucumbers got processed earlier on in the week and are now all done and dusted.  OH is rather partial to Pickled eggs and I usually do a batch or two for him to tuck into over the Christmas period.  I really think generally speaking Pickled eggs is a man thing.  I am not too keen but then I am funny with eggs anyway.  Last evening I went and got a couple of trays of eggs as later on today I am going to be busy putting these down for OH.  As Isay this is one of my regular recipes I just fiddle with the spicing depending on what I have and where the fancy takes me. Anyways that's enough of me prattling on you want the recipe here it is:

Ingredients:

3/4 pint/450ml vinegar (I normally use white wine vinegar or white spirit vinegar but you can use anything that  you have  i.e. malt vinegar or whichever vinegar takes your fancy and can also add beetroot juice to colour the eggs purple or saffron to make the eggs go yellow)
1/2 teaspoon/1 x 2.5ml salt
1 teaspoon/1 x 5ml black peppercorns
1 teaspoon/1 x 5ml Allspice berries
1/2 oz/15g fresh root ginger peeled and cut into matchsticks
12 small eggs (not fresh ones need to be older for easier shelling)
Some sprigs of fresh herbs eg: thyme, lemon thyme, parsley, tarragon, garlic cloves, mace blades  (this is optional and in reality I tend to use thyme, lemon thyme, mace blades, chives but  this really does lift the flavouring)  This time round though I am going to be using some fresh tarragon

Method:

The choice of vinegars is up to you but generally either malt, distilled or spirit vinegar or white malt vinegar) red or white wine give different flavours and colours  to the finished produce.

For ease of getting the eggs into their storage vessels make sure that they are wide necked to make sure that they go in easily.

  1. Pour in the chosen vinegar into a saucepan add the salt, peppercorns, allspice and ginger and mace and bring to the boil simmer for a couple of minutes and then leave to cool.
  2. Hard boil the eggs for at least 10 minutes until hard boiled.   Giving the eggs a stir during the first few minutes of boiling helps centre the yolks in the egg so a better appearance is achieved .  Plunge the eggs immediately into cold water to prevent a black ring forming round the outside of the egg which will spoil the appearance only of the eggs - they are still edible but its best not to have this coloration as it can put people off. When eggs are cold shell them carefully.  An easy way of shelling the eggs is to gently roll them on a worktop surface backwards and forwards to break up the shell into small pieces it then comes off quite easily.  Another method is to around the middle of each egg pick off the shell so you leave a gap between the top and the bottom and then the tops and bottoms should slip off easily.  I have used both methods and it very much depends on how the egg is peeling.
  3. Place the peeled eggs into their sterilised storage vessel leaving enough space for the vinegar to completely cover all the eggs.  Bits of the egg that are not in contact with the vinegar will end up giving a mottled appearance and I tend to re-arrange the eggs where I want them with the assistance of a wooden spoon handle.
  4. Pour in the cold spiced vinegar to cover all of the eggs.  The spices may be left in the jar for a spicier taste or they may be strained off.  (I tend to strain them off as I want a lighter spiced flavour for the eggs, which are then lifted by the fresh herbs)
Now is the time to add in the sprigs of fresh herbs to give a herby flavour and a much more attractive appearance.  Once pickled the eggs will keep indefinitely that is if there is any left over  -  a rare occurence in this house.

Over the years I have had mottled eggs, eggs with slight bits out of the black ring - however with care and with practice you too can achieve a lovely looking preserve.

Mace is the outer membrillo (outer lacy covering) of the Nutmeg.  It has a milder  sweeter flavour than nutmeg, which traditionally is used with eggs. You can use Mace wherever you would use nutmeg.  I tend to use it a lot in my cooking either whole or ground.  In this preserve I use the whole spices as ground spices can actually spoil the appearance of the vinegar making it look cloudy so wherever possible I use whole spices.

Then put them up out of the OH's way as they need a month to mature.  So now is perhaps the ideal time to make them

Catch up later on

Pattypan

xx

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Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)