Christine McFadden Cookery and Food Writing
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Christine McFadden with students
Alternative Pancakes
A Taste of Rabbit
Beyond Carrot Cake
Bountiful Blackberries
Celebrating Celery
Cherries are the Only Fruit
Chuck, Flank and Shank
Cooking With
What You’ve Got
Cool Curries
Delectable Duck
Do I Dare to Eat a Peach?
Drupe Fruit
Excellent Eggs
Feel the Fear and
Cook it Anyway
Give Swede a Chance
Glorious Globes
Glorious Greens
Golden Orbs
Heavenly Herbs
King Cauliflower
Lovely Lovage
Meat of Kings
More Than Marmalade
Of Cabbages and Kings
Partridges and Pears
Pumpkins and Winter Squash
Remarkable Medlars
Roasting Chestnuts
Rhubarb Renaissance
Ruffian Roots: Celeriac
Sensational Sea Buckthorn
Sicilian Utopia
Strawberry Fare
The Not-So-Humble Parsnip
Time for Pie
Time to Talk About Eggs
Watercress – a culinary hero
We Won't Go Until
We Get Some
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Egg cookery Christine McFadden Southwest

Christine's blog

This is the place to enjoy Christine's food-related musings – from seasonal food and food producers to cooking tools, food markets and gastro-travel. You'll also find some must-try recipes and invaluable tips and techniques.

Time to Talk About Eggs

With Easter coming up, I've been thinking a lot about eggs, both real and chocolate. I'm also on the lookout for rare eggs – game bird, gull's and goose eggs, for example.

Some branches of Waitrose are rumoured to stock goose eggs, but certainly not in my neck of the woods. At least three times the size of a hen's egg, they have a chalky white shell with a sculptural Dalì-esque quality that makes one hesitate to crack them. The goose egg is rich and intensely eggy with an enormous yolk kept aloft by a viscous white. Excellent for enriching cakes and making a man-sized omelette.

Gull's eggs aren't in season yet – collecting them is restricted to two or three weeks from the end of April. Popular in gentlemen's city clubs, gull's eggs are a rare treat, which is certainly reflected in the price. They're about 5cm long with sludge-coloured splotched shells, and an exquisite flavour – though apparently faintly fishy because of the diet.

Game bird eggs – guinea fowl, partridge and pheasant – are also proving elusive. Guinea fowl eggs are slightly smaller than a hen's egg and have a similar mild flavour. They have beautiful brown-speckled shells that need an extra-firm tap to break them. Dumpy little partridge eggs are the most exquisite with tasteful coffee-coloured speckles on a pale beige shell. Walnut-sized pheasant eggs come in a military khaki without any speckling. They have a powerful flavour, best tamed by hard-boiling.

Eggs are certainly a cook's best friend. They can be boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, baked or made into omelettes. They provide cakes with bounce, soufflés with height and sauces with thickness and gloss. They make pasta silky, pastry shiny and they help breadcrumbs stick to food. Beaten with oil, the yolks emulsify into mayonnaise; whisked with air, the whites transmute to the miraculous foam that gives meringues and mousses their lightness.

It's interesting to experiment with different types of egg. Scrambled eggs made with duck eggs, for example, have a dense, creamy, almost chewy texture, whereas scrambled hens' eggs are smoother and lighter. Similarly, goose eggs make a hefty frittata with a much firmer texture than one made with hens' eggs. If you are lucky enough to have three goose eggs (or nine very good hen's eggs) try my recipe for Goose Egg Frittata with Potatoes, Onions and Piquillo Peppers. It's perfect for spring Sunday morning brunch.

I am not a great fan of shallow-fried eggs but Deep-Fried Eggs are another matter. They are fun to make and have an appetising crunchy texture. Beautiful with grilled bacon, HP sauce and toast.

Most of us look on eggs as culinary wallpaper, but I feel they should be chosen with the same care given to wine or olive oil. Good eggs have seasons just like any other fresh produce, and now is a good time to enjoy them. Once sampled, you will appreciate that eggs can be a luxury item with a fabulous fresh flavour, gloriously golden yolks and a dense texture.

Check out Clarence Court for stockists of unusual eggs, including goose, quail and ostrich.

© Christine McFadden, April 2021

    Photography:Scott Morrison, Christine McFadden    
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