Rambling Autumn Hops,
Stuff on Toast
Perfect Poached Eggs
It’s Hop time again, or should I say Hop Harvest time again; I brought my hop plant back from England three years ago ~ it was a straggly and small cutting taken from my mum’s profuse and prolific hop plant in her cottage garden in Yorkshire, a county not known for its hops, but hers took over half the garden. I brought it back in a plastic bag and planted it next to the double gates by the drive (in September) then forgot all about it until next year.
There was no forgetting about it when spring arrived however ~ it sprouted and then took over the whole wall even reaching the dizzy heights of the stable roof and was also found sprawled outside the gate on the pavement liked a drunken green man.
I never really know what to do with my hops ~ I have recipes for beer and hop fritters, as well as the usual Hop Sleep Pillows on the arty crafty front, and I am still stuck in an 80’s time warp with my hop trusses on top of my kitchen cupboards and beams……however this year I had a minor brainwave ~ hop wreaths and rings, to adorn my linen cupboard as well as our bed, with the added advantage of sleep induced decoration.
Kent in the South East of England is famous for its Hops, the county which is called the Garden of England is also known for its arable farming ~ hence its romantic description; as well as the hop gardens, another familiar site in the Kentish countryside are the Oast Houses, distinctive “cone” topped buildings where the hops were dried.
Anyone who can remember the TV series The Darling Buds of May, will know that the TV series was set in the Kentish countryside. In a Museum of Kent Life near Maidstone, you can see a reconstruction of the homely kitchen from the television series, a warm and cosy place where life revolves around the kitchen table and many a hoppy ale has been drunk no doubt!
|Photo from Invectis, co uk|
So, where do Perfect Poached Eggs and Stuff on Toast come into this? Well, they don’t ~ it is just my simple recipe offering of the day. Stuff on toast is what us Brits love ~ we eat stuff on toast at the drop of hat and many a Greasy Spoon caff has made a living by offering only stuff on toast on its menu. Basically, if you can toast bread, then you can put something “on” it, hence a diverse list of “on toast” recipes such as: cheese ON toast, beans ON toast, egg ON toast (various versions), tomatoes ON toast, sardines ON toast etc etc….my offering today is poached egg on toast, although I could have tempted you with scrambled, fried or coddled.
I am also proudly showing off my FIRST “double yolker” egg, courtesy of Rita, the largest of my Coronation Chickens! The photos of the poached eggs on toast are my husband’s breakfast, too big for me and I am a scrambled egg kinda gal. I mean JUST look at the double yolker egg, it is two eggs in one shell! Anyway, here is my foolproof method for perfect poached eggs……on toast of course.
Perfect Poached Eggs
The best eggs for poaching are new eggs, not newly laid but 2 to 3 days old, as the white stays firm and does not spread in the water. PLEASE use free-range eggs, you will be rewarded with wonderful taste and golden yolks, as well as not supporting a cruel and unnecessary practice, namely battery farming ~ if you can call it farming, frankly, I think it is barbaric.
2 free-range fresh eggs
drop of malt vinegar
2 slices of bread, of your choice
butter to spread
Bring a non-stick pan of water to the boil, the water should just be deep enough to cover the eggs.
Assemble your bread, butter, salt, pepper, plates, cutlery and make a fresh pot of tea. Set the table and place the toast in the toaster, do NOT start to toast the bread yet!
When the water is boiling, add a drop of malt vinegar and then crack open the eggs and slide them carefully into the boiling water, allow them to come back to the boil and then turn the heat off and place a lid on top of the pan.
Toast your bread now! By the time the bread has toasted and has been buttered the poached eggs will be perfectly cooked ~ the whites firm and the yolks soft.
Carefully take the eggs out of the pan with a slotted spatula and place them on top for the buttered toast. Give a good grinding of black pepper over each egg and serve immediately.
That’s all for today, I am off to frolic in the hops and make some more hop wreaths, all my cupboards are crying out for them! See you later.