Eggs have been with us since the beginning of time, with every single culture, continent of people using them in all different types of recipes, from being boiled, fried, stuffed or made into the most delicious desserts.
Many of us also consume eggs in the morning, and are literally found on just about every single breakfast menu in the world.
The Ancient Romans ate breakfast, and if available, included eggs. When the Romans were pushed out of Europe, breakfast left with them, and throughout the Middle Ages, Europeans ate two large meals (in contrast to the Roman three). The Romans had dinner around nine a.m., making a wake-up meal superfluous.
Physicians and religious leaders of the time suggested that it would be lusty and gluttonous to eat before dinner, and so breakfast was a meal reserved for children, the elderly and manual labourers.
In time, however, these religious laws relaxed. By the late 1500s, Queen Elizabeth was known to eat breakfast, and then soon many of the population began to ignore the church rulings.
In the 15th and 16th centuries began a boom of egg recipes, as it was available to those who couldn’t afford the cost of meat and who had chickens on their small land mass. The church then publicly announced that although meat could not be eaten, eggs were allowed on the menu during lent.
Eggs were on the menu big time during the Industrial Revolution when breakfast really came into its own as a celebrated meal. It was during this time that electricity was introduced into homes and there were many folk now working in factories who needed lots of energy due to their job being very physical.
So, next time you sit down at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa, or in your very own kitchen, remember this much loved protein meal has come a long way. Head culinary artist Theo Mannie shares a couple of his favourite eggie breakfast recipes for you to enjoy on the home front.
· 6 egg yolks
· 8 whole eggs
· 100ml vinegar
· 250g butter
· Pinch of salt
· 4 English muffins or toast
· 12 cooked bacon rashes
· 200g cooked sliced mushrooms
· Rocket for garnish
Method for Hollandaise sauce:
· Melt the butter gently over low heat. Once the butter has melted completely, cool down in the fridge until the milk has separated from the oil.
· In the meantime, separate the eggs and keep the egg yolks. Whisk the egg yolks together in a heatproof bowl, with a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of water and a teaspoon of vinegar until the eggs become light and airy.
· Place over ban marie (double boiler) with the water just under boiling point and not touching the bowl of egg yolks.
· Pour in the vinegar and whisk continuously until the eggs become slightly thickened in texture.
· Now slowly add the oil from the separated butter, a little at a time, whilst whisking. Continue this process, until the eggs have cooked out and it has become more of a custard consistency.
Method for Poached eggs:
· Using the same water for your bain marie. Add the remaining vinegar and bring to a gentle boil.
· Crack the eggs into a ramekin or small tea cup and gently submerge them into the water.
· Leave to cook until the eggs start to float and reach the hardness of your liking.
· Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen towel so the excess water can drain away.
· To plate – cut the muffin half sideways and lightly toast them. Layer the bacon and mushrooms over the muffin.
· Gently place the poached eggs on top, drizzle the hollandaise sauce over the eggs, and garnish with the fresh rocket.
· This serves 4
CINNAMON FRENCH TOAST WITH CONFIT EGG YOLK
· 12 whole eggs
· 8 slices bread
· 1tbsp ground cinnamon
· 100g butter
· 100ml olive oil
· 8 egg yolks
· 1tbsp fresh thyme
· 2 cloves of garlic
Method Confit Egg Yolk:
· Place the oil, garlic and thyme in a sauce pan and heat up gently on the lowest heat possible.
· Gently place the egg yolks and cook for about 3 minutes or until they just begin to change colour.
· Transfer onto some kitchen paper so that the excess oil can drip off.
Method for French Toast:
· Beat together the whole eggs, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl.
· Dip the bread until it has been covered completely by the eggs.
· In the meantime melt the butter in a large non-stick pan, place the egg coated bread into the pan and fry on medium heat until the toast is cooked on both sides.
· Transfer the toast to the oven and bake at 180°C for about 3 to 5 minutes unless you don’t mind runny eggs.
· To plate, place the warm toast on a plate with the poached yolk gently sitting on top.
· This serves 4
CHORIZO AND SMOKED SALMON FRITTATA
· 8 eggs
· 200ml cream
· 50g fennel, finely diced
· Pinch salt
· Pinch pepper
· 80g smoked salmon
· 80g chorizo, sliced
· In a bowl, mix together the eggs, cream, fennel, salt and pepper until completely combined.
· Lightly grease a thin tray or an omelette pan with butter or spray on oil.
· Pour the egg mixture into the pan or tray.
· Sprinkle the salmon and chorizo and bake in an oven pre heated to 180°C and bake until the centre is cooked all the way.
· Use a knife or a wooden skewer to check, just as you would a cake.
· Remove from the tray or pan and enjoy while hot.
· This serves 4