IF the fox hadn’t eaten the chickens I wouldn’t have pickled a jar of eggs. And I wouldn’t be writing this. I’d popped in the Down To Earth wholefood shop on Sharrowvale Road to offload some egg boxes and fill a couple up with their size ones from a farm at Whirlow. There weren’t any.
“Fox has got the hens again. There won’t be any more for about a month,” said boss John Leeson. But he did have some size threes, just the right size for pickling. I hadn’t done that for a bit. I bought a dozen and said: “All I need now is a packet of crisps.” He looked blank.
“You’re in a pub. You’ve got a pint of beer and feel peckish so you buy a packet of crisps and a pickled egg, put the egg in the packet and eat both together. Yummy,” I told him. He still looked blank. He’d never done it. Nor had other people I mentioned it to.
Now you can buy jars of pickled eggs but are they are very easy and cheap to make. And it means you don’t have to go to a pub to enjoy them.
Very often I fire off a blog, just because something has captured my imagination, and don’t expect many people to read it. Sadly, I am very often proved right. But the one here on eating a pickled egg in a packet of crisps which I dashed off in June 2016 has, after a slow start, notched up over 800 hits and seems to gaining momentum. Something must be up.
So just in case you feel like registering the textures of egg and crisp and those little soft bits where the vinegar has soggeyed up the crisps, here’s how to do it. For American readers, crisps here are what you call potato chips.
I sterilised a big Kilner jar and boiled up the eggs. Here’s a tip: crack them all over and shell with the handle of a teaspoon, one with a rounded end and, if curved, have it pointing upwards so it doesn’t dig into the white.
You can buy a pickling vinegar but I like to make something unique. You don’t even have to boil the pickling spices first. You can use ordinary brown malt vinegar but that makes things a bit murky. I used white distilled vinegar and popped the spices in: some peppercorns, black and pink, a couple of blades of mace and two fresh bay leaves. I would have added some allspice berries but they’d gone AWOL. As the eggs take a couple of weeks before they are ready there is plenty of time for the spices to infuse.
Two weeks later they had and I ate the first one with a packet of crisps. Just as I remembered.
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