Wooo woo woo wooo wee woooo… that’s my attempt at the famous series’ theme song, and if you start humming it out loud to yourself right now it will totally set the scene for these evil eggs that would have Scully and Mulder shining a torch up every chicken’s bottom for miles. I imagine that this is what Helena Bonham Carter makes Tim Burton for breakfast every day. Nothing says Halloween quite like a boiled egg covered in shadowy veinous spiderwebs… and out of it would hatch chicken-sized spiders with big knuckly hairy legs that would climb onto your face while you’re sleeping and they would suffocate you and wrap you up in sticky websy things….. *shivers theatrically*. Trust me on this one – do not ever google the words “spider chicken”.
These are a close copy of Martha Stewart’s recipe (thanks Gill for spotting it!) and also similar in principle to the Asian tea-eggs I once had the opportunity to try. In fact, I meant to pop an Earl Grey teabag into the solution to see what the effect would be on the flavour but of course I’ve only just remembered this now and it’ s far too late and I’m far too full to do anything about it. There are only so many eggs one can fit into ones insides (unless you are Cool Hand Luke). I would have used blueberries had they been handy, but black food colouring works just fine if you are not Martha/Nigella/Delia and don’t habitually keep large supplies of frozen everything. Next time I would like to try red for a “bloodshot eyeball” effect.
For eerie eggs:
Fresh chicken eggs – I made two but whatever can be put into a pot in a single layer is fine
A few drops of black gel food colouring
Enough water to just cover the eggs
Firstly, if you buy organic free-range eggs they might need a light cleaning. Then, put them in a pot and add just enough ambient-temperature/tap water to cover and add the black food colouring. Bring to the boil (if you are planning to do, say, devilled eggs, or you are a bit OCD, stir the pot every once in a while to keep the eggs moving). Boil for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Remove the eggs from the hot water using a slotted spoon and place on a folded tea towel. Don’t forget, these have just boiled for 10 minutes and eggs have this amazing ability to retain heat so it would be exceptionally dumb to try to remove them from the pot with your hands. It hurts. A lot.
Using the back of a tablespoon, give the egg a nice tap on one side – this will from a perfect webby network of cracks. I turned the egg over and repeated the abuse on the other side but depending on presentation this isn’t really needed. Pour the inky cooking liquid into a small, deep bowl and immerse the eggs in the water. Once it’s cooled down a bit, place the bowl in the fridge until the eggs are completely cool.
I don’t know if Martha’s blueberry method does the same thing, but the black food colouring looked greenish in the water and turned the eggshells magenta – I loved it. Curiouser and curiouser.
Peel the eggs; serve them up with salt and pepper to your unsuspecting victims as if they are perfectly normal, and watch them act out the definition of “trepidation” as they poke at the egg to see what it’s reaction will be…
PS: I recommend that as someone takes a first tentative bite, touch something spidery-feeling to the back of their neck (like those school-project pipe-cleaner). Have someone else with a camera ready to catch a picture of the reaction, and send the photo to me so I can have a cackle.