Tomorrow I get to tick off one of the more ambitious objectives on my Bucket List – I’m going to the Kruger National Park for the first time EVER!! Can you feel my excitement emanating from your computer monitor? Do a Happy Dance for me already!! (to my new favourite Happy Dance song – Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke/Pharrell).
While I am wildly (pun!) ecstatically ecstatic, this trip also brings to mind the tragic story of our rhinos. The beautiful big grey unicorn of the Big Five is under threat from barbaric, black-hearted, greedy poachers who savagely butcher them for their horns. Really, people? Rhino Horn in this day and age? It’s the cheesy joke in a Leon Schuster slapstick comedy (remember Lhino Horn?) for crying out loud! I couldn’t fit all the adjectives I would like to have used for the poachers, so please refer to this site and pick your favourite ones. The stats are horrific; the last victim was recorded just over 5 hours ago, contributing to a total of 250 dead, poached rhinos in South Africa in 2013.
I hope that you will all visit Saving Private Rhino and STOP RHINO POACHING to offer your support for their worthy cause – how sad that the odds of me seeing a rhino on my trip into the bush are slim to none.
So you may be wondering what my rhino rant has got to do with food?
Poached eggs *high-school home-ec exam nerves return*.
I first came across this method in a teeny tiny article in a foodie magazine, accompanied by a picture of an oddly pleated-looking egg. I gave it the requisite odd look then forgot all about it until I discovered brunch at Vovo Telo (try the Pickering), and became addicted to the perfect medium-hard poached egg (I just can’t do runny – I’ve tried. I know that Adam Sandler made it look amazing in Spanglish but incandescent yellow snot just doesn’t do it for me).
Our Home Economics teacher tried to teach us how to poach the perfect egg, by using only the freshest possible eggs, adding a drop of vinegar to the water and creating a “whirpool” by vigorously stirring the water with a large spoon.
Um. Firstly – our eggs come with a best-before date only, so there’s no way of telling when it emerged from the hen’s bum. Secondly, that other stuff never worked for me. It only ever resulted in a lonely rubbery yolk in a pot of scuzzy poaching water full of egg white filaments. It’s really stressful – you are all tense and bunched up with nerves, only to face crashing disappointment.
I guess boiled eggs could have sufficed, but there’s something special about the texture of a poached egg. They are what Nigella would refer to as Velvety, rather than possessing that firm bouncy consistency of a boiled egg. They also don’t have that inherent boiled-egg farty vibe going on, which is always a plus.
For each poached egg:
One square of cling film (I use the perforated type. The pink perforated type).
A tiny drop of vegetable oil
An egg – preferably at room temperature
This couldn’t be easier, seriously. Bring at least 10cm of water to the boil in a small saucepan. While you are waiting for this to happen, lay a square of cling film out on the counter and brush it ever so lightly with the oil.
Carefully place the cling film into a ramekin, oil side up. Crack the egg into the cling film “cup” without breaking the yolk and without landing any bits of shell in it. Crunchy eggs are never ok.
Gather the sides of the cling film up and twist to close, ensuring that there are no gaps for the egg to run out of – I twist then knot mine. When the water is boiling, toss the alien-looking egg parcels into the water and start timing – 4 minutes for snotty yolks, and 8-10 minutes for medium-hard yolks like in the photos. Remove from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and use a kitchen scissor to cut the knotted part of the plastic right off; slide the eggs out onto a warmed plate.
Serve in whichever way you like best – poached eggs and rye toast are my favourite Saturday morning breakfast; Rachel Khoo does poached eggs with a red wine sauce as a starter, which I can’t wait to try out. I like to sprinkle salt and pepper all around the plate, so as you slice the egg you can mop up some seasoning.
Sorry if this post is a bit of a downer, but it’s a very real situation needing all of our support. Go check out Blurred Lines again to get you all cheered up…