I love my Nan, I miss my Nan, and she was the greatest.
I have a lot of food memories shared with Nan and they all are thoroughly saturated with her kindness and gentleness. So saturated that if I wring them out, even a little, joyful tears well in my eyes, enough to fill an ocean if I let them.
My Nan was an incredible family cook; the wife of a butcher and four hungry children, there was always lots of food and generosity wherever she was.
My Dad has told me stories about her baking six large apple pies ready Saturday at 4 pm, and the three older boys would devour them by the Sunday evening.
She had a big chest freezer when I was a kid that her canaries sat on top of; you had to move the cage to get in. The contents included the old 1L Blue Ribbon vanilla ice-cream container, which was a rare treat from my usual sugar-free ice-confection; my clever Mum could recognise very early on I had an issue with sugar. It was always stocked, full of par-cooked meals ready to heat up for family and friends visiting. I often got to help with whatever she was batch cooking, which I adored.
But some of my most favourite moments with Nan were the more intimate ones, the ones between just her and I. I cherish those moments especially. Soft-boiled eggs with toast soldiers were often on the menu when I would sleep over. I remember the muted apple green ceramic plates with deep-ridged edging, the tiny teaspoons a perfect fit for my tiny mouth – I still take great joy using her cutlery today. How did she make toast cut into long rectangles seem so magical, fun and just for me? Their vague soldier-like appearance conjured up imagery of The Queen’s Guard with their big fluffy hats. I guess they almost created a rectangular silhouette if you squinted your eyes. A fitting image seeing as I always thought my Nan and the Queen shared similarities in appearance as well as poise and grace.
I never had a problem with eating, and I wasn’t particularly fussy so the entertainment provided wasn’t to encourage me to ‘eat my greens’ so to speak. It was pure joyful interaction, for fun, with love.
I don’t have it once a week these days, but I cannot have soft-boiled eggs in cute little cups and toast, without cutting it into soldiers and enjoy a good old dip.
There are lots of methods for boiling eggs just the way you like them. My preference is for soft boiled and I choose the method, which has the least variables, therefore most consistent result. I don’t say at room temperature for no reason, this is one of the variables you regain control of because each fridge and location they’re kept can be different.
If you’re a fridge-egg-keeper, take them out earlier than you need them. I’d recommend where possible getting your eggs from friends’ chickens or farmer’s markets where you know they’re pastured and free to open range – the fresher the better.
Fresh eggs are easier to peel. Plunging the room temp eggs into boiling water then dropping them in cold and bringing them to the boil also helps shock the internals away from the membrane and shell, making them again, easier to peel. Check it out below: