The Scotch Egg
Quite clearly I am back from my trip overseas, and have been severely neglecting my blog.
For anyone that watches 9am with David and Kim, you'd know I'm in the middle of some sort of fitness challenge with 9am's resident personal trainer Craig Harper. One of his instructions was not to eat crap food. Specifically, he said no booze and no processed food. I nodded and smiled and pretended I would do what he said. Then I went to Manchester in the UK and that all went out the window.
Speaking of out the window, this was the lovely view from my room at the Manchester Gardens Hotel, right on Manchester Piccadilly. Grass growing on rubble in the rain has long been the kind of view I dreamt of for an overseas trip. I couldn't find any other kind of garden that fitted in with the hotel's description of itself, so I am assuming these piles of weed-covered rubbish are the Manchester Gardens in question.
Manchester has a famous gay strip, on Canal Street, immortalised in the series Queer as Folk. (People often vandalise the Canal Street sign, removing the C from Canal and sometimes the S from street - hilarious, I know). I popped down to one or two pubs and met various locals, who all sounded like camp members of the Coronation Street cast. Five pints of Kronenberg later, I wandered home, via the Spar (a 7-11 that sells liquor).
It was in the Spar that I made a severe gastronomic error. The Scotch Egg.
Made properly, the scotch egg is a truly wonderous thing. Tasty sausage mince wrapped around a hard-boiled egg, then crumbed. (Oh, and deep fried...) My friend Jennifer once made them for a Melbourne Cup picnic and they were divine. (She put anchovies in the mince, it was delicious, and I hate anchovies - she got the recipe from The Two Fat Ladies, it's down at the bottom). Scotch Eggs are eaten cold, and very portable in their crumby exoskeleton, so perfect picnic food
The scotch egg you find at the shops is an altogether different item. Generally they're branded by the outlet that sells them. Tescos the supermarket has their own kind of scotch egg, which is palatable. The Spar where I bought mine, has their own kind of scotch egg as well, as you can see.
This is the most peculiar part of my decision to eat the Spar brand Scotch Egg. You won't find me going anywhere near the Grilla Dog at the Quix, but the Scotch Egg entranced me in a way no other 4am food has before. I have to confess, I do eat the Hot Pizza Roll. You know those "Aussie Hero" things at the sev-ev that you cook in the bag. Kind of a bread roll with alleged ham and pizza topping. The only thing you can ever identify in there is the capsicum, because they have red and green, and after you've nuked the roll, the capsicum is still relatively crunchy. Considering the rest of the roll is near enough to liquid, the consistency of the tiny capsicum chunks is surprising.
Here is a confession I never thought I would make. I once subsisted on Hot *insert ingredient here* Rolls for a month. An entire month. Hot Chicken Roll, Hot Pizza Roll, Hot Beef Roll (not an inuendo, mind, though it should be), and the microwave burgers. It was 1994 and I was living in St Kilda on the dole. My flatmate at the time, Narelle, was working for what was then Shell Select, at their head office in Spring Street. She came home with a box of frozen Hot Thingy Rolls and Microburgers. I put them in the freezer, and proceeded to live on them. Solely. We didn't have a microwave, so I would preheat the oven, wrap the roll or burger in foil, and chow down after 15-20 minutes of defrosting and reheating. After about a week of these chiken-a-like and beefish rolls and peculiar burgers (one of them was a veal burger with tangy sauce, as if you can get veal at a convenience store) I started to exhibit some ill effects. Most notable of them was the colour and consistency of my shit. It was yellow. Not peanut butter brown that you call yellow if you see it in the toilet bowl, no I mean actually yellow. Like the label on that Scotch Egg there. Runny yellow shit. Like my arse was a pimple and pus was shooting out of it.
This is why I was not surprised when the grey meat and too-yellow yolk of the Spar Scotch Egg came screaming out of me the next morning, like that creature from Alien. It was helped along by the five pints of Kronenburg, a dodgy Gregg's Cheese and Onion Pie (more on that later) and a Cadbury Creme Egg bar. Oh yeah, in the UK you can get Creme Egg all year 'round, and it's in a bar! Like a Caramello bar, but Creme Eggy. They know how to eat over there, let me tell you...
Until next time, here is the recipe for proper scotch eggs. Try not to think of my exploding arse full of yellow shit when you eat them, or you won't enjoy it.
Two Fat Ladies' Scotch Eggs
25 min 10 min prep
10 large eggs
200 grams cooked ham
6 anchovy fillets
100 grams fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter or bacon fat
1. beat 2 of the eggs in a shallow bowl.
2. put other 8 eggs into saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil simmering for 5 minutes.
3. plunge into cold water and peel, this method will produce a slightly softer egg yolk but still hard boiled.
4. Finely chop ham and anchovies in processor.
5. combine this with the breadcrumbs, mixed spice some freshly ground black pepper and most of the beaten egg.
6. brush each boiled egg with the remaining beaten egg.
7. mould the ham mix aroung the eggs with your hands.
8. fry in oil and butter on a medium heat until brown all over.