OK, so I cheated. I missed a few days of the August Break photos. But, in my defence I’ve not left the flat in a week so I was saving you from a lot of mundane photos of my livingroom.
This morning’s photo is one I took with pride – my eggs and soldiers. It’s a breakfast classic that can quickly turn into a shit start to the day if you are remiss. As with most things in life, it’s all about the timing.
Eggs and Soldiers is one of the most comforting breakfasts on the planet and also a positive minefield. Lets start with the eggs. If they aren’t boiled for long enough, the egg whites are still all snotty and it’s difficult to tell the difference between them and the actual yolk. This disappointment is topped off with that frustrating moment when the entire congealed mess slips off your disapproving soldier and onto the floor.
Or worse, the eggs have been left 16 seconds too long, thereby surpassing soft-boiled status and entering totally-boiled-bastard-territory. That dip-resistant rubber yolk will break the back of any toasty soldier.
And yes, we’ve all done it – spooning the yolk out like it’s some kind of cheesey mousse and attempting to spread it on top of the dormant soldier. It may seem like adequate compensation, but somewhere in the darkest depths of your mind, you know you’re missing the triumphant Dipping moment. And it hurts.
And then there’s the soldiers…
If you don’t toast the bread for long enough, you’ve got dejected, sorrowful soldiers. Toast it too long and the taste of the burnt bits overpower the yolk and you’re left with a crispy snap rather than a satisfying crunch. And if you’ve succeeded in toasting it for just long enough, you are still at risk of dithering too long and having cold soldiers. The final mistake of an amateur is cutting the toast too thin (malnourished soldiers) or into strange squares that don’t fit inside the shell.
This morning I had the perfect eggs and soldiers. It truly was a triumphant start to my day and in my “winning” mode, I thought I’d share the process with you.
The water in the pan was boiling as I placed the room-temperature eggs inside. I left them for precisely 4 minutes and in the meantime put the toast in the toaster for the same amount of time. To make sure I was ready for The Moment, I had butter, a knife, a teaspoon and salt and pepper out waiting.
After exactly 4 minutes the bread popped out in all it’s toasted glory. I fished the eggs out of the pan with a big spoon, placed them gently inside cute polka dot and stripey egg cups (presentation is key) and buttered the toast quickly before carefully – carefully – slicing it into nice thick strips.
A good, hard smack to the head of each egg with my trusty teaspoon followed by a skillful throat-cut revealed liquid yolks the colour of the sun enclosed in a firm white surround. A twist of salt and pepper and it was time for the final test. And ohh yes…the toast was still crunchy after a long dip in the sunshine. Perfection.
Today is going to be a good day.