So, having grown up in Portugal but having been blessed with a childhood abundant with Hollywood season specials (sue me, I was 11), I have always wondered about eggnog. The simple thought of drinking whiskey and egg all in one has always sort of made me throw up a little, quite frankly. That was until – yes, there’s an until. A couple of jingle bells seasons ago, my boyfriend’s uncle was in the neighbourhood – which was in Milan back then – and brought us a box full of booze (don’t ask). In it there was a bottle of egg liquor, “vov” (the name comes from the Paduan term “vovi” which means “eggs”) or “bombardino”, like Italians tend to refer to it. Anyway, the thing was gross. We had to taste it of course but that dense – almost solid – super sweet substance took too long to finally crawl down into our throats – revolting. So we shoved it in the fridge and forgot about it for a while. And then came that (in)famous poker night in our flat and we were all out of everything. Except Bombardino. Yep, mr. Bombardino was still sitting in our fridge. So some brave friend decided he wanted a go, “sure, at your own risk”. And he did. And he loved it. Well, he didn’t “love” it but he didn’t throw up either so we thought it deserved another go. Plus, what’s poker without a little booze? So we went for it. And, have to admit it, not bad at all. Turns out that you’re supposed to have it cold, a detail we had completely overlooked the first time round, so it really is much better drinkable when it’s sat in the fridge for a good while. That bottle – which resembled the one below – eventually did finish and I have been tempted to actually buy one after that.

I’m pretty sure there was no one dry humping an egg on the label on our bright yellow bottle, but it definitely looked something like this.

Well, that was a big detour to speak about eggnog. Turns out vov/bombardino is pretty similar to eggnog. The Italian versions are originally made with Marsala, but have also been prepared with whiskey or brandy instead. Eggnog is made with bourbon, but some say rum. Both have egg yolks, loads of sugar and either milk or whipped cream.

I have never made either but thought I’d look up an eggnog recipe to close off this festive season and post it here to try and build up the courage to actually make it myself. Probably not happening anytime soon, but hey, if you do – please let me know how it goes. There are hundreds of recipes out there but this one seemed quite simple (simpler than the supposedly simple ones) and I enjoyed the post about it. Plus, it’s supposed to be the most famous eggnog of all. How could I argue with that?

•    2 cups bourbon
•    1-1/8 cups sugar
•     6 egg yolks, beaten
•     4 cups whipping cream

1. Blend bourbon and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. Let sit overnight if you can wait. If not, don’t worry.
3. Beat egg yolks until they approach viscous yellow bliss.
4. Add to bourbon mixture. Mix well.
5. Cover and let sit in refrigerator at least 2 hours.
6. Whip cream and add to bourbon mixture. Nog starts off very creamy and becomes soupy the longer it survives.

Makes 8 to 10 cups and is apparently good with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.

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My very own not-so-secret tortilla recipe

So, despite my tweeting efforts (if putting the one tweet out two weeks ago actually counts as “efforts”), I didn’t get any secret tortilla recipes unveiled. I don’t mean any decent secret tortilla recipes, I actually mean I didn’t get any recipe at all. Not one. Reasons for that might span from “sorry man, I don’t even know how to fry an egg” to  “why on Earth would I tweet you my egg secrets, you twat?”. I decided not to over think it and make something up myself. That, and I didn’t manage to go grocery shopping today, so hardly had anything at home other from eggs, potatoes and frozen bread. So, no recipe in hand – I really didn’t feel like trusting the internetz on this one – I started the magic. Big intro over, here goes my real simple tortilla recipe, that may or may not offend some legendary family secrets no one shared with moi.

  • 1 large potato
  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 6 M eggs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. I first peeled and cut the potato into about 3mm slices. Not too thin, not too thick.
  2. Then I steamed them (I know, I know, my conscience gets the best of me sometimes), chopped up the onion and let it fry in the olive oil while I cracked and beat the eggs. Don’t over beat them – leave a little white showing.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste (could have added parsley too, I love parsley in eggs).
  4. By now the onions were almost done, and the potatoes too. I added the potatoes to the onions and let them sauté a little.
  5. Shoved the whole thing into the egg bowl (yeah, should have mentioned that before: don’t use a tiny bowl) and mixed it evenly.
  6. Put the pan back on the stove (it should still be oily, no need to add more) and poured everything in. I let it cook in low-medium heat for a while, checking that it didn’t stick with a spatula. It mostly cooks on one side (I think I’ve heard before that you shouldn’t have to flip an authentic tortilla – but I might be making it up).
  7. My tortilla however, is all but authentic so I shamelessly turned it with a plate before it was fully cooked – scared it would burn to be honest. I then let it finish cooking, shouldn’t stick at all, and voilá! Turn it or slide it back onto the plate and: done.

Meanwhile, I heated up that frozen bread, since there wasn’t enough salad for the two of us, remembered I was going to blog about this, snapped a quick mediocre photo with my phone, and off to the couch where we ate, while watching some silly TV series on the laptop.

Regular Tuesday evening in. And tasty one too.


Should eggs be at room temp when baking?

Second myth on my Mum’s list:

Eggs should be at room temperature when baking a cake, so don’t use them directly from the fridge. Take them out at least an hour ahead.

And I am happy to inform you that she is right, again: eggs should be at room temperature when baking.

Why? It basically has to do with stress. The poor guys get stressed out in the fridge, and need a little “chilling down” (ha) before getting whipped into shape (double ha). Room temperature eggs will break up more easily when whisked into a batter. Cold eggs can actually make your batter firm up – so make that effort to wait at least 30min (to an hour) before using your cold eggs for a cake.

But, there are a couple of “buts”!

  • Avoid leaving your eggs on the counter-top for hours… Eggs deteriorate more in one day at room temperature than one week in the fridge!
  • If your recipe requires you separate the whites from the yolk, do so when the eggs are cold – it is easier! How annoying is it to try and catch that bit of yolk that accidentally fell on the whites?…

I also learned some interesting tricks when researching this myth true fact:

  • Once cracked, eggs will keep in the fridge for about two days if properly sealed. Whites even last up to 7-10 days in the fridge, and a month if frozen! Joy of Baking suggests you freeze them in individual plastic ice cube trays and then transfer the cubes into a plastic freezer bag. To defrost them, just put them in the fridge overnight. Careful what you use them for though: after freezing, the whites can get watery and shouldn’t be used in recipes where they are the sole leavening agent.
  • If you’re in a terrible hurry and don’t have 30-60min to warm your eggs, just place them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15min, ta-dah: you have room temperature eggs!
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Fondant au Chocolat

“This cake is dark and dense. The very definition of a fondant.”

When I was looking for a chocolate cake recipe about three weeks ago, I knew I’d hit jackpot when I read Like a Strawberry Milk‘s words. (Plus, if you check out her pictures, especially the first time she posted about this cake – yes, it’s so good she’s written twice about it -, you just know it’s the one.)

Dark, dense, fondant = exactly what I was craving.

You’re probably thinking, “but isn’t this supposed to be a blog about eggs?”

Well, yes. And this is a cake which is like 90% egg.

Not really, but 8 eggs is a lot. That’s the main secret behind a truly dense chocolatey-chocolate cake though. And, although it might not be the healthiest recipe in the world doing the honors of cutting the ribbon of the recipe section in this blog, it’s one I really just had to share.

Besides, who said this blog would only have healthy recipes? That’s actually very unlikely.

Anyway, this isn’t a cake to be eaten every day, it’s a special cake, for that extra special chocolate craving. I’ve baked it only once, and completely wrong (didn’t have the proper springform pan) but still, it was absolutely heavenly.

Here goes the exact recipe I followed from Fanny’s (truly inspiring!) blog:

Fondant au Chocolat (for one 24 to 28cm springform pan)

  • 200g dark chocolate
240g butter
8 eggs
  • 400gsugar
130g flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, and generously butter a springform pan.
  2. In a bowl, melt the chocolate and butter.
  3. In a heatproof bowl, mix the eggs and sugar – using a whisk – and place over medium heat (or on a water bath). Keep on mixing until not cold anymore. It shouldn’t be hot either.
  4. Pour the chocolate over the egg mixture, and homogenise.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over and using a rubber spatula, gently incoporate it until just smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes (if you’re using a smaller pan) until just set.

Easy peasy.

A piece of advice: if you live alone, or as a couple, think about taking a few slices to work, or inviting someone over when you bake this cake. It’s seriously addictive and way too heavy. Eight eggs people, eight.

Bon appétit!

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Bs and Co.

This is a post about B vitamins present in eggs (and an essential nutrient, that isn’t a vitamin, but likes to hang out with our Bs). I’ll try to keep it quite simple and will not go into detail about all the properties of these vitamins. The idea is that you get a basic understanding of what these Bs and Co. do for you. If you’d like to get more extensive information, as well as details about vitamin deficiencies, diseases associated with them and so on, please refer to the resources listed throughout the post. Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were sourced from this website and refer to medium sized eggs.

In the spirit of full disclosure: I don’t eat meat nor fish (one of the reasons why I dig eggs so much), and I don’t like labels. I will, therefore, point out some important information for *vegetarians*, since eggs are an important source of some nutrients that are, otherwise, more easily found in animal products.

Vitamin B12 (1.3µg = 52% RDA)

Vitamin B12 – aka Cobalamin – has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. It is normally involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body!

Since B12 is found in animal products, vegetarians are a risk group for B12 deficiency (a type of anemia). Other from eggs, however, B12 can also be found in swiss cheese and whole cow’s milk.

More about B12 here and here.

Vitamin B2 riboflavin (0.24mg = 17% RDA)

Vitamin B2 – aka Riboflavin -, as all B vitamins, helps the body convert carbs into glucose, which is burned to produce energy. It is important for healthy skin, eyes, liver and a functioning nervous system. Riboflavin is also an antioxidant fighting free radicals (which damage cells and DNA, as well as contributing to aging).

More about B2 here and here.

Choline (145mg = 34% RDA for women, 26% for men)

Choline is an essential nutrient that hangs out with B-complex vitamins, such as our buddies B12 and B2. Choline serves various functions in our bodies – in the structure of cell membranes, protecting our livers from accumulating fat, and more. Vegetarians are at risk for choline deficiency, so it’s important to know that eggs (as well as tofu, milk, spinach, cauliflowers, quinoa and kidney beans) are a great source of choline. In general, people who do not eat many whole eggs may have to pay close attention to get enough choline in their diets. The choline demand in an adult is actually likely to be smaller than for an infant, as it is necessary to develop organs in its growing body (especially the brain). That’s why breast milk contains a huge amount of choline, and why it’s essential that pregnant women get enough choline.

More about Choline here, here and here.

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Does salt prevent eggs from cracking?

The first potential myth I decided to look up was:
Always salt cold water before boiling an egg – it prevents the shell from cracking.

Bare in mind that I am not going to libraries or talking to specialists – I’m sitting on my couch and Googling this stuff, much like you can. Still, I will try to get as “scientific” as possible and will provide you with my references.

I must say, I was quite impressed with the amount of popular opinions, posts and articles I found by just typing in: boiling eggs salt water. Apparently, my Mum isn’t the only one defending this whole salt theory. Many egg opinionators defend such a thesis, adding that it is easier to peel eggs that have been cooked in salted water. However, most of my sources did not provide a reasonable – scientific? – justification for this.

That’s until I ran into this blog. I have to confess I haven’t read all the guy has to say about eggs yet, but he sure seems to know plenty about them. Or, at least, it would seem he has researched the subject more than most.

In short, here’s what Khymos says:

  1. Eggs crack because the air trapped inside them expands during the heating process.
  2. Eggs’ pores are teeny, so the expanding air can’t escape fast enough through them.
  3. This is particularly true for eggs that aren’t very fresh (as the pores become gradually clogged upon storage).
  4. There are two ways to avoid the cracking of the eggs: pierce the eggs before boiling them or add salt (or vinegar) to the water!

The reason for this is: adding salt to the water will help the egg white coagulate faster and plug any crack formed.

Yay! Not a myth – Mum was right!! Give it up, D.

(I’m not spending 31 euros on this, but if you really want to, there’s a 1973 issue of the British Poultry Science entirely dedicated to the matter.)

One down, two to go.

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Mum says it’s true.

Hi reader – thanks for joining my nutty blog about eggs. If you want to know how I came up with this idea, it’s fully documented in the About section.

Now: for the first post!

My Mum has always had 3 rules about cooking eggs which I follow and accept as true wisdom. I’m not exactly sure why, but my boyfriend D. keeps on doubting the scientific grounds on which these rules lay. I’ve always chosen to stick with what Ma’ says and never actually ran a background check on her egg creed. So, whenever my actions reflect one of her teachings, I defend myself saying, “It’s true, my Mum told me so.” But, since I will be starting a blog about eggs, I should – or inevitably will – find out the if it’s all bollocks or not.

At least for one more day though, I will indulge in the belief that it’s all true, scientific, carved in stone. Tomorrow I’ll find out if it’s not.

Here goes:

1. Always salt cold water before boiling an egg – it prevents the shell from cracking.

2. Eggs should be at room temperature when baking a cake, so don’t use them directly from the fridge. Take them out at least an hour ahead.

3. When washing dishes that have been used for raw or runny eggs, use cold water – warm water will cook the remaining egg and make it harder to wash off. (Same applies to milk, by the way.)

I can’t remember any other particular rule, but I do think there was something about a weekly egg allowance for an optimal diet. D. defends that theory too (he puts it at 3-4 a week) but I believe I’ve read articles stating otherwise. Anyway, I will also get to the bottom of that one, it’s particularly important if I’m going to start cooking eggs like there’s no tomorrow.

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