Many questions roll around the washing bowl upstairs. What is the meaning of life? Is there a god? How infinite is the universe? How was the internet created?
Yet a question I am frequently asked, particularly by friends who want to impress their mates or girlfriends, is- how to make a scotch egg?
Presenting a softly boiled egg, surrounded by sausage meat, appears one of the mysteries of the culinary universe. But it is really very easy.
1. Put on your shoes and go to Waitrose and buy a dozen eggs, 500g good sausage meat, fresh sage, mustard powder, dried breadcrumbs and a bottle of claret.
2. Make sure the eggs are at room temperature.
3. Submerge 8 eggs into salted boiling water, making sure there is a bowl of iced water near at hand
4. Boil for 6 minutes, which allows enough time to pour a glass of wine and take the first couple of swigs
5. When the buzzer goes, quickly pop the eggs into the iced water. Once sufficiently cooled and able to handle, gently peel away the skin without breaking the egg.
6. In a sturdy bowl mix together 500g of good sausage meat with finely diced sage and mustard powder. Season pepper and salt.
7. Divide the mixture into 60g portions and carefully wrap round the eggs, hopefully creating an egg shape.
8. Take three bowls and one large plate. Respectively fill the bowls with flour, beaten egg and milk, and fine toasted breadcrumbs. Leave the plate empty.
9. Roll all the eggs in flour, then dunk them one by one into the beaten eggs and finally coat in the breadcrumbs. Put each on the plate.
10. If you have a deep fryer set it to 180 and drop it in. There is an alternative for those living beyond the borders of Scotland and not blessed with such a machine. Fill a wok with a bottle of sunflower or rapeseed oil. Check the temperature has reached 180c either with a temperature probe or by dropping a bread crumb into the oil – if it sizzles and rises to the surface, then it is hot enough.
11. Pop the eggs in the oil and fry until golden brown. Remove carefully from the oil using a slotted spoon and put onto kitchen towel. Put your fat in a careful place to cool
12. Slice each egg, using a serrated knife and flash under the grill for a few seconds, being careful not to ruin the unctuous yolk.
Serve with an apple chutney or curry mayonnaise.
Find some friends, sit down with the rapidly emptying bot, and enjoy.