We don’t generally go out for dinner in the evening, but we regularly eat lunch out. There are a few reasons for this – the first is that there are several nice coffee/lunch/tea places around here that simply aren’t open in the evening. The second is that we rather like cooking and take quite a lot of care over our meals. We don’t take it in turns to cook but sometimes Tim does, sometimes I do and sometimes it’s a joint effort. I’d have to think quite hard which of these happens most often. A third reason is, of course, that it’s nice to have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and one of us would have to forego the pleasure because of driving home. Yet another is that eating out in the evening seems to be an occasion that requires more food than we really want to eat – one course is fine at lunchtime but it doesn’t quite do ‘an occasion’ justice, or so it seems to me. But today’s reason was slightly different, because the Aga had been turned off last night, preparing for its annual service today and it wasn’t even warm enough to heat up the rest of yesterday’s celery soup.
As I said, there are a number of good places to eat lunch – coffee shops plus food, restaurants and pubs – within a few miles, but we like to try out a new place when we hear about it: and I had. It’s not a new pub by any means, but the landlordship had changed not long ago and I’d heard good things from a few people who had tried it. And it was a pleasure. But our fish and chips and my cheesecake and LT’s ice cream filled us up for the rest of the day and neither of us really wanted dinner, even several hours later. Such lightweights we are, darlings. And I simply poached some new-laid eggs and served them on toast.
Over dinner, we discussed the cooking of simple egg dishes – that is, poached, boiled, scrambled, fried and as omelettes. We agreed that how they’re cooked dictates the minimum number of eggs involved. So a single boiled or poached egg makes a perfectly good breakfast or light lunch, but a single scrambled egg is a dismal mouthful; a mere sample. One fried egg is fine but it really needs something else with it – mushrooms, bacon, tomato, whatever you like – we’re being fairly moderate here, not aiming for the Full English. A boiled egg is allowed soldiers of course and poached and scrambled may have toast, but an omelette doesn’t need toast and a one-egg omelette is pretty well impossible to cook. I suggested that it could be done as a soufflé omelette – that is, separate the yolk from the white, whisk the white separately and then cook it in butter. You couldn’t do toast with it but a spoonful of jam or a grating of cheese would fill the bill. Otherwise, two or three eggs are absolutely necessary.
But in truth, the perfect breakfast, for me, is one newly-laid egg, poached and served on a small slice of buttered toast, with tea or coffee and the juice of a freshly-squeezed orange. It cannot be beaten and I don’t want to eat anything more all morning. It absolutely must be a fresh egg though, anything more than three days – which is pushing it – and it’s better cooked another way.