So I’m usually a reasonably ok cook. I go into the kitchen, a moderate amount of swearing happens and every single pot, pan and utensil somehow ends up in a filthy pile in the sink before finally food emerges at the other end (of the kitchen I mean, not the other end ….well I suppose that too but for once it’s not that kind of story).
It’s fair to say however, that the path to stomach based contentment has not always run smoothly for me. On one particularly fine occasion I became distracted, wandered off and actually managed to burn soup. The marks of my battle with squid risotto will remain forevermore on my kitchen walls (how was I to know that when you cut into those neatly prepared tubes, they shoot their tentacles out of the arse end like small, slimy, face eating rockets?)
Just for anyone still questioning their own culinary skills, here is the tragic tale of me versus poached eggs.
Now poached eggs are tricky little blighters. They pretend to be all basic with their “ooh, just drop me into hot water and I’ll be all oozy and delicious for you baby” come on’s but we all know that this is lies.
The water has to be heated to exactly the right kind of hot and bubbly. Ever tried to poach eggs in a Jacuzzi? Just don’t, really.
Then you need the right kind of acidy, vinegary something that has to be purchased from virgins by the light of the second full moon of the month. If I were a cynical type I might note that the latter is in somewhat greater supply round this neck of the woods than the former.
Finally you have to have an egg in the precise moment of poachy freshness which is neither so close to it’s birth date that it can still smell chicken poo, or three seconds later than that, when it has resigned itself to an unfulfilled life of mere frying or boiling and is now a little depressed and resentful. There is a whole untapped market for ovum therapy.
Anyway, once you have gathered your accoutrements, you need to crack the egg in one smooth movement, drop it from precisely 4.6cm above the highest bubble on the surface of the water and then stir frantically in order to create a tiny vortex, from inside of which the spirit of Delia Smith will emerge and speak the magic words that transform your dinner from a sodden, snotty pile of string to a perfect ivory sphere, complete with internal molten gold (yes, I know I’ve been watching far too much Masterchef).
Now on this fateful occasion I really thought I’d got it right, I’d prayed to the great goddess Nigella, sprinkled herbs and aromatics all about me (ok, knocked the spice rack over) and said the special incantation (fuckityerbastardbloodywellwork)
Suddenly there was a great cloud of smoke and a sense of unusual warmth about my hands. I gazed at them in wonder, convinced that at last I had found the wizardry which would propel me to gastronomic stardom among the poached egg connoissuer set and imagining the accolades that would be laid before me.
That’s when I realised that I’d got too close to the gas hob and set fire to my sleeves.