Eggs are amongst the first things I learnt how to cook. Boiling eggs is a good place to start – there’s no oil and no stirring, just a pot of water and an egg. Learning how to time an egg for soft/hard-boiling is another matter, and something which we try to perfect as we get more adventurous/picky with our food.
My mother recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong and presented us with an electric thermos kettle at Monsieur Poisson’s request. As the name suggests, it is an electrical device which is a hybrid of a thermos and a kettle. It boils the water for you and keeps it warm. Our poor stainless steel kettle is now wallowing in self-inadequacy in the corner of our kitchen, unsure of what to do with itself in the face of such competition. These hybrid devices have been available throughout Asia for many years where it is common practice to drink warm/hot water in any type of weather. What I didn’t know was that it can keep the water warm at a selection of temperatures. Constant temperatures! You probably know where I’m heading with this now.
So upon waking one fine Saturday morning, and with things such as eggs, ham and bread in our fridge to be used, it struck me that there is a 60°C setting on our new thermos kettle. The device manual suggests that 60°C is best for making up babies’ formula, whilst 80°C is best for green tea. There has been much discussion about the merits of cooking proteins sous-vide at lower temperatures, and especially so with eggs. And whilst I am able to boil, fry and scramble eggs without too much difficulty, poaching eggs is one of the cooking skills which remains elusive to me. There have been a number of attempts over the years, each resulting in some degree of failure.
Having tried slow-cooked eggs at places such as Koi, I was excited at replicating the smoother-than-tofu silken texture of the eggwhite enveloped around a perfectly runny yolk which bursts with a soft prod. The prospect of perhaps using the thermos kettle to poach eggs would be a convenient alternative to using a cooking thermometer (which, in any case, I do not own) and having to regularly check on the water level as well as temperature during the cooking process. Granted, the thermos kettle does not have a gauge of any sort to indicate an exact water temperature within, but I reasoned it would be good enough for my purposes. So in went four eggs for an hour – at which point is great to go and take a bath/read a book/do absolutely nothing – and then…
Success! *happy dance*
Perfect sprinkled with some salt and pepper, there is a myriad of ways you could serve the eggs apart from on toast. The possibilities to me are now mind-boggling and I bet Panasonic never intended for its thermos kettle to be used in this manner!