For centuries now Fortnum & Mason have made and sold some of the most delicious foods available on these islands. They even pioneered some populist fare. A number of decades ago, that bastion of fine British food was the first retailer to stock and sell Mr Heinz’s now ubiquitous baked beans.
A visit to their Piccadilly store will convince even the most sceptical of the efficacy of their Poacher’s Pie or the Hand Raised Pork Pie. They claimed the invention of the Scotch Egg in the 18thcentury. There is nothing Scottish about the eggs. The story has it that ‘scotching’ refers to the wrapping in sausage meat and breadcrumbs before frying.
I suspect that F&M don’t want you to know just how easy they are to make. There are very few things as tasty to eat as a scotch egg while it is still crispy on the outside. The homemade ones use a full size egg and plenty of meat. They are BIG. You have to be hungry. Here’s how to do it.
- 8 eggs, half a dozen to cook, two to bind.
- A half kilo of best quality sausage meat.
- Oil for frying.
You will also need plenty of kitchen paper to rest them.
The process is simple and pretty tactile.
- Boil the 6 eggs. Cool them under the tap. Peel them.
- Divide the meat into six even amounts.
- Break the two remaining eggs and whisk on a large plate with a small amount of water.
- Now for the messy bit. Make an oval out of the meat and wrap it around an egg. Wet your hands and form it into an even oval shape. Repeat until you have them all done.
- Heat the oil to moderately hot. I use a wok with enough oil to come up about halfway on the eggs.
- Add the eggs, a few minutes apart (to prevent the oil cooling). Turn them as needed until they are cooked. Remember you are only cooking the sausage meat, not the whole thing.
- Drain them wrapped in the kitchen paper.
- Slice and serve to the hungry and deserving. I like to serve them with a mixed salad and chutney.
They say that they are delicious cold too. However, there have never been any left over for me to find out.