Eggspresing my opinion…

Free Range Eggs smallBack when Adam was a boy (the early 1950s) the British were encouraged to ‘Go to work on an egg’. This was a great advertising campaign built around a fantastic piece of copywriting. Having Tony Hancock in front of the camera helped a bit too.

In my business life, I have had the dubious pleasure of writing copy for various Easter advertisements featuring ‘Eggstravaganza’ in the headline. This usually followed up with ‘eggciting offers’ ‘cracking deals’ and other eggscrutiating word plays. With Easter just around the corner, and more retail ads to write, I have been thinking a bit about eggs. When it comes down to it, I have strong opinions. Most of you reading this probably have never eaten a fresh, truly free-range, organic egg. As with most mass-produced food, eggs for the masses are a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. Pictures of barns, sunrises and roosters welcoming the dawn on the egg box can’t make the eggs inside any better or anything as good as eggs from truly free range hens.

OMG! What’s that on the eggs. Surely that could have been washed off in the factory where they made them?

My friend, the Wicklow Hunter keeps a dozen chickens to allow him feed his family the very best. He did me the favour of giving me a half-dozen of his production. This leads naturally to me showing you the Perfect Poached Egg Lunch.

For this you will need:

  • Really free range eggs that you probably can’t get
  • Bread baked by my wife. You probably can’t get that either
  • Tasty sausages (I won’t be prescriptive)
  • A mug of coffee or tipple of your choice
  • You will not need vinegar. Chefs the world over take the lazy way out when poaching eggs. They add vinegar to the water to hold the white together. This is often necessary when using second-rate eggs. While it works, it also makes the eggs taste awful. Save the vinegar for your chips. Use good eggs instead.

    The truth will out anyway. This is 5 Grain Bread made from Odlums 5 Grain Bread Mix. The Wife makes it. I am not claiming it as a culinary feat of my own.


I like to use my pastry cutters to keep the eggs together. If the eggs are really fresh, one does not need them (except for insurance).

My trusty pastry cutters. The multi-purpose tool of this kitchen.

I bring a pan of water to the boil and turn it down to a bare simmer. Pop in the pastry cutters, having oiled them first. Others prefer the ‘vortex method’. It sounds like a form of contraception to me. Crack in the eggs.

Eggs poaching. They hardly needed the cutters at all. Honest.

Once they are set to your taste, remove the pastry cutter and lift the egg out on a fish slice. Be careful, they are as slippery as a life assurance salesman in an old people’s home. Drain it on a slice of stale bread or kitchen paper.

Served with sausage, 5 grain bread, pepper and chili flakes. Mmmmm…

Serve it quickly. These eggs are truly tasty on their own, delicious with fresh brown bread, and epic with tasty sausage.

One down and one to go. The colour of the yoke is fantastically rich.

If you can source truly free-range organic eggs, do so. They are eggstrordinary, if you will forgive one last crack…

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Latest comments
  • Perfect poached eggs! Next Time I poach, I’ll try your méthod. I don’t mind thé vinegar 🙂

  • “Really free range eggs that you probably can’t get
    Bread baked by my wife. You probably can’t get that either”

    This made me laugh out loud – “cracked me up”, if you will. Looks and sounds delicious! I’m a bit jealous 😉

  • First of all your plays on the word “Egg” were lovely and I am still laughing at Eggscruciating. Now, you once again serve another dish that gets me looking at airfares to Ireland. This is a great post Conor.

    • There will be a place at the table for you any time.

  • I am struggling here not to use an egg pun – but yes – what you said except I don’t use the insurance as I find the perfectly round egg as disconcerting as a McDonalds Egg McMuffin – but as you say – they are not needed if you have managed to score the good eggs from chicken keeping friends. Poached is the very best way to meet an egg.

  • I would love to sit at your kitchen table and have the pleasure of this meal. Lovely poached eggs along with your wife’s homemade bread would truly be a wonderful experience.

    • You are welcome any time Karen.
      Happy Easter,

      • I hope you have a Happy Easter as well, Conor.

  • I think it is true that there is a generation that don’t know the true meaning of a free range egg, I remember as a child how my sister I would go early in the morning to go a fetch eggs for breakfast, some of them still warm for being laid a few minutes ago! Unfortunately where I live now there are city bylaws that make it illigal to keep live poultry on your property. 🙁

    Love your poaching idea, but I find that if the egg is that fresh it all keeps together very well. That bread looks fantastic as well, compliments to the good wife!

    • Thanks Willie,
      You are right about the eggs (and the Wife’s bread)

  • Have you tried ‘microwave’ poached eggs? I use this method often when I’m running late. Pop an egg into a microwave-able cup, cover with tissue paper and pop a rubber band around the rim to secure it (eggs have a bad habit of exploding you know, and then cleaning the microwave oven is a pain in the you know what). Put it on high and time it for 25 secs, no more. And there you have it, poached eggs in a hurry. 🙂

    • My better half once put a bowl with water and washing up liquid in the mwave to “get rid of a smell”. Once the power was turned on the soap bubbled, went into the works and blew the door off the oven. I live in fear of the microwave ever since.

      • Hahaha, funny. I must compile a list of things that make a microwave blow up. Your story will definitely feature … 🙂

  • Truely eggcellent eggs. Eggsactly what I fancy for breakfast this Good Friday. Eggstremely tasty looking sausage too. Hang on I think I’m getting a bit eggsistential. Enough.

    • I think that is the dreggs of the wordplay….

      • I could continue but I would be over-egging it.

  • Great blog Conor, I will be trying this method for poaching eggs this weekend.

  • Eggcellent writing – still laughing! Love the photos, as always!

  • I have my “egg lady” where I get my local free-range eggs. They are superior to any other egg. I love a poached egg. I am always trying to incorporate them into my meals. I SOOOOO love them!

    • I will have to drive to Wicklow to see my friend tomorrow and collect more. Delicious with smoked haddock and toast, believe it or not.

      • I believe it! This past winter, I had taken to dropping eggs into my soup 2 minutes before serving. They were AWESOME!

  • Jolly good show, sir! That’s a great little idea to use the pastry cutters for the eggs. They’re *insert egg pun here* 🙂

  • We have neighbors who sell fresh eggs. Nothing like them! And the price is right: $1 a dozen!

    • That is fantastic value. The Wicklow Hunter is not as convent or as regular a supply but he does give them to me for nothing.

  • Nice posting – lovely pics.

  • We used to get bantam eggs and the occasional goose egg from my grandfather when we were kids, and they were truly phenomenal (especially seeing just how much scramble you could get from one goose egg!). I bought some Clarence Court eggs the other day which were pretty good, but still not quite up to scratch.

    • When we are in Tipperary visiting my mother and father in law. (Mother in law and father in law that is.) We get to eat fresh duck eggs. Incredibly tasty and so big. The supermarket stuff really is not up to much.

  • Tempting, very very tempting.
    In the crazy world of today, a perfectly poached egg just about brings it all together..
    great method thanks.

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