Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Doris Coddled Her Egg

MY EYES LIT UP when I saw Coddled Eggs were on the menu of a foxy cafe at Ponsonby Central, I had to order it. It arrived in all it’s glory with accoutrements. And what a disappointment, the eggs were hard boiled. They said give it another try next time. I did, by which time chef was advised not to overcook the egg. Not much better. Third time lucky? Not likely! The egg was popped into the microwave and served almost raw swimming in cream. I told them they should just take their Coddled Eggs off the menu. Last time I looked, it was still there, waiting to snare another unsuspecting fan.

   So when I visited Doris in Pirongia, I recounted my coddled egg saga. She immediately brought out her Royal Worcester Egg Coddlers and proceeded to show me her way of making coddled egg for breakfast.
   She had just collected the 6 eggs from the farmette hen house that morning. She has 6 hens and they are happy hens. They are named after aunts and old family friends: Aileen Tregurtha, Trixie Christmas, Myrtle Collier, Avis Taylor, Armorel Rennie and Romola Murray. I kid you not. She has a roll call list on the side of the fridge and recognises each and every one by their feathers. I asked where the rooster was, only to be given a withering look. Romola, Myrtle, Trixie and co don’t need a rooster to lay eggs. Doris did provide an anecdote  about laying eggs but I will not repeat it.

   Doris warmed the egg coddler first (her short cut was pouring boiling water over and into it). Suitably warmed, coat the inner surface with butter which invariably will melt or soften. She ran to her herb garden in her pinny and picked chive, marjoram and parsley. She finely chopped up the herbs (separately). After salting and grinding pepper into the coddler, she added the finely chopped chive and marjoram. The butter would aid the herbs, pepper and salt to stick to the sides as well. Break an egg into the coddler and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top, and before screwing on the lid, season again with salt and pepper on top).

   Immerse the coddler into a pot of boiling water, the water level should cover the lid. Boil away for 5 minutes. The egg will be perfectly coddled and ready to be savoured. And it was so good. I’m now on the hunt for egg coddlers. Egg coddlers are not in vogue and I will be keeping an eye out at my former prop haunts, Trade Me or eBay. Or Smith & Caugheys might have them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kit Perera’s Sri Lankan Eggplant Coconut Curry

Kit Perera shares with us his famous Eggplant Coconut Curry, inspired by his grandmother in Sri Lanka who instilled in Kit a love and passion for cooking. This is a dish to savour, the spices imbuing bursts of flavour and held together by the coconut milk.

Sri Lankan Eggplant Coconut Curry

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

For the eggplant
2 eggplants
1 teaspoon turmeric
Olive oil

Slice the eggplant in to 1cm thick rounds, put in to a large bowl; sprinkle in the turmeric and mix well to combine
   Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a fry pan over high heat and sear the eggplant on both sides in batches, add more oil in between batches. (Alternately, drizzle the eggplant with olive oil and grill until lightly charred on both sides) Once cooled cut each slice in to four

For the sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
Sprig of curry leaves
2-3 dried red chillies
1 teaspoon each crushed garlic and grated ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
300ml coconut milk
Salt to taste

Fresh coriander to garnish

Heat oil in a fry pan over high heat; add mustard seeds, curry leaves and chillies. Fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring (make sure to stand back as the curry leaves may cause oil to spit) Add the onion; turn down the heat to medium and sauté until golden, stirring from time to time
   Add the garlic, ginger and spices, fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk; bring to the boil, stirring. Add the eggplant, mix well and season with salt
   Put the eggplant in to a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes
   Serve with steamed  (basmati) rice

★ Kit Perera is famous for his Sri Lankan food, even though he’s equally adept in French and Moroccan cuisines. He is also unequivocally passionate about cooking as he is about cricket. Born in Sri Lanka, Kit became a professional cricketer, and this sporting career has taken him to England, Australia and New Zealand, where he’s a coach and mentor up to the Black Caps level. Kit’s Chef for the Night is a highly popular event where he cooks Sri Lankan food for select parties in the setting of their homes or a studio kitchen centre. He’s the perfect consummate host chef, with smashing anecdotes from his professional cricket career and his colourful travels.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Prickly blooms of beauty

Captured on Hipstamatic, John S, Jimmy and Buckhorst Lens
Kodot, Ina’s 1969 and Blanko film

Watching the Royal Watchers

PRINCE WILLIAM AND KATE, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sailed through the Auckland on Friday. I went to watch the Royal Watchers and was well rewarded.
   There’s a lot of excitement and a lot of royal chatter. Best quote from a Royalist on eyeing the banner being towed by an aircraft which proclaimed: ONE DAY WE WILL BE A KIWI REPUBLIC
   He retorted: Shoot it down!