Jamie Oliver has got a lot of explaining to do. Not content with lying to the public about how long it takes to cook delicious meals that consist of several dishes or courses, he’s now decided to fib about how easy it is to make homemade Scotch eggs. Outrageous! What on earth will he be lying about next?! I know everyone lies, it’s unavoidable and I may have told a white lie or two in the past (usually when The Boyfriend asks me what’s in a dish- “No, there is absolutely, positively no lemongrass/rosemary/sweet potato in there whatsoever, your tastebuds are deceiving you, you poor thing”) but when your job is writing cookbooks that people rely on to cook their family dinners, lying is a big problem. That’s why I love Nigella, she’s upfront about what the recipe will need you to do and she tries to simplify things where possible. But Oliver is a different kettle of fish entirely. It might seem that I’m overreacting but when you’ve been reliably informed that half boiled quails eggs are easy to peel and then find yourself screaming with frustration when yet another egg splits and leaks yolk all over your fingers, you start to hold a grudge. I wanted to make the Wee Scotch Eggs from his Great Britain cookbook, which has in the past been fairly reliable, for The Boyfriends last night in England before jetting of to Beijing for 2 weeks. He does not enjoy eating out in Beijing and laments the fact that out there he can’t seem to find a good duck chow mein or roast pork curry. I know, my heart bleeds too. As foodie as I can be, I do agree that a Chinese takeaway from England beats the authentic food I’m told he has eaten out there. I’m all for authenticity but I’m too fond of a takeaway to think otherwise, and having no real urge to go to China I will probably never know for sure. Suits me. Keeping in mind the fact that he’ll probably be living off plain rice and minibar nuts for 2 weeks I thought it would be nice to cook him something distinctly British for dinner, and everyone loves Scotch eggs, right? Well, I used to but if I ever see another one I may start twitching and showing signs of post traumatic stress. The ones I cooked last night were mini versions that Jamie promised would be easy, even going so far as to say that making 30 eggs takes barely anymore time than the 12 stated in the recipe. Well as I nearly had a mental breakdown by egg six, I’d hate to see what state anyone who attempted more than 12 would be in. After boiling the quails eggs for two minutes I started to peel the shell off the tiny eggs, which Jamie said I would get the hang of after a couple of goes. ‘OK’, I thought after peeling off the entire top half of two eggs, ‘this is fine, after all I bought more eggs than we needed in case something like this happened.’ Now I am not a very dexterous person and I normally avoid doing anything too fiddly in the kitchen, but I really, really, really made an effort to be careful with them and pretty much all of them split or were damaged in some way. Coating the ones that weren’t too monstrous in sausage meat, flour, egg and breadcrumbs, I took my first ever plunge into deep fat frying and let them sizzle away for four minutes until cooked. Once again, I followed the instructions to the letter which is very unlike me, so was expecting a Scotch egg with an oozy yellow yolk when bitten into. Jamie’s lies struck again. They were all hard bloody boiled in the middle, which came as a bitter disappointment to The Boyfriend who is a big fan of a runny yolk. Considering how long it took to make and how it nearly cost me my sanity (which at times is hanging by a thread anyway), it did not taste nearly good enough to justify the time spent on them. Plus I have a saucepan half filled with vegetable oil and breadcrumbs that I don’t know how to dispose of properly. Thank you very much Jamie Oliver. If ever I go to Jamie’s Italian or Fifteen I’m going to have to keep a quails egg ready in my pocket should he happen to turn up doing the rounds, so I can throw it at him whilst shouting “peel that, motherf****r”. It’s war Jamie. My advice if you have this book is simply to go to a nice deli and pick up a decent handmade Scotch egg from there instead. There’s a very good reason why they sell them. Approach this recipe with caution, and please note the photo of my massacred eggs before I hid their injuries under a layer of meat.
After eating his Scotch eggs, The Boyfriend turned to me and said “that sausage meat tasted a bit herby, did you add anything to it?” To which I replied “Of course not darling, I’d never dream of adding paprika and finely chopped rosemary to the meat”. I think I got away with it.