Monday, 12 March 2012

Blue Eggs and Purple Broccoli

I did this for next month's East End Life newsletter, and thought it would be fun to share here on the blog too. This one was a feature on Animal Farm, a brilliant mixed-livestock farm set in the rolling hills of Bellingdon. They do excellent meat (wild boar, rare breed beef, sheep etc.), and they also rear many different varieties of free-range poultry so you can usually find a mix of gorgeous duck eggs, glossy deep brown eggs from Burford Brown hens, and delightfully pale blue-tinted Cotswold Legbar eggs!

As much as I love my omelettes and fancy frittatas, I felt I would be somewhat letting the chickens down if I just break their beautiful golden yolks up, so I decided to lightly boil them and appreciate the delicious subtle flavour differences among the different eggs.

Soft-Boiled Eggs with Sesame Roasted Broccoli Soldiers
3-4 large free-range eggs, a mix
1 large handful of purple sprouting broccoli
1 tsp good soy sauce (traditionally fermented, I used tamari here)
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
extra virgin olive oil, enough to coat

1. For the soft-boiled eggs, put room temperature eggs in a single layer in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, and once boiling, take off the heat and let sit in the hot water for 4 min exactly. Immediately remove to a bowl of ice-cold water, to stop the cooking. (See here for how to boil eggs.)
2. Break the broccoli into roughly equal stalks. Toss with rest of ingredients except sesame seeds. Spread in an even layer on a greased baking tray.
3. Roast for about 10-15 min at 180 degrees celsius or till lightly browned at the edges. Scatter sesame seeds over to toast about 5 min towards the end.

This is actually an old recipe, I did it almost exactly a year ago, with normal broccoli, but tis' the season for purple sprouting broccoli! It's one of the simple favourites I return to. Sometimes I have the soft-boiled egg with sourdough toast soldiers, sometimes with seasonal vegetable soldiers; either way, you can't go wrong with oozy golden yolk from a happy hen!


  1. I love your photos! And those soft-boiled eggs look pretty delicious too.

  2. Hi Shuhan - I love the idea of broccoli soldiers! I'm a big fan of toast soldiers too, but I can definitely imagine broccoli makes a wonderful alternative! Roasted, it's delicious too - so richly flavoured. I always think it's interesting how different people boil their eggs. I always place into a pan of boiling water and boil for 4.5 minutes, which always yields good results, but then my eggs are always in the refrigerator because I have no space on my kitchen surface to store them. I'll have to give this a try.

  3. I love the contrast of the Burford Brown eggs, and pale blue Cotswold Legbar eggs, a great idea. Your blog is lovely : )

  4. I will have to keep an eye out to try those eggs. Really liking the roasted broccoli soldiers, nice change from asparagus spears.

  5. I cannot speak for the notion of blue eggs, but many folks here are under the illusion that brown eggs are superior to white. Everything I have ever read suggests that that is not the case. But put a blue egg in front of me and I will swoon regardless.

  6. Such a simple, lovely dinner, the blue eggs look like you dyed them and they should be in an art exhibit!

  7. Sesame roasted broccoli soldiers?! Sold! They sound absolutely amazing. Definitely going to make this.

  8. It's been so long since I had some purple broccoli. 7 years... about that.
    For duck eggs, my mother used to favour green shelled ones rather than white ones.

  9. kyleen: thank you! an egg can be delicious plain if you get a good egg (:

    charles: we have the tiniest fridge ever, so i keep things that don't need to be refrigerated on the counter. i tried doing that before, placing rtp/ cold eggs into a pot of boiling water and the shells sometimes crack from the shock! so I liek to start them out with the same temperature, and it's never gone wrong for me since (:

    feeling food: thanks so much! I love the blue and brown together!

    shaheen: and much cheaper too!

    stephen: i think we have the same notion here too. maybe it's psychological but I felt the burford browns were better than the normal beige eggs I get (also from pastured chickens). blue is another category on its own so I shan't compare hahaha.

    farine: yes, they're gorgeous aren't they(:

    thelittleloaf: oooooh i'm always pleased when people try my recipes, hope you like it! x

    wendy: wow, well to be hoenst, I've never had purple sprouting broccoli till I came to london! I've never even come across green shelled duck eggs. gosh, feel like I'm missing out now.

  10. wow..those look so yum & pretty! Loved your clicks too. First time here & i'm loving your page :)

  11. I can see the "blueness" in your blue egg! This sounds very innovative and exiting to me.

  12. The catchy title caught my attention, and your post is really enticing, not to mention enjoyable!:)
    Hehehe...I caught a glimpse of your blue egg too;)

  13. this is what I call a perfect meal!!
    Mary x

  14. What a great idea for a healthy breakfast! You're right about the eggs - sometimes its wonderful just to eat them soft boiled. The yolks are a beautiful color! I'm pinning this!

  15. The purple broccoli look delicious and the blue eggs simply out-of-space. I wish I could taste them one day...
    It's funny how everyone cooks eggs in a different way... I practise the 3-6-9 method :-)

  16. this all looks delicious and I'm loving the colours, what a way to brighten breakfast

  17. You made me smile when you mentioned toast soldiers. I had a good friend from England that always made my daughter eggies and toast soldiers whenever she had a sleep over at her home. The simplicity of your dish really lets the ingredients shine.

  18. teena mary: thanks so much! hope to see you more (:

    zoe: haha it's actually not a very new thing at all. well, except for the colours of the eggs and broccoli!

    christy: thank you (:

    mary: eggy soldiers, such a british breakfast isn't it!

    debbie: haha omg I've been so addicted to Pinterest lately. I'm really pleased you like my photo enough to pin it (:

    sissi: ooooh what's the 3-6-9 method? i guess everyone has their own method to it, but this is the one I've stuck to. it's actually from nigella lawson ;)

    the viking: HELLO!!! haha i get easily seduced by colourful alternatives.

    karen: thanks karen! oh yum would have gladly woken up to eggy soldiers! i think the simplest food is often the best (:

  19. 3 minutes for a soft egg, 6 minutes for half boiled and 9 for boiled egg. I don't remember where I saw it but I found it is easy to remember and works.

  20. So pretty and I love the blue eggs, I just bought some of those too to decorate for Easter. Thanks for linking up to Simple and in Season x

  21. Thanks so much for putting this link in to Food on Friday.

  22. Last week you very kindly linked an eggy post to my Food on Friday series. This week it is all about asparagus. Would love to see another contribution from you. Food on Friday