Idiot Proof Poached Eggs

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods that you can eat: high in protein, omega 3 fats, lutein, choline, all the B vitamins, as well as vitamins A, D, E, K, and iron.

Poached eggs should be one of the easiest, cheapest and healthiest meals. But it can be hard to not end up with a watery pile of mush. There is a lot of advice out there on how to achieve the perfectly poached egg: the freshest eggs possible, adding vinegar to the water (am I the only one to end up with vinegary eggs?!) or the ‘swirling the water’ method.

For the first time in my 39 years, I came across this genius method for the perfect poached egg. Or for 10 poached eggs if you need that many!! It’s idiot proof, which is a stroke of luck for me.

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Location: a big family brunch at my cousin Wendy’s house in Holywood – that’s Holywood in N. Ireland; rather than Hollywood, California :). There were 13 of us so that’s a lot of eggs to poach! I was a bit skeptical as this clingfilm escapade unfolded in the kitchen, but trust me…..

 

Here’s what you need:
egg(s)

cling film

any cooking oil4820A52D-F11E-49D0-B839-BDF5C02AA2B7

Ramekin, or small bowl

  1. Boil some water in a small sauce pan. Once boiling reduce to a simmer

 

  1. Tear some cling film, about double the width of the ramekin

 

  1. Oil the cling film by dribbling in a few drops of the oil. Spread around with your fingers or a pastry brush

 

  1. Break the egg in to the cling film

 

  1. Gather up the edges of the cling wrap and twist, making sure that you have the egg enclosed well. You can secure it with a little elastic band or something similar.F593DFC8-DBA5-40ED-ACE0-CAEF8944851B

 

  1. Place in the simmering water until the egg white has set. Put as many of these little parcels in the water as needed (use an appropriately sized saucepan to fit them in obvs)

 

  1. Lift the egg out of the water using a spoon and cut away the cling film

TA DA!!!!

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Pre-season Overload Week – we’re on a high. Why?!

Mid-way through the intense Overload week of pre season rugby training, and Dec’s exhaustion levels don’t seem too extreme.

He was even able to hold a conversation last night, and levels of irritability appear low (at dinner he soldiered on admirably when there was no pesto for the pasta – he rescued it with a dollop of hot pepper sauce).

Possible reasons for being cheerful: 

  1. the old body is feeling good: during previous pre seasons he was heavier, weighing in at up to 110kg, making training a bigger effort and therefore more tiring. The attention to diet may be making a difference to fatigue levels…..a balanced intake of real nutritious foods, rather than over emphasis on high protein, low carbohydrate and supplements.
  2. pre season training is going well, with the squad bonding
  3. today was a day off training, just a pilates session and physio
  4. he’s enjoying coaching the boys at Ealing Rugby two nights a week…..a new routine is as good as a holiday!
  5. our two eldest children are in N. Ireland with their Granny and Grandpa for a week. This means a bit of peace (we do like to spend time with our children, it’s just that these two nutters are the antithesis of the ‘children should be seen and not heard’ parenting philosophy)
  6. he’s beside himself with joy at the birth of the nation’s new Prince

So last night’s dinner was rescued with some hot pepper sauce. It had me thinking, what are the food items we always have in the fridge or cupboard? The “Desert Island” products (idea poached from Radio 4 Desert Island Discs, this is my Kirsty Young moment). Obviously we do eat other things, like the staples of meat, fish, vegetables and pasta/rice etc.

Our Desert Island List:

    1. Oats – for the porridge in the morning, essential slow release carbohydrate for the training day ahead. Made with milk for calcium and protein, raisins and some sugar for faster releasing carbs and to make it taste better. Also use oats to make biscuits, flapjacks and in smoothies.image
    2. Eggs – powerhouses of nutrition. One of the best sources of protein, containing all the essential amino acids, including leucine (big selling point of many protein supplements). Don’t worry about the cholesterol as it is poorly absorbed by the body. Scrambled, boiled, omelettes, egg fried rice.
    3.  Yoghurt – I prefer to buy natural unflavoured yoghurt as it has no added sugar and usually has probiotics (good for gut health and immunity). Any brand will do, but I’m a fan of the massive tubs from Lidl (about £1.50 for 1kg). I can add berries/chopped fruit/put in smoothies etc. Dec likes the new Danone ‘Danio” higher protein yoghurts (13g protein/pot) which are sweetened with fruit and sugar.2013-04-01 15.58.55
    4. Fruit – for snacks, no explanation needed for the benefits of the vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, carbohydrate etc.
    5. Nuts – a handful of almonds as a snack, or peanut butter on toast. Healthy fats (cholesterol lowering), high protein so filling and good for muscle repair/building
    6. Coffee – for a wake up kick, afternoon kick, evening kick. Means we don’t have to physically kick each other to wake up! Contrary to imagepopular belief, it’s not dehydrating and has many health benefits. Also useful to have pre training as caffeine enhances performance (ergonomic)! At London Irish, some of the boys are in their Coffee Club, where they enjoy a swift Nespresso before hitting the training field/weights room.
    7. Hot Pepper Sauce – as previously discussed, this can rescue a meal
      Hot Pepper Sauce

      Hot Pepper Sauce

      that may be lacking in flavour. Used like tomato ketchup. Personally, I think it destroys any hope of actually tasting the food you put it on (mmmm, not saying a lot for my cooking skills, is it?!)

    8. Cherry Diet Coke – this is the Desert Island luxury item, Dec’s ‘treat’. I get a bit twitchy and Food Police when he reaches for the 3rd or 4th can of the day. There’s not much good to say about Diet Coke, it’s nutritionally sparse, and there are question marks over it’s long term health affects.

So here’s hoping the happy state remains with us until Saturday when a week off training starts, watch this space!

Breakfast Omelette (sweet!)

Most of us have become used to having something sweet in the mornings, rather than savoury. Think breakfast cereal, porridge with raisins, muesli, toast and jam, fruit and yoghurt etc. All perfectly great breakfasts.

image

Omelettes usually fall in to the savoury category, so I thought I’d change ingredients to make it sweet. It sounds a bit odd, but bear with me, and give it a go. All you need are eggs, oats and some honey. Cinnamon if you are feeling adventurous!

Why this omelette is great!

Eggs:

  • contrary to popular belief, cholesterol in eggs does not raise blood cholesterol
  • nutrient dense superfood, choca-block with vitamin and minerals
  • high in choline (neurological benefits) and leucine (for muscle building – found in many sports protein drinks)
  • High protein – help you to feel full up for longer and for muscle building
  • cheap!

Oats:

  • low GI, for slow energy release
  • high soluble fibre and B vitamins
  • lowers cholesterol, prevents heart disease
  • also cheap!

Honey:

  • balance of fructose and glucose sugars (similar to sports carbohydrate gels, but without the additives)
  • easily absorbed by the body, increasing energy levels quickly

Here’s what you do:

1) whisk 2 eggs, add to hot non-stick omelette/frying pan

2) sprinkle in a small handful of oats, with cinnamon if you are using

3) give the pan a shake every so often and just a few times give a stir (stir too often and you’ll have scrambled eggs, equally delicious I’m sure)

4) drizzle some honey over the omelette

5) plate up! Add some extra honey if you wish.

Nutrition info: 320kcal, 16g protein, 30g carbohydrate

In the fridge today……

Yesterday morning, a mum at the school gates dared me to post my fridge contents (she didn’t think I’d do it, so haha Ye Of Little Faith!) I promise that I’ve not removed or added anything. From the top…..

Photo on 2013-07-02 at 07.15

  • Boots Omega 3 Children’s supplement
  • Natural Yoghurt (full fat)
  • Kinetica Omega 3s – these ones for the grown ups
  • BBQ left overs (chicken, lamb)
  • Gatorade Ultimate Hydration (6% carbs, for exercise > 1hr)
  • Heinz Tomato Ketchup – lycopene & flavour!
  • Cherry Diet Coke – errrr, 2 bottles, a glass few times a week 😉
  • Butter – a little saturated fat ok
  • Bacon – processed meat 😦
  • Cheese – calcium
  • Left over Super Food Salad
  • Eggs – amazing nutrition powerhouses (don’t raise blood cholesterol)
  • Lavazza Coffee
  • Variety of veg: spring onions, broccoli, pepper, red cabbage, lettuce
  • Alpro Almond Milk – just for variety and to use in this and this
  • Kinetica High Protein Shake – used as quick snack or to bump up protein in these
  • Semi Skimmed Milk – good for protein, carbs, calcium – great post exercise refuelling.

Not a bad selection, plenty of nutritious things, some not so good. But like I always say, everything in moderation. Any comments gratefully received!