A Homage to the Real Egg
The humble chicken egg steals some limelight this Easter – starring in a savoury version of the classic Nest Cake.
In the run up to Easter, the word “eggs” will only mean one thing for most people: chocolate.
And who can blame them? With such a fantastic range of dark, milk, white, filled, and personalised confectionery on the market, it seems the humble chicken egg has a lot of catching up to do if it wants a share of its cousin’s limelight!
Just as iconic is the classic Easter Nest Cake – the simple but timeless winning combination of crispy Shredded Wheat and chocolate, topped with a cluster of Mini Eggs.
So simple that anyone could do it… Even a chicken? Maybe if the simple egg were to finally get the credit it deserves, this little cake could be its vehicle to stardom… And so the savoury Easter nest cake was born!
This would make an interesting starter to an Easter dinner, or makes a perfectly decent light lunch on its own. Best of all, it’s made completely of basic store cupboard ingredients:
3 eggs (2 small if possible – I used bantam eggs)
Blue and red food colouring
1tsp soft cheese
1 rasher of bacon
2 nests of tagliatelle
A slack handful of mild cheese, grated (I used Lancashire)
About 150-200ml milk
Dash of soy sauce
At least 6 hours in advance (or overnight) hard boil the two small eggs. (6-7 minutes for bantam eggs.) Drain and immediately cool in cold water.
Mix the red and blue food colouring into two bowls of water, crack the eggs all over with a spoon and leave to soak in the colour for 8-9 hours if possible.
First carefully remove the shell from the eggs. This is definitely the most fiddly bit of the operation, so get it out of the way before making the rest.
That done, put the tagliatelle on to boil in a pan of salted water, removing when al dente.
Preheat the grill, fry the rasher of bacon, beat the remaining egg, and then get cracking (sorry) on the cheese sauce.
Melt the butter, add the flour and cook for about 30 seconds. (This is called a ‘roux,’ if you want to sound flashy…) Add the milk and stir with a whisk until all the roux has dissolved. I add the milk by eye until it looks about right for 1 person, so take the measurement as what it is – my best guess!
Stir over a medium-low heat until it’s thickened, then stir in the cheese. Add some black pepper and keep stirring over the heat until it resembles as creamy sauce.
Put the tagliatelle in a frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat, cook for about 30 seconds then add the soy sauce. Cook for a little longer, then slowly pour in the beaten egg to bind it together.
Lower the heat and let the egg mostly cook through before finishing it under the grill. Very finely chop the bacon and mix with the cream cheese. Halve the eggs, remove the yolks and replace them with the bacon mix. Add a dollop of sauce to the top of the nest, season well and top with the eggs.
Serve on its own or with salad.
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