Egg-stagram Masterclass with Heritage Breeds

“Discover the Taste of Impeccable Eggs”

Last Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to be invited down to an event held by Heritage Breeds at the wonderful Food @ 52 cookery school. It’s no secret that as a nation we seriously love our eggs! As an absolute breakfast/brunch fanatic I may be biased but recently I feel like we’ve all become brunch obsessed.. and no brunch menu is complete without eggs – you don’t have to scroll far on social media to see some perfectly poached eggs on avocado toast!

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At Heritage Breeds™ they are firm believers that the traditions of better breeding and high hen welfare make for impeccable quality eggs. You only have to take one look at their stunningly vibrant orange yolks to know that their eggs will satisfy even those with the highest standards. They have four different eggs in their range:

  • Copper Marans – hen’s eggs with deep brown shells
  • Royal Legbars – hen’s eggs with beautiful pastel blue shells
  • Speckled Quail eggs
  • Gladys May’s –duck eggs with perfectly pristine white shells

They may all be different colours and sizes, but the one thing they all have in common is that they have perfect shells and a Crayola-orange yolk – the kind that gets Instagrammers everywhere excited for that money shot 😉

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As soon as I walked in I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful décor.. most notably the table, which was made entirely of Green & Blacks chocolate bars – talk about the dream!

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We were greeted with glasses of prosecco and once we’d finished admiring/getting jealous of/debating whether to smash into the chocolate table we tucked into the most delicious canapés – egg and red pepper bruschettas and devilled quails eggs.

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We started off with a talk by Anna Barnett who has a wealth of food photography experience and a whole host of incredible achievements to her name including writing recipes for Vogue, Grazia and the Evening Standard. I have to admit this part lost me a little – I’m hugely passionate about food but when other foodies and bloggers start talking about fancy cameras, different lenses, filters, editing apps and lighting I am aware of just how much of a complete amateur I am – I take all of my photos on my iPhone and the extent of my editing knowledge is picking an Instagram filter and claiming that the lack of natural light in my kitchen is the reason that my photos suck! (In fairness Anna did repeatedly mention the importance of natural lighting so my excuses aren’t completely unjustified!).

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After that it was time to cook and I couldn’t wait! As soon as we went downstairs we could see delicious trays of pre-prepped food everywhere!

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We were led through a four course menu courtesy of the talented chefs from Food52. The menu sounded incredible – I was so excited to tuck in at the end!

  • Smoked trout tartlets with asparagus, paprika and poached quail’s eggs
  • Nicoise salad with pan seared tuna and Gladys May’s duck eggs
  • Boiled Legbars with soldiers
  • Amaretti semi freddo

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We started off by making paprika and parmesan pastry for our smoked trout tartlets. We used one of the Copper Marans in our dough, and the beautifully orange yolk stood out even more against the white flour, giving our pastry a stunning deep colour. We were shown how to poach quail’s eggs which was something I can only dream of doing myself – I can’t even poach a hen’s egg! Unlike poaching normal eggs, the quails eggs are so tiny that we cracked all twelve into a bowl of vinegar before pouring the whole lot into a pan of simmering water and turning up the heat until the water bubbled up so violently that it almost cascaded down the sides of the pan. After that the heat was turned off and the eggs were left to sit for about a minute more before being removed gently with a spoon and trimmed – they were so tiny and so perfect!

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Then it was time to prepare the duck eggs for our salad. I’m sure that all of you egg-lovers out there will have shared my many frustrations of trying to peel a fresh egg and leaving half of the white on the shell! The fresher the egg the harder it is to peel, but we were taught to tap it gently to crack the shell all over, and that rolling it also helped to prevent the white from sticking to the shell. Perhaps it was just luck, but I actually managed to peel their stunning Gladys May’s duck egg without wasting even the tiniest bit of egg white – I’ll definitely be using that technique again!

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Our third dish of the night was a simple one – boiled eggs with soldiers – but I’m sure you’ll all agree that when they’re done well they are incredible! They take me right back to my childhood days, and I’m sure there are plenty of others who feel a definite sense of childhood nostalgia when it comes to dipping little toast soldiers into a perfectly boiled egg. I still remember when I very first started eating boiled eggs – I insisted on having an egg cup, but I liked my eggs totally hard boiled (I know – disgraceful!), so I’d just end up spooning the egg out of the egg cup and eating the toast separately! The art of boiling an egg is a surprisingly highly debated one – I personally like to have my whites totally hard done, but others in the class said they like to have the part of the white immediately next to the yolk still slightly runny.

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We used the Royal Legbars for our boiled eggs. We boiled two sets of eggs – one for 5 minutes and one for 6 minutes, immediately plunged into cold water to stop them from continuing to cook after being taken out of the pan. I preferred the 6-minute eggs, but the 5-minute ones definitely made for a prettier picture, with the stunning yolk pouring down the side of the beautiful pastel blue egg shell.

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Our final dish was Amaretti semi freddo. I’ve never made a semi freddo before, and it wouldn’t usually be my first choice of dessert but it was incredible! We started by whipping egg whites and whipping cream, then folding them together with the egg yolks, pistachio and Amaretti liqueur. Our dessert was completed by mixing in both whole and crushed Amaretti biscuits, before gently pouring into a lined mould to set in the freezer for a minimum of six hours (thankfully there was one they’d prepared earlier for when we sat down to eat dinner!).

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The whole evening was absolutely lovely. It was so nice to meet others who are equally passionate about good food and the dishes were absolutely incredible! The highlight for me was definitely the niçoise salad – the tuna was seared to perfection and the eggs were served so simply that you could really appreciate the incredible quality, both looks and taste wise! With my love for boiled eggs and soldiers reignited, I had to have dippy eggs the very next morning for breakfast.. though they most definitely did not look this pretty!

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