Thursday, 13 August 2015

Les Oeufs Bleu

Fanny Cradock was famous for her use of perfectly harmless vegetable food colouring. Some say overuse, not me you understand. Some said it even at the time. Fanny was oblivious, not even a blush. Everything seemed to be brightly coloured to well and truly illuminate the food, perhaps as an intense antidote to the rather drab and monotone life Fanny assumed everyone else led? Fanny's most used stains were green and blue. She generally held to her own unwritten rule that green was for savoury items (potatoes more often that not) and blue for sweet (think cakes iced in blue). So, eggs should be dyed green shouldn't they?

Fanny Cradock Blue Eggs

Unless of course you are thinking 'why the heck would you dye your eggs?' which is fair enough. Fanny isn't chatting about heavily decorated eggs ready for Easter here, but it is hard boiled eggs flushed with a vibrant tint that have captured her attention. Ideal for any respectable Hors D'oeuvres selection you see. Gilded is best. She boils them in the normal way, and cools them under perfectly ordinary running cold tap water to maintain the glowing yellow yolks. No hint of greyness here. Absolutely not. Never.

Fanny Cradock Blue Eggs

Fanny peels the eggs (or gets some poor assistant to do it for her, you can never be too careful with your fingernails, can you?) then plunges them into bowls of strongly saturated perfectly ordinary cold water to take on the appropriate hue. Green remember? Well it should be. Fanny herself says so, but then adds that she has simply no idea why they emerge an hour later a terrific tinge of turquoise-blue. Fanny says not to ask her why they do, just to accept that they do. I'm clearly in 'curious not accepting' mood. If I was an assistant I'd be bashed. Perhaps it's a very particular chemical reaction between egg white and harmless vegetable food colouring? I wonder if food colourings have changed a bit since the 1970's so try one solitary boiled egg in green water first.

Fanny Cradock Blue Eggs

It does have a slight turquoise look to it, but I'd say it's still more green. I can barely believe that I have happily 'set to' comparing food colouring reactions on boiled eggs, but I have. This is what my life has become, I'm not sure how this has happened, don't ask, just accept that it has... The rest of the boiled batch are plunged into blue coloured water aiming for the more authentic Fanny-look, as in her own pictures. To not be authentic would be horrific, and who wants horrific oeufs hors d'oeuvres?

Fanny Cradock Blue Eggs

Fanny Cradock Blue Eggs

Fanny treats the embellished eggs in two separate ways. Some eggs are kept whole, with only a sliver sliced off their tops, ready to receive a little piped (green coloured, naturally, or at least harmlessly) mayonnaise and a sprinkling of Paprika. Presumably for even more colour. Other eggs are sliced from top to bottom, arranged on a plate, surrounded by finely chopped eggs and decorated with strips of the same coloured mayonnaise. It's a very colourful affair indeed. Fanny calls them Egg Barrels, or Oeufs à la Riga if you ever spot them on a very fancy hors d'oeuvres menu and aren't sure. Would you select one? Remember, the colouring is perfectly harmless, it never seemed to affect Fanny in any way at all, she seemed perfectly normal.

Fanny Cradock Blue Eggs

12 comments:

  1. How very surreal - it was the 70's I suppose...

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  2. But did you drink a 4-pack of Dead Pony Club and 3 Gin & tonics while making them?

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  3. Wow, love the little touch with the sunglasses.

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    1. Hee hee thanks for noticing! Those eggs were just sooooooo bright!

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  4. Hmm. No. It looks like something from Dr Seuss!

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    1. Oh yes! They'd be perfect for a Dr Seuss party!

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  5. Oh my. That makes eggs in baked potato look normal! Where did she get these ideas from?

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    1. I would love to know, if only she was around to ask! She never really explains beyond 'this is the way professionals do things' - I will continue my endeavour to find out!

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  6. Replies
    1. There is no escape... The Blue Eggs will find you...

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