Good Food Blog
The chicken and the eggPosted at 11:30AM, 08 February 2010 by Emily Boyce - Sub-editor, bbcgoodfood.com
It's often said of completely hopeless cooks that they can't even boil an egg. I'd like to think I'm reasonably competent in the kitchen. I can make meringues, whip up a batch of cupcakes, bake my own bread - but when it comes to eggs, I'm a disaster.
Delia may have been ridiculed for reminding the nation how to boil an egg, but as someone who always manages to get it just a little bit wrong, I'd be grateful to her - if I could ever remember her rules. I vary between the from-cold and from-boiling methods. My main issue is deciding when the timer needs to be set, obsessively inspecting the size of the bubbles to judge whether the water's reached a boil. The egg gives nothing away, and once you've knocked the top off, there's no going back. Last weekend I sat down to a feast of raw albumen. Luckily I was alone.
Last weekend I sat down to a feast of raw albumen
Unfortunately, the last time I roasted a chicken, I had company. I know there are 'foolproof' ways of checking it's done - the juices run clear, there's no pink meat, the leg comes away from the body. Whenever I pierce a chicken, the juices (if there are any), dribble out clearish - do they ever really run red? I poke about to see if there's any pink meat. This is tricky because the bit you can get to most easily, between leg and body, is always pinky brown. There's no other meat you can get to without ripping the whole thing open. And how loose should a loose leg be?
I was pretty sure I had satisfied all the necessary criteria, started carving and when the knife approached the ribcage... a gruesome sight. There was no putting it back in the oven - all the trimmings were ready and I'd already carved off most of the meat. We queasily ate the salvageable white bits. I was ashamed.
With chicken breasts I tend to go the other way - I'm so paranoid I'm going to poison my guests that I have a habit of incinerating them until they're tough as old boots, just to make sure they're done.
Are there any supposedly simple dishes you just can't cook?