Eggs on toast
Eggs are an egg-cellent way to start a day Image Credit: Stock Image/Pexels

What came first – the chicken or the egg? While the answer to that old chestnut is hard to crack on an average day, tomorrow the egg comes first – it’s World Egg Day.

Observed on the second Friday of October every year since 1996, when it was first established by the International Egg Commission, the commemorative day celebrates one of the most versatile cooking ingredients and rightly so.

Think about it, they make an entire wholesome meal on their own, perfect for the laziest of cooks – hello, hard-boiled eggs. But they’re fabulous team players too and pair like a dream with vegetables (frittatas), cheese (omelettes), and meat (burgers). Eggs have no bone to pick with even that trickiest of ingredients – fish.

They become one of the gang and fit right into every dish conceivable – throw them in a salad, slide them into a sandwich, stew them in a curry or shred them into a fried rice. They’re the life of brunches; the ace up a baker’s sleeve that can make cookies crumble, meringues peak and cakes moist, and the transformative dip that gives the humble toast a scrummy French makeover.

Is it any wonder then that they find a spot at the dining table at all times and all meals?

Good egg, good health

And if the culinary possibilities haven’t swung your vote in the favour of eggs, then their nutritious accolades will – eggs abound in selenium (prevents cell damage), they’re rich in choline (vital to brain and memory development), and are an excellent source of protein, which is integral to the growth and repair of tissues and muscles and overall immunity.

As the gloomy shadow of a pandemic overcasts our daily lives, this is just more incentive to make a beeline for your supermarket’s refrigerated aisle and stock up on eggs. In fact, China's renowned frontline COVID-19 expert Zhang Wenhong’s diet plan for recovering Covid-19 patients includes three to four eggs a day for a protein boost.

And yes, they’ve received a bad rep for spiking cholesterol levels and certain studies link them to heart disease but all you’ve got to do to side step that is to separate the yolks and use the whites. We suggest saving the yolks for future culinary escapades –whip up creamy sauces such as mayonnaise, Béarnaise and Hollandaise, knead them into pizza doughs or blend them into a cake batter.

When it comes to a multifaceted food, the egg remains unbeaten. Unless your recipe demands it, of course.

Many eggs, cooked many styles

Whether you like them sunny side up, poached to cloudy pillows of perfection or scrambled as you scramble to work in the morning, these 11 egg-cellent recipes will inspire you to remove all your eggs out of the proverbial basket and whip up a nutritious meal this weekend.

RECIPES

Middle Eastern Scotch eggs with Tahini Yoghurt

Middle Eastern Scotch eggs with tahini yoghurt
Middle Eastern Scotch eggs with tahini yoghurt Image Credit: Camera Press

We’ve added Middle Eastern flavours to classic Scotch eggs and served them with a tangy yoghurt dipping sauce. We like our yolks a little soft, but if you prefer them hard-boiled, cook the eggs for a minute longer. These are great as a snack or served with warm flatbread, a rough tabbouleh and pickled chillies for a more substantial meal.

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: makes 8

Ingredients

9 eggs at room temperature, 1 lightly beaten

2 tbsp olive oil

½ onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

850gm minced lamb/beef

50gm fine burghul soaked in cold water for 20 minutes

2 tbsp each finely chopped fresh coriander and mint

2 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander

1 tsp ground chilli

½ tsp dried mint or 1tspn of freshly chopped mint

Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Plain flour for dusting

Vegetable oil for deep frying

100gm white breadcrumbs, fine (Try Panko breadcrumbs for a crispier texture)

Lemon wedges to serve

Tahini yoghurt

250gm thick plain yoghurt

50gm hulled tahini (store bought)

1 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon or to taste

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Sumac to serve

Method

1. Boil 8 eggs (6 ½ minutes to soft-boiled), then drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water. Drain again, peel and refrigerate until required.

2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic and saute until tender (2-3 minutes). Cool, then combine in a bowl with lamb. Drain burghul, squeeze out excess liquid, and add to lamb/beef with herbs, spices and lemon rind. Season to taste and mix well with your hands.

3. Divide mixture into 8 portions then flatten with your hands to about 1cm thick.

4. Dust an egg lightly in flour, place in the centre of a round, then form the meat around the egg, rolling to enclose and seal completely. Place on a tray and repeat with remaining mixture and eggs. Cover and refrigerate to rest for 1 hour.

5. Heat oil in a saucepan to 150°C and place beaten eggs, flour and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Dip meatballs first in beaten egg, then flour, then breadcrumbs, shaking off excess in between.

6. Deep fry in batches until golden all over and cooked through (7-8 minutes). Drain on paper towels and season to taste.

7. For tahini yoghurt, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and scatter with sumac to taste. Serve Scotch eggs with tahini yoghurt and lemon wedges.

Chinese Pilaf

Chinese pilaf topped with egg
Chinese pilaf topped with egg Image Credit: Camera Press

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes + resting

Serves: 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 chicken or beef sausages, thinly sliced

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated/minced

1tsp Chinese five-spice (This Asian seasoning is a mixture of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns or black pepper with coriander seeds, and fennel seeds - ground together in equal amounts. Easy to make at home.)

1 ½ cups white long grain rice

3 cups chicken stock

1 red capsicum, finely diced

1 carrot, finely diced

4 eggs

100gm snow peas, thinly sliced

2 tbsp fried shallots

Method

1. In a large frying pan, heat half oil on high. Sauté sausages and onions for 3-4 minutes until onions soften. Stir in ginger and spice and cook for 30 seconds.

2. Stir in rice, add stock, capsicum and carrot. Bring to simmer.

3. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat to low. Cook 2 minutes until tunnels appear in rice. Cover and rest it for 15 minutes.

4. In a wok, heat remaining oil on high. Crack eggs into wok and stir-fry 1-2 minutes.

5. Serve pilaf topped with fried eggs, snow peas and shallots.

Egg Cups

Egg cups
Egg cups Image Credit: Camera Press

Baby Brioche are great for filling with all manner of sweet and savoury goodies. Scrambled egg makes a great filling and is also a good source of iron and protein, making it ideal for a vegetarian diet.

Serves: 1

Ingredients

1 small brioche bun (store bought)

25gms butter

2 eggs, beaten

Few snipped chives, to garnish

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 140C, gas mark 1. Wrap the brioche in foil and warm in the oven while you make the egg filling.

2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. When it has melted, add the beaten eggs. Using a wooden spoon, stir continuously to prevent them sticking. When the egg is semi-solid, creamy and well scrambled, remove the pan from the heat - the egg will continue to cook in the heat from the pan. Season.

3. Slice off the top of the brioche and scoop out the centre to make a cup. Spoon the scrambled egg into the middle and sprinkle with the chives. Replace the lid of the brioche before serving.

Gluten-free Hot Cross Buns

Gluten-free hot cross buns
Gluten-free hot cross buns Image Credit: Camera Press

Preparation and cooking time + standing: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serving size: Makes 16

Ingredients

3 cups (400g) gluten-free plain flour

½ cup (75g) potato flour

½ cup (80g) brown rice flour

½ cup (60g) tapioca flour

3 teaspoons mixed spice (u1 tablespoon quality ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoons ground coriander

3/4 teaspoon 1 tablespoon quality ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoons ground coriander

3/4 teaspoon mixed spice (1 tablespoon quality ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground allspice or 1/2tspn clove +1/2tspn cinnamon +1/2tspn nutmeg , 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoons ground coriander, 3/4 teaspoon ground mace)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 teaspoons (10g) dried yeast

2 teaspoons xanthan gum (or cornstarch, gelatin or egg whites)

¼ cup (55g) caster sugar

3 egg whites

1 egg

¾ cup (180ml) light olive oil

2 cups (500ml) milk

1 cup (160g) sultanas

Flour paste for crosses

½ cup (65g) gluten-free plain flour

2 teaspoons caster sugar

1/3 cup (80ml) water, approximately

Glaze

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon gelatin

1 tablespoon water

Method

1. Grease a deep 23cm square cake pan.

2. Combine sifted flours, spices, yeast, gum and sugar in a large bowl.

3. Place egg whites, egg, oil and half the milk in a large bowl of an electric mixer; beat on medium speed for 3½ minutes or until thickened slightly. Add remaining milk and the flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, beating until combined and smooth. Stir in sultanas.

4. Divide dough into 16 pieces. With wet hands, shape dough into balls. Place balls into pan; cover and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

5. Meanwhile, preheat oven at 220°C/(200°C fan).

6. Combine flour and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually stir in enough of the water to form a smooth paste. Make flour paste for crosses; place in a piping bag fitted with a small plain tube. Pipe crosses on buns.

7. Bake buns for 1 hour or until golden and the buns sound hollow when tapped. Transfer buns, top-side up, onto a wire rack.

8. Make glaze by stirring ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, without boiling, until sugar and gelatin dissolve; brush tops of the buns with hot glaze. Serve buns warm.

Leek and Lemon Tart

Leek and lemon tart
Leek and lemon tart Image Credit: Camera Press

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes +resting

Serves: 6

Ingredients

1 bunch pencil leeks, trimmed and rinsed in cold water

2 tbsp olive oil

15 filo pastry sheets, trimmed to 36cm long

100gm butter, melted

600gm sour cream

6 eggs

2 cloves garlic, finely grated on a microplane

1 tbsp thyme leaves

Finely grated zest of two lemons

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp plain flour

Salad greens, to serve

Method

1. Preheat 200°C (180°C fan). Preheat a grill pan to high heat, drizzle leeks with olive oil, season and grill, turning occasionally, until golden and tender, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

2. Lay 1 filo sheet on a cutting board (cover remaining filo with a damp tea towel). Brush with butter, then top with another filo sheet.

3. Repeat with remaining butter and filo, finishing with a filo sheet. Place filo stack in a 20x28cm loose-based tart tin, allowing excess to overhang.

4. Whisk remaining ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and pour into pastry-lined tin. Scatter leeks over and bake 15-20 minutes or until golden and cooked through (cover edges loosely with foil if browning too quickly).

5. Remove from oven and stand 5 minutes. Serve warm with salad greens.

Mushroom and Chèvre Soufflé Omelettes

Mushroom and chevre souffle omelettes
Mushroom and chevre souffle omelettes Image Credit: Camera Press

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

150gm butter, coarsely chopped

200gm Swiss brown mushrooms, halved if small, quartered if large

150gm shitake mushrooms, roughly sliced

150gm oyster mushrooms, halved if large

150gm enoki mushrooms, ends trimmed, broken into small bundles

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp thyme

360gm crème fraiche

12 eggs, separated

90gm plain flour

½ cup coarsely chopped, flat-leaf parsley

300gm chèvre (Goat's milk cheese - tends to be tangy and tart. You can substitute with any other cream cheese or Mascarapone.) 

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, to serve

Baguette slices, toasted, to serve

Method

1. Preheat grill to high heat. Heat 90gm butter in a very large fry pan over high heat, add swiss brown and shitake mushrooms, stir occasionally until lightly browned. Add oyster mushrooms, garlic and cook, stirring a further 1 minute. Add enoki and half the thyme, season to taste and remove from heat.

2. Place crème fraiche in a large bowl and whisk until soft. Add yolks, flour and parsley, crumble in half the chèvre, season to taste and stir to combine.

3. Place egg whites and pinch of salt in a bowl and whisk to firm peaks. Fold into yolk mixture.

4. Place remaining butter 2x19cm diameter fry pans; heat over medium heat until foamy. Cook omelettes in batches. In each pan add ½ egg mixture, shaking pans gently to level. Cook until base is golden, 1-2 minutes, then scatter 1/3 mushroom mixture and 1/3 remaining chèvre on top and grill until light golden for 1-2 minutes.

5. Carefully slide on to a warm serving plate, folding in half as you go. Repeat until all mixture is used. Season with pepper and serve hot with remaining thyme, lemon zest and toast.

Sissel’s Norwegian Success Cake

Sissel's Norwegian success cake
Sissel's Norwegian success cake Image Credit: Camera Press

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Baking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients

Nut base

360ml (150gm) mixed almonds and hazelnuts

290ml (150gm) icing sugar

4 large egg whites

Filling

4 large egg yolks

1 litre cream

125gm sugar

5ml vanilla sugar

150gm butter at room temperature

Handful of chopped pistachio nuts to decorate

Method

1. Chop the nuts in a food processor. Sift the icing sugar and mixed with the chopped nuts.

2. Whip the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the sugar and nut mixture.

3. Pour the mixture into a greased spring-form 24cm-diameter baking tin. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes at 160°C. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

4. For the filling, mix the egg yolks, cream, sugar and vanilla sugar together in a heavy-based saucepan. Warm over a low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture has thickened - coats the back of a steel spoon.

Remove from the heat and cool. Once cold, mix in the butter. Spoon on to the base. Sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with coffee.

Pea, Zucchini and Mint Fritters with Feta Sauce

Pea, zucchini and mint fritters with feta sauce
Pea, zucchini and mint fritters with feta sauce Image Credit: Camera Press

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

320gm frozen peas

1 small zucchini coarsely grated, plus 1 small extra thinly sliced

8 eggs, at room temperature

120gm thick plain yoghurt

1 tbsp milk

70gm finely grated Greek Feta cheese (the strongest variety - it is briny, tangy and sharp)

½ cup coarsely chopped mint

¼ cup extra mint leaves to serve

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

80gm self-raising flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve

Olive oil, for shallow frying

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup loosely packed pea shoots (substitute with fresh baby spinach)

Fetta sauce

200gm Greek Feta, coarsely crumbled

½ cup (80ml) milk

½ cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

½ clove garlic, finely chopped

Method

1. Place all sauce ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Season and refrigerate until required.

2. Blanch peas in a saucepan of salted boiling water until tender and bright green. Drain.

3. Reserve 50gm of peas to serve, then pulse remainder in food processor to a coarse puree. Transfer to a bowl and stir in grated zucchini, 2 eggs, yoghurt, milk, fetta, mint and spring onion.

Stir in flour, baking powder and half the lemon juice. Season to taste.

4. Preheat oven to 120°C. Heat ½ cm of olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add scant ¼ cupful of batter and shallow fry in batches, turning occasionally until golden (about 2-3 minutes per side). Drain on paper towels and place in a single layer on a baking tray in oven to keep warm.

5. Meanwhile boil remaining eggs in a large saucepan of boiling water until cooked to your liking (6-7 minutes for soft yolks). Drain, then peel.

6. Combine extra-virgin olive oil, pea shoots, extra mint, sliced zucchini, reserved peas and remaining lemon juice in a bowl. Season and toss to combine.

7. Place fritters on a platter and arrange salad over. Cut eggs in half and place on top of fritters. Serve with sauce and lemon wedges on the side.

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs
Scrambled eggs Image Credit: Camera Press

Preparation + cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

8 eggs

½ cup (125ml) pouring cream

30g butter

Method

1. Lightly whisk eggs and cream in a medium bowl.

2. Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.

3. Add egg mixture, cook for 1 minute, then use a wide spatula to gently scrape the set egg mixture along the base of the pan. Cook for a further minute or until just set on the base, then use the spatula to gently scrape the set egg mixture along the base of the pan. Remove from heat when eggs are still creamy and softly set. Serve immediately.

Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry

Vegetable noodle stir-fry
Vegetable noodle stir-fry Image Credit: Camera Press

Ingredients

300g cooked egg noodles

½ cup frozen peas

½ red pepper sliced

100gm sweetcorn sliced

½ an onion sliced

2-3 spring onions sliced

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 pinch sugar

2 tbsp ground nut oil

Method

1. Heat a wok with the ground nut oil, and when it is nearly smoking add the onions, sweetcorn and pepper, cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add the noodles peas and spring onions, with soy, sugar and sesame oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes till the noodles are hot and serve.

Pumpkin and Potati Rosti with Salmon and Soft Eggs

Pumpkin & Potato Rosti With Salmon & Soft Eggs
Pumpkin & Potato Rosti With Salmon & Soft Eggs Image Credit: Camera Press

Preparation time:20 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 

Ingredients 

1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, grated

500g potatoes, grated

2 tbsp olive oil

300g skinless salmon fillets

4 cups water

2 tsp white vinegar

4 eggs

½ cup frozen peas, blanched

60g bag baby spinach leaves

100g feta, crumbled

Tomato chutney, to serve (store bought is a quick option, but we'll do a tomato special later)

Method

1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180C. Lightly grease a 30x40cm oven tray.

2. In a large bowl, toss pumpkin potatoes and olive oil together. Season. Spread on tray, pressing to fit.

3. Bake 45-50 minutes, turn halfway through cooking (cover edged with foil if overbrowning). Top with salmon. Bake 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring water to the boil on medium. Stir vinegar through. Reduce heat to low. Slide eggs into gently simmering water, 1 or 2 at a time. Simmer 2-3 minutes, until cooked to taste. Remove with a slotted spoon

5. Break up salmon into chunks over rosti (originally a potato dish eaten by farmers from Bern in Switzerland). Top with poached eggs, peas, spinach and feta to serve. Accompany with tomato chutney.

Recipes Courtesy: Camerpress.com

We didn't add a twelfth recipe because we wanted one from you, our readers. So send in your best egg recipes and we will add it to this list. Why don't you take a crack at it? Email us on readers@gulfnews.com