I recently had the pleasure of hosting three good friends for lunch. It was the birthday of one of the guests, so I thought a three course spoiling of the person was in order.
I planned everything as usual, and on the day itself, thought that everything was running smoothly. Nigella’s ham in Coca Cola was all done and dusted, the veg were ready, the chocolate pear pud was just waiting for the oven and all that was left to be done was the starter.
My chosen starter, for ease of hosting and service on the day, was smoked salmon with wheaten bread, quail eggs and a rocket salad.
I started to assemble it on the plates, laying out the salad, portioning up the smoked salmon and cutting up a lemon wedge for each person, before finally turning my attention to the removing the shells from the eggs.
Having never previously attempted this task, I had no idea that it would turn out to be a complete nightmare. Despite removing them in a bowl of water, each egg’s shell fragmented into tiny bits and it was almost impossible to get hold of large sections in order to remove it.
Even worse, sections of egg remained firmly stuck to the shell and so I started to lose bottoms, tops and expose yolks all over the place – no good for presentational purposes.
I ploughed on – there was no getting away from the necessity of the task – hoping that I’d end up with at least a few usable eggs.
As you can see from the above, I got away with it – just. I halved the best ones and placed them on the salads, and, of course, none of the guests were any the wiser. And in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t such a big deal – presentation mattered for only a few moments before everyone tucked in.