Nineteenth Thing: How do you like your eggs in the morning?

I don’t like eggs. I love eggs. Soft-boiled, scrambled, poached, omeletted or, my particular favourite, coddled… Ok, I’ll admit, I don’t like them pickled – I wouldn’t make a very good Islander.

Anyway, in my opinion, there is no finer breakfast than a fresh egg to keep you going til lunchtime. Ideally with marmite soliders: and to get them uniform, I should really get one these. Not even Edwina’s pronouncements (on my birthday!) could put me off – I like my yolks runny, so I’ll take the risk! And since the scientists and the media changed their tune about eggs and cholesterol -indeed there are reports that they are healthier than ever, so there’s no reason not to enjoy one every day whether for breakfast, lunch, tea or a post-pub, late-night snack: from pan to plate in mere minutes.

One of the magical things about eggs is, like bananas, nature has provided them with their own protective packaging. In an ideal world we’d have them delivered to our doorsteps in some kind of rinse-and-return glass container – like how milk used to come.

I usually put my empty egg shells into the compost, but at this time of year, the idea of decorating them for display comes around. Why eggs are associated with Easter is somewhat of a moot point: some will say it’s about spring and rebirth; others say its about the end of Lenten fasting (assuming the last eggs we ate were in our pancakes on Shrove Tuesday) and some will try to persuade you that the egg resembles the shape of the stone that was rolled away from the tomb. I’ll let you decide…

Decorating eggs was certainly one of my favourite things about the Easter season when I was a child (well, truth me told it was winning the egg decorating contest was what I really enjoyed). Thinking of new ways to incorporate the ovoid shape into a little scene was lots of fun. I think the owl and the pussy cat – in a pea green boat with money and honey, was my best effort. But that was last century, and I think the Guardian needs to get with the programme when it comes to Easter crafts. Onion skins and elastic bands for colouring egg shells are just too basic. These days we should be experimenting with silk tie pattern transfers and two-tone double dipping. And when I read online about a method of marbling eggs using nail varnish, I just had to give it a try.

I wasn’t sure that nail varnish would be a very healthy addition to hard-boiled eggs (the shells being porous and all that), so decided to work with blown shells. I’d forgotten how careful you have to be when piercing the shell. Started off trying to use a bradawl (or “pokey-metal-thing” as I described it when I went to the hardware shop to purchase it). No good for egg piercing. Splat. I found that a sharp, thin needle was the best, and then a cocktail stick to enlarge the hole at the end you want it to come out of.

With egg shells emptied, the next thing was to set up the pattern. Following the instructions here, I too found that different brands of nail varnish reacted differently on the surface of the water. Watching the first drop spread out in a whoosh is quite magical. A cocktail stick point was good for marbling, although you have to twizzle it at the end of the swirling, to avoid lifting the whole film of varnish.

I am definitely going to make more of these before Easter. It’s an excuse to have scrambled eggs, made in my favourite, little gem of a non-stick saucepan: perfect sized for scrambling an egg or two.

Tools / special requirements: Nail varnish, nail varnish remover, cocktail stick, needle

Time taken: 30 minutes

Things learned: The Egg of Columbus is a brilliant idea or discovery that seems simple or easy after the fact

Satisfaction (1-10): 6. Not as perfect as the ones on the website, perhaps they’ll get neater when I have done more.

















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