Nothing quite sets the world to rights like a proper fry-up, but I don’t have the right ingredients to hand, and going shopping this early would destroy the effect of a Sunday morning altogether.
So second choice is scrambled eggs. I do mine in what is apparently the French way, using a bain-marie, or in my case, a Pyrex jug balanced on top of a smallish saucepan.
- Half fill a small saucepan with water, bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat as far down as it will go. If you’re using solid electric hotplates (as I did for several years) you’ll need to move it to another hotplate.
- Break as many eggs as you fancy (2-3 per person) into a glass jug or bowl, add salt and pepper (you know how much you like), and beat lazily.
- The water in the saucepan will have cooled a little by now, so put the jug into the saucepan, so the edges of the jug (or bowl) rest on the edges of the saucepan, and the bottom of the bowl is in the water. You may need to fiddle with the water levels to get this right.
- Put a knob of butter on top and leave for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- The eggs will gradually thicken, so serve when they reach the desired consistency.
Stovetops are treacherous things, so on your first attempt, be prepared for the following contingencies.
- If the eggs start cooking almost immediately, then there’s too much heat from below so turn the heat down and/or take the bowl off the saucepan – be careful not to scald yourself
- If the eggs show no sign of cooking, then you’ll need to turn the heat up a whisker, but again keep an eye on it
Once you’ve mastered this approach, the eggs are simply a background activity, requiring almost no attention, and very little risk of going horrid. This frees up time to concentrate on important tasks such as the rapid delivery of the First Coffee of the Day.