Eggs were long regarded as bad-for-you high cholesterol food. But new studies have revealed egg yolks can be an excellent source of choline, an essential nutrient for fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. According to the US Egg Board, choline also helps adults’ brain function and relay messages from the brain through nerves to the muscles.
Two eggs provide about 250mg of choline, or about half the RDI for pregnant and breast feeding women. Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in egg yolks, help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related blindness.
Research has also found eggs are lower in cholesterol than previously claimed. The newly reviewed nutrient composition of standard big eggs lists the average amount of cholesterol in one egg at 185mg, 14% less than previous claims. The analysis also revealed big eggs contained 41 IU of Vitamin D, up 64% on previously health claims.
Experts now say healthy adults can enjoy an egg a day without increasing their risk of heart disease, particularly when opting for low cholesterol foods throughout the day. Some dietary guidelines recommend individuals consume, on average, less than 300mg of cholesterol a day. A single big egg contains 185mg cholesterol.
– Eva Wiland
I find scrambled eggs are best made in a non-stick saucepan on the stove and finishing them off at low heat. If you have some bubbly handy – adding a splash makes the eggs nice and fluffy.
1/4 cup reduced fat cooking cream
2 tblsp Champagne or sparkling white (optional)
1/2 cup of snipped chives or herb of
your choice: parsley, chervil, dill, basil
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sea salt to taste
Utensils: non-stick saucepan or microwave dish/CorningWare pot with cover; whisk; vegetable knife; spoon
Time: Under 10 minutes
- Add butter, eggs and cooking cream in saucepan on stove at high heat.
- When the butter is melted, turn heat to low and whisk until well blended.
- When the eggs start to thicken, add seasoning and turn off heat. At this time, add the Champagne, fold in herbs with a spoon and cover.
- Alternatively, put butter in microwave dish, cover and melt in on high in the microwave for 20 seconds or until melted. Break eggs into the bowl, whisk in cream and add the Champagne.
- Cover and cook in microwave on high for one minute.
- Remove from microwave, stir egg carefully, shifting the cooked parts at the edges into the middle. Return to microwave, stir and cook in increments of 30 seconds and then 10 seconds until cooked but still soft, and fold in herbs.
- The egg should finish up fluffy but still soft. Cover and stand for one minute, season and serve with buttered slices of toast or English muffins.
Poached eggs, particularly if you do not have a poaching pan, can be tricky but it is less greasy than fried egg and can be served on slices of toast with a stewed tomato, onion and basil for a healthy meal or for a more indulgent fare, dished up as Eggs Benedict (see below).
- If you do not have a poacher, you can poach eggs in a pot or pan of boiling water. Bring water to boil and let is simmer vigorously on high, adding a pinch of salt. The size of the pan depends on the number of eggs – the more eggs you prepare, the bigger the pot. Alternatively, you can use a small saucepan and do one or two eggs at the time.
- Add a splash of vinegar to the water (that helps the egg stay together). Crack egg into a small shallow dish. With a fork swirl the simmering water until a vortex is formed, slide the egg carefully into the water. The white should swirl and set around the yolk.
- Let the egg simmer for three to four minutes until the white is set and the egg floats to the top, lift it out with a slotted spoon. Let it drain in the slotted spoon positioned over the simmering water while you prepare English muffins or pieces of toast.
- If poaching several eggs, preheat oven to a low 75°C. Cover a dinner plate with a double layer paper towel and leave eggs to drain on top until all are done and ready to serve.
Making a perfect omelet is the first skill in your cooking repertoire. You should not whisk eggs too vigorously nor cook them too long. It is quick and easy to whip up after coming home from a long day at work and you can add your own choice of fillings for a tasty meal.
1 1/2 tblsp water
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch of sea salt to taste
1 tblsp water
Utensils: bowl; fork; 22cm heavy-base, non-stick frypan; vegetable knife; chopping board; spatula
Time: 10 minutes
- Break the eggs in a bowl and beat with a fork until the yolks are broken, season. Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat. When warm, drop in butter and when foaming, quickly add water to the eggs and pour them into the pan. Leave for 10-15 seconds and then stir with the flat of the fork. Leave another 5-6 seconds. Lift up the edge of the omelet furthest away with a spatula and tilt the frying pan away from you to let the raw egg run to the end of the pan.
- Continue lifting and tilting the pan to distribute egg mixture. While the eggs are still soft, use the spatula to loosen the bottom of the omelet, shake pan and fold the omelet in half with the spatula. Remove from the heat, let it rest for 1-2 minutes and serve. This omelet is enough for one hungry person and two not-so hungry.
- For a French Omelet au fines herbs (herb omelet): stir in one rounded tablespoon of mixed chopped herbs: parsley, thyme, tarragon (or marjoram) and freshly snipped chives with the water before pouring the eggs into the pan. The omelet will go quite green with the herbs.
- For a cheese omelet: scatter 3-4 tablespoons grated cheddar or Gruyère thickly over the omelet while it is still soft, fold over, let it rest for 1-2 minutes before serving.
- For a tasty tomato, ham and cheese omelet: chop tomato in small cubes, cut ham in short strips, or if using prosciutto, tear in small pieces and scatter on top of omelet while it is still runny. Add grated cheese and chopped parsley before folding over. Leave to rest for 1-2 minutes before serving.
- For a mushroom omelet: prepare 200g button mushrooms. Wash and quarter them and then toss in a little olive oil and soy sauce for extra flavour. Fry them separately in butter and add to omelet while it is still runny, scatter grated cheese and parsley on top before folding over. Rest for 1-2 minutes and serve.
- For an Asian crab omelet: mix a cup of fresh crab meat; 1/2 cup of bean sprouts; 1/4 cup sliced shallots; chopped fresh chili to taste; and bind with a little oyster sauce. Add mixture to omelet while still soft and fold over. Let omelet rest for 1-2 minutes.
- In a separate pot heat up 1/2 cup strong chicken stock, stir in a little soy sauce and oyster sauce; and drizzle the sauce over omelet and serve.
Mastering Eggs Benedict, means you have graduated as a skilled cook. This famous brunch dish is said to have originated at the turn of the 20th century in the US, at Delmonico’s Restaurant in Manhattan, New York City. The story goes, banker and yachtsman Commodore Benedict and his wife walked into Delmonico for a meal and asked if the chef could make something new. When he asked Mrs Benedict if she had any suggestion, she asked for poached eggs on toasted English muffins with a thin slice of ham, Hollandaise sauce and a truffle on top. These days, the truffle is an expensive optional extra.
4 English muffins
8 slices of ham off the bone
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sea salt to taste
Chives or parsley
Utensils: saucepan; small olive dish; fork; slotted spoon; dinner plate; paper towel
Time: 15-20 minutes
For Hollandaise sauce
2 egg yolks
Juice from one lemon (3 1/2 tblsp)
1 tblsp warm water
100g softened butter
A few drops Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground white pepper
A pinch of sea salt
Utensils: double boiler; whisk; wooden spoon
Time: 20 minutes
- Turn the over on to 150°C. Place slices of ham on a plate in the oven, cover with foil and leave to warm up. Poach the eggs (see above) and leave on paper towels on another plate in the oven while preparing the Hollandaise.
- Make Hollandaise: fill double boiler, or a saucepan, halfway up with water. In the top half, or the smaller saucepan, blend egg yolks, lemon juice and warm water with a wooden spoon. Place the saucepan inside the bigger pot, taking care the bottom of the saucepan does not touch the water in the pot underneath. Stir in a teaspoon softened butter until it melts and keep stirring in the butter, a teaspoon at the time and let the sauce thicken. If it is too thick, add some more warm water. Season and add a splash of Worcester sauce at the end. Lift saucepan out, stir and cover to keep warm.
- Divide the English muffins and toast each half. Spread each with softened butter. Place two muffins on each plate, cover with slices of ham and place a poached egg on top of each. Stir the Hollandaise and spoon it over each poached egg, garnish with snipped chives or a sprig of parsley.
- For Eggs Royal, substitute smoked salmon for ham.
- For a vegetarian variation, plunge a packet of baby spinach in salted boiling water, drain and press between two plates to remove all moisture, toss in a knob of butter, season and place on muffins before topping with the egg and Hollandaise.