Sunday, November 13, 2011

The perfect egg

I spent this morning at a cooking class Wellington's City Market learning about "The Perfect Egg" with Kelda from Nikau Cafe. It truly was a fabulous way to spend a Sunday morning.

Kelda started off by discussing the importance of fresh eggs and demonstrating the difference between fresh and older eggs comparing an egg she'd had in her fridge for a couple of weeks and one laid two hours earlier (!) by Nikau co-owner Paul's chickens. The egg from Paul's chicken had a firm jelly-like white that held together beautifully.

For me, this confirmed that I want my own chickens! I would feed them up on all sorts of delicious scraps so they would lay me amazing fresh eggs. But until I have a backyard (rather than a handkerchief-sized courtyard) this will remain a dream.

Anyway, more about the class... Kelda talked about the temperature different parts of the egg firm up at - nothing too scientific and all stuff that made good sense - but it made me realise I have done some terrible things to eggs in the past.

First up was scrambled eggs: gently-cooked and custard-y. It might seem incredibly basic to start by demonstrating scrambled eggs but I doubt there would have been a single person in the class who didn't learn a thing or two. From now on, my scrambled eggs are going to be gently-cooked and custard-y too. We were each served a spoonful of the eggs in a little pastry tart case topped with broad beans and smoked salmon... up was Nikau's famed sage eggs. Sage was gently fried in a generous amount of butter, then a couple of eggs were slid into the pan to "poached" in the butter. After a little oven time to firm up they were served on one of Spring's greatest pleasures... asparagus and a little shaving of pecorino. This was one of those dishes that make you want to lick the plate... of course you don't because you're in the company of a dozen or so strangers. Luckily, there were generous slices of Moulin Bakery's delicious baguette to soak up the last of the egg and butter in a slightly more lady-like manner.

The last dish of the morning was floating islands: softly poached meringue in creme anglaise with the most amazing strawberry, rhubarb and rosewater compote. Beautiful and delicious.

The City Market classes have been popular and there are still a few to run before Christmas though most have sold out. You can read more about what you're missing out on here. After this morning's class, I can completely understand why they're so popular.

The "tastes" of each dish were generous as was Kelda in the knowledge she imparted throughout the 90 minute class. Extras touches like Supreme Chemex-extracted coffee at the start of the class, and sparkling water and lovely Mahi gewurztraminer on the tables (nevermind it was only 10am) made it feel like excellent value. The best $50 I've spent in a long time.


  1. It all sounds and looks spectacular; simple done perfectly. When Kelda does her next class book me in too, she is one of my food idols!

  2. I've been wanting to go to these classes but for some reason or other haven't been able to. Thanks for posting, I'm feeling at once envious and inspired! Mmmm sage fried eggs... I love Nikau :)

  3. so jealous, sounds awesome Libby! I have an irrational fear of live chickens, but the fresh eggs sound so enticing. It all looks gorgeous!


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