Cost: ~€3 for 12 eggs
Preparation time: ~20 minutes + 1 month
Calories: ~85 per egg
Allow me to tell you a story! Back when I was about 21, I’d just moved back from Paris, where I’d spent a couple of years pretending that I enjoyed studying, and graced my dear mother and father once more with my presence around their home. After a few months moping around the house it soon became apparent that I would really have to get a job, so off I went, on the search. Eventually I noticed an advert – a local bank, looking for tellers, and while it was the bottom of the corporate ladder I thought that this must surely be a gateway to a bright future. After my application and a couple of rounds of interviews I was informed that I was successful and the job was mine. What fun, I thought – what a wonderful opportunity! Hrmm…
My training started and pretty soon I was fully ready to take in and give out cash, as well as assistting the customers in other issues. For a while it was great – there were no demands on me, no-one was saying I had to do fulfill quotas every day – I was enjoying myself. I got to wear my smart suit and sit on my chair behind some plate glass and I felt like the bee’s knees! One day though, my supervisor told me of an additional duty that I had to start doing, and this I was not happy with at all.
Selling, in a word. Making profit for the bank. Of course they won’t say that. They’ll tell you they’re genuinely interested in making your money work harder for you, making sure you are benefiting the most from your hard-earned dough. The truth is that they don’t care at all but I tried to commit to the cause. Every customer I had: “hey, would you like to benefit from our awesome new savings account?”, “hey, I noticed you have debt, maybe you’d like to get another loan and consolidate them all?” (not mentioning, of course, that the interest of the new loan would be high as all hell). I should point out that I have no problem with a company making profit. For private companies, it is their “raison d’être” but for me it seemed exceptionally unpleasant, especially since I’m really not a salesman. I believe people will buy something if they want it – if they need it. One does not need to be told what to buy.
Anyway, I’m digressing. Shortly after starting at the bank I moved out from my parents’ home, leaving them with some blissful peace and quiet once more and into a place which I was sharing with a colleague in the city centre, literally 30 seconds from the bank. When I started at the bank, my salary was low. I’m not just talking “boo hoo, I can’t afford a new BMW”-low, I mean minimum wage low. Considering that at this time I was swimming in quite the financial predicament after my time spent at University living in the not-so-cheap city of Paris I was hemorrhaging money each month and it was clear that I needed a second job. First of all I requested permission from the bank (company policy, which I find hilarious – pay employee a pittance, hold the power to decline an attempt to get a second job) and then went in search of an evening job. Eventually I found work as a bartender in a pub not 30 seconds walk from my apartment in the other direction – talk about handily situated. It was here that I served such delights as “Charles’ Mystery Shots”, which were literally made up from anything I could pull from behind the bar, regardless of whether or not they might suit each other, including liberal doses of Tabasco Sauce and Baileys. The best thing of all about working in a bar though? The bar snacks!
Perhaps one of the most famous things to be found in English pubs, which you don’t really see so much anymore is a great big jar of pickled eggs, perched up on the bar, next to the Guinness tap. The owner of the bar happened to have exactly one of these giant jars. He picked it up one day from a wholesaler and positioned it under the till, on the off-chance that someone might ask to buy one. Of course, no-one did, and there it sat for many months, until eventually they became my occasional snack – a bit of delicious sustenance to see me through the long, quiet evenings (it wasn’t a busy place – just a few locals propping up the bar). If you’ve never had a pickled egg, try one – they’re not for everyone but I find the pickling action on the whites makes for a firm, slightly chewy texture which results in a fantastic snack. You can mess about with the spices a lot as well, to really get creative. I put the price for 12 pickled eggs as being around €3 – I like to buy happy eggs from happy hens. If this isn’t so important to you then you could probably get them for much less, or even free if you rear your own.
A note – I just spent significant time reading up about pickled egg recipes online after seeing an article about food poisoning. It would appear that many recipes advocate storing the eggs in the fridge – at least until they have pickled fully, which will take about a week. Many British recipes do not mention this, and simply state you should try and store them in a dark place. Whichever method of storage you decide to go for, remember to remove the eggs from the jar using a clean spoon, to avoid introducing contaminants into the pickling solution!
Anyway – have a great week people, I’ll be back on Thursday with a sweet treat and some photos of Stockholm as well!
- 12 Eggs
- ~1 litre of Vinegar (different vinegar results in different flavours)
- 2 tbsp Caster Sugar
- 2 tsps Salt
- 2 tsps Black Peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
You’ll also need
- A large mason/preserving jar
- Start off by boiling the eggs – bring them to the boil in a large pan of cold water and boil them for about 10 minutes, to ensure they are hard all the way through.
- Transfer the cooked eggs into a bowl of cold water and run cold water into the bowl to help them cool down. Carefully peel the eggs and set aside while you thoroughly wash your pickling jar, including the seal. Place the eggs carefully into the bottom of the jar before adding in the sugar, salt, peppercorns and cayenne pepper. Pour in the vinegar so the eggs are well covered and seal the jar.
- Swirl the jar around gently to help dissolve the sugar and properly dissipate the peppercorns and cayenne pepper. Store in a cool, dark place for about a month before enjoying. The minimum time needed to pickle them and develop the best flavours is usually at least 2 weeks. If you prefer, store the jar in the refrigerator – regardless of your pickling method, always use a clean spoon to remove the eggs from the jar. Enjoy!