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Archive for the ‘Eggs’ Category

Walking around at my usual Sunday market, I passed by a stall that sells fresh duck.  I wasn’t in the mood to buy duck that day but I saw a little unassuming sign that said, “DUCK EGGS, $5”.  My heart skipped a beat but I didn’t grab the chance to buy it.  We walked back to the car and I was really regretting it so I ran back and ended up buying two dozen!!  They were gorgeous, different colours and natural i.e. with all the poop, feathers and straw on them!  As soon as I got home though, I realised that I couldn’t eat two dozen duck eggs so I sent it around to four of my friends.

I always heard that duck eggs make great custards and I now understand why.  Unlike chicken eggs, duck eggs have a higher yolk to white proportion.  The yolks are beautifully rich and creamy and good yolks are essential in making GREAT custard.  I scoured the internet to see if others blogged about duck eggs but was rather disappointed to find so few.  Any Chinese person would be familiar with duck eggs because they often use duck eggs for preservation, using them for 1,000 yr. old eggs and sometimes salted eggs.

The first night, we just pan friend them with a touch of oil and I ate it with rice and some fried shallots (like you get in Malaysia/Singapore on noodles) and a squirt of Sriracha – divine!  I have also hard boiled them but today, I decided to poach one alongside a regular free-range chicken egg.  I tell you, I ate the chicken egg first and I am glad that I did because when I bit into the duck egg, oh man, you just cannot compare the two!  The richness and deeply concentrated flavour of the duck egg was so much creamier and tastier.

How are they different?  For one, duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs.  Not only are the yolks larger, the egg white has a bizarre, almost rubbery texture that I find slightly strange.  If you pan fry it, the white sets really quickly but the yolks take a bit longer so it’s better to cook it at a lower heat than you would chicken eggs.  Be careful and don’t overindulge on duck eggs as one egg contains twice the amount of cholesterol than chicken eggs.  But definitely, if you come across them at any time, they are definitely worth it.

Don’t be scared of quail, duck, goose or even Ostrich eggs!  Next time I go to Barcelona, I am going to rent an apartment and cook one of those Ostrich eggs! 🙂

Different Duck Egg Colours - I LOVE the blue one!!

Comparing duck eggs to a chicken egg (far right). You can see the duck eggs are slightly larger and have a more transparent shell. I LOVE the blue eggs!

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My dear friend Adriana Torres Chong, originally from Mexico City, now lives in Honolulu and teaches Mexican cuisine at the University of Hawaii’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College (KCC) and does freelance food photography. As a fellow foodie, we often share our passion and experiences with food with each other and also joke about our experiences whenever we’ve revealed to have studied gastronomy at university (she has a BA in Gastronomy from Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana). Sure, foodies who read food blogs understand what gastronomy is but most people think that we study the stars or perform operations on stomachs and bowels so Adriana and I often don’t bother revealing it. An U.S. custom’s agent once asked me what I was studying in Australia and when I said gastronomy, he seriously asked if I drilled for oil (petrol)…and I digress.

I wanted to feature her Flan de Queso on my blog because uniquely, she adds finely grated Mexican cheese (either panela or queso fresco)* in the mixture and the result is a very tasty twist on the traditional flan that is served all over Mexico. Haven’t had a Mexican flan before? It’s a wonderfully, eggy, custardy, sweet and comforting dessert. What I also love about Adriana’s flan is that it is not very dense and super rich like some I have tasted so you can easily eat more than one piece! 🙂

*Queso fresco is made by pressing the whey from cottage cheese. It is very similar to cheeses called pot cheese and farmer cheese. It has also been compared to Indian paneer and to a mild feta and panela is also a mild, soft and crumbly cheese.

Adriana’s Flan de Queso

Makes 10 servings

4 eggs

1 14 oz (395 gm) can sweetened condensed milk

1 13 oz (375 ml) can evaporated milk

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

4 oz (100 gm) queso fresco or panela finely grated

1 c. white caster (granulated) sugar

10 ramekins (1/2 c. capacity) or 9″ baking pan

Directions:

Pour the sugar in a warm pan over medium heat and stir sugar until it starts to dissolve and changes into a lightly brown caramel colour. At this stage, it can tend to burn very quickly so do not leave the pan at all and stir constantly. As soon as the sugar becomes a gorgeous caramel colour, take it off the heat immediately and quickly pour approximately 1 Tbsp. of caramel into each ramekin or all of the caramel into the baking dish if not using ramekins. Let the caramel cool.

Preheat oven to 350F/175C.

Either whisking by hand or in a food processor, combine the rest of the ingredients and pour the mixture into the caramel lined ramekins (or baking pan) and cover with foil.

Place ramekins or baking pan into a roasting dish and pour enough hot water in the bottom of the roasting dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins (or baking pan).

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the flan is nearly set. To tell when it is ready, the flan should only move slightly when shaken gently or when you insert a knife 1/3 of the way from the edge and it comes out clean. Remove from the water and let them cool before refrigerating.

To serve, run a small sharp knife around each ramekin (or baking pan) and/or fill a bowl or sink with very hot water and dip the bottom for about 10 seconds to loosen. Place a plate over each ramekin and in one motion, flip the ramekin over so that the caramel is on the top. Enjoy!

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My favorite place to have breakfast in Maui is at the Gazebo Restaurant at the Outrigger Napili Shores resort in Napili Bay (just above the bustling resort area of Ka’anapali). I first ate there almost 10 years ago when working for the travel industry and it is still as busy today as it was back then. According to TripAdvisor.com, the Gazebo Restaurant has been voted by travelers as #1 out of 125 restaurants in Lahaina. Wow, I am surprised that a breakfast and lunch place beat out numerous high-end dinner restaurants. What makes this place so popular? It is a combination of the oceanfront view (and a direct view of Moloka’i), generous portions, great pancakes, fast and friendly service and great prices – after all, in a place as expensive as Maui, a bargain is hard to find when it comes to dining out.

Let me warn you that no matter what time you arrive to eat, there will be a long line to get in but I’ve never waited any longer than 30 minutes (although I’ve heard some people waiting longer than an hour). If you go to Maui during whale season, you will most likely see whales and/or dolphins breaching while waiting in line. There is even a large bell that the hotel encourage that you ring to notify everyone else that you have spotted a whale. The hotel is also nice enough to provide a large urn of coffee for the hotel guests and people standing in line for the Gazebo free of charge. Hey but you’re on vacation so waiting shouldn’t be a huge deal right? If you hate waiting, bring a good book.


I love ordering the macadamia pancakes because they are so fluffy and they are very generous with the nuts. They also top the fluffy pancakes with a very light whipped butter and there are several syrups available to eat with the pancakes. This time I went to the restaurant with my mother and we decided to share a short stack of the macadamia, banana and pineapple pancakes (which is one large pancake with the three toppings placed on top) and a half-order of the fried rice and a large pineapple juice all for under $20. If we ordered full sizes, we would have been able to feed four people – not kidding. The fried rice was flavored lightly with soy sauce, onions, lots of black pepper and full of tasty meats – ham, Portuguese sausage, bacon and Spam, topped with some scrabbled egg and green onions (scallions), yum! The fried rice was very fulfilling and it was nice to have the sweet and salty together at breakfast.


Beware of the smart little sparrows though if you order the fried rice! They sit on the glass window panes above the tables and wait to attack your plate and according to the servers, the sparrows love to hone in on the eggs on top the fried rice. I was so surprised when a sparrow grabbed a large piece of egg (mid-air) and did it so quickly that I barely had time to react before the rest of the sparrow gang devoured it on the ground next to me. It was amazing! Never in my life have I seen such smart little birdies…see, even they like the breakfasts there.


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Even before I wrote a paper on eggs, I have always adored eggs. Eggs are truly the ultimate fast food complete with its own packaging. A single boiled egg is “cheap as chips” and has been a savior for me many times when I was running a little late to work and didn’t have time for breakfast – a dash of salt & pepper and a cup of coffee gave me instant low-GI protein and prevented me from passing out until lunch.

My lovely neighbor Sue worked with someone who owned several hundred chickens (we call them chooks in Australia) and sold them for a mere $3.00/dozen for free range eggs which is an absolute bargain considering some of the free-range eggs are up to $6.50/dozen. They were delivered to me fort-nightly and I really enjoyed knowing who my supplier was. Sadly those egg supplies have stopped as the woman sold her entire flock to someone else. 😦

Eggs for me are definitely an item that I do not skimp on. I will pay the extra money to buy the best eggs available in the market. Recently I watched a food program that featured a chicken farmer explaining the difference between caged eggs versus free range and he said that if you were blind-folded, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference and that the reason why you pay more for free range is for animal welfare. I am not sure that I believe that fully because eggs taste different depending on the feed that they are given and surely their high stress level can’t be good for the eggs they produce. Regardless, I feel happier knowing that the chooks that laid my eggs were not stressed out in a battery hen factory.

Here in SA, we have a few suppliers of free-range eggs and Fryar’s Kangaroo Island Free Range Eggs on Kangaroo Island and Rosie’s Free Range Eggs from Eudunda in the Barossa Valley (the most famous wine growing region in Australia) are a couple of producers that I purchase and we are lucky to have such a wealth of produce here. I love opening a carton of eggs and occasionally finding a small feather or even chicken poo on the egg – I don’t know, it makes it much more authentic to me. In the states, unless close to farms, so many commercially produced food products are so sterile that chicken poo or feathers would probably be totally frowned upon!

It is interesting that nearly all eggs produced here are brown in color and nearly all eggs in the USA are white. Brown eggs are more pricey in the states and often sold as fertile but the main difference in color just has to do with the variety of chickens that lays the eggs. I guess that’s another “cultural” difference that I have noticed.

My first experience of the natural “Easter” colored eggs was at Chez Panisse where I saw a large bowl full of these pastel blue, green and pink eggs. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them because I couldn’t believe that they were natural and they were so exotic to me. Since then, I have tried to learn as much as I can about chicken breeds and egg varieties (but by no means am I an expert). One of the chicken breeds that lays blue eggs is called the Araucana and can trace its bloodline from two rare South American breeds – Collonca and Quetero.

If you ever have a chance to go to England, head to either Sainsbury, ASDA or Waitrose grocery stores and look for Clarence Court Free Range Eggs that specialize in rare breeds. Their “Old Cotswold Legbar” lays eggs in a variety of beautiful pastel colors including, turquoise, blue, olive, pink, peach and eau-de-nil. They are producing doing duck, goose, pheasant, quail and Ostrich eggs as well! Just beware, if you purchase an ostrich egg, it is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs!

Eggs may seem like plain old breakfast food for some but it is pretty divine to have a truffle-scented omelet with a salad and a glass of champagne or a rich crème caramel!

Ostrich & Emu eggs for sale in Barcelona

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