Random recipes #22 : Picnic Eggs

After the horror that was October’s Random Recipe, I was a bit wary of taking part this month. But considering we were having a quiet weekend at home (apart from shrieking at Downton Abbey), I figured I could cope with another disaster. Then I opened page 38 of ‘250 Ways To Serve Eggs’ – sample recipes: Egg And Liver Ring, Egg And Liver Salad, Pickled Eggs – and nearly passed out.

This book is one of my most recent acquisitions and, dodgy recipes aside, I am very proud of it. I bought it, along with its 23 companion volumes, for a dollar (thanks, Trade Me!) about two months ago. These books are edited by the Culinary Arts Institute and they are a fantastic snapshot of American food culture in the 1960s and 70s. There’s not even a whiff of social change in these pages – it’s all about ways to show “the alert homemaker” how she can “add interest and delight to the family menu”. Some of the recipes are hideous – Body Building Recipes For Children is especially revolting – but there are some surprisingly good things too. Like this recipe for Picnic Eggs, which I turned to after I recovered from reading p38.

Picnic Eggs
Did you know that if you Google ‘how to boil an egg’ nearly 11 million results come up? How did people learn these things before the internet, do you think? I wish the cooks at my high school had been able to access it – the hardboiled eggs they made were cooked for so long the yolks had turned to dusty grey powder and the whites nearly bounced.
There’s a great method here – from a Le Cordon Bleu chef, no less – but his egg still looks a little dry for my liking. I used a Ruth Pretty method when cooking these eggs – bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt, then add the eggs, one at a time. Lower the heat so the water isn’t boiling so ferociously, then cook for eight minutes exactly. Drain the eggs, bash the shells a bit in the pot and leave under cold running water until cool enough to handle so you can shell them. This gives you eggs with perfectly soft-but-not-runny yolks.

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved lengthways
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
a pinch of cayenne pepper (Togarashi Shimchi would be nice here too)
1 tsp vinegar
1 Tbsp very soft butter

Gently remove the yolks from the eggs and put them, along with all the other ingredients, in a small bowl. Mash together until smooth, then spoon this mixture back into the whites. Either serve immediately, or, if going on a picnic, press the halves back together and wrap carefully in greaseproof paper (twist each end so it looks like a giant sweet). Coriander flowers look sweet (and taste good) as a decorative touch.

For more about Random Recipes, you need to see the nice man at Belleau Kitchen. For more fun with eggs, you can have a bit of fun playing spot the difference between a boiled egg and Heston Blumenthal.

How do you cook boiled eggs? And have you ever seen volume 25 of the Culinary Arts Institute series, 500 Ways With Cocktails? I am desperate to complete my set…



  1. November 25, 2012 / 6:32 pm

    I'd have loved to see your face when you found the egg and liver stuff – ha ha ha! This egg recipe sounds very like something my mum used to do in the 70s. Cayenne pepper was very popular! I like your egg boiling recipe, I've never bashed the shells before running the cold water, must try that.

  2. November 25, 2012 / 6:49 pm

    Have never seen anyone make an egg look so attractive, I take my hat off to you. I am also sad to report I can remember these and have made then in years gone by.

  3. November 26, 2012 / 5:02 am

    those eggs look delicious – i love eggs of any kind.
    i'm reading a books from my mum's collection at the moment and it is 1970s and aimed at young wives cooking, entertaining, budgeting and running a household for the first time. reading it now, it's hilarious, because it's so well intentioned.
    another from the 80s had "children friendly meals" and it featured cannelloni made from sheeps' brains and chicken livers. !! hmmm, i wonder why there aren't more recipes like that these days?!
    i'm going to have to write about these wonders soon – once i stop laughing.

  4. November 26, 2012 / 5:09 am

    PS – i put eggs in a saucepan of cold water; bring to boil; then reduce to a simmer; cook for around 3 to 3 and a half minutes (dependign on the size of the egg, which varies as mine are from my mothers chickens and they are not uniform). i like a soft or just set egg if eating warm.

  5. November 26, 2012 / 9:13 am

    … ever so slightly bonkers Lucy from The KitchenMaid may be the way I introduce you this month… that is the prettiest looking boiled egg ever… if they were handing out prizes… thank you so much for entry this month

  6. November 27, 2012 / 5:09 pm

    Hehehehe! I ALWAYS have fun when I come here, it's like a home away from home! GREAT post and I KNOW those eggs, although yours look TRES JOLI! FAB RR post darlink Lucy – did you get my 2nd email by the way? Karen xxx

  7. November 29, 2012 / 2:18 pm

    What a pretty little tart of an egg! All dressed up and only one place to go! So glad you passed on the Egg and Liver combo anything! Blecch!

    What a sport you are with these RR posts!

  8. November 30, 2012 / 8:23 pm

    What an awesome collection of vintage books! The picture of the finished dish is so cute too – and I certainly breathed a sigh of relief to see that you'd bypassed the liver… a lucky escape!

  9. December 2, 2012 / 10:47 pm

    Fine looking eggs. I'm slightly scared by how interesting I find vintage recipe books from the 50s and 60s these days. I think I may finally be losing the plot. I'm off to get some liver.

  10. December 3, 2012 / 12:38 pm

    Picnic eggs! Well, I never! We make these all the time and they especially make an appearance at our Christmas Eve dinner of all appetizers – with Champagne, naturally – but we call them deviled eggs. Sometimes I even add a bit of curry powder and we use mayonnaise in place of the butter.

    I love the little coriander flowers for garnish! Just beautiful!

  11. December 11, 2012 / 7:03 am

    Oh the food from the 60s & 70s….such a joy! But yes look cute & delicious 🙂

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