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Pickled Eggs

Facebook post 11 Oct 2016.

Today’s venture – pickled eggs. Hard-boiled in 8 minutes, shelled, then put in a jar of distilled vinegar with ½ a teaspoon of salt. Sealed, they sit for a day or two before opening, but once the jar is open it should go in the fridge. Just had my first one with a doorstep-sized slice of bread with butter and a cup of tea, the whole lot costs 33p.

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Recalls experiences of occasionally trying the suspicious-looking pickled eggs that sit behind pub bars. Mine definitely tasted better! I think the best use would be sliced with a salad though.

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The distilled vinegar (or ‘spirit’) has a sharp, sour taste – white wine vinegar (which Jack recommends) has a more complex flavour, being literally white wine that has acidified. I prefer the tang of distilled vinegar rather than the ‘vinegary’ taste of wine and other fermented vinegars.

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Nutella addicts’ substitute

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Addicted to Nutella? Someone at work mentioned that during the war people made a cheap chocolate spread from condensed milk and cocoa powder. Tried it – a couple of teaspoons of cocoa mixed with a tin of condensed milk – and it works! It also tastes surprisingly like Nutella, which makes one realise that it’s the sugar (57% in Nutella) and chocolate that’s the addictive bit, not the nuts particularly.

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Homemade v. the other.

Nutella costs something between 50p and 75p per 100g. A Tesco tin of sweetened condensed milk is £1 for 400g and cocoa powder is £1.99 for 250g, but the latter lasts a long time as only used in small amounts. Estimated cost per 100g of spread … 28p, half the price of Nutella.

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The jar is 58% sugar and 30% fat and oil, plus some milk solids, cocoa, lecithin (a smoothing/thickening agent) and synthetic vanilla flavouring. The ingredients label states “13% HAZELNUT” in bold, not mentioning that hazelnuts themselves are 60% fat and oil. For ‘health’ one would do better eating a handful of real nuts, drinking a glass of milk and going for a walk.

Nutella‘s reputation has been struggling recently due to the palm oil content. Palm oil plantations are one of the biggest causes of deforestation globally and it may also be carcinogenic when heated. The first claim is incorrect – Nutella use only oil from sustainably-managed plantations and the company has been praised by Greenpeace for its environmental work. Carcinogenic? Possibly, but nothing compared to a charred burger at a garden barbecue or the alcohol and chemicals in a bottle of wine. The claims are wholly disproportionate.

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After multiple taste tests, I actually preferred my own version. A small pot kept in the fridge comes in very handy for those ‘craving-something-sweet’ moments or a quick fix when looking for something to put on a slice of bread. Enjoyed experimenting with this, but I don’t think chocolate spread is going to be a big part of my future diet, having seen the amount of sugar one is casually consuming.