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Monday 25 October 2010

How to poach the perfect egg

If I'm out having breakfast, I want eggs benedict. No other type of eggs will do. Seriously, is there anything more perfect than buttery hollandaise mixed with gooey egg white? J'adore le oeufs. Or something. But here's the problem:

I can't poach eggs.

I don't know many people who can poach eggs. There's different methods, that work for some and not others. Sometimes involving vinegar, or creating a 'spinning vortex of water' but they're all a bit of a faff, aren't they? Often ending up with eggy soup. Even if they turn out OK, I've probably still got egg on the ceiling. You can buy Poachpods from Lakeland, and they work well, but I had a craving yesterday, so needed something immediate. Give me eggs!

I then found myself on this website. Who said you could poach them in clingfilm. No! Rubbish! I don't believe you! It looks too easy. And it is.

You'll need:
  • An egg
  • Whatever fancy things you want with your breakfast. I had wild mushrooms and bacon.
  • And a cup of tea. You definitely need one of those.
Make it!
  • Pop some clingfilm over a ramekin and break the egg into it, like this:
  • Tie up, and squish down the edges, so it looks like a little goldfish you used to win at the funfair.
  • Pop in a saucepan of bubbling water for three minutes and get on with making the rest of your breakfast. (UPDATE - If you're worried about this step, as long as the clingfilm doesn't melt, your eggs will be safe and tasty. Just keep the film away from the sides of the pan).
  • Open your little egg parcel (carefully, steam will come out) and pop on top of your breakfast.
  • Cut open with a knife and watch all the yummy yolk run out. Marvel at how perfect, feel rather pleased with yourself!
Now all I have to do is make the perfect hollandaise sauce and I'll never have to leave the house on a Sunday morning again...


  1. I used to work with silly boys who were convinced you could use this cling film method to poach eggs in a kettle. I never let them try it as I was certain something ridiculous would happen. I seemed to think the cling film would melt on the element and then everyone in the office would have to drink eggy tea. *If* it had worked it would have been a great way to have poached eggs for brekkie in the office without needing a hob. I'm still curious to try it, but might have to borrow a mate's kettle rather than faff about with my own x

  2. I can recommend the method in the Guardian's How to make the perfect poached egg article:

    I hadn't done one before, but followed this and it worked like a dream.

  3. I don't really see how 3 minutes plus faffing about with clingfilm is any faster than 4 minutes with the Poachpods. I think the poachpods are one of the best inventions ever :)

  4. Wrong wrong wrong you know there ars nasty chemicals in cling film that are released when it is heated, right?

  5. Lythan, I don't have a Poachpod and needed poached eggs immediately!

    And anon, clingfilms are usually pretty safe with a certain degree of heat (except if you're putting them in the oven). Most brands are even microwave safe, so some hot water should be just fine. And in this case, they didn't melt at all.

  6. Don't you have to use special non-carcinogen including cling film if you're going to heat it in direct contact with your food? Not sure if its just another cancer scare story or if there is any fact to it :( I proudly showed this to my Dad about a year ago and he told me it probably wasn't safe as a long term egg poaching plan. I did a sad face. I'd be joyful to be proved wrong though...? I do mine in a super easy microwave thing so they sit perfectly atop one of tesco's wonderful cheese english muffins. *drifts off into food related daydream*

  7. Oh. Yes stupid cancer myth then! Took too long to post. Stupid work getting in the way! ;)

  8. You are wasting your time trying to poach an egg from a shop, they are too old! You need super fresh eggs or if you don't have you own chickens, buy poachpods!

  9. Honestly, I don't know. If clingfilm causes cancer, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be allowed to use it anywhere. I was once told that microwaving coffee caused cancer too...

    I haven't died yet, so you should be just fine ;-)

    I don't see an issue of the clingfilm doesn't melt, and in this case it doesn't.

  10. But Jacqueline, it's not a waste of time! my eggs were from a shop, you can see from the photo how well they turned out!

  11. I just chuck mine in the bloody water. Granted this does cause some loss of the egg white, but if you swirl the water and then drop the egg in the centre from as close to the water as you can stand (use of a ladle recommeded here if you don't have asbestos hands) it forms lovely shaped poached eggs.
    The eggs in my local shop are from a farm about a mile away and so I can't imagine they take very long to get there - one day I will have my own chickens!!
    I'm thinking I may buy some little poachpods for added convenience, they look pretty nifty! You could in theory use any sort of silicone cooking container - e.g. muffin case, they have LOADS in poundland!

  12. Dad Cay once blew up our microwave whilst attempting to poach eggs in it. Don't ask me how he bloody did it, but it was quite amusing to the 7 year old me anyway.

    I have never been able to poach an egg properly. Although I would like to keep chickens in my back garden. Would anyone like to give me a pet chicken?

  13. This is a genius idea, will definitely be trying it out. Regardless of the 'cancer risks'.

    Frankly, if you believe the Daily Mail, EVEYTHING gives you cancer. May as well be a yummy poached egg.

  14. I'm sure that soon the Daily Mail will decide that, in fact, cling film cures cancer and we should all be eating it for breakfast.

    John Lewis does a version of the poach pods that are excellent and super convenient.

  15. I do apologise Siany, I thought you had the Poachpods and wanted something even quicker. I'd still go for them myself (well I have!)

  16. I really wasn't expected the craving to be quite that strong!

  17. that looks intensely fiddly. also, near perfect way to do it sans timer - boil water, insert egg, let it boil over.

  18. @ Sara - hehe!

    You can get clingfilm that is suitable for touching food, it's in pretty much every supermarket. I worked as a chef when I was younger and the bain of my life was when the chef put salad with a poached egg on, or haddock brandade that had a poached egg on top - misery!!

  19. I made this for lunch and it worked very well. I am not convinced of the cancer causing properties of the clingfilm. What about ready meals? Are they not plastic that is touching food? I seem to recall a Nigella cake recipe that had the loaf tin lined in clingfilm too.

  20. What about the white of the egg sticking to the cling film while the perfectly formed yolk plops out onto my toast??

    Anyway of getting around that?(happened this morning and was a bit of a faff scraping the whites off the clingfilm!)

  21. To keep the egg from sticking to the cling wrap try misting the wrap with cooking spray (or rubbing a bit of olive oil on) before dropping in the egg. Mine stuck horribly before, but then I made sure any part of the cling wrap coming into contact with the cling wrap was oiled and it came out perfectly.


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