Looking for something in a kitchen cupboard the other day, I found my egg coddler. What on earth, some of you may ask, is an egg coddler? It is basically a porcelain cup with a lid used to prepare, surprise surprise, coddled eggs. The coddler is buttered, then the eggs added, with seasonings as desired. The lid is then screwed on tightly and immersed in boiling water for about ten minutes (you need to experiment so you get the consistency you like). The coddler is then carefully lifted from the boiling water, the lid removed, and the eggs are served.
I was given my egg coddler by my older brother when I was a child. It is made by Royal Worcester, which I read somewhere claim to have invented in the 19th century. I honestly could not remember when I had last used it, so after a good scrub (it has been in its cardboard box for years, I tried it out again.
Royal Worcester egg coddler
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the result, a sort of cross between a boiled egg, poached egg and I guess a baked egg. I just cooked a plain one this time, but could imagine it would be really good topped with a little ham or cooked mushrooms.
A coddled egg
What did I eat with it? Sticking with the nostalgia theme, I had some toast topped with patum pepperum, also known as Gentelman’s Relish. Another 19th century creation, this is a type of anchovy paste that needs to be spread very thinly, ideally I think, on warm, white buttered toast. It has a strong and very salty taste as you might imagine for something made of anchovies.
The Gentelman’s Relish
My father, and the same brother who gave me the coddler, loved this, and there always seemed to be some around, or so it seemed to me. Unfortunately, I had no white bread, so spread some on spelt and flaxseed toasted bread, which is almost the same colour as the paste.
Toast and patum pepperum – honestly
This too was highly enjoyable, and my nostalgic lunch did not disappoint. The egg coddler will not lie dormant any more.