Egg, a culinary exploration of the world's most versatile ingredient

Wednesday 26 November 2014

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There is nothing I like more than a new cookbook and I was really pleased to receive this latest one for review.  It is entitled Egg, a culinary exploration of the worlds most versatile ingredient, and is written by Michael Ruhlman, with photographs by Donna Turner Ruhlman, and is published by Jacqui Small.

A James Beard Award-winning author, Michael Ruhlman explains why the egg is the key to the craft of cooking.

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For culinary wizard Ruhlman, the question is not whether the chicken or the egg came first; it's how anything could be accomplished in the kitchen without the magic of the everyday egg.

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In this ground breaking book, he explains how to make perfect poached and scrambled eggs and builds up to recipes for brioche and souffles.

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Readers learn how to make their own mayonnaise, custards, quiches and cakes, mastering foods from sweet to savoury, from light as air meringues to hearty bread and homemade pasta.

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More than 100 recipes are grouped by technique and range from simple (Egg salad with Tarragon and Chives) to the sophisticated (Seafood Roulade with Scallops and Crab.)

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Multiple photographs guide the reader through this extraordinary journey which unlocks the secrets of the egg for the home cook.

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Also included is a removable four-colour poster of Ruhlman's innovative flowchart, showcasing the wide range of techniques and recipes that rely on the egg.

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This a unique framework which begins with the whole egg at the top and branches out to describe its many uses and preparations -- boiled, pressure-cooked, poached, fried, coddled, separated, worked into batters and doughs, and more.  

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This book is beautiful and chock full of useful information that the recipes almost seem superfluous. His method for making hard boiled eggs gave perfect results.  It truly is a gorgeous book and I know that I will refer to it often.

As you know I always like to try out a recipe in the books I show you because I believe that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  This time I chose  Creme Brulee with excellent results!

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*Creme Brulee*
Serves 4

A delicious recipe adapted from the recipe in "Egg" by Michael Ruhlman. 

240ml of milk (1 cup plus 1 tsp)
240ml double cream (1 cup plus 1 tsp)
pinch salt
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
100g plus 50g caster sugar (1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup)
8 egg yolks 

Preheat the oven to 150*C/300*F/gas mark 2/  Place four 120 to 150 ml  (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup) ramekins in a large roasting tin and fill the pan so that the water comes up 3/4 of the way of the sides of the ramekins.  Remove the ramekins and place the tin of water in the oven. 

Combine the milk, cream, salt and vanilla pod in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.  Remove from the heat and let the pod steep for 15 minutes.   With a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the pod into the milk/cream mixture.  (Put the empty pod i your sugar bowl or bag to gently infuse the sugar.) 

Combine the 100g (1/2 cup) of the sugar and the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds or so.  This will help the sugar begin to dissolve and will also help the egg to cook more evenly.  Slowly pour the cream mixture into the uolks, while whisking constantly. 

Pour the custard into the ramekins.  Cover each with a piece of parchmet paper, followed by foil and put them in the water bath.  Cook the custards until just set, about 30 minutes.   Uncover them and allow to cool.  (If you plan on using them the next day, cover them again once cold and refrigerate them; remove from the refrigerator for several hours prior to serving to allow them to come to room temperature.) 

Top each custard with enough of the remaining 50g (1/4 cup) of sugar to coate the entire surface and pour off any excess.  With a blow torch, heat the sugar until it melts, bubbles and caramelizes.  When it is cool, the browned sugar should create a delicate crust.  Serve immediately.

If you have a keen foodie on your Christmas list, this book would make a lovely gift.

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Michael Ruhlman started writing about the lives of chefs twenty yeras ago, and he soon became interested in training as a chef himself.   His groundbreaking and successful food reference books include The Book of Schmaltz, Ruhlman's Twenty, Ratio, The Elements of Cooking and Charcuterie (with Brian Polycyn), and he co-wrote Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home and Bouchon cookbooks.  He lives in Cleveland, USA, with his wife, Donna Turner Ruhlman, who has done the photography for many of his books and is the sole photographer for his blog,

A Culinary Explortion of the
World's Most Versatile Ingredient
by Michael Ruhlman
ISBN 978-1-909342-85-9
Hardback 236 pages
colour photographs
UK £25.00
Published by Jacqui Small Llp

Note - although I was sent a book for review for free, any and all opinions are my own.


  1. I just love the title of this book, I may have to search this one out. I love eggs and they are a definite staple! Great review Marie x

  2. The photo of your well as the CB..are stellar!

  3. Looks like a fab book, your creme brûlée looks divine x

  4. Thank you Nicole, Monique and Charlene! It really is a lovely book! xxoo


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