I have become rather partial to a ‘train picnic’. Everything is more exciting when there’s a meal involved and train travel is no exception. Obviously I’m not talking about the shite they sell in the buffet car (gin in a can obviously excepted), but a carry on home made effort. Nowadays I look forward to these picnics as much as I do reaching my destination which was, in this case, Bristol.
The picture above shows what we decided to call breakfast. The Joselito ham was pretty special (if it’s good enough for Ferran Adria it’s good enough for me); the gran reserva in particular had fat packing the kind of complex flavour which makes heart disease seem like quite an appealing option if this is the way to go about acquiring it. We also ate a banon goats’ cheese that tasted stunning but totally honked (sorry coach C), all washed down with beer. What do you mean cheese and beer aren’t for breakfast? Pffft. But what about the eggs? We couldn’t have a full breakfast without eggs. Thankfully Mr. Egg Obsessive had thought about this the night before.
Could we scramble them in a Thermos flask? Only one way to find out. A vac pack bag was first filled with a silly amount of butter because that, as any good egg scrambler knows, is an essential foundation. Six eggs were beaten, seasoned highly and poured into the bag, before it was sealed using my nifty vacuum sealing machine (I think a good quality sandwich bag may suffice if you’ve not yet signed up to the Food Tosserati).
Smear the bag with butter…
Add the eggs
Into the flask (a thermometer is useful)
The cooked eggs looking very appealing in their bag
The Thermos was filled with boiling water at 7.30am, and then topped up from the train buffet car at around 9.15. In went the eggy bag (a messy business best done away from your seat for the obvious reason of water displacement) for 20 minutes, which we thought would be long enough to cook them. It wasn’t. Another top up and a further 20 minutes however and they were good to go. In fact, the were really rather fine. I was half expecting the kind of solid yellow lump one finds lurking under the polystyrene lid of a Maccy D’s breakfast (serves you right for not ordering the sausage and egg Mcmuffin) but what came out was soft, loose and genuinely well cooked.
A pretty good result, considering
Having been optimistic from the get go, we’d packed chives to garnish, extra black pepper and a packet of really rather good smoked salmon, which had been sent, fittingly, as part of a ‘Best of Bristol’ food hamper (from The Valley Smoke House). We scarfed the lot with a slice of (pre-toasted) sourdough.
That is how to make a train journey fly by. We were full of very good things, slightly drunk and had mastered the art of guerilla scrambling. Not bad for a morning’s work.
Thermos Scrambled Eggs Recipe
Let’s face it, the results here are going to be highly variable. You all know what eggs look like when they’re cooked, right? If you’re going to be making scrambled eggs in a Thermos flask on a train, then I’m guessing you’re not too hung up on health and safety issues anyway.
Salt and pepper
Some kind of bag for sealing the egg mixture
A Thermos flask full of boiling water
Fill the flask with boiling water before you get on the train. We waited an hour and a half before we put the eggs in to cook.
Put an indecent amount of butter in the bag. Beat the eggs, season them well and tip them into the bag also. Seal the bag with whatever means you have. Obviously if you don’t have a vacuum sealer (what? Really?), then you’re going to want to keep that bag upright.
It’s worth topping up the bag with extra boiling water on the train if you can. Lower the eggs in before you do this, to avoid getting water everywhere. After twenty minutes check the eggs and give them a smoosh about with your hands (scrambled, remember). We then topped up the water a second time and cooked the eggs for a further twenty minutes. As you can see from the thermometer, the temperature was around the 70C mark.
I can highly recommend washing it down with a ‘Fursty Ferret’ (that’s a beer).