Thermos Scrambled Eggs

May 17, 2013

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 eggsย 

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.

6 eggs
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).

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  • Reply donald May 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

    *takes a bow* ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Very modest, Donald

  • Reply Food Urchin May 17, 2013 at 10:20 am


    (Maybe on the vomit comet on the way home tonight)

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

      I knew this would be up your strasse, Danny. I think the night bus would totally appreciate your efforts. I must say I am now thinking about what else can be cooked in a Thermos on a train.

  • Reply Alicia (foodycat) May 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Magnificent effort! I love that you packed garnishes.

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Hell yeah! If something is worth doing…

  • Reply Lizzie May 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

    WOW. that is some seriously impressive dedication! Did you have to do the washing up in the loos?

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Washing up? Pah! I laugh in the face of washing up (we packed everything into the nifty picnic rucksack and took it with us)

  • Reply donald May 17, 2013 at 10:26 am

    the great thing about cooking it in the bag is that you just throw the bag away… minimal washing up there

  • Reply Mise En Place May 17, 2013 at 10:26 am

    That is Gangster!

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 10:26 am


  • Reply Chris Pople May 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

    We were in Coach H, actually.

    I just don’t want anyone labouring under the misapprehension we travel anything other than first class.

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Too bloody right!! H for ‘hahahahahhaah my breakfast is so much better than yours’

  • Reply Shed May 17, 2013 at 11:01 am


    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

      You may as well just set up some kind of automated comment system – much easier ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply Shed May 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I can’t help it that when I type ‘Helen and Donald are brilliant’ it autocorrects to ‘knobs’.

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 11:26 am

      HAHAHAHHAHA (auto correct is er, correct)

  • Reply Tara (aka Craftilicious) May 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

    You must get different trains to me – I get the evil eye if I even open an M&S salad box on a train! Love the idea of portable eggs though.

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Well, a table is obviously essential. Oh and we did pay a fiver to upgrade to first class ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yep, total tossers.

  • Reply Kerry May 17, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Also love train picnics – this scares me a little but I may have to try it the next time I have a long morning train!

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Do it! Live on the edge!!

  • Reply siepert May 17, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Spoke to Donald about this the other week: Have you had a look at sous vide desserts yet? Found this post about Crรจme Anglaise/Brulรฉe recently and it makes a lot of sense (well, it made a lot of sense before I googletranslated it for you):

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      Oooh no not yet. That link isn’t working can you post again?

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      And now of course it IS working. Very interesting! We need to dust off the sous vide actually,it’s been at least a month since I used it and I am defiantly not one of those people who will let it sit in the corner unused.

  • Reply Catherine Edwards May 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    You. Are. A. Legend. That is so impressive, garnish and all, and pre-toated sour dough. Love it!

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Ha ha, cheers. Incidentally I think it’s important to use a good sturdy bread like sour dough that won’t mind hanging around for a couple of hours once toasted.

  • Reply Nickie C May 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    This is one of the most pretentious things I’ve ever seen.

    I love it so much.

    I hope someone was wearing Harris tweed!

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      Ha! Sadly not. More Topshop I’m afraid. Sorry to shatter the dream.

  • Reply Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) May 17, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Great idea for camping or any sort of long journey ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Roger May 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    A search on youtube on thermos cooking will lead to load of different recipes, e.g.

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      What, you mean, people have done this BEFORE?! I’m not having any of it.

  • Reply Russ May 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    MacGyver Eggs! Actually that sounds a bit wrong…

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      No duct tape required…

  • Reply Explody Full May 17, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    hahhah I love this sounds like fun! when I read ‘Train picnic’ I immediately though of those delicious bentos you get in Japan. This looks just as good.

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 17, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Hmm yes *slightly* different

  • Reply Clare May 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Hmm I don’t have the kit for eggs on the train, however I am heading to Bristol tomorrow for a weekend away. Any tips on where to go for drinks/dinner/breakfast/lunch? Thank you.

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

      I have been to a great restaurant and bar er, let me find out and get back to you! Ooh try the Grillstock BBQ restaurant though.

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 18, 2013 at 9:08 am

      Clare, the restaurant is called Source.

  • Reply msmarmitelover May 18, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Love this sort of thing. I remember having some sort of half baked plan to do a car engine cook off with Browners and other bloggers!
    Hmm sous vide in the water tank?

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Yes! Browners loves that kind of stuff. Dishwasher salmon sticks in my mind!

  • Reply Kavey May 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Ha, love it. TOTAL dedication and on a train, no less.
    I have some of the ham too, bloody good stuff, shall post about it soon.
    Did you ever see my omelettes in the sandwich maker?

    • Helen
      Reply Helen May 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      I’ve not but I shall take a look. Although, why would you need to cook it in the sandwich maker if you’re already in a kitchen? Just for fun I’m guessing?

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