taster night: beetroot pickled eggs

I know, beetroot pickled eggs, it’ll either really butter your muffin or make you gag. But we get asked a lot for snack ideas and also what kind of things we eat at home outside of mealtimes, and well, Paul deemed it unseemly that I keep answering with ‘willies’. Plus, thanks to my mum and dad and their six chickens, I get a quarter-tonne of eggs every week, so here we are. Before we get started, though…

Our Musclefood deal runs for only two more days and judging by the amount of orders, this is one deal that’s proving very popular – but don’t wait – 10% off our already amazing value freezer box! It’s a delivered chilled box of wonder – with 24/26 big fat chicken breasts, 800g of extra lean beef chunks, 2kg of extra lean beef mince and lots and lots of bacon. It’s usually £50 – which is cheap when compared to what you’d pay in the shop – but we’ve knocked off 10% for ONE WEEK ONLY. This brings it down to £45 – the cheapest it has ever been. Remember you can choose the date of delivery and payment doesn’t come out until your chosen date, so you can order in advance. To order, just click this link, add to basket, add the code TCCFREEZER and choose standard delivery – £45! Easy! But this is for ONE WEEK ONLY.

Growing up we had chickens when I was a wee’un but they mysteriously went to live on a farm when we moved house. What was even more weird was the fact we had roast chicken for dinner eight nights on the trot and I remember the meat being particular succulent, but I suppose that’ll have been the tears splashing down on it.

Thinking back, we’ve had quite the menagerie – our first pet was a giant rough long-hair collie called Shannon who I have two single memories of – one of our cousins came to stay for the summer and, whilst walking up the lane to our house, was met with the sight of a dog twice as big as her who tumbled her over and bit her on the arm. Ooops. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds, we added a bit of Listerine into the dog’s water and he was fine. I jest I jest. The other memory is a sad one though (sob) – poor Shannon got loose into the back fields and suffered a nasty chemical burn and was put down. What can I say, living in Bhopal was tough. Nah, it was some weird pesticide, the poor bugger.

We had cats a-plenty – Smokey with the loudest purr who lived a happy life until he decided that the A69 at rush hour was an appropriate place to stop and lick his balls. There was Cleo (went missing) and Tabitha (attacked by foxes). Listen, we grew up in the countryside, these were hard cats but nature always prevails. We did manage to have two cats make it to dotage though, thankfully, despite the efforts of God himself. Salem was my favourite as he was quite genuinely the laziest cat as could be. He had masses of long black hair (hence Salem) and would never clean himself, which, when combined with his tendency to download his Whiskas all over the place without bothering to see if had tangled into the hair on the back of his legs, meant many a fun evening for my mum and the cat hairbrush. She used to throw half a cat’s worth of matted poo-hair onto the coal fire and Christ, you’ve never smelled anything like it in your life. Even now if I take a deep breath I can still smell it.

Speaking of cat-fires, I was watching a film one night when a spark from a crackling log leapt out of the fire and nestled neatly on the cat’s flank. By the time I’d untangled myself from my blanket and leapt as only a fat man can do from the sofa, there was quite a considerable amount of smoke rising from him. Just as I bounded over he rose to his feet more akin to a cat stretching on a summer’s day and barely looked bothered as I beat his sides to extinguish the fire. He had the same expression as I lowered him into a cold bath to ensure he hadn’t been burnt. He had a great life mind, as all countryside cats do, and died at 15, buried in the garden for ever more. I reckon by now he’s nothing more than bones and a few giant clumps of matted poo-hair.

Salem was joined by Misty a little into his life, and she was an entirely unremarkable but lovely cat who spent most of the time outside, deigning only to visit us when she was hungry, when she was cold or, once, alarmingly, when she was pregnant. We had no idea she was up the cat-duff and it was only when a load of tiny squeaking started up behind an armchair that we realised she was having kittens, and even that was after ten minutes of my dad trying to adjust the telly because he thought the sound on You Bet was playing up. She also lived a long and happy life and padded off around 14 years.

Shannon the dog was replaced by Bracken, who was a discarded greyhound who leapt into my mum’s car on her way back from the Spar shop. We tried giving him away to a farm (he was too athletic to be a house-dog) but apparently the nicotine withdrawals from not passively-chain-smoking 40 Lambert and Butlers a day meant he had to come back. I’ve never seen a dog with a yellow fringe before. Oh christ before I get the RSPCA on the phone (although let’s be honest, they’d only be ringing to ask me to donate to their new director’s Bentley fund), the dog was given away and finished out his days running around chasing chickens. That’s not even a fib I was told to make me feel better, he went to the farm a few doors down!

Bracken was replaced by Oscar, a ginger border collie who was thick as mince and the bane of my life (though I loved him dearly). When I used to take him for walks over the fields and let him off, he’d immediately turn around and belt for home. Every. Single. Time. This would invariably lead to me trying to run (bear in mind I’m fat) after him and catching him just the moment before my ankles snapped. He did calm down a bit and could be trusted to run on his own after a while, but as soon as he heard one of the many bird-scarers go off in the fields away he’d be again, destined for home. It’s a wonder I was so fat as a kid given I spent so much time chasing him.

He wasn’t just dense outside the home, either, oh no. He used to try and shag Salem, the aforementioned tom-cat, who would be wearing the same non-plussed expression noted above even when he had a 20kg dog thrusting its lipstick up and down his back, smearing his back like a slug. My parents thought it was horrible but looking back, what a terribly progressive household we had. I should start a Tumblr about it.

My favourite memory of Oscar was something he did all through his life, though – we would let him out into the garden for a poo, and, after ten minutes of turning around, sniffing, shaking and finally doing that thousand-yard-stare-whilst-defecating, he’d crimp one off. He’d then go absolutely bloody manic, hurtling back into the house and round and round the sofa, almost literally running along the walls like a motorcyclist in a Wall of Death, with the biggest dog-grin you can imagine. I don’t know whether it was sheer relief at passing a stool he was feeling, but Christ, my mother was feeding him Pedigree Chum, not ball-bearings and cement. He did that up until the date of his death at 15, where the poor little bugger had a heart-attack on my parent’s bathroom floor.

To be fair, I grew up walking into the bathroom after my parents, I’m not surprised he had a bloody heart-attack.

Naturally, we had a range of hamsters (Boris, Truffles, Snowy, then we stopped naming them as they invariably escaped and disappeared into the walls) and rabbits. We used to build massive runs for the hamster from Lego until one hamster started filling his cheeks with Lego bricks which put paid to any future construction. Hell, if it hadn’t been for that hamster I could have been the next Frank Gehry. Still, if ifs and buts were sweets and nuts, we’d all have a lot to eat.

Which, after that colossal diversion, brings up back to the pickled eggs. Remember, even if you’re not a fan of pickled eggs, you can make these a week before and take them to taster night where everyone will ooh and aaah whilst shoving the free food in their mouths with giant meat-hands. It’s quite difficult to make a pickled egg look alluring in a photo, so I’ve made it into an open sandwich here. Gives you an idea of something to make for a light snack – take your HEB of bread, some sliced ham, cottage cheese, cress and two pickled eggs, and enjoy.

pickled beetroot eggs

to make beetroot pickled eggs, you’ll need:

  • 12 eggs (or really, as many as you like)
  • a jar of pickling vinegar (I use the Sarson’s malt pickling vinegar you can buy, the big 1 litre jar, as you can then use the jar afterwards)
  • a pack of cooked beetroot – the vacuum packed ones that still have a lot of juice in them
  • a pinch of black peppercorns
  • a tablespoon of sugar (3 syns – but – this is between 12 eggs and the sugar goes into the vinegar, so you won’t be eating it all, and anyway, are you really going to sit and eat 12 eggs? If so, quarter of a syn per egg)
  • a star anise, if you have one sitting about

to make beetroot pickled eggs, you should:

  • hard boil your eggs – normally about 12 minutes for me but do your research
  • peel and put them into cold water
  • heat up all the vinegar in a pan with the peppercorn, star anise and sugar
  • add the juice from the beetroot packet into the vinegar and then grate one of the beetroots into the pan (oooh, messy!)
  • heat it everything through
  • put the eggs into your jar and, once it has cooled a little, pour over the vinegar mix – you want the eggs to be able to move around a little to make sure they’re not touching each other
  • lid on nice and tight and into the fridge – these seem to keep for ages but take about three days to get that deep purple

They taste lovely – a little like beetroot but with the tang of vinegar. Easy! Also, a good way of using up eggs!

If you want more taster ideas, click on the link below and rejoice!


Cheers now. All the best.


PS: fair warning, these eggs will make your farts be immediately upgraded from the subtle duck-lifting-weights category to full-on arse-shredders. If you smoke, for fuck’s sake make sure you light up outside.