Swiss Eggs. Aaaah, how just those two little words can carry me back in time to when I was a teenager living with my parents & brother near Epsom.
I can remember some "lunches of note" such as bacon & tomatoes on toast, cold roast chicken & sweetcorn relish sandwiches and cheese on pickle on toast. However none of them has the sheer power of a food memory that the Swiss Eggs do.
My memory fails me where the first taste of this lunchtime paragon is concerned, but I can well remember grating the cheese and filling the little dishes as my Mum breaks the eggs to go in them. Then she would add the little splosh of milk and I would do the sprinkling of Worcestershire sauce and pop the little knobs of butter on top.
Into the oven they went, while we toasted and buttered some bread and sat waiting for the oven to work its magic. As the twenty minutes passed, the smells of hot Worcestershire sauce were replaced by melting, baking cheese. Oooooh, the anticipation!
I went through all that again today, except in a different order as I was the Mum and son & heir was the progeny I was making them for. There is something beautifully cyclic about these types of cooking moments - moments that I can only hope that son & heir will carry forward to his family, as and when.
It has to have been some ten years or more since I last had Swiss Eggs. Hubby is egg sensitive, so I don't make them for him - and it seemed too much to fire up the oven just for me. Owing to the thermo nuclear temperature that the ramekins achieve, it has taken this long for me to trust son & heir's tender fingertips - and not least, his tongue - with the correct handling of one.
Today was the day - and, almost in celebration, I pushed the boat out a bit and substituted some cream for the milk. The cheddar was lovely Lake District Cheddar and the eggs free range. The anticipation was the same, as I sat in the kitchen appreciating the fragrances issuing from the oven, but even that was eclipsed by that first spoonful.
Oh dear god. Let it not be ten years before I make these again. They are, truly, divine.
SWISS EGGS (makes 1)
Enough grated cheddar to half fill a good sized ramekin
2 fresh eggs
a tablespoonful of cream (milk would do)
four spots of Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180degC(fan)/350degF/Gas4.
2. Place half the grated cheese into the bottom of a ramekin.
3. Crack the two eggs into the ramekin, on top of the cheese.
4. Cover the eggs with the remaining cheese.
5. Pour the cream (or milk) over and season with the pepper and four spots of Worcestershire sauce.
6. Place into the oven for 20 minutes, or until the eggs have risen and the cheese is bubbling.
7. Serve with buttered toast, in a quiet place, where you can be alone with your lunch - because you're not going to want to share it!