(for Dave who is running around like a headless chicken setting up his show)
I am sure that every family has a hybridised recipe using these exact same ingredients, but this is ours, and it comes from my Granny Scraggs*. She and my mum have made it a signature dish in our family, ensuring that it will run through generations to come.
When we were small, this was what we ate for tea most often, when the four of us had been out playing too late or were overtired and not up for much else. Nevertheless, it always elicited squeals of excitement, usually preceded by a race down to Gran’s henhouse to collect the star ingredients.
Did everyone have those enormous china tea cups at the back of the kitchen cupboard, that no-one ever seemed to drink tea out of? Well, as far as we were concerned, they had this one extremely important purpose. Even now, using a substitute, a bowl, feels like cheating…
I have altered the volumes, for grown-ups (and I suppose the more responsible adults might want to use brown bread, which works too). It all depends on your appetite.
For a very quick and easy supper, you need
2 slices of soft white bread
Lightly salted butter, out of the fridge for a bit
Salt and pepper
Put the eggs in a pan of boiling water and cook for four and a half minutes or so. Meanwhile, butter your bread - if it tears, then all the better - fold in half and rip apart into chunks, about bite-sized. Place the bread in a wide cup (a bowl is more practical I suppose, but far less fun), then once the eggs are ready, take their lids off and scoop out the soft-boiled egg with a teaspoon, into the cup. Mash up all together with a fork, adding salt and pepper to taste.
You get lots of different bites in this cup, some yolky, some buttery. I would have thought that you could add Marmite, Tabasco, bits of cooked bacon, to your liking, but it is wonderful as it is – an enormous hug – in a cup.
* so-named after the place she lives rather than her lovely Christian name (I am responsible), and who makes the best fish pie in the world.