I’m lying in bed, early in the morning with the first rays of, what promises to be, a very sunny day. A cockerel crows and I’m reminded that I’m in France, spending another day in the local markets and sunning by the pool. Ummm No. I’m at home, its 3am and the local cockerel doesn’t understand it’s not time to get up! Keeping chickens is becoming increasingly popular but, surely it’s all about the eggs? So why the redundant cockerel?
Years ago the eldest Glam Teen had pet chickens which he showed at Agricultural Fairs around the country; A strutting male bird was definitely essential to the competition flock. Now, there’s a certain amount of nagging for some form of farm animal – pigs, goats, chickens – potentially turning the garden into a smallholding. How do you look after a pig?
As I’m out and about, I often see signs for Free Range Eggs. Fresh, straight from the hens to you, not sitting on shelves for days getting stale, making possible all those wonderful dishes from souffles and clafoutis to cakes and fluffy meringues. These are little magic bombs that allow so much chemistry in the kitchen.
Luckily, several of my neighbours keep chickens and are very generous with eggs. I’m not sure about the good life, but after chatting with a friend about keeping hens, it doesn’t seem that hard and they don’t have to take up much room in the garden. The biggest decisions for me would be: a matching flock or one of each variety? A cute wooden hen house with cut-out hearts or a sleek contemporary Eglu, curved and brightly coloured?
There are a few more considerations like who will look after them when you’re on holiday and being careful about keeping the hens and their home clean. With tons of information on the internet, some from interested parties, i.e sites that sell birds, feed and coops and some from government sites. All very helpful in making those decisions.
Meanwhile, despite the temptation to keep chickens, I’ll continue to buy my eggs from local free range small producers, farm shops and gratefully accept the occasional half dozen from friends. My favourite ways to use them are poached, free flowing in boiling water or scrambled, slow cooked, soft and creamy.
Perfect Scrambled Eggs
serves one greedily
- 3 fresh eggs
- 25g salted butter
- small sprig of tarragon
- break eggs into a bowl and lightly whip
- Melt butter in a small pan over a medium heat
- Pour eggs into the pan with the butter
- Reduce heat immediately to low and stir continually to scramble the eggs
- Slowly cook the eggs, takes about 10 – 15 minutes, until creamy and soft
- Remove from the heat and set aside
- Chop the tarragon and mix into the eggs serve over toast