I promise I’m not being a smug-arse when I say that we are relatively healthy eaters here at Fivehills. Mostly, it’s because I behave like a Depression-era housewife and we eat cheap, which it turns out is quite healthy: we slow cook cheap meat cuts, grow what veg and herbs we can, bake our own bits and pieces, use up stale breads/cheeses and leftovers creatively, run our own chooks and ducks for eggs and feed them back all the scraps that cant be composted.
There was a time when I would swap excess eggs for veg with a friend, but now we rarely have excess our kids can go through a half dozen between them in a day. A day, people. That’s right. I work so that they can eat. The boys have a brunch fry up, and our daughter gets her Masterchef on and bakes treats that mysteriously disappear into her bedroom with her 15 minutes after they’ve come out of the oven and tantalised me to forget whatever it is I’m doing with their rich inevitably chocolatey fragrance. It’s just cruel plus our kitchen is a mess.
The ducks are a boon, as they take over laying when the chooks start to slow down in winter. And they are prolific….but I noticed the kids weren’t using them and asked them why. Turns out they are highly suspicious of the fact the eggs are blue, and the kid whose job it is to collect them thinks they are too dirty to use (although I do wipe off the muck on them). Funny, coming from a kid who looks at me suspiciously when I ask him why none of his socks have been near the washing machine for a while.
Duck eggs are goopier than chook eggs, by which I mean, the white is seriously thicker and more gelly like. This makes for great baking because the white has a lot more fat. In fact, according to Jamie O, duck eggs are great to use in gluten free baking because they provide some of the structure that gluten flours normally create.
My time in a rural restaurant taught me that some people (often of a certain generation) think duck eggs are a delicacy, whilst others freak out at the size and density of them sprawled on a plate. So after a year of duck eggs sitting alongside our chook eggs in the fridge, these are how we choose to use them (or if you are one of my kids reading this…the non-negotiable rules):
Duck eggs to be used for:
Impossible pies (gluten free quiche)
And other eggy bakes – like the ham and egg bake, (otherwise famous here as the hashbrown casserole)
Breads (great for brioche!)
Hard boiling for turning into egg salad/curried egg for sandwiches
Omelettes/scramble according to personal preference
Chook eggs are for poaching, soft boiling and frying.
Duck eggs seem a little hard to give away, due to their size and suspiciously pretty color, but if you can get your hands on them, give them a go. They are used one for one for a hen egg in a recipe despite their size, and their thicker shells mean they have a longer shelf life.
See that fat dog belly there? That’s full of a duck egg that ‘got away’…as in, I dropped it while collecting and she grabbed it and ran off, conveniently deaf to my scolding! Little tart! Makes me wonder how many she helps herself to through the day…could explain the obnoxious farting….
Ever tried duck eggs? Got any recipes to share?