Category Archives: The Contenders

Smokie Chestnut

A mini Scotch eggggg, well, erm… not really. There’s no egg. Instead chestnuts are the surprise at the centre. An unusual step away from the traditional Scotch egg we’re used to. As The Handmade Scotch Egg Company say: “We Brits seem devoted to smoked foods, stemming (we imagine) from our distant past when smoking would be a method of preservation. It’s now been raised to gourmet heights with artisan smokehouses popping up in every region.”

The chestnut is rather dry which is a shame, but there’s a nice crunch. A real shame when something is substituted and moves away from the original, and just doesn’t work. The smoked bacon used however is lovely. Oaky, smokey and an embezzler of the senses. There’s an over-riding palette-stealer of smoky bacon. An interesting festive twist on the popular snack.

Price: £2.75

Overall: 3/5

About these ads

Leave a comment

Filed under The Contenders

Blitzen

This Blitzen Scotch egg (Blitzen derives from Germanic word  for ‘lightning’) is another example which uses slices of turkey around the egg. Like the Rudolph Scotch egg, Blitzen has a lick of sweetness in the form of cranberries. An “award winning” onion marmalade offers a pleasant tang, however it’s the slivers of candied peel which add real sweetness and results in the lasting flavour. It’s the taste of orange in the mouth, which is not the most pleasant match with meat and breadcrumbs. The sweet sensation soon turns metallic and there’s too much going on in the mouth, with not enough of it good.

Price: £2.85

Overall: 2/5

Leave a comment

Filed under The Contenders

Rudolph

Rudolph – the most famous of all reindeers – has been forever immortalised in the shape of a cranberry Scotch egg. Lucky bugger! He has his own meaty morsel for those Christmas Eve adventures. There’s a substantial rim of free-range Saddleback sausage meat cushioning a well boiled egg with a fluorescent orange yolk. Sprinklings of dried cranberries add sweet, festive notes and are as glowing as the illustrious nose of Rudolph.

Price: £2.85

Overall: 3.5/5

Leave a comment

Filed under The Contenders

Prancer

The Prancer Scotch egg is a beautiful looking specimen; it’s hefty with a good, thick rim of sausage meat doted with seasoning. There’a lot going on with bacon, barley, oatmeal, leeks and spices all present causing a “schizophrenic recipe”. Chunks of bacon mix with finely chopped leeks. Oatmeal is evident and the mix of spices lift the flavour yet again. The result is a plate of dinner rolled into a single Scotch egg. The egg itself is large and creamy, thus aiding in the binding of ingredients.

Price: £2.75

Overall: 3/5

Leave a comment

Filed under The Contenders

Turkey Lurkey

This is a variation of the Vegetabularian Scotch egg. Rather sneakily however, slices of festive turkey have sneaked in and lurk in every bite. It’s described as a “hybrid” between the popular Vegetabularian and a meat Scotch egg. Again there is a good portion of meat used to cushion the egg, seasoned with parsley, lemon rind, salt, black pepper, garlic, mustard powered, and nutmeg. There’s something mirthful about the use of nutmeg. It offers a slight sweetness with an exciting sensory quality.

Mature grated cheddar is used (8%) for its binding use and adds a depth of flavour, while a small offering of sun-dried tomatoes (3%), lifts the pallet again to a sweeter sensation and is a good mix with turkey.

Price: £2.85

Overall: 2.5/5

Leave a comment

Filed under The Contenders

Peyton and Byrne

What a treat while waiting for my train at St. Pancras. Not simply that I found Peyton and Byrne, but that they were serving warm Scotch eggs among the gooey fig rolls and Victoria Sponges. Result! A nice little price too at £2.50, as it meant coffee and a Scotch egg from a fiver. And very pleasing it was too.

The nose tingling sensation from warm sausage meat (100% Gloucester old spot pig) rose slowly and seductively into my nostrils, causing all the right stirrings. Seasoned with a little black pepper, a redolent lick heated the month.

The casing was crunchy and the centre egg perfectly boiled. There was no runny yolk but that’s fine. Instead a little glowing sun, warm and teasing.The sum of its parts all executed neatly and there’s no greater surprise and reward from a Scotch egg.

There’s also a new Chickpea Scotch Egg launched by Peyton and Byrne: spiced chickpea, carrots, tomatoes and roasted cauliflower wrapped around a free range egg. I shall be sampling soon. Very soon.

Price: £2.50
Overall: 4/5

Leave a comment

Filed under The Contenders

Wallace & Co.

Old Pudding Face’s Wallace & Co. in Putney supplies everything from homemade sausage rolls to gingerbread men and pastries. I was delighted to see the piled balls of Scotch eggs on the counter when I entered, and ordered immediately.

It arrived (as above), already cut into quarters. Panko breadcrumbs are replaced with flour and breadcrumbs, and I’m happy to report that the pleasing crunch remains. The sausage meat is warm and spectacled with black pudding and apple. They’re welcome flavours; the small black pudding spots give a deeper, rustic texture, while apple adds a little sweetness to the mix.

The egg is large with a bright yellow glow. It’s creamy, although rather average when compared with the efforts of the meat. In all, it’s an odd entry. The typical breadcrumb casing has been modified and the sausage seasoning has been adapted. It works, but there’s a little bit too much attention to detail for me, and it’s always a shame – when a golden orb is served to you warm and fresh – not to cut yourself and release that warm, sticky, sense-stealing aroma of hot meat… and miss out on a runny yolk.

Price: £3.00

Overall: 3.5/5

Leave a comment

Filed under The Contenders

Cleavers

Another big entry with this cricket ball-sized Scotch egg from Cleavers butchers in Wandsworth Town. When cut down the centre the two halves are almost as big as some single Scotch eggs I’ve tried. There is a distinct separation between the breadcrumbs and the meat (Cumberland sausage), and the egg rattles in its casing. The well-seasoned, thick rim of sausage meat falls from the breadcrumbs and onto the plate. It is not bound to the panko wrapping and the assembly is broken.

The egg is free range and creamy. The yolk has a darker colouring than I’ve seen before, almost apricot. It’s good; no satisfying crunch or warm, runny yolk, however the Cumberland sausage is rich and for the price it’s one hell of a snack.

Price: £1.95

Overall: 3/5

1 Comment

Filed under The Contenders

Walls

This is the type of petrol station pick-up that saps your energy. The 1950s package design screams disappointment, gluten, sulphates and saturated fat. The inferior wrapping glows from the buzzing refrigerator; cerulean blue and claret. Walls mark it with their logo and stamp: ‘Proper Food Since 1786.’ Only forty-eight years after the invention of the Scotch egg – so they claim to be quick off the mark.

And after all this. All the belittling and word-bashing, it’s actually okay. First thoughts are that it’s as expected: seasoned pork sausage meat wrapped around a whole hard boiled egg and coated in breadcrumbs.

Yes the breadcrumbs are crumbling, fine and thinly-applied. They’re dank and uninspiring, but surprisingly the sausage meat is rather good, peppered and flavoursome. There’s a decent amount (about 1cm) cushioning the centre egg. Also in the seasoning, according to the ingredients listing, is: sage, rapeseed oil, and herb extracts.

The egg is without that daunting green/blue highlight and has a bright yellow core. Apart from that, it’s traditionally set and without excitement.

Price: £1.89

Overall: 2.5/5

Leave a comment

Filed under The Contenders

Tsuru

A Japanese Scotch egg? It’s really not that different from the English product. Tsuru replace pork with beef and the panko breadcrumbs appear to be of a thicker cut (rolled twice?), but the other aspects are similar.

The Tsuru Scotch egg is a fine specimen. It’s the size of a heavyweight’s fist with a thick, meaty rim (20% fat steak mince) cushioning a well-cooked (and runny) centre egg. Freshly served and pipping hot, there’s an excitable crunch from the golden breadcrumb casing.

I seasoned part with a mix of seven spices and the remaining I dip into a bowl of Katsu curry for a spicy Asian slap. It’s a wonderful construction with each aspect of the Scotch egg considered and structured together without straying far from the famed traditional version.

Price: £3.60
Overall: 5/5

1 Comment

Filed under The Contenders