Something I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, as a keen-ish cook: until yesterday I had a complete aversion to separating eggs. You know, when you crack the shell and then pour the yolk from side to side, attempting to keep it whole and unbroken whilst the gloopy, snot-like whites fall miraculously into a waiting bowl? That. A silly thing to have an aversion to, I suppose, and I don’t know where it all stemmed from, but I have avoided all recipes that require either egg yolks or egg whites for most of my adult life. I think that it’s the fact that so many things can go wrong – the yolk is so precious and delicate, yet you have to pass it from shell to shell and the shells just happen to have the most jagged edges of anything on earth. And God forbid you break the yolk and some of it goes into the bowl of whites: I can still hear my Home Economics teacher shouting “YOU WON’T GET PEAKY WHITES IF THERE’S YOLK IN THE BOWL!”
The whole egg separation thing is such a palaver and even if you manage to get a lovely saucer of plump yolks and a clean bowl of whiskable whites, you still have to find something to do with the parts of the egg that you don’t need for the recipe. “Make mayonnaise!” suggests Google. “Use the yolks for a Hollandaise or to make homemade ice cream!” I’ve just spent an hour separating eggs into a series of eight different bowls for fear of contaminating a bulk-load of whites; do you really think I can be arsed to now make Hollandaise?
Anyway, all of these issues are in the past for I have made the greatest culinary discovery: egg whites in a carton. Ready separated, pourable egg whites. Thank you so much to the readers who recommended the Two Chicks brand last year; I hadn’t ignored your advice, I was just waiting until the right time to buy them. Which was Christmas – prime pavlova-making time. (Nigella’s Prodigious Pavlova to be exact, recipe and pictures to follow.) To use the Two Chicks egg whites you just pour two tablespoons out for each white that you need and then put the carton back in the fridge. The remaining whites last for a week or so, plenty of time to add them to an omelette or what have you, though I just made a whole load of meringue and then froze a batch of them for later. You can never have too many meringues in the freezer – instant dinner party pleaser!
So: Two Chicks. Life changing, at least in terms of the kitchen. Those who are good at separating eggs may sneer and tut and they are welcome to carry on with their perilous yolk-pouring antics, but I am a Carton Convert. You can find Two Chicks egg whites at most supermarkets – I got mine at Tesco but all the stockists are here.