Nick remembers the ad campaign ‘Go to work on egg’, so who better to crack open a new book of eggy recipes?

Blanche Vaughan isn’t the first writer to sing the praise of the egg in a book but she definitely wins the prize for the best eggy book cover so far. It’s a cut out, so the yellow is the page behind and the rest of the cover is as minimal as an egg itself. Well done, designer person.

Sadly few people these days have the luxury of a truly fresh, free-range, organic egg. Foxes, now allowed to run riot around town and country, have put off the old smallholders and back garden enthusiasts. Foxes don’t kill one chicken and eat it; they kill them all by biting their heads off even, though they only eat the one. Those people who feel sentimental about foxes should try cleaning up a hen house after a fox has got in.

So most of us town dwellers have to pay the outlandish prices demanded by shops and, just as many people cannot afford a decent chicken for dinner, so many have to make do with inferior eggs.

Eggs though are still good even when not the freshest or free rangiest. As a student I would boil a cheap egg in a kettle in my room and then eat it with fingers of Mother’s Pride and lashings of margarine. It may not sound a gourmet feast now but it was then.

Blanche may well have done the same, but has moved on since then. She calls her evening meal’supper’, a sure sign that she is nicely upper middle class. The recipes here begin with a small treatise on the egg, a discussion of signs of freshness, and move straightaway on to the basics – boil, fry, poach and scramble.

Most of us do know how to boil an egg, of course, but frying, poaching and scrambling is a bit more of an art, particularly if you want the perfect’hotel’ poached egg with its spherical shape and trailing corona of white or the sublimely crispy-edged fried egg the Spanish do so well.

Naturally omelette making is covered, and well, and then come pastry, pasta etc. This I think is cheating really, as while eggs are of course used these aren’t what I would call egg recipes per se plus we all have recipes for pasta and pastry anyway.

After that the recipes get interesting; a breakfast egg in a nest with paprika and za’atar is basically egg on toast taken to a new level, while from the lunch ideas come courgette fritters with dill, beetroot salad with herbs and soft- boiled eggs with tomato and peppers and Thai spiced Scotch eggs, to be frank the latter sounds like a recipe for brutal flatulence though.

From the’supper’ section is a rather tasty looking Spinach, marjoram and ricotta sformata as wells a lentil curry with eggs (see Thai Scotch eggs) and plenty more eggy goodness in dessert form too.

The photography is clear and not too mucked about in Photoshop, none of that sepia Tuscan toning that seems still in vogue, and the commentary is to the point and not flowery with needless adjectives and adverbs. No one is’tumbling’ their groceries out onto the worktop here or specifying a’rolling but not overconfident’ boil. The design alone sells it for me, but the recipes are well worth the cover price too. A cracking book (sic) for egg lovers.

{ISBN:0297871609}We visit a Happy Egg farm and check out the chooks