- 100 g pine kernels;
- 50 ml wine;
- 1 dessert spoon honey;
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar;
- 1 tbsp fish sauce;
- 1/2 tsp lovage seed;
- freshly ground black pepper;
- 4 soft-boiled eggs, cooled and shelled.
Members of the Roman Military Research Society have enjoyed eating this recipe at events across the UK for many years. Imagine our surprise when, at one such event in Skegness, a senior member of the Society presented the ingredients to be made into a lunch for all. With a mischievous smile he gleefully announced he had but one egg with which to feed 20 people. Before an incredulous chef he proudly produced...an ostrich egg!
|One Ostrich egg is the equivalent of two dozen chicken eggs.|
The answer, given that we only had tented outdoor cooking facilities, actually was quite simple. Immerse the egg in a water filled iron cauldron sitting over a roaring wood fire. Once the water had been brought to the boil, the egg was then fast-boiled for 45 minutes. With the sauce made it was eventually time to remove the egg from the water, extract it from its shell and divide the content into bite-size portions ready to receive the pine kernel sauce.
Removing the shell of an ostrich egg is not as easy as you'd think, however. They're understandably tough! In the end a Roman military dagger, pugio, was called upon to crack the shell. Not a particularly elegant solution, more the military version of a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but the soft-boiled egg within was finally released.
And what does an Ostrich egg taste like? Well, a bit like chicken really..!