For the perfect boil
Eggs are amazing in that they have been pre-packaged to keep. For our ancient ancestors they were a valuable source of protein and fats whenever they could 'find' them. The domestication of chickens, however, made eggs available all year round.
Soft-boiling an egg is not as easy as it sounds and producing a perfectly soft-boiled egg is in fact, all down to the timing. You may have to experiment a number of times until you find the best method of producing the perfect soft-boiled egg for you. For 'soft-boiled eggs' the eggs are not actually boiled; they are in fact simmered for a minimum of three minutes, depending on how well or how runny the diner likes the egg to be. However, with the yolk so soft, there is a danger of the white remaining undercooked.
First of all, the temperature of the egg before it goes in the pan to be cooked is important. The egg should be cooked at room temperature, otherwise when you place it into the pan of boiling water; it will most likely crack from the pressure. If you store your eggs in the refrigerator, they should be removed at least an hour before you start to prepare them, as this will bring them up to room temperature.
Secondly, eggs that are too fresh, that is, less than five days old from the packaging date, are horrendously difficult to peel. Therefore, "older" eggs would be ideal for boiling.
The next point to consider is the size of the pan. You should always use a small pan, or a pan that is just large enough for the number of eggs that you are going to boil. This is to prevent the eggs from breaking, as they hit the other eggs or the sides of the pan during cooking.
Fill the pan with enough water to cover the eggs and extra 2.5cm (1 inch) and add a teaspoon of salt. This will make peeling the egg easier once it has been cooked. Bring the water to boil.
While the water is heating up, take each egg and pierce the larger, rounder end with a pin. As the egg heats up during cooking, the air cell within the egg swells and can cause the egg-shell to crack due to the pressure. The pinprick in the end of the egg will allow the steam to escape instead of cracking the shell.
3. Once the water is gently boiling, carefully lower the eggs into the pan using a tablespoon. As the water reaches boiling point again, reduce the heat so that the water is simmering and begin timing. If eggs are cooked at temperatures that are too high, that will cause the egg white to toughen.
Cook the eggs for 4 minutes for a runny yolk and 6 minutes for a medium-boiled egg, where the yolk is only slightly runny.
As soon as the cooking time is up, remove the eggs from the boiling water and immerse them in a bowl of very cold water. This will stop the eggs from cooking in their own heat and will prevent discolouration of the egg yolk that sometimes happens.
When the eggs have cooled slightly and you are able to pick them up without scalding your fingers, peel off that shell.
For hard boiled eggs
Place a single layer of 6 eggs in a steel pan.
Cover the eggs with cold water, to come about 3-cm above the eggs.
Bring to a boil, and then immediately cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and remove entirely from flame.
Let the eggs sit for exactly 15-mins, then remove from the water.
Immerse the hot eggs in a bowl of ice water to prevent over cooking add more ice if it melts.
As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel them. To peel, roll the shell in your hand under water. This will get water between the egg and the shell, and it will peel easily.
You will have perfect hard-boiled eggs without any trace of a green ring. The yolks will be tender and bright yellow.
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed