Our chickens with a pension plan are a mix of pure breeds and hybrids and as such they lay different coloured eggs. Even after 4 years of keeping hens I am still very excited by all the different colours (I know, this is very sad).
The gorgeous dark brown eggs are laid by Marans. We have some Wheaten Marans and some Speckled Marans.
The white eggs are laid by the aptly named White Stars who are the utter stars of the chicken world. They are great layers, friendly hens and have a sense of humour and adventurousness. It is the white stars that you find breaking in to people’s tents and stealing their toast from their hands in the morning.
The green eggs (which range from a sage green through pale green to a lightish blue) are from Columbine and Skyline hybrids. We did once have an Araucana that laid the most wonderful sky blue eggs, but she only laid 5 in her lifetime and was basically a really skittish, unproductive hen, but her eggs were amazing.
Our Indian Runner Ducks lay blue-ish eggs that look like this – all our eggs are for sale at our ‘farm-gate’.
We obviously eat a lot of eggs. I often make James an omelet sandwich for lunch and we poach a lot of duck eggs and add them to stews, curries and rice dishes for extra protein. One of our favourite dishes at the moment is inspired by, and a little adapted from, a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s new book Jerusalem (106)
Rice, chickpeas, and herbs
Couple of handfuls of wild rice and red camargue rice; handful of basmatic rice; tin of chickpeas; generous handful of currants; lots of chopped dill and coriander; 2 tsp of cumin seeds; two tsp of baharat (you could use a mix of cinnamon, coriander etc instead – whatever flavours you like); one sliced onion; flour; fresh duck eggs; olive oil.
Cook the rice, drain and put in a large bowl. Put the chickepeas into another bowl and mix with olive oil, baharat and lightly toasted cumin seeds. Add to rice. Add in the herbs and currants and salt/pepper to taste. Toss the sliced onions in the flour and fry in a little oil. Poach the duck eggs in a pan of water with a little vinegar. Pile the rice and chickpea mix onto a plate, scatter over the fried onions, top with two poached eggs and serve with thick yoghurt and some rubbed chilli. This will do us for two evening meals – the rice keeps very well and we eat it at room temperature.