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Arran B&B

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Breakfasts And The Search For The Perfect Egg

What Is There To Do On Arran

Breakfasts And The Search For The Perfect Egg

There are a number of strands to this story. 


Part 1


Firstly, when we decided we wanted to open a Luxury B&B on Arran, of course we sought the advice of many other seasoned island professionals.  One of these, trained as a chef in a celebrated Glasgow eatery, asked who was going to be responsible for taking breakfast orders and who was going to cook and deliver these?

Nanette and I had already figured this out based on one of us being morning-centric and the other being, well, less so. Therefore, the response was: the same person-Rob. Correct answer exclaimed our seasoned professional! But why so we asked?  He explained it’s all about eggs: eggs are essential to a B&B breakfast, and they must be cooked perfectly.  Always. Perfection is the whole point. However, everyone has a different idea about what egg perfection is: softness, hardness, gooiness, firmness.

As Nanette says, “people have egg rules” (she certainly does) and so whoever takes the breakfast order-carefully calibrating what those all-important rules are, needs to be responsible for the delivery of the perfect egg in our Arran B&B. 


Part 2

B&B Arran


Moving to the next strand of this quest, it was clear to us that the perfect egg needed to be sourced from perfectly happy hens, able to run around freely somewhere on our lovely island home.  This proved less than easy; there is a finite supply of eggs such as this on our island; they are available, but one needs a good and steady supply for a busy Arran B&B to remain adequately stocked with this vital ingredient. 

Our first season consisted of a near daily quest of visiting various farm track entrances or elbowing elder members of the community aside to get at the limited supply of this critical resource in the one or two shops that stocked genuine arran free-range eggs!  Enter Hazel-our absolute favourite farmers wife, thoroughly approving of the type of Arran B&B we were trying to run and committed to the quantities we need from the happiest hens from a farm with some of the best views on the Island. 


Part 3


Cooking. And of course, there are many ways to cook eggs, but let’s stick to our favourite: poached, served on hot buttered toast.


A thing that has come up many times is a reputation for being difficult with people talking about using various cunning devices or rather odd methodologies in pursuit of the perfect poached eggs.  Adding to this sense of challenge our AA inspector likes to ask for poached eggs with his ‘full Scottish’ and having passed this test thus far enjoys a long debrief on the topic.  And for good measure re egg cooking ‘je ne sais quoi’ we recently had a couple of seasoned Parisienne Philosophy Professors who, having spent a week regaling us with the merits of Camus vs Sartre and other notable French Existentialists, insisted that they spend their final morning in our kitchen watching how these poachies are prepped.


There are a few essentials but the most important are super fresh eggs and stored at room temperature; crack two of these into separate ramekins.  Bring a pan of water with a dash of white wine or cider vinegar to the boil-about 10cm depth; turn the heat down to just under boiling temperature so that the water is still.  Now slip the eggs in gently; they will sink but as they cook will slowly rise; cook for around 3 minutes depending on preference.  During this phase put a couple of slices of sour-dough bread into the toaster (we use only bread from the local Blackwater Bakehouse and these should ideally pop up ready before the eggs are done; spread the hot toast carefully with soft fresh lightly salted butter ensuring an even spread and all of the way to the crust.  Now lift out the eggs gently using a pea strainer, dab and dry with a piece of kitchen roll and place on the freshly buttered toast.  A little black pepper, a few mushrooms, perhaps even a piece of Stornoway Black Pudding.




Cruickshanks is a luxury 5-Star Boutique B&B based on Arran and has been awarded the AA Scottish Guest Accommodation of the Year. We are happy to provide help and advice on whatever itinerary takes your fancy; we also have storage and drying facilities available to all of our B&B guests.

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