Goose Eggs with Asparagus and Ham Soldiers

Over the last four days I have born witness to four Full Englishes. We’ve been on a road trip, tracing my family’s history- first stop was Rugby- more specifically, Bilton Hall; where in the blue room, nearly 64 years ago, my Granny gave birth to my Dad.

From there, we battled Bank Holiday traffic north to the Lake District. The land of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit;  it’s a beautiful region for boating, tramping and frittering away an afternoon in a local pub with a plate of pigs in blankets and a pint of ale.

It’s also the kind of area where quaint bed and breakfasts will commence your day with the offer of a Full English. And far be it for The Hungry One to decline.  This cultural specificity is a heck of a way to kick off a morning. It’s a belly bloating ballast of sausage, egg, bacon, tomato and blood pudding, often accessioned with baked beans, hash brown, toast and mushrooms.

The meat may be the first hurdle for some; that’s up to three slabs of cured and stuffed pork products there- but the real silent killer is the mushrooms. Anyone who has a penchant for soft funghi knows how much butter those morsels can absorb.

As for me- I’m more of an egg and soldiers kind of girl. There is so much childhood comfort wrapped in the process of dunking slim fingers of toast into a molten yolk.

So after four days of over-indulgence; of cake and tea, fat hunks of bread with pickle, ham, cheese and apple at lunch (the frumpy promise of a ploughman’s platter at a pub never fails to please me), it’s time to rethink our favoured starts.

This is not a full English. But it does fulfil a similar purpose.

For one, like the traditional English breakfast, it would be just as suitable for dinner- if you’re more of a bircher muesli at 8 am kind of person.

It takes the beloved bleeding yolk; a uniting concept of  both feasts and gives it a bit of a slow carb makeover. It  also puts to good use the beautiful asparagus that has just come into bloom here in our parts of the world.  A collection of trimmed stems give you the perfect vehicle for swiping through a runny yolk, while also adding the trickle of fat that asparagus craves to really come into its own.

And there’s still some pork for those who crave it. For ease of presentation, I’ve cosseted the asparagus spears in strips of cured ham- jamon is lovely, but prosciutto or thinly shaved leg ham would also do. It saves the need to pull out another fry pan and deal with sizzling fat.

As for the egg- I’ve upsized to something more palatable for an appetite the size of The Hungry One’s.  In keeping with the pastoral landscapes we’ve been skipping through, I’ve gone searching for another barnyard alternative to a chicken egg. Goose it is. A goose egg is about two and a half times the size of a hen’s egg. They’re in season in the UK from February to early June and have a fantastically rich yolk.

By submerging a room temperature goose egg into water that’s at a rolling boil for around 7 – 8 minutes should ensure a cooked white and runny yolk (if you want to substitute a hen, go for 5 min 15 seconds).  All that’s left to do is steam your asparagus and then wrap it in ham, and then you’re ready to take the plunge.

It’s the kind of feast that makes you want to go in search of your childhood copies of Jemima Puddleduck. It makes you wish for a garden as grand as Mr McGregor’s. And when you’re back in grey London, not surrounded by fields and mountains, lakes and lanes, it’s a sure step towards starting a day in the best way possible.

Goose Eggs with Asparagus and Ham Soldiers

 Serves one- though easily doubles, triples etc


1 goose egg (or 2 chicken eggs), at room temperature
6 asparagus spears, trimmed
6 strips of jamon/ prosciutto, or thin cut leg ham
Olive oil, salt and pepper

Here’s how we roll

1) Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Submerge the egg and boil for 7-8 minutes for a goose egg and 5 minutes and 15 seconds for a hen’s egg. Drain and set in egg cups (or use a latte glass for the goose egg).

2) Steam the asparagus until just soft- around 3 minutes.

3) Wrap each asparagus spear in the jam. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper.

4) Carefully cut the top off the egg and then dip the ham-spears into the yolk, before eating the remaining white with a small spoon.


  1. That looks like such a good idea!

  2. I had my first goose egg in Sicily a few months ago, fresh from my husband’s cousins’ geese. Wish we could find them here in the city… my kids (and not just them) can never stop at just one soft boiled egg.

  3. Ah the full English – I do miss it. Love the combo of asparagus and prosciutto.

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