Can you make scrambled eggs using a coffee machine?

You can scramble eggs using a coffee machine, but the result won't be pleasant.
You can scramble eggs using a coffee machine, but the result won't be pleasant. Photo: Simon Alekna

A friend was telling me that she makes her scrambled eggs using her coffee machine. Is that possible? E. Van Hoeven

Yes, unfortunately it is possible to cook eggs using the steam from a domestic coffee machine. Not that you'd want to. Egg-white proteins ovotransferrin and ovalbumin start coagulating at 61C and 84C respectively, whereas the yolk starts thickening at 65.5C. Steam is 100C and 100 per cent overkill. At that temperature the proteins will set very tightly. 

As they set they will trap some air bubbles making them light but also some of the water from the steam. So you end up with aerated, rubbery eggs that ooze liquid as they cool. You can cook eggs anywhere the temperature reaches above 65C, such as inside the dishwasher, on a car engine block or the muffler on your lawn mower. A thick-based pan, however, is the best place. In it melt some butter over low heat, add lightly beaten eggs and cook slowly folding over the eggs as they set. Remove the eggs while they are still slightly wet as they will still cook due to the residual heat. Season. 

I was served rare pork in a restaurant the other day. I thought you could get diseases from eating rare pork. P. McIntyre

You can. The most disgusting and horrendous condition called trichinosis caused by a roundworm of the genus Trichinella. They live in the muscles of animals and lay eggs in the flesh. You'd think that when the eggs hit your stomach all that acid would kill them. But no! The acid in your stomach eats away the covering of the egg and the larvae swim in your stomach and burrow into its walls and find their way into your muscles. Symptoms are quite horrendous and the cure nasty. The good news? We don't have dangerous Trichinella spiralis parasite in Australia and our pork is free of the bug. Australian factory-farmed pork, however, is now so lean that overcooking it renders out the moisture, making it dry and unappetising, so cooking it slightly rare is your best bet. 

How do I stop my lamb and barley soup from tasting fatty? E. Levin

Have you ever tasted ramen? It's a Japanese soup based on a rich, brothy stock made from the bones of roasted pork and chicken. The golden bones are boiled at a fast pace and as the stock bubbles and rolls around the stockpot the fat from the pork and chicken is emulsified with the water. The result is rich and delicious but, yes, it has a fair bit of fat. So, to answer your question, firstly do not let the soup continuously boil. 

Second, you need to skim away fat and oil as it rises to the surface. If you edge a quarter of the pot off the burner the fat and impurities will rise to the surface and congregate in this cooler zone. Use a spoon and slowly remove the fat, not taking too much stock with it. An alternative method is to cook the lamb with aromatics such as onion, carrot and celery, cool, refrigerate and then remove the fat when it solidifies on top. Then cook your chopped veg and barley in the strained stock and add the chopped cooked lamb back to the stock shortly before serving. 

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