Oeuf Sur Le Plat

Oeuf sur le plat

Oeuf sur le plat

The French way of frying a soft egg is called oeuf sur le plat (egg on the dish).  This is then served in the little enamel dish that it was fried in. The best ones are made of thicker enamel and have two little handles. These are commonly available in France.

As told to me by Mrs T. I first came across them when I went with my mother to spend a holiday in Storrington. My aunt Mary, my father’s sister (the Devon side of the family), was housekeeper to the priests at the Norbetine Monastery, Priory of Our Lady of England, in the village of Storrington, in West Sussex.  By then there were only two priests (Fr Francis, the Fr Prior and Fr Phillip) left as the most of them had returned to France because of The Great War (WWI).

The Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as the Premonstratensians, the Norbertines, or in Britain and Ireland as the White Canons (from the colour of their habit), are a Roman Catholic religious order of canons regular, founded at Prémontré near Laon in 1120 by Saint Norbert. (1)

Drop a blob of butter into the dish and put on stove to melt on low heat. When melted, break egg carefully into dish and slowly cook until white is firm. This is not a good method if you like your fried egg hard as the underside will get very crispy. Good of course if you like crispy eggs! Serve in the dish or slip onto a warmed plate.

As told to me by Mr T: Monica’s (MrsT’s) brother Sidney who was a school friend of mine and I, used to cycle from Hammersmith to Storrington to stay at the monastery with Sid’s aunt. The way we went was via Hammersmith, the A24 (Worthing Rd) to Broadbridge Heath, Coneyhurst, West Chiltington, and Storrington. We slept in the monastery and fed in the kitchen with Aunt Mary who had a mammoth coal fired Aga stove which stood in the middle of the kitchen. Aunt Mary kept about 50 chickens in a fenced compound on the north side of the monastery. With the result that chicken was a popular dish and they met their demise at the hand of Fr Philip. When Monica was there, although not at the same time as Sid and I, she was sent out of the kitchen while this took place as it was felt that she was too young (12 years our junior) to be witness to the demise of the chicken who’s fate it was to become dinner. There was a large vegetable garden and a coach house for the Prior’s coach, which he appeared to no longer use.

The village school was on the corner opposite the church and we used to enjoy ourselves by shooting at the bell with catapults to make the bell ring. We were quite successful at this. There was a chap/fellow in the village who was an ace with a catapult and he could bring down the insulators off the electrical lines!

We used to collect birds eggs for my egg collection. This chap/fellow was a fountain of knowledge on birds and their eggs and so he we learnt a lot from him.

We loved cycling and Aunt Mary used to point us to different places.  We often went to Worthington, Bury Hill, Chanctonbury Ring (a ring of trees on the top of the South Downs that could be seen from miles away), and Amberley on the side of Bury Hill. This is where the future Charles the II hid before he escaped to France in 1649.

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