Take some eggs at room temperature. Punch holes in the roundy end (not the pointy end) of the egg, and place them in boiling water. Leave for ten minutes. If you used eggs from the fridge add a couple more minutes. You can’t overcook them (within sensible margins, of course). If you want to know more about the hole punch thing, check out how to cook soft boiled eggs.
Here’s some tips and other marginalia –
There’s no need to salt the water – you’re making hard boiled eggs, not soup.
If your eggs float to the extent that they don’t at least lightly touch the bottom of the pan they are probably best thrown out. Cracked eggs (unless you just cracked it) are the same – if the egg was cracked in the supermarket it should stay there – it’s possibly got an infection or taint which, if you ate it, would turn you into a supermarket clerk. Do you want this?
If you take the eggs straight out of the hot water and chill them in cold water they won’t end up with the olivey-green line around the yolk. If you leave the eggs in the hot water to cool at their own pace the green will arrive. It’s harmless, it just looks wierd to some people…
When the eggs are cold you can tell the difference between boiled eggs and raw eggs by spinning them on a flat surface. Cooked eggs will spin, raw eggs will not.
Tea Leaf Eggs: After four minutes, you can take the eggs out of the water, and gently crack the shells with a spoon, and replace them back in a strong brew of dark tea (3 tablespoons – the big serve at the table ones; not the ones you eat with, they’re dessert spoons); soya sauce (2 teaspoons), and a star anise (those star shaped herby do-dads from Chinese stores). Gently boil them for another 10 minutes, turning the eggs to make sure they get evenly covered. Take off the heat and leave them to soak for another 5 minutes. Remove, cool and shell the eggs. They come out with an interesting flavour, and an amazingly beautiful marbled effect. Serve cold.
Best easter eggs: Coming up to easter – for those of us allergic to chocolate – I always make dyed eggs. I get the eggs of my dreams (i.e. any old chook egg will do) with holes punched in the roundy end, some big unpeeled onions, and rubber bands. Peel the dry husky part off the onions, and wrap them around the eggs. Easier said than done – patience and a gentle touch is the go. Hold the skins in place with rubber bands. Yes, a good layer is best, and 3-4 rubber bands per egg is about right. Boil the eggs for 10 minutes (as per usual hard boiled egg), carefully pull them out and take the bands and onion peels off. A quick rinse, and then wipe the egg shells with a paper towel and a smudge of butter to make the shells shine. You can serve the eggs hot (they’re hard boiled, so soldier toast is a bit futile), or serve them cold. The onion peels colour the shells beautifully, and don’t worry, the onion flavour doesn’t go into the egg.