Seventeenth Century Baked Eggs and Bacon

It's 1670. Charles II is on the throne. Only five years ago the Great Plague swept through the city, and the year after that, the Great Fire. Samuel Pepys had buried his cheese in a garden to save it from the flames, while ferrymen rowing people across the Thames glanced back at the glowing, crackling embers of what once were homes, businesses and places of worship. The event changed the skyline of London forever, removing the wonky, Medieval timber-framed buildings that huddled the city's streets. Now, London was being rebuilt. 

As you sit down after a busy day's work you might want something satisfying, easy and nutritious. Cue what the cookbook The Ladies Cabinet called, 'To Bake Collops of Bacon and Eggs'. 

Here's the actual recipe, from the 1670 book: 

Take a dish and lay a pie plate therein, then lay in your Collops of Bacon, and break your eggs upon them. Then lay on Parsley, and set them into an oven not too hot, and they will be better than fried. 

I had a teenager at home while I made these, and so had the chance to get another point of view, and actually, we both did agree that these eggs tasted waaaay better than fried. 

The recipe is quick, easy and pretty foolproof. You just pop the ingredients in an ovenproof dish, heat it up and away you go. Perfect for a lazy breakfast or late night dinner. 

Seventeenth Century Baked Eggs and Bacon
Serves 1

2 eggs, preferably organic, free range
2 rashers of thick-cut smoked bacon
1 tsp butter
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Get out a small ovenproof dish and rub half of the butter over the base. Lay the bacon slices and then crack the eggs on top of the bacon. Pop the rest of the butter on top (it will melt during cooking giving a beautiful flavour) and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. 

Slide the dish into the preheated oven for exactly 11 minutes. This gives you lovely silky runny egg yolks and set whites. If the eggs aren't done to your liking, they will continue to cook gently in the residual heat in the pan, otherwise you can pop them back into the oven for a minute or two. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. 

Like this? You might also like these historic recipes: A Salett of Lemons, Tudor Stuffed Eggs and A Tudor Breakfast

Have you seen my book, Forgotten Women of the Wars of the Roses, published by Pen and Sword Books? It discusses a number of women who were impacted by, or had an impact on, the fifteenth-century conflict and highlights contributions from all levels of society. Click here to find out more

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