Scotch eggs are classic British picnic food. This vegetarian version has a savoury lentil layer to replace the traditional sausage meat. These are delicious served with salad. For best results, handle as little as possible and deep fry.
Place 6 hens’ eggs in a saucepan and cover with salted cold water. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Hens’ eggs will need about 8-10 minutes and quails’ eggs about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately put the eggs into a large bowl of cold water. Remove the shells and place the hardboiled eggs back in the bowl, refreshing the cold water.
Place the lentils in a saucepan along with the bay leaf, dried thyme and the three stock cubes. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly. Keep adding a little water at a time, until the lentils are fully cooked and have formed a thick paste. Remove from the heat.
Remove the bay leaf from the lentils and stir in the grated cheese. Put the mixture in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Process the bread in a food processor to make fresh breadcrumbs.
Beat the remaining hens’ egg in a bowl and add to the lentil mixture along with the breadcrumbs, snipped chives and salt and pepper.
Dry the hardboiled eggs thoroughly and dust with flour.
Using well-floured hands, shape the lentil mixture around each egg, and dust the outside with flour.
Deep-fry in small batches for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and then drain on kitchen paper. If shallow frying, turn carefully once, and cook until golden brown.