Perhaps a little unusual but, my treat to bring home from holiday are eggs. Not just any eggs, but eggs from Bouisse, my favourite village in the Languedoc and where I enjoy relaxing time. Nestled in and, part of the spectacular views of Haute Corbiere, it certainly feels like a different world.

There is a great deal of controversy when it comes to chicken rearing so what I particularly like about Bouisse Eggs is their freshness coupled with the fact that they are truly free-range. It’s quite normal to watch them scratching along the lanes and in our own garden too though my son did point out that the occasional chicken had a shaved neck which meant that my neighbor was planning dinner!

With their ochre yolks these fresh eggs are ideal for eating as simply as possible – poached, scrambled, fried or whipping up into an omelet though as they age I prefer to keep them aside for baking. To check for freshness there are a couple of simple tests that can be done:

1. Pop into a jug of brine (salt and water) and the older the egg is, the higher it floats. This is due to the evaporation of water and the enlargement of the air space within the egg thus making it lighter.

2. Viewed from the side, the yolk should be pert and prominent. As the egg ages, the yolk membrane weakens and the thick white becomes thinner with the overall appearance being ‘flat’.

But, no need for concern as commercially produced eggs are date stamped and I would always recommend the older eggs to be used in baking, where it is exposed to high temperatures for a longer period but you will immediately know if an egg has ‘gone off’ by its smell; hydrogen sulphide is produced, caused by the reaction of sulpher in the white reacting with phosphoric acid in the yolk.