A well poached egg is soft and delicate, the yolk spilling out as it is broken into, ready to be mopped up with a piece of thick buttered bread. In order to obtain the best results when cooking at home, very fresh eggs are used. These have a thicker white, which will better hold its shape. The egg is cracked into a small dish and a pan of unsalted water brought to a low simmer. The egg is tipped gently into the water and cooked on a low heat for 2 mins. The pan is then removed from the heat, covered and set aside for a further 10 mins. The eggs are removed with a slotted spoon, turning slightly to let any excess water run off. The spoon, still containing the egg, is left to drain briefly on a piece of kitchen paper before the egg is slipped onto a pre-warmed plate.