The Wyld Cookery School Larder

National Breakfast Week! How do you eat yours?!

Whilst Monday to Friday sees me eating the healthy option of porridge or muesli and fresh berries for breakfast as the sun rises on a Saturday morning I need no excuse to opt for a "treat", something a little more indulgent! Often in the shape of fresh pastries (incidentally WCS loves the par baked frozen ones you get in the supermarket - the smell is enough to entice even the most lazy and stubborn out of bed!) but occasionally in the shape of Eggs Benedict - yum! 

As National Breakfast Week comes to an end why not give it a great send off with the champion of all breakfasts - Eggs Benedict. It's origins lie in the hands of NY stockbroker, Lemuel Benedict, who ordered it at the Waldorf Hotel to cure his hangover! The Maitre D was so impressed he whacked it on the menu.....

Here's how we do it at WCS:
Eggs Benedict for 2
4 slices good quality ham
1 or 2 English muffins (depends how hungry you are)
2 or 4 eggs (again, how hungry are you?!)
100g unsalted butter (this is key, do NOT use salted!), cold and cubed
2 egg yolks
1-2 caps white wine vinegar
1. First slice your muffins in half and toast them. Pop them in a 50C oven with your plates to keep warm.
2. Next make your hollandaise. DO NOT BE SCARED (see below for disaster avoidance)! Place your egg yolks in a glass bowl with a crack of salt. Put about 3 inches of water in a medium sized saucepan and put on the heat. Once the water is simmering gently put the glass bowl with the egg yolks in on top (make sure the water doesn't touch the base of the glass bowl, if you have ever melted chocolate in a 'bain marie', its the same).
3. This is where the elbow grease comes in. Using a whisk beat the egg yolks for about 3 mins over the heat. They should thicken significantly and turn a much paler shade. Once you have achieved this you can start to add the butter cubes. Do this a cube at a time, whisking well in between until melted and fully mixed. Once all the butter is added remove the bowl from the heat. Season to taste with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Voila!
4. The hollandaise will stay warm whilst you poach your egg. Arrange as follows: muffin, ham, egg and top with a generous amount of hollandaise. 
Disaster Avoidance!
The main fear is splitting your hollandaise so here are things to look out for when making your hollandaise:
  • The mixture starts to appear a bit oily and slip away from the sides of the bowl
  • It separates entirely - yikes!
  • It begins to look like scrambled eggs - it is likely on its way to being just that!
To avoid all of the above remember eggs cook at about 60C so if the water underneath is boiling furiously  your eggs are going to get too hot. If you think you might be about to split it you can stop it by:
1. Removing the bowl from the heat
2. Adding an ice cube for 30 secs to bring the temp down and then remove
3. Adding another cube of butter.
4. Whisk furiously!
If you have had a total disaster and it has really split then fear not. Simply start again with a fresh yolk, add the split mixture to this and a further 50g butter to compensate for the extra yolk. Easy peasy!

For variations why not try Eggs Florentine, same sauce, same eggs, same muffin but with wilted spinach instead of ham or Eggs Royal - same sauce, same eggs, same muffin but with smoked salmon instead of ham....or you could invent your own. The world is your oyster so tuck in!