Eggs Benedict

‘Eggs Benedict is the star, the Marilyn Monroe of brunch’ wrote A.A. Gill in ‘Breakfast at the Wolseley’. He is so right.

This decadent wonder dish, rich and voluptuous, is always a special meal, that’s why I made it last week for my husband’s birthday brunch. I decided to make my own English muffins, and they turned out exactly how I wanted them to be. Light, airy, and golden. I often hear rumours about Hollandaise sauce, on how hard it is made, whether it ‘splits’ or not, but I have to admit I find it rather easy. Perhaps I have had good practice, it takes me less than 10 minutes to make a good hollandaise. It’s really about timing and temperature. Once you got the hang of it, it’s easy. Egg poaching is successful if you stick to one golden rule – once you put them in the boiling water, leave them alone for 3 minutes and put a lid on. I added a few asparagus to this dish as they were in season and go so well with the sauce.

Ingredients (serves 4)

8 slices bacon (fried)
8 organic eggs (poached)
4 English muffins (see recipe)
12 asparagus – base trimed (optional)

Poached eggs:
8 organic eggs
2 tsp white distilled vinegar

Poached eggs:
In a shallow pan of boiling water, add 2 tsp of vinegar. Prepare your eggs by breaking them into little cups/pots so it’s easier to pour into the boiling water. When the water is boiling, pour in the eggs in different areas (maximum four at a time – or the water temperature will get cooler). Leave them alone, cover with a lid for 3 minutes, then check if they need a bit of ‘pushing and shoving’ to make their form rounder. You can use a large slotted spoon for this. Depending on how well you like your eggs cooked, 3-5 minutes should complete the task. When ready spoon each egg at a time onto a plate. Set aside.

Hollandaise sauce:
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp cold water
175 grs clarified butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Whisk the egg yolks with the water until light and foamy in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk non-stop until it becomes smooth and creamy, add the butter slowly and whisk away. I have a little trick – I lift the bowl on and off the heat regularly, so there is no chance I overcook the sauce. Finally add the lemon juice and continue whisking. The sauce should be creamy and fluffy. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Home-made muffins

English muffins:
300 ml lukewarm water
560 grs plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 egg whites

In a large bowl, pour the lukewarm water and mix first, the yeast, then the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well until smooth and add the stiff egg whites. Mix well. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour, if it’s too dry, add a bit of water. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 10-15 minutes. It’s quite an exercise, but well worth it. The dough should be elastic and silky. Place in an oil coated bowl (just rub a bit of oil on the sides and base of the bowl) and cover with a clean cloth. Let rise 1 hour in a warm place. Once risen, roll out again onto a floured surface and shape either with a round cookie cutter, a glass or simply with your hands (8 cm width and 2 cm thickness). Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and you can start frying them in a slightly oiled frying pan 4 minutes on each sides on medium heat.

Fry the bacon. Cook the asparagus in salted boiling water for 8 minutes max.

Finally, when all your ingredients are ready, all you have to do is assemble. First the muffin (toasted is better), buttered or not, add the bacon, then the poached egg, the hollandaise, the asparagus. Now you can indulge.

Broccoli pasta

This delicious and healthy pasta dish is perfect for a week-night dinner.  The kids adore this pasta – and I love seeing them eat their greens!  It’s so easy to make – you can use fresh or frozen broccoli (I always have a big bag of frozen broccoli in my freezer – so practical), and you will need a mixer/food processor – I own a Magimix and I can’t live without it.

Ingredients (serves 4)

600 grs broccoli (frozen or fresh)

10 cl double cream

400 grs spaghetti pasta (or any of your choice)

1 onion (chopped)

4 tbsp olive oil


Salt & pepper


6 – 8 small slices pancetta (fried & crumbled) – optional

30 grs parmesan


Pre-boil the broccoli for 8 minutes.

In a frying pan, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft and golden on a medium to low heat, add the broccoli and continue frying for 5 minutes.  Add the cream and turn off the heat.

Transfer to your food processor and mix until you get a good texture ‘sauce’.  Transfer back to your frying pan.  Re-heat on the lowest heat possible.

Fry the pancetta.  Once fried transfer to a paper towel to absorb excess fat.  Chop finely – so you can ‘sprinkle’ over your pasta.

Cook the pasta of your choice (mine is spaghetti).  Drain and mix the broccoli sauce.

Finally, sprinkle with parmesan and pancetta.