So, there’s a big elephant in every room at the moment. I think you all know what I’m talking about, right? It enters the room around this time every year and rears it’s awkward head. Yep, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day. There’s so many ways to look at Valentine’s Day – from a single’s perspective, a couple’s perspective, from a ‘it’s just a way to encourage consumerism’ to ‘it’s a nice way to show your love for someone’ – it can just get a bit overwhelming trying to interpret it sometimes!
I have to admit that Valentine’s Day isn’t really a thing for me. I don’t think things get as crazy in the UK or Australia as they do in America, so we aren’t bombarded with it in the same way. The closest Iain and I have gotten to ‘celebrating’ Valentine’s Day is to go to a Gavin DeGraw concert. And we would’ve gone to that regardless of what day it fell on, so it wasn’t a real celebration. Two years ago, Iain was in a medical trial and last year, I was in Australia awaiting a new visa, so we haven’t really ever made a big deal of it.
But if I were to make a big deal about it, it’d be all about the food. I still can’t work out if I’d rather be doing the cooking or have the cooking done for me. Maybe alternating each year? Either way, if we were doing anything special, it would definitely involve food. And what better way to start the food-centric day than with breakfast in bed? OK, maybe not in bed, because crumbs, right?! But having breakfast made for you is pretty damn cool.
And if a man ever cooked me Eggs Benedict for breakfast, then I’d know for sure that he was keen, because a) poached eggs, enough said and b) homemade Hollandaise sauce. That’s effort right there. It’s the perfect breakfast to show that someone special that you care. And it isn’t ridiculously hard either. You may wish you had 8 arms to multi-task the steps, but take things slow and you and your loved one will be sitting down to buttery-lemony-runny-egg perfection. I know a lot of people have their own way of poaching eggs. The method below is what works best for me. By all means, use the method that works best for you.
If this all sounds like a bit too much effort, then check out a few of my other breakfast recipes to make for that someone special on Valentine’s Day:
French Toast Bagels with Cream Cheese Glaze
Café-Style Banana Bread with Ricotta and Honey
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp water
115g butter, melted
¾-1 tbsp lemon juice, to taste
Pinch of salt
2 tsp white vinegar
2 English muffins
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 slices shortcut or middle bacon (or Canadian bacon. If using American bacon, you’ll need more slices)
Salt, pepper and fresh chives, to serve
- Start by making the Hollandaise sauce: In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk egg yolks and water constantly, until the mixture is foamy and has just thickened, about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and slowly pour in melted butter, whisking constantly, until mixture has come together and thickened to a creamy consistency. Add ¾ tbsp lemon juice and combine. Taste sauce is to your liking, adding a dash more lemon juice if necessary, then add a pinch of salt and combine. If mixture is too thick, you can whisk in ½ tsp water. Set aside, but whisk every so often.
- To poach eggs: Heat a medium saucepan of water over medium heat to the barest simmer possible over. The bubbles should have formed on the bottom of the pan, but should not rise to the top. Add vinegar to the water and stir. Crack one egg into the smallest container or bowl that you have. I use a 7cm diameter, 5cm deep small ramekin. Allow water to settle, then bring the edge of the container/bowl/ramekin close to the surface of the water, keeping to one side of the saucepan and very quickly tip the egg straight into the water. Repeat with second egg on the other side of the pan. If you feel confident enough, add more eggs. I find two at a time is enough for me. Once eggs have been added to the saucepan, reduce heat to the lowest possible setting, and cover saucepan with a lid. Poach for between 3 minutes 30 seconds and 4 minutes.
- While eggs are poaching, toast English muffins (can be done in two batches). Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over high heat and fry bacon on both sides until cooked through. And don’t forget to whisk your Hollandaise sauce occasionally.
- When eggs are finished, use a slotted spoon to carefully lift the eggs out of the water. Check that the egg white is completely cooked and if so, transfer eggs to a paper towel lined plate. If the egg white is still a bit liquidy, return eggs to saucepan for another 20-30 seconds.
- Assemble the Eggs Benedict: Lay out toasted English muffins on the serving plate. Spread with butter, if preferred. Lay a piece of bacon on each half of the muffin, then place a poached egg on top, followed by the Hollandaise sauce. Top with salt, pepper and freshly chopped chives and serve immediately.
Hollandaise sauce recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.