Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Beginnings

Happy New Year to all and to all a Happy New Year!

The 1st day of the year is usually held together with promises of resolutions but these promises do not always turn out how we expect them to. Let’s make this year different. Let’s use this new beginning to live life better. So take time to relax, enjoy the little things you cherish, take on new hobbies, visit new places, meet new people and use your time wisely.

The little things I cherish are Poetry and Food. I love to cook and I love to write. By combining them both together in a form new to me called blogging; I am learning, venturing out into the unknown, and trying to help others to explore too.

In my first theme, I have chosen to begin at the most cyclical representative in the culinary world: the egg. At the time of posting this, I presume a lot of people will have sore heads from indulgent New Year celebrations, so Eggs Benedict will be a breakfast craved for by many. Restaurant’s hype up many dishes so they sound more complicated than expected, and I know it sounds cliché, but if I can make them, then anyone can. I think that making a recipe from scratch not only makes you feel an accomplishment but you can learn the basics of cooking that will help you in other parts of cooking processes.

Before the recipe, I want to include a poem that not only encompasses the theme of the egg but also of New Year itself. I thought the following does just this:

Nest Eggs

Birds all the summer day
Flutter and quarrel
Here in the arbour-like
Tent of the laurel.

Here in the fork
The brown nest is seated;
For little blue eggs
The mother keeps heated.

While we stand watching her
Staring like gabies,
Safe in each egg are the
Bird's little babies.

Soon the frail eggs they shall
Chip, and upspringing
Make all the April woods
Merry with singing.

Younger than we are,
O children, and frailer,
Soon in the blue air they'll be,
Singer and sailor.

We, so much older,
Taller and stronger,
We shall look down on the
Birdies no longer.

They shall go flying
With musical speeches
High overhead in the
Tops of the beeches.

In spite of our wisdom
And sensible talking,
We on our feet must go
Plodding and walking.

by Robert Louis Stevenson

With new inspiration, please use my following recipe as and when you wish: 

Eggs Benedict

For the Hollandaise sauce:
·         2 egg yolks
·         110g Butter (55g per egg  yolk)
·         1 dessertspoon of white wine vinegar
·         1 dessertspoon of lemon juice
·         Salt and Pepper (to your own taste)

Remaining Ingredients:
·         2 White or wholemeal Toasting Muffins
·         4 whole eggs for poaching
·         Few drops of white wine vinegar
·         2 slices of Ham/Bacon/Parma Ham
·         1 large pack of Spinach/Asparagus (if you wish)

Firstly, make the Hollandaise (slowly combining butter into eggs):
1.      Melt the butter in a saucepan; skim the residue off the top, and decanter into a pouring jug. Do not allow to cool. You have to work quickly but not too fast!
2.       Place a large glass bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not allow the bowl to touch the water. Place the egg yolks into the glass bowl and add the vinegar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3.       Slowly (very slowly) add the butter in the egg yolks continuously whisking. The eggs will thicken under the heat of the water but be careful not to allow the eggs to get too hot (the first time I tried this the eggs scrambled because of the high heat so don’t panic; just have some back up eggs to resort to!)
4.       Continue to whisk in all of the butter. If the sauce is too thick then add a few drops of warm water to thin slightly.

Secondly, poach the eggs:
1.       Use saucepan of simmering water used to make the sauce. Add more water so the eggs have space to poach.
2.       Once the water is boiling, add in vinegar (it helps to solidify the egg yolks).
3.       Swirl water to create a vortex and drop in a whole egg. The egg white will circle around itself to form an oval shape around the yolk.
4.       Leave the egg to cook for 2-3 mins, and remove with a drainable spoon.

Thirdly, plate up and serve:
1.       Slice open muffins and toast.
2.       Place Ham or Bacon on top (or Spinach/Asparagus), then poached eggs and then the hollandaise sauce.
3.       Season with Salt and Pepper and enjoy!

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