eggs

Poached eggs with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce

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If you asked ten people what Eggs Benedict was, I am sure nine and a half of them would tell you it was poached eggs sitting on smoked salmon with hollandaise sauce.

Which is what happens when restaurants (and some food writers) are sloppy with their naming. A similar situation exists with Eggs Florentine.

Nevertheless, I just love eating this, whatever it is called.

4 thick slices of sourdough bread
Olive oil
1 clove of garlic (optional)
A generous quantity of smoked salmon
8 poached eggs (these can be poached in advance and reheated, as they would be in a restaurant situation)
Hollandaise sauce
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A sprig of dill or tarragon, to garnish

Brush both sides of the sourdough slices with a little olive oil and place under a hot grill for 1 – 2 minutes each side, until crisp and golden. Rub one side of each slice with the garlic clove.

Top each slice of sourdough with a generous quantity of smoked salmon, top the smoked salmon with 2 reheated and well-drained poached eggs. Spoon hollandaise sauce over the eggs.

Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper if using, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Garnish with a sprig of dill or tarragon and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Variation: Cook some spinach in a little butter to wilt, then chop finely. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and, using the back of a spoon, press out as much water as possible. Season the spinach with salt and freshly ground pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Top each slice of sourdough with the spinach, add the smoked salmon, the poached eggs, then the hollandaise sauce. Garnish as above.

Almond Christmas Wafers

christmas almond wafers

185g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
250g plain flour, sifted
100g ground almonds

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour and almonds and mix to a firm dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until very firm.

Divide dough into 4 portions, roll out one portion 5mm thick and refrigerate the remainder until required. Using biscuit cutters in Christmas shapes cut out the dough (Christmas trees, angels, stars, etc.). Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake on a greased and lined baking tray at 180C for 10 – 12 minutes, or until golden.
Store in an airtight container. Dust some of the shapes with icing sugar before serving.

Frozen Christmas Pudding

frozen-christmas-pudding

This recipe came originally from Peg Tiffin. Despite the fact that it is frozen, this pudding is very rich and will fill you up just as much as a hot one!

2 eggs
300ml milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 –2 teaspoons cocoa
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1½ -2 cups mixed raisins and sultanas
Brandy
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup chopped almonds
300ml cream, whipped
6 large spoonfuls vanilla ice cream, slightly melted

Soak fruit in a generous quantity of brandy overnight. Strain and retain liquid to add later to pudding.

Heat milk to just below boiling point. Beat egg yolks with brown sugar until light and thick. Gradually stir in scalded milk. Return this mixture to the saucepan and stir over a very low heat or in the top of a double boiler until the custard coats the back of a spoon.

Add cocoa and blend well. Allow to cool. Add spices, fruit and nuts to the custard mixture. Add the brandy in which the fruit soaked. Whip cream and fold into the mixture, then stir in the slightly melted ice cream.

Freeze.

Photo by: Donna Hay

Eggs Florentine (Authentic)

Eggs Florentine (Traditional)

This recipe, like Eggs Benedict, is constantly being bastardised. Eggs Florentine, or more correctly, Oeufs poches florentine, is a creation of Auguste Escoffier, the father of modern French cuisine. It does not use hollandaise sauce, but bechamel sauce to coat the poached eggs. Escoffier did his Eggs Florentine as a sort of communal dish, containing up to 8 poached eggs. I think everybody nowadays would prefer their Eggs Florentine served in individual ramekins, or perhaps two poached eggs in cocotte dishes. The quantities here are Escoffier’s and, are very vague as all his receipts (yes, receipts) are.

250g spinach
6 – 8 poached eggs
Bechamel sauce
1 – 2 egg yolks
Grated cheese (I would use Gruyere or Parmesan)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (presumably)

Cook the spinach in boiling salted water and drain thoroughly. Chop and return to the pan with a little butter. Cook for a few minutes, then turn into a fireproof dish. (I think I would wilt the spinach in a little butter, drain off the water released by the spinach, then transfer the spinach to a fine sieve. Press down on the spinach to release as much water as possible, then divide the spinach among the individual ramekins or cocotte dishes.)

Preheat the griller to hot.

Arrange the eggs on top of the spinach. These can be eggs poached in advance and reheated just before using.

Add 1 or 2 egg yolks to the standard bechamel sauce to prevent it turning under the griller, then coat the reheated and well-drained eggs with the sauce.

Sprinkle with grated cheese, add a little melted butter and brown lightly under the griller before serving.

(You could add the cheese to the white sauce, stirring well to melt it, and then coat the eggs with what would now be a mornay sauce. Brown lightly under the griller before serving.)

Serves 3 – 4 in cocotte dishes, 6 – 8 in ramekins.

(Photo from Delicious.co.uk)

Faux eggs ‘Florentine’

Faux eggs florentine cropped
This is really just another take on the Eggs Benedict theme….poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, sitting on, this time, spinach. True ‘Eggs Florentine’, it is not, despite the fact that many breakfast-serving Brisbane restaurants are calling it that. I guess you can call anything sitting on spinach ‘florentine’! Nevertheless, the egg, spinach and hollandaise combination is quite delicious!

4 thick slices of sourdough bread
Olive oil
1 clove of garlic (optional)
Baby spinach leaves
8 poached eggs (these can be poached in advance and reheated, as they would be in a restaurant situation)
Hollandaise sauce (see Sauces)
Cayenne pepper
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chives, trimmed, but left long, to garnish

Brush both sides of the sourdough slices with a little olive oil and place under a hot grill for 1 – 2 minutes each side, until crisp and golden. Rub one side of each slice with the garlic clove.

Top each slice of sourdough with a generous quantity of baby spinach, top the spinach with 2 reheated and well-drained poached eggs. Spoon hollandaise sauce over the eggs.

Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Garnish with the chives and serve immediately.

Goats cheese, parmesan, leek and thyme tart

I first made this tart (or quiche, though I have noticed that men don’t like eating quiches, though they don’t mind tarts!) for a ‘plein air’ day at my landscape painting class. It was a huge success, and I had to print out twelve copies of the recipe. It appears below exactly as I typed it. The cheese references are for the people who hadn’t a clue what goat’s cheese was and firmly believed that Parmesan was smelly grated cheese that came in a green shaker!

1 x savoury shortcrust pastry base, frozen then baked blind in a 25cm diameter x 3.5cm deep flan tin with a removable base or a pate brisee base.

Filling:
6 medium sized leeks, well washed and finely sliced (white part only)
A little butter
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 round goats’ cheese (125g) *
150g good Parmesan cheese, grated **
A good handful of fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
6 – 7 eggs
1 ½ cups (375ml) pouring cream
A little freshly grated nutmeg
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan until the butter sizzles. Reduce heat and add the finely sliced leeks. Stir so that they don’t catch and continue to cook until leeks are transparent and tender. Remove from heat and place in a colander or sieve to drain well.

Preheat the oven to 200C, or a little hotter.

Sprinkle about one third of the Parmesan cheese evenly onto the tart base, then add the leeks, making sure they cover the base, right to the edges. Add some of the thyme leaves.

Slice or crumble (depending its consistency  – see note below) the goats’ cheese and distribute it evenly, then top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and the remaining thyme.

Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Break 6 of the eggs into a bowl and beat until an even consistency. Add a scant 1¼

cups of cream and beat together lightly. (Hold the remaining egg and cream until you know if you need them.) Add a little freshly grated nutmeg, then pour the mixture carefully into the tart, taking care not to overfill. If you don’t have enough egg/cream mixture, beat together the remaining egg and cream and add.

Place the tart tin onto a baking tray. (This will make it easier to remove without accidentally pushing the base of the tin up and so breaking the hot tart. It will also prevent any of the egg and cream mixture that might leak from ending up on the floor of your oven.)

Bake at 200C for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the top is a nice golden colour or the quiche is set.

Pate brisee

For years this has been the recipe I reach for whenever a savoury pastry shell is called for. 

Pate brisee (broken pastry) gives a slightly flaky crust without a strong individual taste, which makes it perfect for savoury flans, pies and quiches.  

These quantities make enough for one 25cm diameter quiche, or 20 tartlet moulds, each 5 cm in diameter and 1cm deep

100g chilled butter
225g plain flour
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon oil
Pinch of salt

Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and put the butter into a mixing bowl with the flour and the salt. Using a fork, or two knives, work the butter into the flour until the mixture has the texture of oatmeal.

Beat the egg yolk with the cold water and add the oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour and butter mixture and pour in the oil. Mix with a fork, then use your hands to form the dough into a ball.

If using a food processor, place the flour and salt into the bowl and add butter cut into small pieces. Using the metal blade, process until the mixture has the texture of oatmeal.

Beat egg yolk with the cold water, and add the oil. With the processor switched on, add the egg mixture through the feed tube, processing until the mixture forms a ball around the blade. Switch off immediately.

Wrap the pastry in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm…at least 20 minutes. This mixture will keep for weeks in the freezer.

If recipe specifies that a pastry shell be ‘blind baked’ before filling, follow the instructions in ‘Blind Baking a Pastry Tart Shell’ in this section.