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Eggs Benedict, Florentine or Bearnaise, I don’t mind. For me, it’s the best way to start the weekend or in fact any day of the week. My Instagram feed is full of snaps of my various ‘eggs benny’ experiences. I’ve eaten around the globe, stayed in top hotels, and if the eggs benny is on point then I consider myself to be at a decent hotel. It’s true you won’t find it listed in the low-cal section of any menu, but that’s okay, right?

So where did this delicious breakfast dish originate from? To get answers I scoured the internet; the results were inconclusive, there are many contradicting ‘claims’. The first is that of a gentleman named Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street stockbroker who wandered into the New York Waldorf Hotel in 1894, feeling a little worse for wear he ordered ‘off menu’, toast, poached eggs, crispy meat strips, and a side of hollandaise sauce. The head waiter was so impressed with the combination he later placed it permanently on the menu. Another claim was made by Edward P. Montgomery, he reportedly sent a letter to the New York Times, including a ‘breakfast recipe’ that had allegedly been sent to him from his uncle, Commodore Benedict, although the hollandaise sauce recipe differs, the preparation is much the same today.

The American dish is pretty much a staple of any breakfast menu, globally. Food outlets across the region have gone to all out on its presentation, hoping for that insta worthy shot. Some restaurants have moved away from a traditional muffin base. I’ve tried carrot fritter, toasted buns to crumpets all of which were equally delicious. For years I wondered how the silky sauce is made, and how? So again I searched the net. I watched endless videos tutorials, then voila, I found the perfect method. It’s a science, a test of your patience and skills. I didn’t get it right the first or second time, but as my confidence grew I got it. I’m now a fully signed-up member of the ‘yes, I can make hollandaise sauce’ gang. I now make the most amazing poached eggs with silkiest hollandaise sauce. You know I love to share, so here’s are a couple of my easy-to-make delicious breakfasts. Good luck, and I wish you an egg-cellent weekend!

HOW TO POACH AN EGG

INGREDIENTS

4 free-range eggs

1 litre water

3 tbsp white vinegar

1 litre iced water

METHOD

Fill a shallow pan with a litre of water and bring to boil. Turn the heat down and let the water simmer, it should appear to be fizzing but not boiling. Add the white vinegar. Break the eggs into small cups. Slowly pour the egg into the water: let the egg white drop in first, then let the remainder slide into the water. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Repeat the process; you can add four eggs to the pan and cook simultaneously. Using a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the water and place in ice water while you prepare the hollandaise sauce.

HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

4 free-range egg yolks

1 tbsp of white wine vinegar

65g unsalted butter

¼ tsp smoked cayenne

Pinch of salt

METHOD

Simmer a little water in a small pan. Then in a stainless steel bowl whisk the egg yolks and white wine vinegar together. Place the butter in a glass bowl and place over the water until melted, remove and set to one side. Place the eggs in a second glass bowl, place over the same pan. Whisking continually, being careful not to let the eggs get too hot; otherwise, they will scramble. Slowly add the melted butter, continue to whisk until the sauce is creamy in texture. Turn off the heat, stir in the salt and cayenne pepper. Cover the bowl and leave sat over the water. (If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of water from the pan before serving).

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EGGS FLORENTINE: Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 poached free-range eggs

Hollandaise sauce

100g of spinach

2 breakfast muffins

Butter to spread

Salt & pepper

METHOD

Trim and rinse the spinach, place in a microwaveable bowl, add half a cup of water, cover then cook in the microwave for three minutes. Toast and butter the bread, place on serving plates. Squeeze out the excess water from the spinach, place on the toast followed by the eggs, hollandaise sauce, season and serve.

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EGGS BENEDICT: Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

4 poached free-range eggs

Hollandaise sauce

4 slices of whole meal bread

100g of smoked salmon

10 capers

Butter for spreading

Salt & pepper

METHOD

Toast the breads slice and butter each slice. Place on a serving plate, layer over the smoked salmon, top with the eggs, hollandaise sauce, capers, black pepper, and serve.

Recipes, food styling and photography by Mark Setchfield, follow him on Instagram @gasmarksix

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— Recipes, food styling and photography by Mark Setchfield, follow him on Instagram @gasmarksix.