England is experiencing the ‘great flood’ take 2. Not literally of course, but after the great weather in April and May to say it has declined would be an understatement. Its Wimbledon week, the crowds are here and the grey clouds are looming large over London town. I feel sorry for the individuals responsible for rescheduling the matches so that they are all played in the two week Wimbledon window. Headache or what! But hey lets look on the bright side (us Brits are good at that) our reservoirs must be full again, there won’t be a hose pipe ban and our gardens are lush bright green.
So with all this wet weather I thought it was high tide (sorry I could not resist) to take a little trek across town to buy some of the tastiest eggs on the planet. If the sun refuses to come out in our skies then I will recreate it on the plate. Well that was my thinking.
There is this wonderful restaurant/brunch establishment, and grocery store in Maida Vale, called…..you guessed it, ‘Raoul’s‘. The brunch menu is heavenly and it is there that they serve and sell these wonderful eggs, which they source from Italy. They taste incredible and the yolks are so yellow I really wouldn’t be surprised if they had been injected with turmeric.
I stumbled across this little gem of a place years ago when I was looking for a place to live. I thought Maida Vale looked charming and villagey being nestled by ‘Little Venice’ and not far from Regents Park. When I stopped to gather my thoughts and look through the suggestions the estate agent had given me I refuelled in Raoul’s. It was a defining moment because I fell completely in love with this brunch hangout. With its wonderful eggs benedict royal and fresh fruit smoothies, I was sold. I decided there and then that the property I was going to live in HAD to be in walking distance of Raoul’s. I imagine it never crossed estate agents minds that something as simple as an eatery could convince someone to buy in an area. If I was to pin point it even further I think it was the eggs that won me over.
I think you kind of get my gist on how mind blowing these eggs are.
It wasn’t until I bought a dozen at the weekend that I actually decided to dig a little further and find out more about the eggs in question. All I knew was that they were from Italy. The packaging has changed since I was last there – which was quite a few years ago – and the eggs are imported by a company called ‘Machiavelli Foods‘, which focuses on importing food from Italy to London. On the packaging it says that the ‘hens are fed on a purely vegetarian diet of corn, grain and soy with marigolds and acorns added to help develop the rich and flavourful yolk’. So there you go folks if you want your hens to lay eggs with a deeper, rich, yellower colour, feed your hens marigolds and acorns. For those of you who keep hens let me know how you get on, I am really curious to see if you notice a difference in the colour of your hens’ yolks. I genuinely would be interested to know.
I thought I would recreate eggs benedict royale for you to try at home. My hollandaise sauce recipe is fail proof and super easy (I use a blender) so give it a try.
3 egg yolks
150 g unsalted butter
juice from half a lemon
pinch of salt (optional)
1. Separate 3 egg yolks from the whites. This is easy to accomplish by breaking the egg and then placing the yolk back and fourth between the two broken egg shell halves. Save the eggs whites for later on – you could make an egg white omelet.
2. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon onto the egg yolks, less if you prefer it less lemony. Add a pinch of salt at this stage, although I personally find it unnecessary if you are going to be using smoked salmon for the eggs benedict royale. Blend the egg yolk mixture for 20 seconds at a medium speed. It should appear slightly lighter in colour.
3. Slowly, and that is the key, heat up the butter, making sure not to let it boil.
4. When the butter is melted, slowly add it to the egg mixture, continuing to blend (I use the pulse button at this stage)as you do so. The speed of the blender and the heat from the butter will heat the yolks slightly without them scrambling. Blend for a couple of seconds once all the butter has been incorporated into the mixture.
5. Taste the mixture and add more salt or lemon as you see fit. If you like a thinner consistency then add a little warm water and blend briefly.
6. Keep the hollandaise sauce warm until you are ready to use by placing the blender container or small bowl you have transfered it into, in a pan of hot tap water. Use within 1 hour.
As well as eggs benedict royale, hollandaise sauce works really well over asparagus, broccoli, salmon (although that might be a bit 70’s!).
Eggs Benedict Royale
4 white muffins, toasted
4 eggs, poached
few drops of vinegar
cling film (to wrap the poach eggs in)
4 slices of smoked salmon
4 tbsp of hollandaise sauce (see above)
1. Prepare the hollandaise sauce first (see above) and put to one side in a warm place.
2. I have a number of ways to poach eggs but the method I am presently using is the one I saw my brother doing at Christmas when he was preparing brunch for the family. Basically you crack an egg over some cling film – enough so that you can gather the ends up easily and there is some left over (which you can place over the side of a pan). You must make sure that there is no air in the little cling film egg parcels. Place a few drops of vinegar with the egg. It is easy to poach many eggs at once like this by separating them into their own little cling film parcels.
3. Boil a pan of water and place the eggs into the boiling water. Leave for 2/3 minutes.
4. Meanwhile toast the muffins and then separate onto plates placing a slice of smoked salmon onto one half of the muffin. The extra half of muffin I leave to one side so as to mop up the hollandaise sauce and egg at the end.
5. Once the eggs are done, place them directly on top of the smoked salmon and then place a large tablespoon of the hollandaise sauce over the top.
6. Garnish options could be ground pepper, parsley or chives. I personally like to leave it plain as there are so many wonderful flavours coming from the dish already.