Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of two (nearly three, eeeeeek!) cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.
Once upon a time, in a small flat in St Albans, England, my husband made the most amazing hollandaise sauce from scratch, all by himself. He used every pot, pan and utensil in that small galley kitchen, but the resulting sauce was really good. Thinking to myself, “How hard can it be?”, I tried to reproduce his efforts one day, and it was rubbish. The mixture curdled and split, and no matter how may times I tried again, I just couldn’t get it right.
Fast forward six or so years, and I decided to try again. There was a recipe for Eggs Benedict in my then-new Chelsea Winter cookbook, and it didn’t look so hard. One Sunday lunchtime, when husband was away and my parents were coming for lunch, I assembled everything I needed, ensure the children were distracted by their grandparents and set to work.
I doubled the recipe, as the original is for two servings, and took my time. I made sure the pan of simmering water under the egg and butter mixture was barely simmering, and I whisked until my arm nearly fell off. I timed the eggs, and toasted the muffins to perfection, and when I dished it up, I may have danced a happy dance right there in the kitchen.
It was good. So good. Lip-smackingly, plate-licklingly good. The hollandaise was perfectly lemony, and the yolks were oozy and delicious. When husband returned home, I couldn’t wait to tell him about the dish, and with a cheeky glint in his eye, he said, “You’re going to have to prove it.”
And prove it, I have. About twice a month, on a Sunday, I make us Eggs Benedict for breakfast. I’ve failed at the sauce just once, and that was when I stuck to the quantities in the recipe. It seems I am rubbish at making holldandaise that serves two, but an expert at making hollandaise that, in theory, serves four. Which it doesn’t. I don’t need to look up the recipe anymore; it’s etched into my brain so strongly that it’s second nature now. Thanks to Chelsea, I think I can say that I am now a bit of a hollandaise master.