Hubris

Hmmm! The young lad wanted to learn how to make Hollandaise Sauce and mayonnaise. And I thought: why not combine the hollandaise lesson with Sunday breakfast, and make Eggs Benedict? So, the young lad was up at 8.30, the brioche buns were in the oven, the smoked bacon was sizzling away, the water for the poached eggs was ready and, unusually, a couple of kidneys were cooking gently in a froth of butter.

Having made Hollandaise successfully on several occasions, I was pretty confident that all these things and a cookery lesson could be done at the same time. Hah! Not so. Insufficient attention to the initial emulsification process added to an impulsive decision last night to try a new way of adding the butter resulted in a very buttery scrambled egg sauce. The young lad followed my instructions to the tee. It was my hubris that bit me in the bum.

The Eggs Benedict were edible but they weren’t strictly speaking Eggs Benedict because they were not accompanied by a silky smooth Hollandaise Sauce. (The kidneys – Christine’s idea – were great though.)

The failure niggled at me all the way through breakfast and I decided that I needed to make proper Hollandaise Sauce. So, breakfast half cleared away, I asked the young lad to prepare another couple of egg yolks and, instead of the ridiculous notion of melting the butter, to cut 125g of butter into cubes. That’s the way I’ve always done it and that’s the way I should have done it earlier.

This time, I concentrated on the initial emulsification and watched the simmering water under the bowl like a hawk. I took the bowl off the heat every so often prompting the young lad to tell me that he had watched a YouTube video last night in which Gordon Ramsay took the bowl off the heat every so often too. Well then. I should have watched that damn video too!

Anyway, slowly adding cubes of butter and whisking like bejaysus worked a treat and a silky smooth Hollandaise Sauce resulted. Phew. the day suddenly got better. Lesson learned. Don’t get cocky with emulsifying sauces.

Later, we made mayonnaise. I left nothing to chance and it turned out perfectly, and gave us both a bit of a whisking work out at the same time. Not sure that Edward liked it that much though. I added just a bit of olive oil which gives it a characteristically slightly bitter taste but which also makes it very different from Hellmans (which has sugar and a lot of other crap in it).

Otherwise, I’ve been busy but I have nothing much to show for it. Works in progress. A few experiments with watercolours, some guitar finger-picking practice, messy papier mache, the start of a Christmas tree made out of twine, and the first part in a process of seeing whether I can create an antique crackle effect on a painted surface. Oh, and I sorted through about two years of photos and put them in digital albums. You’ll see them all in due course. The artefacts, not the photos.

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