A twist on eggs florentine
The final chapter in my tribute to the London foursome, I’m dedicating this to the member who is always my partner in crime when in comes to foodie adventures. This lovely lady, who is still holding down the fort in London town for us, was the one person I would immediately turn to when I was on a mission to find the best of the best. These constant quests to find meals that would surpass a previous discovery made the whole experience of eating in London incredibly exciting. We hunted down the best Red Velvets – after one too many cupcakes, sugar highs, and to avoid bursting the seams of our jeans we conceded Hummingbird Bakery (still) holds the crown. There were numerous Sunday brunch dim sum trials (I am a Royal China loyalist) and stomach bursting Greek restaurant sessions (the jury is still out for Retsina of Belsize park vs Lemonia in charming Primrose Hill). Probably the most significant search of them all – the best eggs benedict/florentine. We cracked (cue drum cymbal) through a dozen different brunch places, even attempted making our own, but absolutely hands down this award goes to Raouls in Maida Vale. The eggs here were out-of-this-world, enormously golden orange yokes poached to perfection. At the risk of sounding like a broken record from previous posts, I hate non runny eggs and poached eggs with overcooked yolks are a sacrilege (this explains why I refuse to step foot at Bangsar’s Plan B – RM 16 for well done poached eggs, I don’t think so).
I cannot have an eggs benedict or florentine without missing this lovely lady. Our egg-scapades powered us through catchups on life, morning-afters bitching about how all men in the world suck (or were sweethearts depending on the day), weekend escapes from insane flatmates, and celebrations such as Will and Kate’s nuptials, where she made gorgeous homemade eggs benedict in our little commoner’s party for the royals.
When making eggs benedict or florentine at home, I tend to tweak the recipe to make the dish a tad less sinful. I cannot bring myself to make my own hollandaise sauce knowing how much butter and additional egg yolks are required. My version of hollandaise uses natural yoghurt and dijon mustard for a similar creamy sauce with a tangy hit. The spinach is also cooked in the sauce for extra lusciousness. When I’ve made this recently, a wholemeal roll was used as base because for some reason English muffins bought in Malaysia taste a tad cardboard like? The eggs you see below were poached using a nifty device from John Lewis that are meant to be quite easy to use. The eggs sit in the pouch, hovering over a pot of boiling water. Before you know it, ben’s your uncle and you should technically have poached perfection. I don’t seem to have a problem with the runny yolks, it’s more the egg formation that can get extremely messy even with additional help. Lucky for me, cameras can hide certain angles. I will not say more. I have officially added ‘perfectly poach an egg’ to my list of things to do before turning 35 to compensate.
Two eggs, wholemeal roll, spinach, half an onion, 1/2 cup natural yoghurt, 2-3 tsp dijon mustard, half a lemon, olive oil, salt & pepper, spring onions to garnish.
1. Poach eggs (or in my case attempt to poach eggs).
2. Make the sauce by sautéing onions with olive oil. When onions start to brown add natural yoghurt and dijon mustard. Season. Before sauce is about to boil, squeeze in lemon juice and reserve some sauce to pour over the eggs.
3. Add spinach leaves to remaining sauce in pan. When leaves have wilted take off the heat.
4. To assemble place a layer of the spinach mixture on top of a halved, toasted roll. Top with poached egg, drizzle extra sauce, and garnish with chopped spring onions.
5. Serve with a simple side salad of spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes.