Sunday, May 8, 2011
My Mum has taught me lots of things. The right way to hang your clothes on the line so that you don't have to iron anything, the proper way to do the washing up (glasses first, pots and pans last), how to wrap presents so they look pretty, how to look after my cat, how to get stains out of your clothes, how to sew the hem on your skirt. Useful things.
But one of the most important thing she taught me, was how to cook. She started teaching me when I was little so that now I feel like these cooking tips are basic things that everyone learnt, even if they're not.
Things like, how to tell if a cake is ready without sticking a tester in it, how to make bolognaise sauce, how to chop onions, how to get the skin off a garlic clove. Again, useful things (She's a handy type).
Don't get me wrong, my Dad has taught me lots of things too (how to flip pancakes, how to make a good omelette, how to make mayonnaise). But this isn't a blog post about Dads. It's a post about Mums. Because it's Mothers Day today. My Mum lives in a different state, so I don't get to see her very often. And although I rang her this morning, I thought it would be nice to tell her how much I love her.
There is one thing that Mum taught me to make really well. And I make this at least once a month, if not more. Usually on a Sunday, when Brent requests Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Actually, the first time I made this by myself, was when Brent and I started going out and I was trying to impress him. It must have worked because it's one of the only things that he actually asks me to make.
[Notice the burnt toast in the picture above? I can make hollandaise but I can't make toast.]
Mastering hollandaise sauce is a pretty useful skill. It doesn't just have to go on eggs, either. Think steamed asparagus and pan-fried salmon fillets. And it is really easy to scale up or down, depending on how many people you're feeding.
In my recipe book, the recipe for hollandaise goes a bit like this:
1 egg yolk, butter, lemon juice. Don't scramble the eggs. Serves two.
But that isn't very helpful to you, really. So I thought I'd write it up a bit better, so that you can impress your beloved, or make your Mum a nice breakfast.
1 egg yolk
50-70g butter, chopped
1-2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Set a small pan on the stove with 3/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer.
Put the egg yolk into a medium bowl and set the bowl over the pan. Make sure the bowl isn't touching the water. This is really important.
Whisk the egg yolk, and put one cube of butter in. Keep whisking until the butter is incorporated.
Add another cube of butter and keep whisking. When it is nearly all incorporated, add another butter.
When you've added a few cubes of butter, you can start putting in more than one cube at once.
Keep doing this until all the sauce starts to thicken and is a nice pale colour.
Make sure that the eggs don't start to scramble. If they look like they are beginning to scramble, quickly take the bowl off the water and whisk it like crazy. If they look really bad, or you're a bit nervous, you could plunge the bowl into some cold water to stop the cooking process.
When the sauce is thick and all the butter is mixed in, whisk in the lemon juice and some salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
If the sauce cools down too much, just set the bowl over the simmering pan of water again, and whisk until it heats through.
This amount of sauce is enough for two poached eggs.