Eggs Benedict with Shaved Truffle

Eggs Benedict is a dish of poached egg on a bed of ham or bacon over a muffin half and covered in lashings of Hollandaise - egg yolks emulsified with butter.

Topping with grated or shaved truffle makes an especially rich dish and one which is a real treat!

Truffle is the fruiting body an underground fungus and rightly deserve their accolade as "diamond of the kitchen".

Let's get cracking ...

First, the "muffin" - place a Portobello mushroom in the oven set to around 180C to soften up.

Next, the Hollandaise.

Collect three egg yolks in a glass mixing bowl.

Put a good block of butter in a pan and on a gentle heat. As the butter melts, the solids will drop out leaving clarified butter to pour off, discarding the solids and returning the clarified top to the gentle heat to keep warm. The shortcut here is to use ghee.

Whisk the eggs briskly with a balloon whisk and add a splash of lemon juice.

Over a baines marie (sitting the mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water without the base of the bowl touching the water) and whisking constantly, pour the clarified butter into the mix in a constant stream.

You may need to lift the bowl off the heat every so often to prevent it from turning to custard.

If the Hollandaise becomes too thick, add a teaspoon of water.

Set the Hollandaise to one side.

Crack a further egg into a ramekin taking care not to break the yolk.

Add a generous splash of white distilled vinegar to the water, get it up to a rolling boil and then drop the heat. Gently swirl the water and carefully pour the egg into the vortex to poach.

Poach the egg, retrieve and dry off by resting it on a folded kitchen paper towel.

Re-warm the Hollandaise over the water, adjusting consistency with a little water if necessary. No need to add salt, since the ham will provide all the saltiness the dish needs.

Build the dish ...

Place the mushroom in the centre of the plate and cover generously with good cooked ham.

Gently place the poached egg on the ham and smother with the Hollandaise.

Crown the dish with shaved or grated truffle!


Wood Pigeon Stir Fry

Actually a member of the dove family, the wood pigeon is a wild bird which gleans fatty pink breast meat with a game flavour from its diet taken from open fields or gardens and lawns; young shoots and seedlings are favoured, as well as certain fruits and berries.

This delicious meat is best served slightly pink and can be fast cooked as whole breast or cut into small chunks for stir fry.

Let's get frying ...

Prepare the breast under running water and inspect carefully for shot. How carefully you inspect the meat will depend upon whether you've ever crunched a tooth on a piece of shot ... it's not good! Once this has happened to you ... trust me, you will inspect game meat very carefully!

Cut up the breast into bite-sized pieces.

Slice up some stir fry ingredients - whatever takes your fancy, although red, green and yellow peppers work very well indeed, as do mild chillis chopped into good slices.

Prepare some "noodles" by julienning complimentary vegetables such as mooli or cucumber.

Using a hot wok, sear the breast pieces and using the fat which renders out to prevent sticking, toss in the vegetables. The wok should be smoking hot.

Serve with a good helping of the juliennes and a generous portion of stir fry over the top. Feel free to use some chilli sauce or a squirt of lemon juice over the top.