Delia Smith’s Asparagus with Quick Hollandaise

Serves: 4

Nat’s parents come over every few weeks for a meal (and several bottles of wine) and it is something I always look forward to.

I am always told by Nat’s mother – Deb – to keep it simple.

Which this easy little starter I served at our most recent meal, certainly is.

It is really elegant, super classic and foolproof if you pressed for time.

Which means more time for drinking champagne and catching up.


2 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 bunch rocket

Hollandaise Sauce

1/4 cup creme fraiche
1 tsp cornflour
2 egg yolks
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
40gm unsalted butter, softened


  1. For the Hollandaise Sauce, place the creme fraiche, cornflour, egg yolks, white wine vinegar and lemon juice in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook, whisking gently for 1 – 2 minutes until thickened and combined.
  2. Remove from the heat and set aside. Whisk in the butter until combined, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Steam the asparagus for 2 – 3 minutes until tender.
  4. Divide the asparagus and rocket among serving plates, then drizzle with Hollandaise Sauce and serve.

Seafood Sausage with Lemon Herb Sauce

Serves: 4

This is a restaurant quality dish and one that made us so happy preparing and cooking it.

The subtlety of the sausages which we did in the sous vide for an hour before lightly grilling, the sauce, the mash and the asparagus made for seriously a memorable meal.

A really warm, unique, “we just cooked a 1-hat dinner meal”.

If you could do these with a thicker sausage casing than we used, I think they would be even more impactful and explosive; dramatic and clearly prepared with talent. Something your guests would have to admire and talk about on the way home.

If you are looking for an impressive Saturday night dish for guests, you could do a whole lot worse than this recipe.

Note that this recipe assumes you have a sausage stuffer though if you don’t have one, maybe try them as slow-cooked skewers: form them like sausages, wrap them tightly in cling wrap and gently fry in a pan.

Either way, you can’t go wrong.

(This recipe is written assuming you have a mincer and a sausage stuffer. If you do not, process the sausage in a food processor, tightly wrap into sausage-like logs with cling wrap and refrigerate; when ready to cook, wrap tightly with foil and poach for 10 – 15 minutes in boiling water. Slice away.)



250gm cod fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
250gm raw prawns, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
250gm salmon fillets, skinned, cut into 3cm pieces
2 large eggs
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper


¼ cup white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp white-wine vinegar
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter cut into small cubes
½ tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp minced scallion
1 tsp fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp fresh, snipped dill
Cayenne to taste

Paris mash to serve
Steamed asparagus


  1. For the sausage: Combine, mince and process the sausage ingredients. Stuff your sausages. Chill.
  2. For the sauce: In a small heavy saucepan, boil the wine, lemon juice and vinegar until reduced by half. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter bit by bit, waiting for each piece to melt before adding the next. Whisk in the lemon rind, scallion,  parsley, dill, cayenne and salt to taste. Season.
  3. Cook your sausages: poach them or sous vide them (1 hour) and then grill them in a pan with a little olive oil to give them colour.
  4. Prepare your Paris Mash and steam your asparagus.
  5. A good dollop of mash on each plate, two sausages on-top, a drizzle of sauce and a side of asparagus.

Quinoa, Broccolini and Asparagus Salad

Serves: 4 as a side

An unusual salad to write up on the coldest day in Sydney this year, though the house is warm and for a healthy Monday evening, there isn’t much not to love.

Let’s start with healthy: 217 calories a serve.

Taste? Fresh, clean, green and wholesome.

Ease? Way up there.

The quinoa is a bit of a star adding weight and nourishment, though it all pulls together and makes you feel like you are eating your way through a green garden.

And with plenty left for tomorrow‘s lunch – with the smoky barbequed salmon we also cooked tonight, flaked on top – as long as the office is warm, this is an awesome, filling meal the next day.

From Tobie and Georgia Puttock’s book, The Chef gets Healthy.


2 heaped tbps low fat plain Greek-style yoghurt
Sea salt and cracked pepper
2 small handfuls of mint leaves
2 pinches ground cumin
¾ cup (150gm) quinoa
1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
1 bunch asparagus, end trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
1 bulb baby fennel
1 tbsp salted baby capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 small handful of dill, chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling


  1. Place the yoghurt in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Finely chop half the mint leaves and mix into the yoghurt. Sprinkle with a pinch of cumin, cover and place in the fridge until needed.
  2. Toast the quinoa in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups (500ml) water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and hold at a simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the quinoa to absorb any remaining liquid. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and place in the fridge covered for about 10 minutes to cool.
  3. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanch the broccolini and asparagus for 1 minute; drain and refresh under cold water. Set aside.
  4. Remove the stalks from the fennel bulb. Reserve the fronds and discard the stalks. Cut the fennel in half lengthways, then slice into thin strips. Place in a bowl of ice water to keep fresh and crisp.
  5. Remove the cooled quinoa from the fridge. Add the broccolini, asparagus, fennel, capers, dill, lemon zest and juice, remaining mint leaves and a pinch of cumin, reserved fennel fronds and a good drizzle of olive oil. Mix carefully by hand and season.
  6. Serve with a dollop of the yoghurt mixture on top.

Royale of Asparagus with Speck Dressing

Elegant and clear you've spent the time, especially if you mention the 30 minutes of steaming!
Elegant and clear you’ve spent the time, especially if you mention the 30 minutes of steaming!

Serves: 4

This is a Guillaume Brahimi recipe and I think it is rather impressive.

It take a bit of time and his instruction to peel the asparagus (!!!) is too far, though it looks and tastes the part if served as an amuse-bouche; in fact, it looks really quite elegant.

I have a few recipes like this where people really appreciate the cut above home cooking and if you are cooking to impress, you really should give this a go.


20 spears (2 ½ bunches) asparagus
100gm butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic glove, thinly sliced
500ml (2 cups) chicken stock
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
200ml pouring cream

Speck Dressing

50ml extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
¼ long red chilli, finely chopped
150gm speck, cut into 5cm dice
100ml chicken stock
25ml sherry vinegar


  1. Trim (and peel! – no, do not peel) 8 asparagus tips and set aside. Slice remaining asparagus into thin rounds, discarding the woody ends.
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat, add butter, shallots and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally until tender though not coloured; a few minutes.
  3. Add the sliced asparagus and stir until the asparagus starts to soften (2 minutes) and then add stock, season to taste and simmer until asparagus is tender; around 4 – 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the cooking liquor. Blend asparagus in a blender until smooth. Add a small amount of cooking liquor if necessary in order to form a smooth puree. Pass puree through a fine sieve and refrigerate until chilled; 220ml is required for the recipe.
  5. Whisk eggs, yolks and clear and reserved 200ml asparagus puree in a bowl to combine and season. Pass through a fine sieve. Pour 125ml into four 185ml heatproof bowls (or ramekins) and cover with plastic wrap. Steam in a steam oven (90c) or steam very gently in a steamer basket placed over a saucepan of simmering water and steam until just set (25 – 30 minutes).
  6. Remove and cool to room temperature or refrigerate until needed.
  7. Blanch asparagus tips in boiling water and then refresh.
  8. For speck dressing, heat a saucepan over medium heat, add 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then shallots and chilli and stir occasionally until tender though not coloured. Add speck and stir until light golden brown; around 5 – 6 minutes, then add chicken stock and sherry vinegar and reduce by half (3 – 4 minutes). Add remaining olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
  9. To serve, bring asparagus custards to room temperature (if chilled), then spoon the speck dressing on top, garnish each with 2 asparagus tips and finish with a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper to taste.