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.

Ingredients

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

Method

  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.

Coffee Ice Cream

Makes: 5 cups

We had an Italian-themed dinner last weekend with some of Nat’s friends.

And how can it not end well with homemade coffee ice cream and a shot of Lemoncello?

Answer is, it can’t.

Like most ice creams, it starts with a great custard with the addition of coffee: instant coffee.

Trust me, instant is the way to go.

Into the ice cream machine, a few more glasses of red among friends, various promises that we should all go on holiday to Mexico and boom… you’re serving up cream, coffee ice cream.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups caster sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
6 egg yolks
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan over a medium heat, combine the milk, sugar, salt and coffee granules, stirring occasionally until steaming. Reduce the heat to low.
  2. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly pour half the hot milk into the eggs whilst whisking continuously. Return mixture to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, allowing it to touch the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until cold.
  4. When ready, whisk the cream and vanilla into the custard until smooth. Churn in your ice cream maker.
  5. Enjoy. With a Lemoncello.

Baked Huevos Rancheros

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Far enough. We garnished with red chilli rather than green though the point is to garnish and dial it up as much as you can.

Serves: 4

You can’t beat a special weekend breakfast and our favourite is anything with a little spice, tomato and hopefully some chorizo.

This recipe is consistent with a few others I have typed up – beans, chilli, tomato and baked eggs – though that is simply consistent with how much we love this sort of start to a Sunday morning.

With a good coffee or ideally, a good Champagne, this fairly straightforward number will hopefully inspire you to kick-off next Sunday with a bang.

Ingredients

4 flour tortillas
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
200gm dried chorizo, chopped
400gm can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, chopped plus extra to serve
1 yellow capsicum, chopped
400gm can chopped tomatoes
4 eggs
Sour cream and coriander leaves to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Great 4 ramekins and carefully line with the tortillas.
  2. Heat the oil in a frypan over a low heat and add the onion. Cook for 10 minutes until soft and add the chorizo. Turn up the heat a bit and cook for 5 minutes until starting to crisp. Add the beans, chilli and capsicum and season. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook until the liquid has reduced and the consistency is thick.
  4. Divide among the tortilla cups, making small wells in the center of each.
  5. Break eggs into the wells. Bake for 20 minutes or until the eggs are just set.
  6. Serve with extra chilli, sour cream, coffee and Champagne.

Grand Marnier Soufflés

Serves: 6

And now for a little something fancy…

Nat whipped up these delicate, Gabriel Gaté (remember him?) soufflés as part of a dinner party we had a few weeks back and they were a triumph.

It had been a while since I had had a soufflé and they did not disappoint.

Soft, airy, a wonderful flavour served with a dollop of cream.

I guess there are some people that don’t like quiches or avocado. For the rest of us, assume that soufflés are a big wow and two steps up from your usual dinner-party dessert.

Plenty of reason why you should serve these at your next dinner-party.

Ingredients

60ml Grand Marnier
310ml Crème pâtissière, chilled (below)
6 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra for preparing moulds
Icing sugar for dusting
Double cream

Crème pâtissière

500ml milk
½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
4 egg yolks
100gm caster sugar
50gm plain flour, sifted

Method

  1. For the Crème pâtissière: place milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and whisk well.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar into a heatproof bowl for 2 minutes. Whisk in sifted flour. Remove vanilla pod from milk and pour hot milk into the egg-yolk mixture, whisking well.
  3. Return to the saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-heat, whisking constantly. When mixture is just boiling and has thickened, transfer to a heatproof bowl. Whisk for a few seconds more and set aside to cool in the refrigerator. Stores up-to 4-days.
  4. For the soufflés: Preheat the oven to 150c. Butter 6 185ml ramekins and dust with caster sugar.
  5. Whisk Grand Marnier into crème pâtissière. Using electric beater, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until almost stiff. Add caster sugar and beat until firm.
  6. Using a spatula, mix a little of the egg white mixture into crème pâtissière; gently fold in the rest. Spon the mixture into the prepared ramekins, making sure it doesn’t touch the rim. Smooth the tops with the spatula.
  7. Back for 5 minutes then increase the temperature to 205c. Bake for a further 5 minutes then increase the temperature to 230c and bake for a further 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven, dust with the icing sugar and serve immediately with a dollop of cream (or ice cream).

Spicy Tomato Baked Eggs

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Yes… an amazing way to start Sunday.

Serves: 4

We love our weekend breakfasts and this number we whipped up last week was just awesome; so spicy, so rich, so hot.

Add a side of avocado and a good coffee and you’re off to the best Sunday morning of anyone in your street; add a French champagne and you’re talking streets and streets!

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
2 red chillis (de-seeding is optional) and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, sliced
Small bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves chopped separately
2 x 400gm cans cherry tomatoes
2 chorizo, diced
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp caster sugar
4 eggs
Oiled, grilled Turkish bread sliced to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan that fits a lid; soften the onions, chilli, garlic, chorizo and coriander stalks for 5 or so minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and then simmer for 10 or more minutes until thick.
  2. Using the back of a large spoon, make four dips in the sauce and then crack and egg into each one. Put a lid on the pan (or cover with foil) and then cook the eggs through over a low heat for 6 – 8 minutes; halfway through, scatter the parmesan cheese.
  3. Serve with the coriander leaves on top.

Karen Martini’s Spiced Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Eggs and Coriander

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Meatballs out of the oven and waiting for the passata and eggs.

Serves: 4

I am yet to do a Karen Martini recipe that hasn’t been a keeper and this is no exception.

What a Sunday night treat, served with this clever Adam Liaw salad.

The spicy lamb meatballs are divine, what with the richness of the egg and the sweetness of the tomato sauce. And it all presents beautifully.

Sadly, so well that you will struggle to make a lunch out of it the next day. This really is a dish that is hard to stop eating.

Both of the boys loved them with Oliver describing them as ‘better than better’. Little did he know he was eating chilli, sumac and coriander.

A winner on all fronts.

Ingredients

1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch coriander, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
½ onion, finely diced and cooked with a little oil until soft
500gm lamb mince
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
7 eggs
½ bunch parsley, leaves picked
½ bunch coriander, leaves picked
2 tbsp sumac
8 tbsp tomato passata
1 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Place spices, chopped parsley and coriander, salt, onion, lamb, 1 egh and breadcrumbs in a large bowl and combine well with your hands.
  3. Roll lamb mixture into 8 oval football shapes, coat in parsley and coriander and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with sumac and bake for 15 minutes; remove from the oven.
  4. Spoon passata into an ovenproof dish, place meatballs on top, crack 6 eggs over the top and bake for 12 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Squeeze over the lemon juice and serve.

Basic Hollandaise Sauce

Serves: 4 – 6

I believe that Hollandaise Sauce is one of those staples that Gordon Ramsay demands you cook for him in Kitchen Nightmares (which of course you can’t) before he rubbishes your grubby restaurant and then rebuilds it by simplifying your menu, throwing out all your furniture and putting a sign out front.

So best you know this simple and classic version then, kindly supplied (though not cooked) by my father.

My mother bemoans that she fast-tracks this sauce by using a food processor though I don’t know what she is talking about. I doubt Gordon would either and not before he threw a chair at you.

Get the water-bath going and do it right.

(And have an ice-cube ready if the sauce splits; just whisk it in a voila!)

Ingredients

4 large egg yolks
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
170gm (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of cayenne
Sea salt

Method

  1. Position a large heatproof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  2. In the bowl, whisk the yolks, lemon juice, and mustard until well combined.
  3. Gradually whisk in the butter in a thin stream and keep whisking until the sauce is thick enough for the whisk to leave tracks that hold for a couple of seconds, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the cayenne and season to taste with salt.
  5. Keep the sauce warm in its bowl set over the simmering water, whisking occasionally, until ready to use.