Eggs Benedict, by head chef Chris Wood, of Hawthorns Brasserie in Newcastle
4 english breakfast muffins (try out the Geordie Bakers: www.geordiebakers.co.uk)
8 free range whole eggs
250g of salted butter
4 egg yolks
200ml of white wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of chives
1 slice of kettle cooked ham (from a good butchers)
Add 100ml of the vinegar to a pan with the peppercorns, bay leaves and reduce by half. Pass through a sieve & reserve to one side. In a second pan, melt the butter on a low heat so the butter clarifies and set to one side.
Place large pan of water on the stove (low heat, not boiling) with a smaller round bottomed pan inside then add egg yolks and vinegar reduction and whisk to form an emulsion. Once the mixture has doubled in size and has been become warm to touch, then add the warm (not boiling) butter gradually, bit by bit, while whisking continuously. When you come to the bottom of the pan there will be a milky substance, stop at this point and discard the milk.
The hollandaise can now be set to one side at room temperature.
In a small, deep saucepan add 100ml of vinegar to 1ltr of boiling water and carefully drop in the eggs and simmer for 3 minutes.
While the eggs are cooking half & toast off the muffins & butter. Now drain off the eggs on some kitchen paper. Cut the slice of ham in half, place on top of the muffins and assemble the eggs and sauce. Season & finish with chopped chives.