Every cook ever loves butter.
Nigella seems to love nothing more than lamenting about the stuff.
Julia Child loved it, and Julie Powell followed suit.
Pioneer Woman adores the stuff so much I swear her ranch must be made of it.
And yes, before you ask, butter is definitely one of my favourite things.
Mr P flinches slightly every time I make toast, convinced I will die of a heart attack halfway though.
He’s probably right.
Which is why I mostly eat cereal. Or porridge. Or fruit. Or something that doesn’t increase my chance of a heart attack.
I suppose I should also take this moment of confession to just say my mashed potato ain’t going to win a health food award.
Actually, I won’t just say that.
I’ll also say its FREAKING DELICIOUS.
The butter, you see.
Us cooks love it because it makes things taste damn good.
Which is why hollandaise sauce is one of my favourites.
It is, after all, mostly butter.
I really, honestly, genuinely say I don’t make this very often.
But sometimes I have people for brunch.
And lets just say, the people, they LOVE the butter.
Unless they are dairy intolerant, I suppose.
If you want to seriously impress your brunch guests, I suggest you give Eggs Benedict ( toasted muffin, with ham and this dreamy sauce) a shot.
They will love you forever and ever.
First up, your ingredients: butter, eggs, white wine vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, a lemon, salt and pepper.
Yes, I know I said pepper twice, but I mean peppercorns and then whatever pepper you normally use to season stuff. Like pepper in a grinder.
Put the vinegar in a pan with the bay leaves and peppercorns. Not the grinder pepper.
I am very pleased that the pink kitchen has pink peppercorns.
I’m quite a simple sort.
The food police will come and beat me up for having a specific reason for using pink other than the fact they are PRETTY.
Actually, stuff them, any colour will do.
Boil the mixture until it is reduced to about 2 tablespoons.
Only about 2 tablespoons, a little more or less doesn’t matter too much.
Separate the eggs, and strain the vinegar into a bowl with the yolks.
The yolks of the eggs, that is.
Use the whites to make a pavlova or something.
Something that you slather with cream.
Might as well push this calorific treat to its limits.
Back to the sauce.
Where were we?
Melt the butter.
I am lazy and just use the same saucepan that I did the vinegar in.
This may be why I will never be Sophie Dahl, or Delia, with their multitude of saucepans that are EXACTLY THE RIGHT SIZE.
No, I use the same one.
Don’t even wash it.
Oh yes, I know how to live.
Then, trickle the butter into the eggs, whisking like you have NEVER WHISKED BEFORE.
I mean, why are you even reading this?
YOU SHOULD BE WHISKING ALREADY!
(N.B. labour saving devices are available to assist with this.)
Eventually, the butter will all be incorporated, and you will have a light, thick sauce to lick off your fingers, your bacon, your Eggs Benedict, your poached asparagus, your secret lover.
Give it a taste for seasoning, adding lemon juice, salt, and pepper (of the grinder variety) to push it into the sublime.
And if you are going to lick it off a person, adequate seasoning is the LEAST you can offer.
However, if you are going to be boring, and you know, serve it from a jug or something, may I suggest you heat the jug first?
God, I am SUCH a square.
Where else would you get talk of secret lovers followed by handy hints about serving a sauce?
Except maybe a Caitlin Moran article, or something.
Serves 4. Cooking time 20 minutes.
80ml white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Lemon juice, salt and pepper
1. Heat the vinegar in a pan with the peppercorns and bay leaves, boiling until reduced to 2 tablespoons worth.
2. Separate the eggs, keeping the whites for another recipe.
3. Place the yolks in a bowl, along with the reduced vinegar.
4. Melt the butter.
5. Slowly add the butter to the egg mixture, whisking all the while.
6. Once all the butter has been added, and the mixture is thick and glossy, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
7. Serve, in a warmed jug.