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Donal Skehan Home Cooked book

Donal Skehan Home Cooked book

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

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Donal Skehan Home Cooked book

I wouldn't exactly consider myself a Casanova when it comes to Valentine's Day, and this can be backed up by the number of times that I've forgotten it. However, I would consider myself to be a step above petrol station flowers and, despite my romantic shortfalls, I do like to think that I deliver a fine Valentine's dinner followed by the all-important breakfast in bed the following morning.

While oysters and champagne might sound very romantic, I like to stick to the simple favourites, which always go down really well.

I'd say forget the starter and channel 'Mad Men's' Don Draper by shaking up a killer cocktail before a simply cooked main course such as sweet and sticky duck legs served with roast parsnips and salad with a French dressing.

In my view, getting the dessert right is the key to any romantic dinner for two, and you can't go wrong with chocolate – mini molten chocolate cakes with hot oozing interiors served with ice cream are always a winner.

Breakfast in bed is the icing on the cake, and my go-to dish is eggs Benedict – soft poached egg slathered in a tangy creamy hollandaise sauce served with bacon on an English muffin.

With a menu like that, no one should be worried about a lack of roses or a flute-playing cherub sitting strumming in the corner.

'Homecooked' by Donal Skehan, published by Harper Collins, €27.50, available from leading bookshops and from donalskehan.com.

Donal's eggs Benedict

Runny poached eggs with salty bacon on top of a soft-toasted English muffin, all coated in a Hollandaise sauce – true perfection.

YOU WILL NEED

For the filling

6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

4 large eggs

Pinch of salt

1 tsp white wine vinegar

2 English muffin, split and toasted

Butter, for the muffins

Small handful of chives, snipped

For the hollandaise sauce

2 large egg yolks

150g butter, cold and cut into cubes

Juice of ½ a lemon

METHOD

Cook bacon under hot grill until it is crisp. To make the hollandaise sauce, place the egg yolk in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.

Whisk the yolks and slowly add the cubed butter, bit by bit. After each bit melts, whisk continuously until it is combined and the sauce has thickened. Add the lemon juice and stir through. Turn off the heat, but keep the sauce warm over the pan of water.

To cook the eggs, bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the salt and vinegar. Swirl the water with a tablespoon and then gently crack an egg into the centre. Cook the egg at a very gentle simmer for 3-4 minutes for the yolk to still be runny. Remove with a slotted spoon and place them in iced water to stop them cooking any further. Repeat with the remaining egg. Just before serving, reheat the eggs in warm water for 1 minute.

Butter the muffins and assemble the Eggs Benedict by placing a few slices of bacon and an egg on each half and then top with the warm hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle over the chives and serve straight away.

Irish Independent