Stress-free Valentine’s brunch

This recipe features in the January edition of Hampshire Life magazine with wine matches from The knackered Mother’s Wine Club.

Real Bread Week doesn’t officially start until 20th February, but I never need an excuse to visit my favourite bakery, Hoxton Bakehouse. A thick slice of their seeded sourdough makes a great base when designing the ultimate valentines brunch. Anyone lucky enough to enjoy a leisurely lay-in, or even brunch in bed, doesn’t want to spend too long in the kitchen, so this recipe lets the oven take the strain while you whip up a batch of my fool-proof cheat’s hollandaise. Poached eggs can be a bit temperamental, so I’ve opted for soft-boiled – same glorious runny yolk without the stress!

Eggs, bacon, mushrooms and hollandaise on sourdough

Serves 2

  • 100 g butter
  • 250 g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 rashers streaky bacon
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • ½ tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180 fan) / gas 6.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then toss 2 tbsp of it with the mushrooms in a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 5 minutes.
  3. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on a wire rack over a baking tray. Give the mushrooms a quick stir, then return them to the oven with the bacon. Roast for 12 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and the mushrooms have browned.
  4. Meanwhile, use a drawing pin to pierce the end of the two whole eggs. Lower them gently into a saucepan of simmering water and cook for 6 minutes, then refresh under cold running water for 5 minutes.
  5. While the eggs are cooling, put the egg yolks in a narrow measuring jug or mug, just a bit wider than your handheld stick blender. Stir in the lemon juice and mustard and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  6. Toast the bread while you peel and halve the eggs, then top the toast with the bacon, mushrooms and eggs.
  7. Reheat the rest of the butter in the small saucepan until sizzling. Put the emersion blender into the egg yolk jug and turn it on, then pour in the hot butter in a thin stream. As soon as all of the butter has been incorporated, spoon it over the eggs. Sprinkle with pink peppercorns and serve immediately.

Local producers:

Sourdough bread – Hoxton Bakehouse

Southampton, Winchester, Lymington & Bishops Waltham, 02381 785542

Bacon, eggs and butter – HG Witt and Son

Fordingbridge, 07714 768974

Chestnut mushrooms – New Forest Wild & Exotic Mushrooms

New Milton, 07970 470334

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