Smoked streaky bacon, poached eggs & hollandaise

Very nearly, but not quite, an eggs benedict. The much-famed benedict uses sliced ham, whereas we’ve opted for crisp streaky bacon. So, we won’t call it a benedict, as that would disrespect tradition and authenticity.

Those with a penchant for brunch, this one’s for you. There are people out there who have the time on their weekends to prepare a leisurely meal in the middle of the morning, and I envy you. Plainly, these are the rantings of a man with a young child, and I genuinely look forward to a time when I have the time and energy to whisk a hollandaise at 10am on a Sunday. For those who already enjoy this freedom, here is some guidance.

Bacon and poached egg muffins with hollandaise.

Serves 3


For the hollandaise


A vinegar reduction is required, so:

  1. Pour the vinegar, along with the thyme, mace, white peppercorns, and shallots into a small pan. Set over a high heat and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Reduce by half and then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Fill a tall pan with water and set over a high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  3. Tip the egg yolks into a heat-proof bowl, along with a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar reduction, and 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk everything together and then set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk continuously. The aim is to aerate the yolks as much as possible, while they slowly cook. Do not be tempted to stop whisking!
  4. Once the yolks are very pale, with a fine bubble and holding themselves when whisked, then remove the bowl from the heat, being very careful of the steam escaping from the pan.
  5. Keep whisking, energetically, while introducing a steady but slow stream of the melted butter. This will test your stamina…
  6. It is common to add only clarified butter, i.e. not the milk solids. But I actually think a little of the milk solids is a good thing, helping to thin the hollandaise to a nice consistency.
  7. Once all the melted butter is emulsified into the yolks, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, whisk again, and then taste. Adjusting the seasoning as necessary. Cover the surface with cling film and leave somewhere warm while you prepare the rest of the dish.


  1. Lay the bacon on an oven-proof tray and bake in the oven at 160°C for about 8 minutes, until crisp.
  2. Cut the muffins in half and toast, then butter while still hot.
  3. Add the vinegar to the tall pot of simmering water that you used to cook the hollandaise. Then crack the eggs into the water and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from the water and place on a clean tea towel to deal with any excess water. Season with a little sea salt.
  5. Lay the bacon on the buttered muffins, then place a poached egg on top, followed by a good spoonful of hollandaise and a sprinkle of chives.

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