Is there a better email subject header than “Free Brunch?”
I don’t think there is. In fact, I’m almost 100% certain there isn’t. It was the title of an email from the Avenue Cookery School that landed in my inbox a few weeks ago. The team were inviting me to spend a morning at their kitchens in Wandsworth, where I would be taught how to make the best Eggs Benedict with the most sublime ingredients and produce, while simultaneously sipping at bottomless Bloody Marys. That was the best email I received all week.
So on Sunday, I navigated my way to their HQ (which happened to feature in last week’s “Burgers” episode of The Apprentice) for 11am, and a morning of eating, learning, drinking and talking all things blogging began with a Bloody Mary and a delicious, warm pastry.
As we said our hellos and took in our surroundings, our teacher for the morning, Richard, summoned us over to his station where he took on the task of teaching us the science and magic of making the best Eggs Benedict. Starting with hollandaise sauce, the maker or breaker of an eggs benny.
The ingredients list for the masterclass had all kindly been supplied by some of the best brands available. The eggs, supplied by Clarence Court, had the most gloriously bright golden yolks, and thick, gelatinous whites. We separated the yolks from the whites and began to whisk the yolks up to a thick and fluffy consistency over a Bain Marie.
Added to the yolks were a cap-full of Belazu Ingredient Co chardonnay vinegar and once taken off the heat, a pinch of salt and another capful to taste. Richard advised that it’s better to go overkill with the flavour than bland.
Next came the poaching of the eggs. With such excellent quality eggs like these Clarence Court browns, there isn’t a need to add vinegar to the water. Instead, drain the watery whites away (Can you see where the thick white separates from the thin in the pictures? That.) Bring the water in your pan to a boil and create a vortex. Once the vortex has calmed down a bit you can gently drop in your egg and it will poach gently for a few minutes. Set them aside while you keep on poaching.
While they cooked I kept hydrated with a delicious Bloody Mary made with BigTom Tomato Juice and Absolut Vodka. This pre-spiced tomato juice removes the need for all the extras – perfect for a lazy morning or a quick hair of the dog on the go!
And of course, if you didn’t Instagram Story your brunch, did you even brunch at all?
Once the eggs had been poached, it was time to start assembling our Eggs Benedict. We had been supplied with delicious muffins from Warburtons which were lightly toasted, and then a mountain (almost literally) of bacon provided by Denhay. Have you ever seen a more beautiful sight? Salty, juicy and crispy – I piled one of my muffins high with strips of piggy goodness, and the other I layered up with the freshest smoked salmon from Forman & Sons to create Eggs Royale.
Back at my station, it was time to place my perfectly poached eggs (if I do say so myself) onto my muffins and finish off with a generous dollop of the hollandaise sauce, before garnishing with a sprinkling of parsley.
Of course, no brunch is complete without avocado, so I created a tail of sorts for my plate with the most perfectly ripe avocado before heading to the beautifully set table where we all got to dine together while enjoying a pot of Teapigs tea, a glass of Pip Organic orange juice and a pot of Yeo Valley yoghurt.
Once we were all suitably stuffed full with all the deliciousness from our meal, it was time to bid our farewells, but not without grabbing a goody bag filled with samples of all of the ingredients we enjoyed and used throughout the morning, all of which I have been enjoying throughout this week for my lunches and suppers. You can see what I’ve been doing with them over on Twitter.
The Avenue Cookery School absolutely nailed this event, bringing together bloggers to enjoy the best meal of any day (side note: why do we save brunch for the weekends?) and our teacher Richard was excellent at explaining and demonstrating the process to us. I have high hopes for the other classes they run and if you have the chance to go to one, I’d grab that opportunity. They run classes for children and adults, and while not every class will include bottomless Bloody Mary’s (though this one does!), I guarantee you’ll have a fab time.
For Richard’s full Eggs Bene recipe, head over to their website.
And you can browse the selection of classes on offer over here.