Eggs Benedict and Heston Blumenthal's Perfectly Poached Eggs

Hubby is mildy addicted to eggs Benedict - he frequently orders it for working breakfasts, and you can see from some of his comments that he has many, many criteria he applies to the dish.  Consequently I'm often reluctant to cook it at home - but hey, it's Christmas - the man deserves his favourite breakfast at Christmas surely?!

Thermomix Sauces: Béarnaise

There are conventionally five mother sauces, of which hollandaise is the probably the richest, with it's combination of egg yolks and melted butter.  I'm not always massively fond of hollandaise, as it often lacks flavour beyond the butter.  However I absolutely adore a number of variations, especially blood orange hollandaise (Maltaise sauce), beurre blanc, and most particularly béarnaise sauce, with its fragrant addition of tarragon.

Heston Blumenthal's Macaroni Cheese

Whenever I get a little bored, or I'm sitting in the bath, I delve into my i-pad espisodes of How to Cook Like Heston...  I like the combination of science, technique and, ultimately, gastronomy - it always has my food brain working overtime... After a particularly late night hosting our annual Christmas quiz, I delved into the episodes again, and looking at my groaning cheese boards (yes, plural), thought I'd better get stuck into some of his cheese recipes.

Black Olive, and Caraway and Onion Rolls

I have several, no, many bread books, which get used to varying degrees. However when I need a basic do-ahead recipe which will be transformed into a variety of uses, I head straight for Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day.

I've made any number of variations of this recipe - sun blushed tomato bread, cinnamon and raisin, but my favourites are onion and caraway, and olive bread. The joy of this recipe is that the dough can sit in your fridge until you're ready...

Beetroot and Kummel Cured Salmon, with a cucumber salad

I was at a shooting party recently and was served beetroot and vodka cured salmon as a starter - it was absolutely delicious.  Light, tangy, the cucumber salad adding a refreshing bite.  I found a number of variations on-line which I've adapted to produce my perfect variation - it's a bit more Scandinavian than the original, and a little more fragrant.

Chocolate Fondant

Chocolate fondant, the nemesis of many a Masterchef contestant!  I've no idea why they will insist on trying to make a fondant without choosing a recipe which guarantees success.  This recipe by the charming Mark Lloyd is delicious (I had it at his pop-up in London), and it's always struck me as more likely to succeed because of the addition of the liquid glucose.  I can assume you it works perfectly!

Carrot Cup-Cakes with Cream Cheese Fosting...

I've been wanting carrot cake for ages - not entirely sure why - but I came across this recipe by the lovely Dan Leppard, and thought they were exactly what the doctor ordered.   If you get your kids to do the grating, you can have them up and ready in no time at all :0)