Once upon a time, when I couldn’t cook anything, I regarded being able to do it as a sophisticated skill that was almost other-worldly. There was a girl at university, Amelia, who did a cooking course at Leiths and could knock up brownies and cocktail sausages in their own honey and mustard sauce and multiple other treats and I thought “God. That is incredible.”
But teaching yourself to cook at that time wasn’t straightforward. There was no internet! Someone had to teach you or you can to buy books, or get them out of the library. And who’s to say the book you chose was a good one? Or had the things in that you wanted to make?
People lament about millenials but with access to Catch Up TV and YouTube and Google, I bet they can cook better than we could at 23.
Anyway several hundred years passed and now I can cook and it remains the most useful thing that I can do. But being an autodidactic cook means there are holes in my knowledge; I cannot make bread or, up until last night, hollandaise.
I don’t know why not with the hollandaise. I can’t remember what kept going wrong but it never went right.
The internet is probably the single most useful tool a cook can have as not only can you look up any recipe you fancy making but recipes are rated by other cooks so if someone’s written an uncookable bummer, they will be found out fast.
So I went straight to a “member” recipe off the Jamie Oliver website and it worked out just fine.
this makes enough as an accompaniment for about 4 people
1 Put a pan with about 1.5 inches of hot water in the bottom and set it on your smallest burner at its lowest heat.
2 Put a small pan with a pouring lip on another small burner and melt 100g of butter in there.
3 Separate two eggs, putting the whites aside for another project (meringues?) and put the yolks in a bowl that will go on top of the pan of water.
NOW… normally I would use a heatproof bowl, but in this instance I used a metal bowl – I don’t know if that made a difference to the success of it.
4 Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard in with the yolks and whisk briskly.
5 Trickle in the melted butter to the yolks, whisking all the time. Once the butter has all gone, you ought to be left with a slightly paler, glossy sauce, to which you can add a few dashes of vinegar
I genuinely feel relieved that I can now make this, although I wonder how many times I will end up actually making it. As for the bread, I once attended half a class at Bake With Maria, (because Kitty was 3 and got fed up and wanted to go home), but it was really good so I think I will go back on my own.