• Nicole Short

How to Poach the perfect egg!

So this is a very simple and basic skill, that all home cooks should master! I am sure in this time of lockdown, you are missing your favourite breakfast spot with your avocado smash or that stunning light eggs benny. A poached egg is essential to feel like you are having a gourmet breakfast


Half-fill a wide pan with boiling salted water, and bring it to a light simmer over a medium heat. Add a tablespoon white vinegar/cider vinegar into the water.

Crack one of the eggs into a cup and gently pour it into the water in one fluid movement. Repeat with the rest of the eggs. You’ll see them begin to cook immediately – don’t worry if the edges look a little scruffy. Depending on the pan, a really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes and a soft to firm one will need 4 minutes (it depends on the size of the eggs and whether you’re using them straight from the fridge).

To check whether they’re done, remove one carefully from the pan with a slotted spoon and give it a gentle push with a teaspoon. If it feels too soft (use your instincts), put it back and give the eggs a minute or two more in the water to firm up.

When they’re ready, remove them to some kitchen paper to dry off and serve with buttered toast and a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper.

Tips Use the best-quality eggs you can afford. Remember: the better the quality, the better the flavour. You can tell whether an egg is fresh by cracking it on to a saucer. If the yolk stands up and the white isn't watery, it's as fresh as a daisy. The simplest way to store eggs is in the box you buy them in. Egg shells are porous and can absorb the odours of other foods so try to keep them away from anything strong-smelling, like fish.

Tips for the perfect smashed avocado

1. Perfectly ripe avocado: Nothing worse than an underripe avo. You want it soft, but not bruised. The skin should be dark and soft (but not mushy) to touch.

2. Be gentle with the avocado: The key is to lightly smash, not completely mash. Leaving chunks in the bottom layer holds the whole dish together once you start stacking. I much prefer the rustic kinda style of smashed avo rather than a purée smeared on the bottom. Each to their own!

3. Season well: Be sure to bring out the best in the avo with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice BEFORE you start stacking. Keep the avo the star of the show by enhancing its natural goodness. I always add a little touch of fresh chili or chili flacks!

Tips for the Perfect Hollendaise Sauce


150 g unsalted butter

2 each large free range egg yolks

1 tsp white wine vinegar


1. Get a saucepan and a heatproof mixing bowl that will sit stably over the pan. Half-fill the pan with water and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat as low as it can go but still have the water simmering.

2. Place the butter in a medium pan over a low heat, so it starts to melt but doesn’t burn. When the butter has melted, take it off the heat.

3. Place the egg yolks in your heatproof mixing bowl, which you should then place over the pan of just-simmering water. It’s important that the saucepan is on a low heat, or the eggs will scramble.

4. Using a whisk, start to beat your eggs, then whisk in your white wine vinegar.

5. Keep whisking, and then start adding the melted butter by slowly drizzling it in, whisking all the time, till all the butter has been incorporated. The result should be a lovely, smooth, thick sauce.

6. Season carefully with sea salt and black pepper, and loosen if necessary with little squeezes of lemon juice. Keep tasting the sauce until the flavour is to your liking.

Add, a slice or two of your favourite bread, sides and crispy rocket! Enjoy your Cafe Breakfast!

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