She says: 'I have loved Hollandaise ever since my godmother made it in a bright orange Le Creuset, and we ate it with fillet steak that my dad had got from his shop.' See her tips to cook the most delicious sauce.
I can see it now, and I remember how fascinating it was to watch it up close - amazing how food memories often make the best memories! Nowadays, Hollandaise is commonplace, particularly as part of a delicious Eggs Benedict. But, my absolute favourite is the “daughter” of a Hollandaise – the Béarnaise with added extra chervil, dill and chives. I’m not sure there is a name for this, but I’ve always called it Hollandaise aux fines herbes. I love this with a tranche of halibut, or with a perfectly cooked steak.
You can’t beat a delicious aioli, brandade or mayonnaise – so simple yet if pitched incorrectly they are a disaster. The egg mayonnaise at Brasserie Zedel is, for me, a wonderful example of perfect seasoning. The mayonnaise is lean, white but with dimensions you wouldn’t have thought possible.
I always turn to oil based sauces for last minute vegans at the restaurant, so I have some majorly punchy little numbers to hand in my black book. A double hazelnut butter has a depth of flavour that will charm most palettes. I toast 100g of hazelnuts until golden, then blitz them with 70g of the best hazelnut oil you can find. Think umami. It creates an aroma so satisfying that it competes with freshly baked bread or ground coffee. I love this with thinly sliced fennel and watercress, baked celeriac, or with finely sliced artichoke and black truffle. Of course, we can’t forget a sauce vinaigrette, as heavy on the Dijon as the vinegar. Red wine vinegar works best for me and a little garlic. The French do this so well and I believe that their secret is the choice of the oil – arachide (ground nut oil) is the best for this.
Something that I always have at hand is a madeira reduction which I make by reducing good quality madeira with chicken stock for a few minutes. This can then be thrown into a pan with sautéed cepes, garlic or morels and simmered for a while. Next, add cream, let it simmer, taste it, then a squeeze of lemon. I always refresh it at the end with fresh herbs, be that tarragon or chives. Enjoy with turbot, veal, pork or chicken.
Many vegetables work well in a velouté. My king of winter roots is the humble celeriac - we do both a dark and a light version. The pumpkin will also be gracing our menu this year - they are so delicious at the moment and I never tire of the vivid orange. The marriage with our molasses and rum cured bacon is such a to-die-for classic. My absolute favourite though is the somewhat misunderstood Jerusalem artichoke - peel them quickly to avoid discolouration, then braise them slowly in the oven with white wine, butter and thyme. We then blitz to a very fine puree and season with lemon, salt, sugar - the stuff of sauce dreams!