... or is it?
This month for Random Recipes over at Belleau Kitchen Dom challenged us to count 30 books along our shelves and cook from the 30th book, opening it either at a random page or page 30.
The 30th book along my top shelf turned out to be "maze - the cookbook" by Jason Atherton and I opened it at page 30 to see a photo of..... a load of empty eggshells. But the photo next to it looked reasonable enough - just asparagus with a poached egg on top.
So I turned to the recipe - asparagus with quail's eggs and pink grapefruit hollandaise. Which is how I ended up starting to cook at 7am for an 8pm meal.
Maybe in Maze they keep barrel-loads of clarified butter, pink grapefruit reduction, candied grapefruit peel and hollandaise reduction to hand, but I happened to be right out of all of those and had to make them all from scratch. Careless of me to run out, I know, but it's been a busy few weeks.
Anyway, several hours and two dishwasher loads later, I had everything ready for the main event - making the hollandaise and cooking the asparagus and poached eggs. I'd never poached quails' eggs before and hadn't realised that just a few seconds makes the difference between cooked and overcooked, so the eggs were rather overdone for Mark, but I can't cope with a yolk that's even slightly runny, so they were perfect for me. The finished dish did look gorgeous though!
I'll stop the photos here, with the sauce in the jug on the side, because when spooned on to the plate the pink lumps of grapefruit in it made it look rather like vomit - it tasted good though, although the vinegar reduction was rather strong when combined with the acid from the grapefruit. But that could have been my fault for not adding the optional sugar to the sauce.
Our overall verdict - it was delicious, and I'll make it again, but next time a much simpler version. Just asparagus with a poached egg on top and some chopped grapefruit stirred through a little bought hollandaise. The whole meal would be ready in 10 minutes.