Sunday 26 January 2014

Steak and Eggs Benedict - The Breakfast Club

This month's film for the Food 'n' Flix challenge is the Breakfast Club - the 80s brat-pack classic.

I'd never actually seen the Breakfast Club before - I was six years old when the film was released (1985) and by the time I was a teenager and could probably have identified with the characters (though not the plot - I never, ever had detention!) the film seemed dated and I just never got around to seeing it. So it was nice when Debra of Eliot's Eats chose this as the movie for the month.

If you had to describe the plot of this film, it would be quite hard, as not much really happens - but in the same way it's a cult coming-of-age movie. It features a group of very different students from different cliques, whose paths would never normally cross; they all end up in Saturday detention together. They are supposed to be silent for eight hours (really?!) and write an essay about who they are. The characters are very stereotypical at the beginning - there's the rebel, the nerd, the spoiled princess etc - but they become more rounded as their flaws and anxieties are revealed and they slowly bond as a group. I enjoyed watching the film and the 80s soundtrack; I'm not sure how well it would go down with today's teenagers though, as most of the film is set inside the one room in detention and the characters are just talking - but it's very well written and deserves its reputation as a cult classic.

When it comes to Food 'n' Flix, I like to recreate a dish from the film itself if possible, but there's no food in this scene other than when the students eat their packed lunches. It's interesting that what they've brought in to eat says something about their characters. For instance Claire, the "princess" played by Molly Ringwald, has sushi - John, the "criminal" (Judd Nelson) has never seen sushi before and asks what it is in disgust (to be fair, I imagine sushi was fairly rare as a packed lunch in the 80s) and asks Claire (who despite her sophistication and appearance of being sexually experienced, has admitted she is a virgin) "you won't accept a guy's tongue in your mouth, but you will eat that?".

Ally Sheedy, who plays the "basket case" (these are labels they give themselves at the end of the film) is playing with her food, sprinkling sugar through a straw onto bread, then piling Capt'n Crunch cereal on top and crushing it down and stuffing it into her mouth. Brian, the "brain", played by Anthony Michael Hall, has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off (probably by his mum), I don't remember noticing what Andy (Emilio Estevez - the athlete) is eating, but John comments that together they have a very nutritious lunch with all the major food groups represented.

I didn't fancy making a sandwich full of sugary cereal for this challenge so decided instead to think about American breakfasts. I turned to a cookery book called "Breakfast for Dinner" as I thought this was my best bet, and near the front of the book found the perfect recipe - steak and eggs benedict. I once had a proper, thick steak for breakfast when I was staying at a wonderful B&B in South Dakota; meanwhile eggs benedict is an American invention (even though it uses an English muffin). So it was a no-brainer, as the Breakfast Club would say.

The recipe I used gave instructions to make hollandaise sauce from scratch, but told me to use an English muffin. I thought I would go one better and make the muffin myself, so found a recipe on the BBC Food website. They were surprisingly easy to make, and tasted great.

To make four large or six smaller muffins, you need:
300g strong white bread flour, plus extra for flouring
7g sachet dried yeast
6g salt
15g caster sugar
15g softened butter
1 egg
170ml milk
The recipe also included semolina or polenta to sprinkle over the muffins before cooking. I didn't have any and didn't want to buy any specially for this recipe and it turned out just fine.

Weigh out the flour into a large bowl and add the yeast on one side and salt on the other. Add the sugar, butter and egg and bring the mixture together by hand (or you could use a mixer with a dough hook).

Gradually mix in the milk until you have a ball of soft dough. Knead for ten minutes on a lightly floured surface.

Lightly grease the bowl with oil (I sprayed it with Fry-Light), place the dough in the bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to prove for about an hour.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 2.5 cm thick. Cut out rounds with a cutter. I decided that my largest circular cutter was too small, and I had the idea of making heart-shaped muffins as you could make these for breakfast on Valentine's Day.

Place the muffins on a lightly oiled and lined baking sheet and leave for 30 minutes.

I assumed that these needed to be oven baked but instead you griddle them .I don't have a griddle pan so I used a heavy-based Le Creuset frying pan. Cook them on a low heat on both sides for about five minutes.

 Turn and cook on the other side. I made these the day before, as I wanted them for Sunday brunchh and knew I was going out in the morning and wouldn't have time on the day.

Now for the hollandaise sauce - recipe taken from Breakfast for Dinner by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth. You need:
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar - I used white wine vinegar

Place the egg yolks, 1 tsp of water and the salt in a bain marie and heat, whisking, until the eggs have thickened.

Gradually whisk in the butter and cook until thickened then add the vinegar. And that's it! It was surprisingly easy and worked perfectly - but what I would say is that you need to remove the bowl from the heat as soon as the sauce has thickened. Otherwise it starts to split, as mine did - so it was perfect and then not quite so perfect!

To serve, poach one egg per person. I have this handy microwave poacher which I think cost me about 99p several years ago - it's very useful.

Eggs benedict is usually served with ham but in the case of this recipe it said steak - which I thought would be great for the Breakfast Club challenge. So while my hollandaise was cooking, I fried some steak.

To serve, split one of the muffins - I popped both halves in the toaster to give them a little crunch. Top with the steak, then poached egg, then hollandaise sauce. You can't really tell from this picture that the muffin is heart-shaped but I think this would be a lovely breakfast to wake up to on Valentine's Day - or just on a lazy Sunday morning. I'd never made English muffins before and was a bit dubious when I realised I had to fry them rather than cook them in the oven, but they were perfect. This was a delicious breakfast/brunch and one I'd definitely have again.

I'm sending this to Debra at Eliot's Eats for the Food 'n' Flix challenge.


  1. Oh my goodness gracious....I love that you made English muffins. Homemade ones are sooooo good. This is indeed a perfect "dinner for breakfast" dish. Thanks for participating in FnF!

  2. I LOVE that you made English muffins...and heart shaped to boot. I will definitely give that a try! And eggs benedict is always my breakfast of choice. Thanks for sharing with Food'N'Flix.

  3. It's awesome that you made homemade muffins! Your sandwich looks divine.

  4. Love those heart-shaped English muffins--very clever. This looks amazing. I love a great eggs benny for breakfast or for dinner. A perfect addition to the Food 'n Flix roundup. ;-)


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