"For me it was a great experience and just what was required by a retired gentleman attempting to improve his poor cooking skills! The opportunity of working so closely and informally with such enthusiastic and knowledgeable chefs as Maynard and Benedict was very special.

Bill Boyd

Walnut Grove Recipes

Asparagus, Warm Poached Egg & Hollandaise Sauce

Serves 2

  • 12 pieces of asparagus
  • 2 eggs for poaching
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1tbsn white wine vinegar
  • 125g butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 slices of Parma ham
  • chervil to garnish


1. For the garnish of crispy Parma ham, place each slice of Parma ham onto a non-stick tray, and roast in a gentle oven (approx 120°) until crispy - around 1/2hr.

2. Put the butter in the microwave and bring to the boil, allow to cool to room temperature. 

3 . Put the egg yolks in a bowl with the cold water and vinegar, place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and whisk until the mixture becomes pale & fluffy. Make sure the bowl doesn't get too hot or the eggs will scramble.

4 . Carefully whisk the butter in with the egg yolks, incorporating a small amount at a time until all the butter has gone. Do not include the milky residue at the bottom of the clarified butter. Season to taste with salt & pepper and a small squeeze of lemon juice. 

Adjust consistency if necessary with a little water (it should be pouring consistency). Your Hollandaise is now ready to use, set aside.

5. Plunge the asparagus into boiling salted water for a couple of minutes or until soft.

6. While the asparagus is cooking poach an egg in gently boiling salted water (see our chefs tip on poaching eggs)

7 . Place cooked asparagus on plate, place the poached egg on top, drizzle with Hollandaise and place a small piece of crispy Parma ham on top as garnish, and a small sprig of chervil.

Serving Suggestions

Fantastic starter when asparagus is in season, or create a larger portion for a perfect light lunch.

Advanced Preparation

The asparagus can be prepared and cooked in advance. If you choose to do this, when you remove the asparagus from the boiling water, place into iced water and reheat by plunging into boiling water when you want to serve it. You can also do the same thing with the poached egg, however you would need to have slightly undercooked the egg the first time. It is sometimes a good idea to pre-poach the egg if you are cooking for a few people as it gives you the time to trim the eggs up and make sure they are a nice shape. The Hollandaise can also be made a few hours in advance however do not put it in the fridge as it will set and you can have difficulties to bring it back to pouring consistency.

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Experience the reality of gourmet cooking yourself. There is only one way to learn and that is to do it! Top chefs, luxury accommodation, set in France - the home of gourmet cuisine; what more could you ask for?

Your hosts and tutors are acclaimed chefs Maynard Harvey and Emerson Farrar, two modern chefs who use the freshest ingredients with an emphasis on distinct flavours and clean, meticulous presentation. Their passion and enthusiasm for cooking will stimulate your own love of food, and their expertise will help you gain confidence and perfect your technique in the kitchen.

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