It is hard to beat a good, freshly cooked breakfast. We place a lot of importance on our breakfasts at MacNean House because it is the last meal our guests have with us before saying goodbye. There is no doubt that a good breakfast sets you up for the day. This poached egg dish, though, is a great meal at any time of the day. This sauce is a variation on the classic eggs Benedict. It is lighter and easier to make than the traditional hollandaise sauce.

We serve this muesli in the restaurant every day. We use Flahavan’s porridge; some strawberries from Pat Clarke in Stamullen, Co Meath; Mileeven honey from Piltown, Co Kilkenny; and our apple juice comes from Con Traas in Cahir, Co Tipperary. Don’t forget to add the juice of a lemon to this recipe as it really lights it up.

Happy cooking,


Poached eggs with buttered muffins, ham and sautéed spinach

Ingredients: serves 4

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

4 eggs

40g unsalted butter

350g baby spinach leaves

2 white muffins, split in half

225g honey-glazed baked ham, carved into slices

For the cream sauce:

50ml cream

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp softened butter

1 tsp snipped fresh chives

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Heat a large pan with 2.25 litres water. Add the white wine vinegar and bring to the boil. Break each egg into the water where it’s bubbling.

Then move the pan to the edge of the heat and simmer gently for three minutes.

2 Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of iced water. When cold, trim down any ragged ends from the cooked egg whites. These will keep happily in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

3 When you are ready to serve, preheat the grill to


4 Add half of the butter to a large pan set over a fairly high heat. Once it starts to foam, tip in the spinach and sauté until just wilted. Season to taste and drain off any excess liquid. Keep the spinach warm.

5 Arrange the muffin halves on the grill rack, cut side up, and cook for 2–3 minutes, until lightly toasted. Spread with the remaining butter.

6 Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the poached eggs and cook for 1–2 minutes to warm them through.

7 To make the cream sauce, place the cream and mustard in a small pan and simmer for one minute. Whisk in the butter and stir in the chives. Season to taste and keep warm.

8 To serve, place the muffins on warmed plates and arrange the ham on top, then spoon on small mounds of the spinach. Using a slotted spoon, remove the poached eggs from the pan and drain briefly on kitchen paper. Place on top of the spinach and spoon over the cream sauce.

Bircher muesli with granola sprinkles

Ingredients: serves 4-6

225g jumbo porridge oats

200ml cream

150ml freshly pressed apple juice

150ml natural plain yogurt

2 tbsp clear honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Granny Smith apple

For the granola sprinkles:

100g mixed seeds (such as sunflower,

pumpkin and sesame seeds)

3 tbsp maple syrup

25g flaked almonds


1 To make the Bircher muesli, mix the oats in a large nonmetallic bowl with the cream, apple juice, yogurt, honey and vanilla extract. Cover with cling film and set aside overnight in the fridge to soak.

2 To make the granola sprinkles, preheat the grill to medium. Line a Swiss roll tin with non-stick baking paper.

3 Place the mixed seeds in a bowl and drizzle in the maple syrup, stirring continuously until everything is evenly combined.

4 Tip the seeds onto the lined Swiss roll tin and spread out in an even layer. Place under the grill for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden, stirring occasionally to break up any large lumps in the mixture.

5 Add the flaked almonds, stirring to combine, and cook for another 5–10 minutes, until lightly golden, again stirring occasionally to prevent the edges from overcooking. Remove from the grill and leave to cool and harden. Transfer to an airtight container until needed.

6 In the morning, finish making the Bircher muesli. Remove the core from the apple and then grate it into the softened oat mixture. It’s important to keep the mixture quite wet. To serve, divide the Bircher muesli among bowls or martini glasses and scatter over the granola sprinkles to serve.

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