What a week it has been. So many things going on. I have been in New York in Leeds and Harrogate and back down to London again. I love all this travel and I love working although it can be difficult sometimes staying on track with things like sleeping, meditating and a balanced way of eating. I have been practicing meditation for 3 years now and it is one of the best things I have done. There is so much scientific evidence on how it can help you sleep better, eat better and how it also gives you the space to respond to things which happen to us rather than just react along with a bunch of other benefits. The 20 minutes (two times a day when I can) when I am meditating are so peaceful and I manage to take that peace on with me for some (not all!) of the day. Do try some form of meditation if you can… I now cannot do without it. I have a mantra, which I gently repeat quite slowly in my head. And when a thought comes in (which of course it does), I simply focus back on the mantra. Shopping, food, what’s on TV, what I am doing tomorrow, who has upset me, who I may have upset, all come into my mind as I am meditating and that is completely normal. The key is to just when you realize you are not thinking about the mantra to bring your thoughts back to the mantra. Some people prefer to do this with their eyes open looking at a candle but others like to do it focusing on their breath. I feel that whatever works best for you, is the method which you will most likely stick with.
This weekend I am the real mood for some Baking and so wanted to share with you a recipe for brunch. I LOVE muffins. I am a real carb girl. I would always reach for the carbs in my eating before I really understood the importance of having enough protein in my eating plan. So I now eat a more balanced diet of both and I am just in the mood for these English Buttermilk muffins are made with wholemeal spelt flour (You can use just regular white flour or regular spelt flour if you want). They only take around 10-12 minutes in the oven and are the best eaten when warm. Do you have someone you can make these for this weekend? Served with some gorgeous jam… perfection. I hope you enjoy making them and let me know how you get on with them if you do. I have included the recipe here which is from my new book Bake. Have a wonderful weekend.
English buttermilk wholemeal spelt muffins
210ml buttermilk, or 210ml whole milk and juice of ¼ lemon 300g white
300g white spelt flour, plus extra for dusting 275g wholemeal
275g wholemeal spelt flour
7g sachet fast action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
175ml warm water oil, for spraying
1 tsp soft light brown sugar
Equipment stand mixer (optional) 8cm straight-sided round cookie cutter
As delectable as they may be, American muffins have totally overshadowed the classic English muffin of late. The only way to find them is in a large packet from the supermarket, so I much prefer to make them. Let’s bring back the English breakfast staple: English muffins slathered in butter and jam! I am using a mixture of wholemeal and white spelt flour, but you could use regular plain flour if you can’t find spelt flour.
If you’re making your own buttermilk, put the milk and lemon juice in a jug and allow it to sit for 10–15 minutes. Put both the flours in a bowl with the yeast, sugar and salt.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water and buttermilk and use a wooden spoon to mix everything together. Place the dough on a floured work surface, and knead it for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. To check that the dough has been kneaded enough, pick the dough up and then fold the outer edges of it underneath to make a ball with a nice taut top. Then cover your finger with flour and prod the side of the dough, making an indent about 5mm deep – the dough should spring back all the way if it has been kneaded enough.
Place the dough into a clean bowl and spray it with a little oil, then cover with cling film, so that it is airtight but not taut, giving the dough space to rise. Leave in a warm, but not hot, place to rise for about an hour. After an hour, remove the cling film, make another 5mm indent in the dough. The dough should spring back but only halfway this time. If it does not spring back and just stays there, then it needs a little more time.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C/400°F/gas 6). Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly dust the work surface with a little flour. Roll it out to a 1.5cm thickness, and then cut out muffins with the cutter, re-rolling leftover dough until you get thirteen muffins.
Put half of the muffins in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat (or how many can fit into your frying pan with a bit of space around them so they cook quickly) and cook them for 3 minutes on each side, or until trademark brown. Transfer them to a large baking tray and repeat with the rest of the muffins, and then put into the oven for 10–12 minutes, or until well risen and cooked through. Serve immediately with butter and jam or leave to cool.