Clearly scheduling regular posts is not my forte.
I was planning on completing my 5 recipes on Friday last week, but I got an unexpected email from a PR company specialising in restaurant and hotel advertising in London who wanted to meet me for a talk about a possible internship in the Summer (i.e. my dream internship – please hire me). I took this opportunity to have a little mosey around my favourite places in and around London for the day, and take full advantage of being back home in a big kitchen, with an Aga (every day I requested a different form of roast dinner).
Promise I will get onto the 3 recipes I’m yet to deliver, but first here’s a few nice pictures I got over the weekend showcasing why London is just the best place on Earth.
This is a picture I took when I found the Narnia of paint shops – I was on my way to the British Museum (I was actually aiming to go to the new Tattoo Exhibition at the Museum of London but got mixed up and ended up here, very nice detour though) when I saw L. Cornelissen & Son on a small side street by Tottenham Court Road and I had a look in. I just loved these huge jars of powdered paints filling all the walls of the shop with the most amazing names like ‘ultramarine’ and ‘potters pink’.
Literally two minutes after I found the paint shop, I found this impressive (and quite intimidating – I got told off for taking pictures) antiquarian book store, where you had to ring the doorbell to be let in. I was tempted to buy an early edition of Thomas The Tank Engine for £10 but after being scolded for taking pictures I was too scared of the shop owner – a hunched old women that reminded me of a kind of sour female Mr Ollivander.
Course, Abiding by the stereotype of a food blogger, the highlight of the day was a good hour and a half walk around Borough Market sampling all the cheese and salami and bread I could manage. I was particularly drawn to one veg stand that specialised in mushrooms, with a ridiculous number different varieties and samples of a seriously powerful white truffle infused oil. Eating in Borough Market – I would recommend (if still dissatisfied after all the free samples, like me) either a sweet potato burger with homemade onion jam from Veggie Table, or the Horn Ok Please stall for fresh veggie Indian Food. Today I went for to Wokit, a made-to-order noodle shop and thought it was a bit meh – burger would have been far more welcome. Followed by a load of free samples of the baked goods from Bread Ahead (their donuts OH my god).
Before I give any recipes (sorry) I also have to mention the best vegetarian meal (this is turning into a v vegetarian-orientated post) I think I’ve ever had – at the Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen in Bath on Saturday with mum. Despite it being a bit pricey considering there’s no meat on the plate, the food was genuinely deliciously and left us without any craving for a slab of steak.
Pictured (not very well, mid-meal) are some perfectly crisp polenta chips with seasonal plum sauce, thyme poached beetroot, garlic broccoli, THE most amazing smoked mushrooms with a smokey reduction, carrot and cashew pate, and huge wedges of sourdough with hummus. Already planning my next trip here.
So now I’ll finally post something that I’ve made myself – I had loads of work that I didn’t feel like doing, it was shitty weather, so I made spelt hot crossed buns. The texture and crust was a little denser and chewier than a classic shop-bought hot crossed bun, but in my opinion that made it far more satisfying when toasted and smothered with butter and honey.
Spelt hot crossed buns – makes about 10
400g spelt flour (plus more for dusting)
4g fast action dried yeast
About 300ml warm water
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp sea salt
75-90g dried currants or raisins
Honey for the glaze
- Add all the dry ingredients plus the orange zest to a large bowl. Pour in the warm water and mix until it forms a relatively sticky dough (you may need more flour/water to get the right consistency).
- Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and leave for 12-24 hours to rise in a warm place – I left mine for the full 24 so I would recommend doing that.
- Once the dough is ready, divide and shape into 10 balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkled with flour. Leave covered by the tea towel for another 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to about 200 degrees (mine came out with quite a chewy crust so it might be worth turning it down to 180.
- Mix a bit of flour and water to make a sticky paste. Pipe this paste onto the buns to form the cross.
- Bake on the bottom shelf for about 30 minutes.
- Take the buns out the oven and brush with honey to glaze. Eat straight away with butter and honey or marmalade.
My Second recipe of this post is for a seeded spelt soda bread – really easy and quick to make, and it freezes well so can be sliced and toasted as and when (my go-to after a night out, smothered in butter/honey/Nutella/other dips or spreads that I’m too drunk to recognise but hit the spot nonetheless.
Seeded Spelt Soda Bread
500g Spelt flour
100g mixed seeds (I used sunflower, pumpkin, linseeds and sesame)
2 tsp bicarb of soda
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
500 ml buttermilk, or 300g yoghurt mixed with 200g milk (I did the latter)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c. Put the flour, bicarb of soda, mixed seeds and sea salt into a bowl and add the buttermilk or yoghurt/milk mixture.
- Mix this all together until it forms a dough – use your hands.
- Tip it out onto a floured surface and knead until it comes together to form a dough – it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.
- Place on a baking train lined with baking paper and sprinkled with flour. Make a large cross going roughly 2/3 of the way down the dough with a sharp knife and sprinkle with more seeds and flour.
- Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when you tap it.
- Leave it for 5 minutes before slicing.
My final recipe stays in keeping with my veggie-baking theme – this is recipe for a sweet potato seeded loaf, adapted from Hemsley & Hemsley’s Art of Eating Well – though I don’t agree with their ‘food philosophy’ bullshit, the raisins in the loaf go really well with crushed avocado and lemon juice and I really like the taste of seeds, so I’ll allow this one to grace my blog.
Sweet Potato Seeded Loaf
1 large sweet potato
180g mixed seeds (I used the same seed mixture as above)
1 tbsp flax
110g spelt flour
Juice from half a lemon
- Half the sweet potato and bake in an oven at 170 degrees c for about 40 minutes skin-side up, or until the flesh is soft enough to scoop out with a spoon.
- Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients into a mixing bowl.
- Take the sweet potato out and allow to cool for a few minutes. Weigh out 200g of the flesh and put through a blender to make a puree.
- Mix this in with the dry ingredients and shape to form a small loaf. Place this on a floured baking tray and make small diagonal slits down the loaf with a sharp knife.
- Bake for 40 minutes at 180 degrees.
Alex and I ate it before I had a chance to take a picture, but here’s what the Hemsley sisters’ loaf looked like (mine looked just as pretty, but a bit more knobbly from all the raisins I put in).
I PROMISED 5 RECIPES, I DELIVERED 5 RECIPES. Now I’m late for a lecture, and I haven’t done any reading.