One of the fun things I got to do on my recent visit to London was to eat breakfast and make brunch with Tom Aikens using lactofree products at L’etalier des Chefs near St Pauls. Tom Aikens is well known for being the youngest chef to earn two Michelin stars at the tender age of 26. He is also known for his talent and creativity. I found him to be friendly, knowledgable and helpful.
Lactofree was a knew one on me, but as a big fan of dairy, I thought it was a fantastic idea for dairy enthusiasts who are unfortunate enough to be lactose intolerant. There is quite a range of products including, milk, cream, yogurt, spreadable butter, cream cheese and cheddar. I don’t entirely understand the process of extracting the lactose which is done by some sort of filtration, but all the products I tried tasted just as they should. Tom was a fan of the cream in particular as it can be used for cooking without splitting, unlike many dairy free products.
The masterclass comprised a demo on how to make Tom’s poppy seed and raspberry muffins and a demo of his recipe for mushroom ragout on toast with chervil and sorrel; this was followed by a hands on cooking session replicating the mushroom dish. The muffins used the spreadable butter and raspberry yogurt from the lactofree range and the mushrooms were cooked with the spreadable butter and cream. We took home some of Tom’s muffins; the mushrooms we ate on grilled wholemeal sourdough as soon as we’d cooked them. They were scrumptious, although I’m sure a little grating of 100% chocolate would not have gone amiss.
As we’d started the morning with muesli and yogurt, I was feeling quite replete by the end of the morning and certainly didn’t need lunch. It was fun to meet and cook with other food bloggers and to see a part of London I wasn’t very familiar with. The event was even more enjoyable as I was able to invite along the friend I was staying with. She was delighted by the mushroom recipe in particular as she’d never really known what to do with this most glorious of fungi. Tom’s muffins kept me going on the long train journey back home to Cornwall. Poor CT didn’t get a look in.
Whilst we were in the vicinity, we took a rather scary glass elevator trip up to the top of One New Change, a shopping centre with an open rooftop offering an impressive view of the London skyline. This was probably the best view of St Paul’s I’ve ever had and my friend pointed out a number of new buildings I hadn’t seen before including the Shard.
As it’s World Baking Day today, I decided to make Tom’s muffins but add my own twist of white chocolate and thus use less sugar. I also used my usual flour mix of half wholemeal, half white. The recipe was a little odd regarding quantities. For example, we were asked to use 230ml of raspberry yogurt, but the pots came in 125g sizes. So the measures I used may not reflect the original recipe. I also realised, after the event, I was meant to cream half of the sugar and add the other half to the egg whites – oh well!
This is how I made:
Lacto Free Raspberry, Poppy Seed and White Chocolate Muffins
- Creamed 115g spreadable butter with 200g vanilla sugar (golden caster) until light and fluffy.
- Separated 5 eggs, adding the yolks to the butter, putting 2 whites in the fridge for later use and adding 3 whites to a clean bowl.
- Beat in the egg yolks into the butter mixture together with 2 tsp of vanilla extract.
- Beat in two 125 ml tubs of raspberry yogurt and 35g poppy seeds.
- Whisked the three egg whites with a pinch of cream of tarter until stiff peaks formed.
- Stirred ⅓ of this into the yogurt mixture, then folded in the remainder.
- Sifted in 315g flour (half organic wholemeal, half organic white), 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and ½ tsp baking powder.
- Folded this in as gently as possible followed by 50g of white chocolate chips and 170g fresh raspberries.
- Divided between 15 muffin cases, which was a mistake – I overfilled them. The recipe said 16 and I should have taken note.
- Baked at 180℃ for 23 minutes. Left to cool for a few minutes then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Took some over to my mother’s for tea.
The muffins are really good, but not as good as Tom’s. I suspect that the recipe we were given was not quite the same as the one he used on the day; mine taste slightly bicarby I think. They are also very rich and again I’m not sure that Tom used all five egg whites or just the three specified. The cakes rose well and have a lovely firm but light texture with a nice crunch of poppy seeds. The raspberry flavour is a good one. The raspberries adding little bursts of tart fruitiness and the white chocolate gave punctuating sweetness. I did find the recipe a bit of a faffy one and ended up with more washing up than I’d normally expect from a simple muffin recipe. I think next time I make it, I will not bother separating the eggs and perhaps use four whole eggs instead of five yolks and three whites.
Although this is really a raspberry muffin, there is a lot of vanilla in here and the flavour really comes through, so I am entering it into this month’s The Spice Trail where vanilla is the choice. It’s being hosted by Solange of Pebble Soup who should recognise these muffins as she was also there at the Lactofree event. Vanesther of Bangers & Mash is the creator.
As I suspect this might become a bit of a favourite, I’m entering them into Favourite Recipes where the theme is sweets and snacks. It’s being hosted over at My Kitchen Odyssey on behalf of Zesty South Indian Kitchen.
Thanks to Lactofree for this fun masterclass and the bag of products we were given to take home with us. I was not required to write a positive review and as always, all opinions are my own.