“Making your own muffins is such an easy, rewarding thing to do and the taste is next-level delicious. This recipe makes more than you need, but who doesn’t love a cheeky toasted muffin with a cuppa? Here, I’ve buddied them up with spinach, smoked salmon and eggs, but they’re also great with ham, halloumi or avocado. Anything goes! ”
To make the muffins, place the milk in a jug, stir in the yeast and sugar, and leave for a couple of minutes until frothy.
Place the flour and 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in the milk mixture and mix well to form a dough. Shape into a ball and knead with clean hands or in a freestanding mixer until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean damp tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Knock back the dough and roll out on a flour-dusted surface to about 2cm thick. Stamp out 10 level circles with an 8cm round cutter, rerolling as necessary.
Carefully place the muffins onto a large tray lined with a large sheet of semolina-dusted greaseproof paper and sprinkle over a little more semolina. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Heat a heavy non-stick pan or griddle over a low heat, add the muffins and cook for 6 to 7 minutes on each side or until golden – you may need to do this in batches. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make the hollandaise. Gently melt the butter in a small pan.
Whisk the egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the mustard in a heatproof bowl set over a shallow pan of simmering water.
Slowly pour in the melted butter, whisking constantly until well combined. Whisk in a splash of vinegar, then have a taste and season to perfection. Turn the heat off and keep warm over the pan of water, stirring occasionally. Loosen with a splash of water if needed.
Trim, wash and finely chop the spring onions. Peel and finely slice the garlic.
Place a large frying pan on a medium-low heat with a little drizzle of olive oil, add the spring onions, garlic and spinach, then pick in the marjoram. Finely grate over some nutmeg, then add a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until the spinach is dark and delicious. Add lemon juice to taste and keep warm until ready to serve.
Place a large, shallow pan of water on a medium heat and bring to the boil.
Grease four tea cups with butter and crack an egg into each. Place the cups in the pan of water, then cover and poach for 4 to 5 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
To assemble, halve 4 warm muffins and divide the spinach and smoked salmon between each. Top with a perfectly poached egg, lightly season, then spoon a tablespoon of hollandaise over each one. Finish with a final grating of nutmeg and a few sprigs of chervil, if you like.
To keep your hollandaise in a stable, warm condition, put it into a preheated Thermos flask while you get on with the rest of the cooking. Simply pour it over your eggs when you’re ready to plate up. Job done!