My cooking is strongly influenced by the seasons but it can also be guided by a particular occasion that inspires creativity. I’m drawn to old fashioned things like breakfast pancakes to homemade pie, flavorful slow-cooked dishes and even homemade breads. The kitchen is a place of refuge for me so I relish the moments when there is time to spare, making preserves with what is at the height of the season or other foods that can be prepared at leisure for later enjoyment when time isn’t as abundant.
I love the idea of weekend breakfast. When there is time to eat in a relaxed manner, chatting over multiple cups of coffee, sharing plans and generally just easing into the day. When the clock is not so demanding of our time, we can take advantage of deliberately preparing the table. Maybe a cloth, or a simple vase with a few flowers or herbs from garden. Taking pleasure in the preparing as well as joy in the moment is both a delight and a necessity once in a while.
I love eggs, organic, free-range and as fresh as possible. I don’t have my own chickens but I often buy from those who do, their yolks deep yellow in color and their whites firm and bouncy. Whether poached, over easy, scrambled or made into an omelette they never cease to please. Poached fruit with yogurt is also a favorite, maybe sprinkled with a little toasted muesli for myself, while pancakes and waffles are adored by all on the weekend.
One of the most beautiful aromas in the kitchen is when an oven door is opened and the sweet smell of a freshly baked muffin is released in the room. It has a warmth about it, a mixture of ricotta, lemon, and vanilla all rolled into one. It's almost impossible to eat just one. These lemon ricotta poppy seed muffins have the addition of a tangy lemony sweet glaze that make them irresistible. Perfect for eating outside in the sunshine when the morning is still cool. They come together in no time and served with a cup of coffee or an egg and a little fruit can bring contentment in some small way, letting you know it's time to take a deep breath and just enjoy the day. Then your weekend will be set right so that you can let the day take you wherever you fancy. -Shannon
Lemon, Poppy Seed, and Ricotta Muffins
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
Zest and juice from one lemon
1/3 cup poppy seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
1 cup whole milk ricotta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
½ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (or vegetable oil)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 12-cup muffin tin.
Place flour, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds in a large bowl and using a whisk combine.
Add ricotta, egg, vanilla, yogurt and oil and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until when tested with a toothpick it comes out clean with a crumb or two attached. Set aside to cool for a few minutes in the tin before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
To make the lemon drizzle, place the confectioner’s sugar and juice from the lemon in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle over the top of the cooled muffins and then sprinkle a few extra poppy seeds over the top.