There was this cute little café that I used to frequent with a friend for lunch. It was just this hole-in-the-wall from the outside, but it was decorated in a charming, eclectic way inside. The food was quirky and full of charm too.
Their menu changed frequently and seemingly on a whim; sometimes they offered European classics like Crêpes or Gulaschsuppe, and other times it was more American-style fare like creamy chicken salad sandwiches or burgers smothered with caramelized onions and mushrooms. Their soups were killer – even their clear broths were rich and flavorful – and their salads were satisfying as a meal in themselves. Ladies, you know the salads I mean; the fancy lettuce that either has sweet dressing and adornments like fruit, nuts, and maybe some grilled chicken, or savory dressing and additions like bacon, cheese, and fried egg.
I won’t even get started on all the pastries and sweet treats they offered, except to say that they had a pretty big gluten-free variety available as well. My friend has eaten gluten-free for about four years now, and she has always ordered their lemon poppy seed muffin. After seeing her enjoy it time after time, I tried it myself and could immediately see why she was hooked.
When the café closed down for good not long ago, I decided to surprise my friend with a homemade version of her favorite gluten-free muffins.
These muffins are bright with the flavors of lemon and vanilla shining through. They’re sunny and perfect for spring, and also perfect for munching on along with a hot beverage while spending an afternoon with an old friend.
By the way, aren’t these paper muffin liners adorable? (Love Donna Hay!) They were a gift from my dear friend, the fabulous Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. Thank you, Lorraine!