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Lemon, Extra Virgin and Poppy Seed Muffins

by James Morton

This is the perfect afternoon tea accompaniment. Not a savoury, but definitely not overly sweet. And a bit intellectual too, what with the savvy juxtaposition of conflicting flavours combined with the near ubiquitous combination of “lemon and poppy seed”.

Prep time

30 minutes

Cook time

30 minutes






Step 1

First, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Heavily grease your muffin tins with plenty of butter – sticking is fairly disastrous.

Step 2

In a large bowl, start by weighing out your milk, sugar, oil, egg, salt and grating in your lemon zest. Whisk these together to combine them – no need to go at it for ages trying to incorporate imaginary air.

Step 3

Onto this liquid mix, dump your flour and poppy seeds. Very gently, fold everything together until combined. Use a wooden or metal spoon, and try not to over-work things here. Think bread: you knead bread to make it bready. You don’t want your muffins bready, do you? So treat them with love and care.

Step 4

Use two teaspoons to divide your mix into your muffin tins – try to make them as equal as possible. Baking for longer to cook the larger ones will dry out the wee ones.

Step 5

Place your tins in your preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins are a medium golden brown.

Step 6

Once baked and cooling in the tins, it’s time to make the drizzle. Squeeze your juice into a pan and add the caster sugar, before placing on a high heat and bringing to the boil.  As soon as it’s bubbling furiously, remove from the heat.

Step 7

Remove your muffins from their tins (they should plop out easily), then drizzle generously with your lemon syrup. Leave to cool, then enjoy for up to a day or freeze.


Top Tips:

  • The yumminess of muffins correlates to positively to their freshness, so do enjoy these within 24 hours of baking. If you aren’t getting through them, though, don’t fret: freeze in airtight bag. Zap in the microwave to defrost.
  • I’ve asked you to weigh out your liquids here, as it’s a good practice to get into. It’s much, much more accurate than measuring in volumes, especially with electric scales. You’ll watch your baking transform.




For the muffins:

  • 125g Graham’s milk (weigh it out)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g extra virgin olive oil (again, weigh it)
  • 1 medium egg
  • A pinch of salt
  • The zest of an unwaxed lemon
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 50g poppy seeds

For the drizzle:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • The juice of your lemon