I spent the Easter weekend with my parents at our house in France. It was lovely for many reasons (mainly involving sunshine, wine and not having to go to work).  Contrary to what many people imagine, most of the restaurants around us are absolutely terrible, serving overly-fussy and complicated food at hugely inflated prices. Given the quality of the local produce, it seems such a waste.

Our favourite ‘local’ restaurant is about half an hour away in one of the neighbouring towns. It’s a grand old house that’s been converted into a charming restaurant and hotel. In the summer, you can eat in their beautiful courtyard, in the shade of the huge plane trees. In the winter, the open up a series of pretty dining rooms, all decorated in that magazine-worthy rustic French style. The food is always excellent and the kitchen goes out of its way to ensure that any allergies/intolerances/dislikes are catered for (case in point, after lunch on Easter Sunday, they brought out some petit fours for the table. As soon as the waitress put the plate down, she realised that my father couldn’t eat any of them and so rushed back to the kitchen and brought him out a separate plate of homemade strawberry marshmallows. Most of which I ate, obviously).


What I think really sets it apart though is the respect that the chefs have for their ingredients and the simplicity with which they treat them.  On Easter Sunday, our first course was a small bowl of asparagus soup, sprinkled with a touch of paprika and garnished with chives. That was it and it was perfect. Later, there was another perfect dish of leeks in a hazelnut vinaigrette (admittedly this was supposed to be served with sweetbreads as we are in France after all but I skipped this part of the dish). The cheese course was just a round of mild goat’s cheese on a bed of lamb’s lettuce, dressed in olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.  There were a lot of courses but nothing was fussy or intimidating. It was just good cooking. (And, given that the price included a glass of champagne and unlimited rose/red wine, excellent value for money).

Whenever I get myself caught up in knots over whatever I’m cooking/baking or feel like I’m totally off my game, it’s almost always because I’ve been over-complicating things. Last Sunday, we were supposed to be going out for lunch for my grandfather-in-law to be’s 80th birthday. Late on Saturday night, the plans changed to afternoon tea in the garden and, naturally, I immediately started scrolling through pinterest for inspiration for what to contribute. I rattled through a list of all sorts of elaborate ideas – cakes topped with macarons (even though I’ve only made macarons once in my life), a croquembouche (which we would then have to carry on a tube, on a train and in a taxi), at least three ideas which would require me to start baking there and then – when my boyfriend asked why I didn’t just bake another batch of these blueberry and ricotta muffins.

As it happens, I didn’t but I did take the hint. The food that people really enjoy eating is often the most simple. In the end, I made some basic chocolate cupcakes (a recipe I’ve made several times before and I know is reliable – to make it gluten free I used a mix of rice flour and ground almonds), sploged a little vanilla buttercream on top and added a strawberry.  Nothing could have been easier but, when the time finally came for afternoon tea, they were, without exception, the first thing that everyone reached for.


blueberry and ricotta muffins {gluten free}

Yield: 6 muffins

This is pretty much my standard muffin recipe with a few small tweaks to account for the ricotta - using ricotta (rather than yoghurt/buttermilk) makes the muffins slightly denser in texture but still fluffy and moist (ugh) inside. I really like it. I have a pretty generous hand which it comes to blueberries - some of these are almost more fruit than muffin. I've used frozen and fresh berries without an issue in the past.


  • 95g (2/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoon) brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 45g (just under 1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 60g (1/4 cup) demerara sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 75h (1/3 cup) ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • A cup or so of blueberries
  • Flaked almonds, to scatter on top (totally optional)


  1. Muffin-making is pretty simple. Take one large bowl and lightly whisk together the flours, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar, just until everything is dispersed. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, ricotta, milk, olive oil and lemon zest until smooth and no lumps of ricotta remain.
  2. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently fold a couple of times with a metal spoon, until the streaks of flour just about disappear. Set the batter aside to relax for half an hour or so before stirring through the blueberries.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F (fan) and line a muffin/cupcake pan with paper cases. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle with flaked almonds if you feel like it. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing
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57 Responses to "blueberry and ricotta muffins {gluten free}"
  1. I am the exact same way! Oftentimes, I feel like I need to impress people or show this crazy complicated baked good off, but really, people love things they have eaten before or know they like. Cheers to these beautiful muffins dear!

    • kathryn says:

      Totally! It ends up becoming all about me + wanting to show off and not the fundamental principle of actually just making people happy through food.

  2. Alexandra says:

    Every single one of those simple dishes you described from your favourite restaurant sound absolutely divine. It’s often the best when restaurant chefs let the ingredients sing on their own – as long as they’re in season and at their freshest. I’m suspicious of dishes that are smothered and covered in seemingly anything and everything, thinking “What’s the chef trying to distract me from?” :)

    • kathryn says:

      Oh yes, so true. When you have really great ingredients, you don’t need to do anything complicated to them. It’s when you start with crap that you end up having to pile flavour on top of flavour to try and make something work.

  3. mehrunnisa says:

    kathryn, i really enjoyed reading this. i could not agree with you more. my most vivid food memories are of places that are nondescript. where the food has been simple and stands out for its flavour. like the piri piri chicken at a cavernous tasca in lisbon last december. it was bold with crisp and buttery chicken skin. the piri piri was hot with a loud smack of alcohol. it was a meal i will never forget! these muffins look scrumptious and your photography is beautiful! where in france do your parents live? x

    • kathryn says:

      Thank you Mehrunnisa – your description of that piri piri chicken is so perfect too. It makes me want to jump on a plane to Lisbon right this very moment! Our house is in Provence, in the middle of nowhere really but very pretty all the same.

  4. I hear you about the overcomplicating things in the kitchen! I always fly into a state of panic when someone asks me to bake something for a special occasion — it’s too much PRESSURE. In the end I always stick with a simple chocolate cake or yellow cake. Simplicity really is the best.

    Also, these muffins? Yum. I love your pictures!

    • kathryn says:

      You are so much smarter than I am! But yes, there’s nothing like that panic of having to bake something special is there?! Fills me with dread every time!

  5. Sam says:

    I’m all for simplicity. Those are always the baked good I reach for too.
    Those muffins look cute and delicious. I’m also really into your use of the word “sploged”. : )

    Where is this lovely restaurant in France? I’m planning a trip to Paris in the fall if you have any delicious recommendations!

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Sam! The restaurant I was talking about is actually in Provence so a fair distance from Paris. I haven’t been to Paris itself for years and years although we are also planning a trip later this year so hopefully we can share some recommendations!

  6. Erika says:

    I love this post so much! The best for is never overcomplicated. These muffins look lovely!

  7. Alana says:

    I feel ya on all points of this post. When I look back at most of the great meals of my life, a handful were fussy but the greater number were simple, unpretentious and always shared with my closest friends and family. The same can be said about my greater baking successes. The ones that stick are things like mastering a chocolate cake or finding that perfect chocolate chip cookie. I have been craving muffins like no other and these blueberry and ricotta muffins are totally kicking that craving into full swing. MUST. BAKE. NOW. xx

  8. Kathryn, isn’t it weird how food at French restaurants is often so disappointing… I always wonder, where are all those gorgeous veggies I see at the farmers’ market? That said, your favorite spot sounds delish!
    And I totally agree with you about cooking, simplicity is always good. Now I need to make your chocolate cupcakes and these delicious blueberry muffins:)

    • kathryn says:

      It is strange isn’t it! When there’s so much good + fresh produce around, it seems amazing that so many people put up with so much crap food!

  9. Kate says:

    ‘wine, sunshine and no being at work’ – sounds like my parents’ place in Italy where, like France, some of the most perfect meals are the simple, local ones. These muffins look delicious, as did those strawberry topped cupcakes you posted on Instagram x

  10. Abby says:

    These muffins are so lovely, Kathryn. I agree with you… simple food is the best. I prefer my flavors to be classic. When I bake at home, I tend to lean towards plain chocolate or vanilla.
    And these blueberry muffins are wonderful. I’m going to try them for sure.

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Abby – absolutely me too. When I make ‘fancy’ stuff, it’s normally for the blog and then I’m nearly always disappointed and wish I’d gone for something simple instead!

  11. Erica says:

    These look beautiful! Blueberry muffins are by far and away my favorite muffin, and I will definitely be giving these a try. I’ve been a fan of your blog for quite some time now, so I thought I would comment to say hi! I’m a huge fan of your writing, it’s effortlessly poetic. Again, this recipe sounds great and your photos are stunning!

  12. Alanna says:

    Oh, I’m exactly the same, getting all cray with complicated baking endeavors for guests. I could stand to take a cue from you and keep it simple, too. Though those cupcakes – completely stunning. And I’m kind of obsessed with ricotta and anything made with it; these muffins are right up my alley and gorgeous as always. And that restaurant sounds super special.

    • kathryn says:

      I go through phases with ricotta but right now I’m in a ‘want to add it to everything!’ type of phase. Thanks for you kind words friend!

  13. These muffins do look so pretty and yummy. When we first lived in France I was astonished at what delicious meals could be made from humble ingredients like lentils.

  14. These sound awesome. The ricotta is definitely a fun addition! Yum!

  15. cynthia says:

    The idea of ricotta in muffins totally has my heart. These sound so divine! And I totally hear you on the cooking conundrum for guests! I almost always end up just going with a classic that I know folks will love (which, to be totally honest, is more often than not your incredible brownies!!) That restaurant in France sounds so magical. So happy you had a good Easter weekend with your family!

  16. How wonderful to get to go “home” to France! I can’t even imagine. And I loved your words about simplicity with food. Thats when you know something is good – when it’s simple and the most delicious – not all fussy. Sound like you had the perfect trip <3

  17. That sounds like an absolutely perfect holiday! And itsn’t it amazing how good food can be when you get back to simple quality ingredients and less fuss??

  18. I love a crunchy topping on a blueberry muffin, it pairs so perfectly with sweet juicy berries inside. These look delicious! And I definitely agree about simple recipes. They always go down the best, especially when it’s made with less stress than a bake that involved a hundred stages.

  19. Hi Kathryn! My family have a summer house in the south of France, close to Nice. I’d love to know the name of the restaurant so we can visit it later this summer! What you said about keeping things simple is so true. :)

    • kathryn says:

      It’s called Bastide des Manons, in a town called Vidauban. It’s a hotel too and there’s not much about the restaurant online but it’s really great. Where is your house?

  20. Aimmaria says:

    Perhaps this is a strange question, but where are your plates from? I’ve been on the lookout for something just like them for a while now and they look just lovely :)

    • kathryn says:

      Not strange at all! I think I bought them from John Lewis in the UK – they’re actually the saucers that go with tea cups!

  21. So glad you had a lovely Easter weekend! I couldn’t agree with you more about simplicity when baking for others (although I loved the visual of all those complicated creations going through all modes of transportation!). The use of ricotta in these muffins sounds divine – will be making these soon.

  22. Sandra says:

    These look delicious and so nice to get a trip away for Easter!

  23. My desire to go to France has always been incredibly high, but you definitely sealed the deal. Simplicity is best. And I can’t stop thinking about strawberry marshmallows!

  24. Beautiful photos! I can’t wait to make these muffins! I just made some fresh goat ricotta, do you think that would be nice in them? It is a very mild goat ricotta. I totally relate to just about everything you wrote above (other than the house in France-that sounds amazing!) I had to bring a dessert for one of my husband’s bank events and I got so worked up at what to bring because everyone was telling him that they couldn’t wait to try what I was going to make. I was so nervous and kept trying to think of elaborate things to make, but scratched it all at the last minute for my almond flour gingerbread. Simple is usually better, in my opinion :)

    • kathryn says:

      I think goat ricotta would be fine (but then again, I love using goat milk/yogurt and the distinctive taste that it has!). You might need to play slightly with the ratio of dry to wet ingredients though depending on how thick your ricotta is. Let me know how you get on if you do try them!

  25. You are so right. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and simplify things! I was asked to make a ‘healthy sweet’ recipe for something, and I too jumped straight onto Pinterest and began stressing about the million options that exist for ‘healthy and sweet’! It was a bit overwhelming… and ‘healthy’ means different things to different people.

    In the end I made a batch of my standard muffin mix (like you! haha) but replaced some grains and fats with healthier options and ALL WAS WELL IN THE WORLD.

    Ricotta is one of my favourite ingredients to cook with so I am excited to try using it in some muffins!

  26. AllieBeau says:

    Just found you via Eats Well With Others and am SO happy I did! My fiance is allergic to wheat and I love to bake, but often feel uninspired or like it’s going to be an inevitable failure. Everything looks amazing, especially these muffins!! I’ll be back soon and very often. Keep up the awesome work :)

    • kathryn says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I’m so glad you found your way here and I’m even more glad that I can provide you with some inspiration : )

  27. Your trip to France sounds so lovely! I so agree with what you wrote about how wonderful dishes made with simple ingredients can be when they are prepared well and with love. When I was in Italy I ate so well because people there have so much respect for the ingredients- from where they’re grown to how they’re harvested and, of course, how they are prepared. I was blown away. I am actually looking for a muffin recipe right now and these blueberry and ricotta muffins sound so perfect!

  28. Joanne says:

    I am notorious for overcomplicating my life (And my dinner menu), so this point is definitely well taken! It’s so funny because I so often crave the simple things, yet rarely make them. Time to get back to basics. These muffins look absolutely lovely, especially for those of us (*ahem) who can’t get enough of blueberries right now.

  29. Trisha says:

    There ain’t nothing better than a blueberry mufffin!

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