There’s just something about Monday mornings that makes you want to retreat. The alarm sounds and you turn over wishing it were a Saturday morning instead. You pull the covers over your head in the vain hope that somehow that incessant beeping will magically disappear. After having pressed the snooze button one too many times, it becomes apparent that there is no escape. You reluctantly roll over until you inadvertently fall out of bed, hoping that somehow you might hit you head on the way down and sustain a massive concussion, thus affording yourself the perfect excuse to miss work. Then the stark realisation comes that you are in fact unharmed and of sound mind, so you grudgingly make that long walk to the bathroom, zombie-like, as if you were just made to walk the green mile.
I am fortunate enough to have a work schedule that doesn’t require me to feel this way every Monday morning, although I still know the dreaded feeling of having had a 4-day weekend and knowing that the day is no longer your own. What is it about Mondays that are so hard?
I guess for most people the hard thing is that what they do for a living isn’t exactly what they live for. And sadly, all too often it just becomes a means to an end. As for me, I like my job, although I don’t love it and I don’t live for it. When given the order to take some accrued annual leave, I took it without hesitation and never gave work a second thought. The only thoughts I had of work were thoughts of how glad I was not to be there.
I don’t always feel so miserable about Mondays, most times I get up and I look forward to the day ahead, but there are just some weeks when all I can think of when that alarm sounds is how I can get out of work today. Should I feign illness? Will my car break down today? Or should today be the day I must visit my ailing grandmother living a 7-hour drive outside of woop-woop, somewhere remote like Cootamundra, who somehow needs my undivided attention today. I don’t know if it’s a hormonal thing, a girl thing, or perhaps just a me-thing, but there are just some days when all I want to do is pull the covers over my head, stay at home and watch a string of 80’s midday movies with a bowl of popcorn and a tub of ice cream clutched at my bosom.
I am probably depressing you all as you read this, and I’m sorry. If you came looking for adventure and intrigue, I’m sorry, you came on the wrong day. I know most people assume the food-bloggers’ life as one of endless banqueting and reverie, but sometimes, you open the fridge door and all you find are leftovers, some rotten bananas and a half eaten cake perhaps. Sometimes the mundane creeps up on all of us and sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad.
Okay, so everyone is prone to a little bout of Mondayitis, but enough of this maudlin, forlorn mush, I have devised a recipe that may be able to help you with the Monday blues or whatever day your working week starts. Besides waking up with an inherent sense of purpose and intention- and maybe a caffeine fix- here is another thing you can add to the list of things to help get you out of bed the mornings- Wattleseed and Date Mufins.
Muffins have been a familiar morning staple for as long as I can remember. It’s probably all that sugar in them that aids in the “waking up” dilemma most people have in the mornings. I don’t know exactly how high these muffins rate on the sugar scale, as they don’t taste overly sweet, but the muffins contain dates, which are naturally sweet and means that you don’t have to add that much sugar to the recipe. But just envisage the heady, intoxicating aroma of wattleseed and dates baking in the oven and this should be enough to rouse you from your slumber.
Wattleseed usually comes roasted and ground, it smells and tastes like a combination of coffee, hazelnut and chocolate, which as far combinations go cannot be beat. The wattleseed that they sell in shops comes from a blend of several edible acacia plant seeds, native to Australia. It’s quite a unique taste and there is nothing in the world like it. If ever the opportunity to taste wattleseed arises take that chance and you will find out what a treat it is. You can buy wattleseed on the internet and most places ship overseas. If you can’t get hold of any wattleseed, you can replace it in the recipe with some coffee ground, but there is really no substitute.
Wattleseed and Date Mini Muffins
makes 36 mini muffins
1¼ cups plain all-purpose flour
1 tbsp wattleseed, ground
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
170g unsalted butter
½ cup packed light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup or 250g Medjool dates
Preheat oven to 170˚C. Line a 24-hole mini muffin tray with paper cases.
Chop the dates into small pieces and mix into a tablespoon or two of flour to stop the dates from sticking together.
In a bowl sift the remaining flour, wattleseed, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and maple syrup and mix to combine; the mixture may look a little curdled at this stage but this is fine.
Fold in the flour mixture until just combined.
Stir in dates until incorporated.
Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the batter into the prepared muffin tray, careful not to over fill the cases. Only fill them about ¾ of the way.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the muffin tops are golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer the muffins to a rack and repeat procedure with the remaining batter.
NOTE: This recipe can be adjusted to make regular sized muffins. A longer baking time is probably required.