Toscakaka (Swedish almond cake)

Toscakaka cakeWell, these are strange times. I hope you and all your loved ones are well. We should have been going back to Turkey about now, but it looks as though we will be in Cornwall until after the summer.

I am very much aware that there are worse places to be – today we were out for our daily walk on the Bissoe Trail and I think it’s fair to say that spring has thoroughly sprung. Primroses, daffodils, tulips, camelias and rhododendrons are in full and beautiful bloom – a cheering site to say the least.

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Lemon poppy seed drizzle loaf

IMG_3945Appalling dearth of recipes appearing on this site at the moment – tsk tsk. I’ve been busy doing other things and also trying not to eat too many cakes and muffins, bearing in mind that shorts season is just around the corner. Also, we had a wonderful trip to South Africa last month, where we visited Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape – we had a great time getting up at 5am (eek!) and spotting everything from groups of  beautiful nyala antelope, who visited our terrace every morning, to elephants, giraffes, zebras and a lioness with her three newly-minted cubs. Continue reading “Lemon poppy seed drizzle loaf”

A very good gluten-free loaf

IMG_4024I promise I am not on a mission to simplify other people’s recipes, but I saw a recipe in this weekend’s Guardian newspaper that I was keen to try, but didn’t actually have all the ingredients to hand. However, I couldn’t see anything in the list of ingredients that couldn’t be replaced with something I already had lurking in my pantry, so threw caution to the wind and gave it a go. And the result was excellent, even though I say so myself.

And before you think ‘uh oh, bread, complicated and time consuming,’ think cake mix rather than bread dough. For this loaf, you literally have a bowl with some (gluten-free) flour in it, plus a jug of wet ingredients, then you pour one into the other and mix with a spoon. No kneading or stretching, just a quick mix, then a little wait while it proves and you get on with something else. Continue reading “A very good gluten-free loaf”

33p sourdough loaf

IMG_3997.JPGEvery time I switch from Cornwall to Turkey, and vice versa, I give away my sourdough starter to other bread-making friends and neighbours, then begin a new one when I get to the other end. However, when we went back to Turkey last September, and having managed to produce a particularly potent batch, I decided to take some with me. Unfortunately, despite being in a sealed plastic pot inside two zip-lock freezer bags, it sort of exploded while in the hold of the plane, and then got out into my suitcase. Ooops. This was not ideal, as we had a two-day stopover in Göcek on our way back to Kaş, so I had to sit and pick lots of little concrete-like blobs of dough off the least-affected garments, so that I had something to wear. The other slightly unexpected outcome was that all of my clothes had a vague whiff of a brewery about them. Oh dear.
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Canadian Butter Tarts

IMG_3908.jpgTurkey seems to have forgotten to do autumn this year. October has been gloriously warm and sunny, with temperatures around 30 degrees during the day, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The jacarandas and bougainvillea are still in bloom, and our Seville oranges remain resolutely green, though the ‘donkey bees’ have finished the last of the figs that were out of our reach at the top of the tree, and have now disappeared themselves.

Today, with the arrival of November, we finally have something akin to autumn weather – breezy, a few spots of rain this morning and a definite change in the colour of the sky.

At last there are some decent greens in the market – perky broccoli, brilliantly white tiny cauliflowers, extra-long leeks, and huge bundles of dark green chard. I even found some beansprouts in the supermarket this morning, so a stir-fry is on the cards for tomorrow’s supper. Continue reading “Canadian Butter Tarts”

Lemon semolina cake with rosemary drizzle

IMG_3880I know I am back home in Turkey because a) I have to have a shower or throw myself into the pool every time I’ve completed even the least arduous of chores, owing to looming heat exhaustion, and b) when I bent to pick up a towel that had blown down from the line, I realised I also seemed to be holding on to a viper. Ooops. That tends not to happen in Cornwall, though I am sure there is a first time for everything.

Anyway, said viper was not in the best of health and I lived to tell the tale – AGAIN – this would be about the eleventy-twentieth time I have picked up something that I didn’t intend to. Despite rescuing said asp on the long-handled dustpan and brush we keep for this very task, and taking him to a ‘safe place’ in the long grass across the road, he didn’t make it in the end. I suspect there had already been some foul play on the part of one of our moggies before the poor thing took refuge beneath the fallen towel. Continue reading “Lemon semolina cake with rosemary drizzle”

Banana oatmeal muffins

IMG_3706 (600 x 450).jpgWe seem to be making a habit of going to St Mawes – one of Cornwall’s prettiest towns – at the moment. It must be the lure of the £13.95 crab sandwiches in the pub there – or possibly not! Thinking they must be the most expensive crab sandwiches on the planet, that illusion was quickly dashed by our friend Jean spotting that the ones on the terrace at the Hotel Tresanton just pipped them at the post at £14. At least at the Hotel Tresanton, there are lovely waiters who bring you things, you get an amazing view and you might very well end up rubbing shoulders with the great and the good, as opposed to fighting off your fellow tourists in the yard at The Rising Sun. There is also homemade ice cream… Perhaps I will persuade Robin to save up and take me there for lunch for my birthday next June. Continue reading “Banana oatmeal muffins”

Rhubarb & ginger tray-bake

IMG_3768 (2).jpgOne of the most pleasing things about being back in the UK is the sheer variety of fruit and vegetables on offer. Fourteen years without summer treats like rhubarb, gooseberries and raspberries have served to remind me how lucky we are in this country to have such an amiable climate – we tried many times to grow rhubarb in Turkey, but once June came along, it literally cooked in the ground. Continue reading “Rhubarb & ginger tray-bake”

Baked coffee & walnut praline doughnuts

IMG_3690We thought summer had arrived earlier in the week – we even had a day on the beach, though I kept my tootsies well away from the very cold Mediterranean – I would have definitely had to be wearing wellies to even think of venturing in.

Kaş has endured a terrible winter – endless thunderstorms and months of pouring rain – the worst winter in 25 years apparently. Our house has leaked, though we got off lightly compared to our neighbours, who say that what they imagine to be several previously-undiscovered species of mould are breeding on the plaster in every room of their house. Robin has been digging about in the basement to find paint that matches our living room and hallway – paintbrushes will be wielded this week. I don’t expect I will be allowed to have a paintbrush, as I usually get more paint in my hair and on my elbows than on the wall. I will be in charge of refreshments. Continue reading “Baked coffee & walnut praline doughnuts”

Carrot & ginger muffins, and the delights of the Bodrum Bergamot

IMG_3645Weather report: extremely grumpy. Violent flashes, thunderous bangs, strong winds, torrential rain and a whole crop of waterspouts. For Pete’s sake people, we’re in the Mediterranean, it’s supposed to be sunny. The weather has forgotten how to behave. Continue reading “Carrot & ginger muffins, and the delights of the Bodrum Bergamot”