Lemon berry celebration sponge (egg-free, dairy-free, vegan)

IMG_2638Look at that. No blog posts for a month, then two come along at once.

Yesterday, it hoofed down with rain, so there was absolutely no possibility of a walk. With no plans  for the day and a full complement of building team downstairs, it seemed an ideal opportunity to try out my (hopefully) final version of an egg-free, dairy-free (and ergo vegan) sponge cake. Particularly ideal because the said large quantity of blokes meant nothing lying around to scupper my diet later in the day.

Before you all go ‘ugh, vegan,’ I promise you this cake is nothing short of delicious. It has a really nice crumbly texture and a crisp top (it would have been even crisper if I had not forgotten to scatter some sugar on the top before I put it in the oven – it had already started to rise when I thought of it, so I left it naked). And it is filled with lemon and lime ‘buttercream’ with fresh raspberries and blueberries – who could turn their nose up at that? Continue reading “Lemon berry celebration sponge (egg-free, dairy-free, vegan)”

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Chicken and sausage cassoulet

IMG_2608.jpgI just noticed that my last blog post was back in January for December’s Cookery Calendar Challenge, more than a month ago. Several things have got in the way of blog posting – we were away for ten days in January, looking after a family of Greek rescue cats in the Midlands while visiting various branches of the Tassell/Pearson family and now (I can hardly bring myself to say this) I AM ON A DIET. Yes, the dreaded ‘D Word’.

While we were in Warwickshire, I met up with my old school friend Carole, who was about to embark on the Slimming World programme. Last summer’s pasty frenzy left about 50% of my summer wardrobe rather too snug for comfort – painfully aware that I will be needing to wear it in a few weeks time when we get back to Turkey, I decided I would keep Carole company. Continue reading “Chicken and sausage cassoulet”

Fillet of salmon with capers, fennel & Dijon butter (Rachel Allen)

IMG_2565On to Round Two of December’s ‘Cookery Calendar Challenge‘. I can see the obvious flaw in that statement – yes it is January, but Christmas happened and so I ran out of time. In actual fact, I cooked this on New Year’s Eve, so I can probably still legitimately claim to have fulfilled the challenge – the problem was, what with having mates here to stay,¬† Prosecco may have been taken and we’d eaten it all before I even thought of getting out the camera.

On the upside, this salmon dish from Rachel Allen’s ‘Recipes from my Mother’ was absolutely delicious and so ridiculously easy that we’ve eaten it again since, even though we are only a week further on. I’ve even managed to make it look quite nice for the photo, which is an improvement – perhaps 2018 will be the year I conquer this photography lark a little more. Continue reading “Fillet of salmon with capers, fennel & Dijon butter (Rachel Allen)”

Steak & ale hotpot

IMG_2552.jpgHappy new year to everyone – it is so hard to believe that we are already half way through the first week of 2018, yet it seems like only last week that we left Turkey and returned to the mayhem that is our house in Cornwall.

We’ve had a couple of weeks off from our lovely builders, who will be here with their boots shined (and coffee mugs at the ready) towards the end of next week, ready to start on Phase 2. This involves knocking down a wall (eek) and installing a new RSJ (not necessarily in that order, I realise, no need to write in to let me know that my house is about to fall down). I shall be glad to avoid the accompanying mess by being away in the Midlands, visiting friends and family, and cat-sitting for the same trio of Greek cats that we looked after back in the summer. In return for providing Claridges-style five-star catering and door-opening services for the Grecian trio of whiskered musketeers, we get to stay in Rosie’s lovely home in a pretty village on the Warwicks/Northants border, which handily means we are minutes away from our family and friends. Continue reading “Steak & ale hotpot”

Oxtail & pearl barley soup, and The Cookery Calendar Challenge

Christmas appears to be almost upon us, though it will be a quiet event in our household this year. Last year we went to Prague, having spent much of 2016 to-ing and fro-ing to various distant bits of the world, so we promised ourselves a much quieter year in 2017. That didn’t exactly go to plan, what with buying and renovating a house in Cornwall and going backwards and forwards between here and Turkey, so we shall be very grateful not to have to shop for – and entertain – legions of guests, or to be cooking (or eating) mountains of rich food. We have friends coming for the new year, but we’re looking forward to spending the next few days builder-free, not doing chores and generally chilling out by the fire with a book. Continue reading “Oxtail & pearl barley soup, and The Cookery Calendar Challenge”

Rhubarb & ginger crumble muffins

IMG_2472.jpgWe’ve been back in the UK for over a week, and I made these muffins when we were still in Turkey. Just goes to show how time flies when you are enjoying yourself (or when you are in the middle of a house move and renovation).

We crossed Europe with what felt like approximately half of the contents of our Turkish house stashed into several very large suitcases plus one somewhat recalcitrant picture frame that wouldn’t fit into any suitcase ever manufactured by man. Continue reading “Rhubarb & ginger crumble muffins”

Pear & almond friands

IMG_2456.jpgWe had our friend’s dog Izzy to stay for a few days over the last week while her owner, Linda, went to Istanbul for a short break. Izzy has stayed with us several times before, and visits every Sunday, but seems to have a certain amount of learning difficulty when it comes to our cats. Continue reading “Pear & almond friands”

Easy Seville-orange & lime marmalade

GUILTY2 (600 x 440).jpgWe had an incident this week involving: a) a piece of fillet steak, and b) a member of our household. Obviously it wouldn’t be correct to ‘grass up’ the perpetrator, but let’s just say there is a large clue in the photo on the left.

We rarely eat red meat, but the very windy weather this week (more on that later) has blown down the pink peppercorns from the trees in the marina – we picked some up while out on our daily walk, and decided to ring the changes with pepper steak for dinner. Continue reading “Easy Seville-orange & lime marmalade”

‘Cornish’ pie

IMG_2363With the exception of the occasional overnight monsoon, our gorgeous late summer weather continues unabated. We sneak down to the beach most afternoons, determined to make the most of the sunshine before we return to Cornwall at the beginning of next month. Nature is certainly confused – the banana trees in the marina are loaded with fruit and the Brugmansia clearly hasn’t spotted that it is winter either. Continue reading “‘Cornish’ pie”

‘Village’ bread

IMG_2325I am surprised that some of my friends, many of them accomplished cooks and bakers, are afraid to bake with yeast. I find this slightly baffling and try to persuade them that now we have rapid action dry yeast, it is much like using baking powder, it just takes a little longer.

I think another reason many people shrink away from baking bread is that they think it will take up too much of their day – really, it won’t. The great thing about yeast is that it is pretty resilient as long as you keep it away from the very few things it hates – too much heat, too much salt or too much acid, so you can pretty much leave the dough to get on with things once it is mixed. Oh, and don’t feed it too much sugar or the dough will climb out of the tin and try to take over an entire floor of your house. Continue reading “‘Village’ bread”