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”

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High-fibre beef & lentil chilli

img_3479Happy new year to everyone. Rather late in the day, being half way through January, but the year already seems to be racing past at speed.

We are back in Cornwall after spending Christmas and the New Year looking after the most beautiful black labrador in the Cotswolds village of Bretforton, while her owners went off on holidays for a couple of weeks.

Thrown in with the deal was a velvety black rabbit called Bumbles – a comical, cantankerous, unpredictable, dish-hurling, naughty, affectionate little diva. After two weeks, we came to an understanding – she could nibble my jumper sleeves as long as she didn’t nibble my wrists, and I would provide her with an endless supply of brussels sprout tops, kale, cabbage and the occasional stick of celery.  That seemed to work. To be fair, the dish-hurling only happened twice – unfortunately this then involved me crawling into the pen on my hands and knees, Christmas-enhanced backside in the air, trying not to kneel on rabbit poo, in order to retrieve it. We’ve had more dignified assignments. Oddly enough, Robin left rabbit care to me, though I admit he more than made up for this by taking on responsibility for the early-morning dog walks.
Continue reading “High-fibre beef & lentil chilli”

Hot and sour Thai noodle soup

IMG_3417Despite the mostly inclement weather, we’re enjoying being back in Cornwall, and it is especially novel not sharing our house with the plumbers, carpenters and electricians. We quite miss them though – they are a happy and helpful bunch – though we don’t miss the early morning start time. They were here last week finishing off a few bits and pieces, but I think that is everything now until the summer. Robin is muttering about ‘getting up the floor of the conservatory’ to install underfloor heating, as that is our only dining space and it can be parky at this time of year. Personally, I favour a large rug. The thought of having the floor up fills me with horror. I am hoping he will have forgotten about it by the summer. Continue reading “Hot and sour Thai noodle soup”

Oven-bottom bread (and my life as a water spaniel)

IMG_3401Raining. Again. And I’ve been in the country less than a week and I’ve got a cold. How did that happen?

My life at the moment is a whirlwind of ibuprofen (throat/headache), pholcodine (irritating cough), Strepsils (anything not covered by the above) and gallons of water and tea. The upside is that I don’t have to go out for anything, there are no urgent jobs to do, there’s plenty of firewood, we’ve got English telly and I’ve got about a squillion second-hand cookbooks to work my way through. Continue reading “Oven-bottom bread (and my life as a water spaniel)”

It’s raining, so it must be a jam day

Quince tree

The rain we have been promised for days has finally materialised. But it is what we call ‘straight-down rain’, which anyone who lives here will tell you is the type that does not come in through every crack and crevice of your house to collect in pools which lie in wait if you are foolish enough to venture out of bed barefoot. We should be thankful for small mercies though – this is only the second time it has rained since we arrived in September, so it would be churlish to complain.

We have had a trying ten days with only intermittent internet and phone services while Turk Telekom installed new cables in our village, no service at all for several days, in fact. With limited opportunity to waste time on the internet, it has surprised me just how many jobs I’ve been getting done in the house. Not to mention plenty of beach time. Continue reading “It’s raining, so it must be a jam day”

Farmhouse fruitcake (vegan)

IMG_3325.jpgI’ve just been looking on the memory card on my camera to find the photos for this bake, and I came across some shots I took when we went to Kastellorizo a couple of weeks ago. The harbour there is always a good place for loggerhead turtle spotting – before we’d even reached the hotel, we were treated to a group of three of them playing together in the water near to the harbour wall.

They are such fantastically benign creatures, who don’t seem to mind at all if we are swimming next to them, and they’ll often pop up in an inquisitive way near the harbour wall or next to the boat to see what’s occurring in the human world. Continue reading “Farmhouse fruitcake (vegan)”

Fruity banana muffins – egg-free, dairy-free, vegan

IMG_3248Have you ever seen such a forlorn fruit bowl? A couple of pomegranates – fresh from the tree in the garden of Erol’s garage, where our car had its pre-MOT checks this week – alongside the inevitable black bananas (see last week’s post) and a lonely as-yet-unripe avocado.

Last week’s banana drizzle cake had an undignified ending. Having no Tupperware box the right size or shape, I put half in the freezer and wrapped the rest in clingfilm and put it inside the cold oven, where I thought it would be safe from the attentions of Annie Cat (the four-legged midnight stealth shopper). It had companions in the form of a half loaf of soda bread and some leftover simits. I am sure you can guess where this is going – the following day when I turned on the oven, I only remembered they were there when I smelled the plastic melting. The banana bread was totally shrink-wrapped in a coffin of melted clingfilm. Its friends were similarly entombed and also had to be jettisoned. Ooops. Continue reading “Fruity banana muffins – egg-free, dairy-free, vegan”

Fruity banana bread (vegan)

IMG_3013We’ve been back in Cornwall for three weeks and, ahem, I believe there have been no blog posts during that time. We’ve been busy trying to get the house finished and there has also been the lure of the unusually fabulous British weather, so we thought we’d squeeze in some walks and see a few more places before the mass arrival of tourists when the school holidays start in a couple of weeks time.

On the house front, we are nearly there – it has been almost a year since we started, but we are delighted with the result. We are far from tidy and there are plenty of finishing touches to do (like swapping the Turkish carpet in our living room, which doesn’t remotely complement the furniture, for the one that is currently underneath the dining table in our  house in Turkey – despite our best efforts, it was too big to go in our largest suitcase, so ended up being left for our next visit). Continue reading “Fruity banana bread (vegan)”

Chocolate, pecan & cardamom cookies (vegan, egg/dairy free)

IMG_2666.jpgI can never decide whether these should be called cookies or biscuits. Referring to them as biscuits runs the risk of American followers thinking they are going to get something that resembles what we call a scone, and I’d hate to think of them racing out to the nearest shop to buy clotted cream and jam, in anticipation of a Cornish-style cream tea, then realising they’re stuck with a cookie. And these do spread like an American-style cookie while baking, so I think we will stick with that. Continue reading “Chocolate, pecan & cardamom cookies (vegan, egg/dairy free)”

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)”