Pretty views from my kitchen (and simple scones)

IMG_2924It has to be faced up to – summer has arrived. This morning it was 33 degrees by 9am, so I dread to think what it will be by midday, and we’re only just into June. We’ve avoided the air conditioning during the night so far, but I was sorely tempted at about 3am when both of us, and at least two cats, were practically fighting over the optimum position on the bed for maximum overhead-fan benefit. Some years, when we were still naive enough to be here during July and August, and the electricity has gone off during the night, I have slept on a lilo in the pool – I figured I would wake up if I fell off. Last night, I could have gone for that option if it hadn’t meant blowing up a lilo at 3am and Gorgeous Gordon the feline lilo-killer hadn’t been prowling around looking for potential latex victims. Continue reading “Pretty views from my kitchen (and simple scones)”

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20-minute microwave jam

IMG_2878.jpgWe are planning a beach trip tomorrow. This is becoming something of a habit of late – partly because our neighbours seem to have the noisiest visitors in the world, and this could possibly incite me to cross words if I have to put up with too much more of it, which I am keen to avoid in the interests of good neighbourly relations. Continue reading “20-minute microwave jam”

Piyaz (Turkish white bean and tahini salad)

IMG_2884.jpgWhen we lived in Istanbul, we used to frequent a fine establishment near our shop, called the Meşhur Tarihi Sultanahmet Halk Köftecisi Selim Usta – yes, a bit of a mouthful, it roughly translates as ‘The famous and historic Sultanahmet people’s meatball seller, Master Selim’. It is my kind of place because I hate making up my mind from a menu, and there’s really only one reason to go there – to entirely pig out on köfte and piyaz. (Talking of pigs, see later para). Continue reading “Piyaz (Turkish white bean and tahini salad)”

Fresh pea-pod soup

IMG_2808.jpgI’m having a mangetout crisis. More accurately, I am having a NOT-mangetout crisis. I bought a large bag of what I thought were mangetouts in the greengrocer, but, when I got them home, they turned out to be something that is somewhere between a mangetout and a fully-fledged pea.

When we attempted to eat them whole, they were entirely inedible – stringy, tough and really not very nice at all. And the peas inside are so tiny that they are not worth the effort of podding.

Hating to throw away perfectly fresh veg, I browsed the web for inspiration and found a few references to a Julia Child dish for pea-pod soup from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, though I was unable to track down an actual recipe. I might start my own version of this book – something along the lines of Mastering the Art of Cooking Whatever You’ve Bought When You’re Not Wearing Your Specs.
Continue reading “Fresh pea-pod soup”

Bakewell Tart

IMG_2779We’re on countdown to our trip back home to Turkey early next week. It feels as though we should have loads of things to do, but we left most of our summer clothes there when we came back here in December (not a lot of call for shorts round here over the last couple of snowy months), so packing will take about five minutes.

We’ve been up in Warwickshire looking after a couple of dogs and a cat while their owners were away, taking the opportunity to catch up with our family and friends in the area, including introducing ourselves to Robin’s newest grandson, who put in an appearance a few hours after we’d left Warwickshire on our previous visit! Continue reading “Bakewell Tart”

Jenny’s cake (blackberry & apple teacake)

IMG_2717.jpgIt’s been an eventful few days. Never mind the John Le Carré-style Salisbury poisonings, the Tillerson firing and the prospect of Kim and ‘The Donald’ planning a love-in, we are much too busy in Cornwall being up to our withers in ‘Cream-Tea-Gate’ to worry about any of that malarkey.

If you’re not already up to speed with the news story of the week, the National Trust managed to completely outrage the entire county of Cornwall over the weekend with an advert for its Mother’s Day cream teas at the Lanhydrock Estate. Continue reading “Jenny’s cake (blackberry & apple teacake)”

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)”

Roasted sweet potato & butternut squash soup (vegan)

IMG_2645.jpg‘Greetings from snowy Cornwall’ is not a phrase that is uttered very often – we don’t get a great deal of snow around these parts, what with our southerly latitude and the Gulf Stream being just slightly to the west of our garden. Unfortunately the warming influences of the North Atlantic Drift are being ever so slightly outdone by Storm Emma at the moment, and we are stranded at the top of a lethal sheet-ice hill, surrounded by several inches of snow.

Last week, we were cheerfully going about our daily walks without coats or gloves, admiring the primroses and camelias, and smugly congratulating ourselves on living in the part of the country where Spring arrives in February. No doubt the current Siberian conditions being experienced by pretty much all of Britain are our due punishment – sorry everyone. Continue reading “Roasted sweet potato & butternut squash soup (vegan)”

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)”

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”