Sourdough English Muffins

dsc00942-3-1Strictly speaking, these are made with the discarded part of your sourdough starter, which some careless people throw away. Because the starter has been lingering, unloved, in the fridge for a week or so, it has lost a bit of its ‘oomph’, so might struggle to provide a satisfactory rise for a loaf of bread (not that it’s ever stopped me in the past when I’ve forgotten to feed my starter). However, it is also brilliant for giving a tangy je ne sais quoi to English muffins, crumpets, flatbreads, and all manner of cakes and American-style muffins (more of which in the weeks to come).

If you don’t have sourdough starter, you can easily make these muffins with rapid-action dried yeast – directions are given in the recipe below. The flavour and texture will be slightly different, but they will still be delicious, and far superior to the muffins you buy in the supermarket. Continue reading “Sourdough English Muffins”

Sticky toffee muffins, salted caramel glaze

sticky-toffee-muffins

I haven’t posted here for a while – but I have bona fide excuses. They include: an in-built tendency towards procrastination, terminal idleness, and a pure reluctance to cook because it’s too flipping hot. (I’ve also been doing 1.5 km of laps every day while the pool is still warm enough to swim, as my shorts seem to have inexplicably shrunk during lockdown).

Yesterday I made these muffins, thinking they would slot in as an easy pud for when our friend Linda came over last night and a good thing to stash in the freezer for another day. None of them made it to the freezer, but a couple did leave the house with Linda (I only made half of the quantity in the recipe here, so we only started with seven), and we have one each to look forward to with a cuppa this afternoon. And yes, for those of you paying attention out there, making half of the quantity left me with half of an egg, which was not wasted, but used to seal the blind-baked pastry for an egg custart tart that is coming with us to our friend’s house this evening. Continue reading “Sticky toffee muffins, salted caramel glaze”

Vegan banana bread with candied walnut topping

Vegan banana bread (600 x 356) resizedI am fully stocked with flour again – a box containing five large bags of organic plain flour from the Cotswold Flour Mill arrived on my doorstep a few days ago. I am not intentionally stockpiling, but they are struggling with the sheer volume of orders, so are currently only delivering if you buy the entire box. Hopefully it will last me until the shops return to normal, whenever that will be. Continue reading “Vegan banana bread with candied walnut topping”

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.

Continue reading “Toscakaka (Swedish almond cake)”

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”

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”