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”

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All-in-one banana drizzle cake

IMG_3241Is it just our household that only ever seems to have black bananas? I am sure they are yellow when I buy them (or green, even) but by the time I glance at them again, they look as though they are suffering from terminal black spot.

Over the years, I have made squillions of variations of banana bread, all pretty straightforward, but I think this one is hands-down the easiest. As long as your bananas are really soft, you just chuck everything into the bowl at the same time and give it a vigorous thrashing with a wooden spoon (if your bananas need a bit of help, mash them well with a fork first or just mix the cake in a food processor). Continue reading “All-in-one banana drizzle cake”

Gluten-free berry almond torte

IMG_3192When is a cake a cake and when is it a torte? Sachertorte is the one that everyone knows, and it turns out that ‘torte’ is simply a German word for ‘cake’, though Sachertorte originated in Vienna of course.

It seems that if a cake contains luxury ingredients, such as ground nuts and fresh fruit, rather than just flour, butter, eggs and sugar, then it may well be a torte. Tortes also tend to be more dense in texture and less tall than their cakey cousins, so I’ve decided today’s offering qualifies on all counts. It contains ground almonds and fresh fruit, it has a deliciously fudgy texture, redolent of marzipan, it is under-tall and it looks pretty posh, even though it is extremely simple to make. Continue reading “Gluten-free berry almond torte”

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)”

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”

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”

Cherry berry scones (and a trip to Greece)

IMG_2049.jpgWe’ve been on holiday AGAIN! Will we never rest, for goodness sake. We had planned a few days in Rhodes, but the Greek port authority has decided, in its wisdom, that our ferry from Kaş should no longer be allowed into the harbour at Kastellorizo until the Rhodes ferry has departed. This has rather scuppered everyone’s trip plans and means an overnight in Kastellorizo before catching the Rhodes ferry the next morning. No problem with that except that we only had a few days and it would have cut our time in Rhodes rather too much.

So, in a lazy way,  we abandoned Rhodes and decided to just have a few days on Kastellorizo – known as Meis around these parts, or sometimes Megisti, depending on whether you are Italian, Ottoman or Greek, all of whom have ruled the island at some point in its history (along with the Brits, of course, during WWII, who were then dislodged by the Germans). You really couldn’t make it up. Continue reading “Cherry berry scones (and a trip to Greece)”

Decadent brownies with salted almonds

DSC00126 (2).jpgI am a very cheap date when it comes to chocolate. Thorntons? Meh. Godiva? Double meh. Green & Blacks? Wouldn’t give it house room. And as for that 90% cocoa butter carry-on, what on earth is that all about? As far as chocolate is concerned, there are only two contenders in my book: Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut or Cadbury’s Flake. The rest, you can keep. Continue reading “Decadent brownies with salted almonds”

Wickedly sticky pumpkin ginger cake (vegan)

img_1644-600-x-450This is certainly a year of unpredictable weather. Last week, most of Turkey’s airports were snowed to a standstill, we were hardly visible under our many layers of clothing and competing with the cats for space by the stove. This week we’ve felt more like ducks – paddling around in huge puddles and acres of mud, dodging the storms and trying to park our car under cover, where it won’t be hit by the golf-ball-sized hailstones. Eeek. Continue reading “Wickedly sticky pumpkin ginger cake (vegan)”