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)”

Seville orange drizzle cake

img_1501Planting orange trees around here is a tricky business. It is hard to tell with a young tree whether the fruit is going to be sweet or bitter. We planted several trees when we came to live here, thinking they were sweet oranges and a lemon – but they turned out to be the Seville variety. We managed, eventually, to grow a sweet orange and a lemon, but we still have a glut of Seville oranges every year from the original trees.

I make tons of marmalade, to give away to friends and to various charity bake sales, but I am always at a loss to know what to do with the rest. Continue reading “Seville orange drizzle cake”

Cocoa-banana muffins

img_1392You may think I make an awful lot of muffins. You would be right. They are such useful items to take on a walk or to the beach – more robust than slices of cake, which will inevitably break up or get squashed in your backpack or beach bag. They are also much easier to serve and eat when you are out and about – and everyone gets their own individual little bundle of goodness, so no potential for squabbling in the ranks. Continue reading “Cocoa-banana muffins”

Having a whale of a time (and spiced apple cake recipe)

IMG_1297.jpgIt’s official – I am in love with humpback whales, and I think I am hooked for life.

Sorry about the prolonged absence, but we have just returned from the most fantastic holiday, the main focus of which was swimming with humpback whales in the Ha’apai group of islands in Tonga. Continue reading “Having a whale of a time (and spiced apple cake recipe)”

The Sacrifice (and raspberry ripple muffins)

donkey bee.jpg
Photo: whatsthatbug.com

I’ve just spent a fascinating five minutes watching another giant hornet (or it might be the same one – brown head, brown wings, yellow striped jumper, six engines…) trying to take off with a cat biscuit that one of our mob left in their dish outside on the terrace. Our cat biscuits are about the size of a British penny, so that gives you an idea just how big these pesky beasts are. The locals call them donkey bees – not sure why that is – maybe because of their penchant for carrying things around. Anyway, he was having trouble getting enough lift, so he solved this by nibbling all around the edges of the biscuit to make it a bit smaller – hey presto, we have lift off. He’s probably got a very fully tummy though, so I’m not sure whether he’ll make it safely to his destination with his prize. Continue reading “The Sacrifice (and raspberry ripple muffins)”

Sticky fig & orange muffins

IMG_1184 (600 x 450).jpgWe are off to New Zealand to visit Robin’s son and daughter-in-law in two weeks time. It will be just coming in to spring there and I can’t wait for cooler weather, so that I don’t have to have crazy hair all the time. We had some chores to do in town this morning (involving two trips to the local municipality and one to the tax office – opposite ends of town and it’s market day, so no possibility of driving between the two and finding a parking space). When I left home, I looked like a relatively normal person (as normal as you can be when you step out into a swamp that is over 40 centigrade and 70% humidity, that is). When we arrived at the municipality offices for the second time, having crossed town on foot twice now, I caught a glimpse of myself in the full length mirror window and wondered how I’d managed to get past security without being detained for my own safety. Continue reading “Sticky fig & orange muffins”

Gluten-free treats

IMG_1103 (Medium)After surviving the excitement of the attempted coup, it was a relief to head for England for a spot of R&R. Short-lived of course, as we’ve had such a procession of  engagements with friends and family that I’m tempted to ask Her Maj if she can lend me her social secretary.

Our friend Babs has been staying with us over the last few days, which has been an excuse for a few treats. She doesn’t have a happy relationship with wheat, so I snaffled some Doves Farm gluten-free flour when I saw it in the supermarket last week and set out to discover whether it really was interchangeable with ordinary flour  – so far, so good. Continue reading “Gluten-free treats”

Welcome to Kaş, have a nice stay!

Ece K at the lunch stopYesterday was the final, chaotic, day of the 9-day Şeker Bayramı holiday. Over the last week, Kaş has been practically under siege.

Essential grocery shopping trips were restricted to a small hour-long window, post 8am opening, before the hordes of holidaymakers from the big cities were awake and taking over the town. It wasn’t just parking that was an impossibility, getting into town at all was simply a non-starter. On arrivals weekend, queues of traffic backed up for over a kilometre either side of the main roundabout. As the town was physically unable to absorb any more cars, they simply ended up crawling along the main road before eventually passing the people queuing up in the other direction. If it hadn’t been so frustrating, it would have been quite comical. Continue reading “Welcome to Kaş, have a nice stay!”

Portuguese custard tarts (Pastéis de nata)

IMG_0977 (600 x 450)Before we came to live in Turkey, when I had a proper grown-up job, I was working on a major project just outside Lisbon in Portugal.

One morning, after a particularly lively night out in Lisbon with some members of the British press, we asked a taxi driver to take us to wherever was his favourite place to have breakfast. It was a life-changing moment – and one from which my figure may never recover. The place the taxi driver took us to was Pastéis de Belém – a famous pastry shop in the Belém district of Lisbon, right on the bank of the River Tagus. Continue reading “Portuguese custard tarts (Pastéis de nata)”