when i was a little girl we used to spend our summers in a tiny little apartment that was located right on the edge of the bosphorus in a small part of istanbul called cengelkoy. this was before the bosphorus waters became too polluted to swim in so we spent our days playing outside, jumping in and out of the water and using our small rowboat to go out fishing. it was a perfect way to spend the summer and i loved every minute of it!
while our house was small, we did have a large wrap around balcony- perfect for early morning breakfasts and afternoon tea times- and just above the balcony there was a peach tree that would bear fruit every july. we could literally pick peaches from the comfort of our own front door- with a quick rinse they were ready to eat and were some of the most delicious fruits i have ever tasted.
i still love a good peach and use fresh peaches in a number of ways- they are great with some crumbled cheese; delicious grilled; perfect for sangrias and a wonderful way to make summer muffins too!
alara kindly baked this week’s muffins as an afternoon activity and i enjoyed them thoroughly as a light breakfast. i added a bit of almond butter to mine for some extra am protein and of course, added a nice cup of coffee too. this recipe isn’t vegan but it is gluten free- and i enjoyed the addition of cornmeal as a nice change from the other muffins we made this summer.
try the recipe if you have the chance and let me know what you think 🍑 🍑🍑
3 fresh peaches
½ cup buckwheat flour (or regular gluten free flour mix)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup cornmeal
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground ginger
large pinch sea salt
¼ cup butter
⅓ cup organic yogurt
preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a muffin tin with liners
mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground ginger
in a separate bowl beat butter and sugar until fluffy. add egg and vanilla extract and mix again.
add the yogurt and a couple of scoops of flour mixture and stir
stir in the remaining flour mixture until well combined
fold in the peaches- this will help to thin the dough
pour into muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
remove from oven and allow muffins to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool fully
store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days (if they last that long!!)
we are home! and as we have been reunited with the muffin tin we are finally back on track with our sunday muffins!!
this week’s muffins are something i have been craving for a long time. summer vegetables are some of my favorites and i just love anything that has zucchini in it!
easy to make and easy to eat, these muffins are the perfect breakfast muffin–I had mine with some sliced tomato, a drizzle of olive oil and some delicious turkish olives… let me know what you pair your muffins with, i always love a good breakfast suggestion!
1 cup grated zucchini- strain the excess water and set aside for later
½ cup almond milk
½ tbl apple vinegar
2 tbl olive oil
1 cup buckwheat flour
¾ cup gluten free oats
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
generous pinch of sea salt
2 tbl finely chopped dill
¼ cup cashew cream
preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius and line a muffin tin with muffin liners
mix together zucchini water, almond milk, olive oil and apple cider vinegar and set aside
in a large bowl combine buckwheat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt
slowly add in wet ingredients and mix until combined
add cashew cream, zucchini and dill and mix once more
pour into muffin cups and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
cool on a cooling rack
store in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature or a week in the fridge- these muffins will freeze well if you want to make an extra batch to enjoy once zucchini season is over!
these indulgent cookies were the best bayram treat we could have asked for. baked with love by alara and alegra they hit the spot as we wrapped up a whirlwind tour of the aegean coast and finally made our way back to istanbul. it was a blessing indeed to have had the chance to see such beautiful places and spend time with so many friends and family; something we were even more grateful in these trying pandemic times.
we started our trip in early July by driving down to a quiet part of the coast. we spent the first couple days of our trip in a small town called karaca sogut.
it is a haven for sailboats and the perfect shelter from the wind that is typical in the summers in the inner gulf called gokova. alegra had been at sailing camp for a couple of days when we reached the spot and although she enjoyed the sailing part of things i think she needed to be reunited with us. it has been a long 18 months of constantly being together and being thrust into an unfamiliar environment with lots of different camp rules was a little unsettling.
although navigating this shift was tricky we were happy to be in a different part of the coast and spent our time exploring bays we hadn’t seen before, discovering the ancient island city of cedrae (and it’s beach, cleopatra beach- famous for it’s healing sands), and eating out at the mecca of kitesurfing- akyaka.
our next stop was the town of bodrum. It is a real hot spot in the summer, and even more so this year as people literally flocked there to enjoy some post-covid lockdown freedom! there were boats, cars and people everywhere and i have to say it was a little (lot) too crowded for my taste!
we tried to make the best of it by taking long morning walks in the seaside village of turkbuku, eating and drinking at some of the most beautiful spots we have enjoyed in a long time, and seeing some of our close friends who are spending their summers there rather than suffering the heat of Istanbul.
our final stop was kucukkuyu. this is a small town in the northern aegean where my mother-in-law’s father (erim’s great grandfather) settled during the population exchange of WWI. known as the “mubadele”; peoples of greek origin who were living in asia minor at the end of the war were literally “switched” with peoples of turkish origin who had been living in what is now greece. the switching was rather abrupt and difficult; my mother in law’s family lore included stories about how they arrived in their new homes to find the closets and trunks still filled with the belongings of previous owners!
one small village in particular, adatepe, has been declared a historical zone and the homes and businesses have been rebuilt to their original specifications (with some modern advantages such as toilets and running water, of course). this is one of my all time favorite places in the whole world! it has a magical energy that is impossible to explain and i make an effort to visit the small town at least one time per trip. this time we were lucky enough to go up to the village more than once- each visit was special in it’s own way- we found a new cafe the first day, had a beautiful dinner with an amazing view on our second visit, and i was able to purchase some amazing wooden spoons on our last time up.
the end of our trip happily coincided with the eid holiday. known as kurban bayram here in turkey, and the feast of the sacrifice for english speakers; it is a time to come together and celebrate one’s blessings. traditionally families sacrifice a lamb or cow and share the meat with those less fortunate, this makes me a bit uncomfortable so we have joined in a more recent tradition of donating the same amount of money to foundations and organizations geared to serving the needy.
the fun part of bayram is that you get to go and visit everyone! and with it being so hot it is easy to do so in a more socially distanced outdoors way. so we went to each of my mother-in-law’s siblings homes; had a big family breakfast with the paternal side of the family; and visited some friends for a daylong poolside celebration. while i wouldn’t say it was relaxing, the whole trip ended up being so much FUN!
on our last day there the girls decided to do some bayram baking to share with the family members we visited. again, we had no muffin tin-because i forgot to pack it! and so they improvised to the tune of indulgent chocolate chunk cookies. these can be made gluten free or glutinous; but i must warn you that they are the real deal- with plenty of sugar, eggs and two kinds of chocolate they are indulgent for sure!
a small note: as I finished writing this post massive wildfires broke out, or were quite possibly set as an act of arson, throughout southern turkey. many of the beautiful places we were able to visit on our trip have been inundated with fires and smoke. roads have been closed, animals and families displaced, and lives lost. climate change, political mismanagement and oversights have all contributed to the losses that turkey has endured this week. between rapidly rising covid cases, these terrible fires, and a heat wave in istanbul it has been an emotional and difficult week. my heart is breaking for not only turkey but the world as we navigate an ever more difficult 2021.
indulgent chocolate chunk cookies-
2 ⅓ cup flour (use gluten free if desired)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
large pinch sea salt
1 tbl vanilla extract
1 cup butter
big handful of milk chocolate chunks
big handful of dark chocolate chunks
preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
sift together flour, baking soda and salt
beat butter, vanilla extract and sugars until creamy
add eggs one by one and mix well
add flour slowing, mixing well between each addition
stir in chocolate chunks
place spoonsized rounds of dough on baking sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes until edges are browned but middle is still soft
cool on a cooling rack and serve with tea or lemonade for an afternoon treat!
so remember how we are going with the flow and being creative this week because we have no muffin tin?
well, the results have been pretty amazing so far!
alara and alegra were itching to bake something gluten free and delicious for this sunday’s recipe and i was really craving a yummy breakfast treat to go with my morning coffee and here is what we came up with- a completely delicious, completely gluten free almond apricot tart!
i adore fresh apricots and try to eat them as long as they are in season 🌱🌱🌱 we are lucky here in southern turkey because the land is so fertile that finding good fresh fruits and vegetables is always easy.
and so, with a big bag of ripe apricots ready to go, the girls set off on their next baking adventure…
1 cup organic almond flour
1 cup gluten free flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup yogurt
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup butter- browned and cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground ginger
6 apricots halved and pitted (you may need more depending on the size of your tart pan)
preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
mix together almond flour, gluten free flour, baking powder, salt and ginger
in a separate bowl whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla extract
combine wet and dry and mix well
pour batter into greased tart pan and spread evenly with a spatula
press apricots halves, skin side down, into batter- sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar if desired
bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean
cool completely on a cooling rack and then slice and serve for a great breakfast treat; or with your morning coffee or afternoon tea!
this week was the bayram, or eid, here in turkey, and we were lucky enough to manage to come to the south of turkey for a short escape from the city.
the weather has been typical late spring weather for this area. Hot midday and cool and crisp at night. we did some hiking, some swimming, a lot of reading and relaxing, and a whole bunch of cooking.
one of our favorite recipes to make on vacation is a very light, gluten free almond cake. (we also made a not at all light chocolate cake- not gluten free so not for me- and a banana bread that was a full flop- we combined two recipes and it did NOT work out at all!)
but this lemon cake is delicious. we served it warm out of the oven and it was gone within the hour. i was secretly hoping for a little slice for breakfast, but no dice.
it is so simple that i don’t know why we have never made it at home. but you know, some things just taste better in some places. so, this is our beautiful boat bundt cake… enjoy!
4 organic eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup fresh almond milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemond rind
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (alegra says to try chia seeds if you don’t have poppy)
2 cups almond flour (we added a couple more tablespoons to make the dough more doughy)
preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
grease bundt pan with olive oil
mix eggs, sugar, almond milk, and olive oil with hand blender
add baking powder, vanilla extract
mix in almond flour slowly until you reach a doughy consistency
fold in poppy seeds and lemon rind
pour into bundt pan and place in over
bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
allow to cool for 5-10 minutes
invert on serving dish and serve warm with a glass of turkish tea 🙂
a special thanks to birdal abi for sharing this recipe with us!!
we have yet another LONG weekend lockdown (this time four full days); there is a mini-heat wave happening; supposed to be a pesticide spray happening in our neighborhood (so all our windows are closed and we are boiling); we spent 30 minutes chasing the chickens around to get them cooped up before the spraying started (it still hasn’t!); and the electricity just went out. everything already felt a little surreal when we woke up this morning but now all this is just really a bit extra.
so, our usual saturday live cooking session has been postponed. but we didn’t want to leave you all hanging on a saturday!
so, here is a fantastic recipe for cinnamon buns that we first made last summer on vacation… it is relatively easy, just be sure to plan for some time to allow the dough to rise 🙂
for the rolls-
2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter + some for greasing your pan
1 package instant yeast- mix with small amount of warm water allow to sit 10 minutes
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups gluten free flour (regular flour works too if you’d prefer)
for the filling-
¼ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
for the glaze (completely optional)-
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
grease a baking dish with butter
melt 6 tablespoons butter and mix in milk
add in yeast, sugar, salt and vanilla extract, mix well and allow to rest for 2 minutes
slowly combine flour and wet ingredients – mixing well between each addition
add flour until dough if formed- you might need a little more or less that 4 full cups
knead the dough slightly then form into a ball
cover with a dish towel and allow to rise for 1 hour
meanwhile mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and allow ¼ cup butter to soften
after an hour, sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and roll out dough
dough should be about 1.5 centimeters thick- cut edges so dough is straight
spread soft butter all over your dough and then sprinkle on the cinnamon mixture
roll the dough into one large roll and then slice into 2-centimeter-wide rolls
place in baking dish with each roll touching each other
bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes- check to make sure they are baked through
make glaze by mixing powdered sugar and milk- mix well
we have been baking up a storm over here these days… and with the terrible rainy day we had this week we really needed a bit of a pick me up!
rain or shine, these delicious cookies ALWAYS do the trick. they are perfect in the afternoon for tea, and equally wonderful as a breakfast treat with a lovely cup of coffee.
as far as i know, their origin comes from the turkish seaside town of izmir; a close friend taught us how to make them nearly twenty years ago; and we have been experimenting with them ever since! the original recipe calls for regular flour and white sugar- but we have adapted them in various stages; first swapping brown sugar for white, and then opting to use gluten free flour. our latest iteration is the most delicious as of yet- and i have to admit they taste pretty good on sunny days too!
1 pound lor cheese (this is a soft uncured goat cheese that is similar to strained cottage cheese)
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
3 cups flour
we used 1.5 cup buckwheat flour and 1.5 cup gluten free flour
3 tsp baking powder
preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius
mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately
combine and knead until mixture is moist and “doughy”
adjust flour as necessary; add a small amount of milk if dough is too crumbly
(roll cookies in sugar for an extra treat if desired)
form into small ball shaped mounds and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet
bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean