Cake, ice cream and more cake

I’ve been fairly slack in keeping this blog updated with my cooking exploits so I thought I’d bring things up to date in one go. The last 2 months have seen my kitchen pretty lively…

A Sacher Torte for my mama’s birthday

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Black Forest ice cream – my favourite flavour of all time. Ever.

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Nutella ice cream

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Papaya, sharon fruit, raspberry and banana smoothie

Smoothie collage

The incredibly bizarre combination of a dark chocolate and avocado cake in honour of the great British sporting tournament that officially marks summer, Wimbledon. I’ll admit, this one was a little strange so I’m not sure I’ll be making it again…! I might have to bake something else that’s green for the Wimbledon final at the weekend!

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Baking wheat-free is definitely getting easier and it’s so much more fun than just buying ready-made GF cakes at the store. A little kitchen creativity is definitely good for my soul.

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Soaking up summer

summerThe air is changing again, this time to a hopefully warmer climate with long days of sunshine and seemingly endless hours to relax and soak up some much needed Vitamin D. Just like spring, there are ways to enjoy this season (which I consider as June to August) that are unique to the characteristics it brings on its breeze, so even if you’re not off on a summer holiday, here are some ways you can make the most of this summer.

  • Food & Drink: Pimms, cider, salads and BBQs of course!
  • Bake: Grasshopper pie for Wimbledon or an avocado chocolate cake
  • Places to visit: Colorado
  • Go for a long walk at dusk
  • Make Sprite floats… or Coca-Cola floats if you prefer
  • Go on a road trip in the sunshine
  • Pick fruit! Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries…
  • Find a waterfall and watch the sunlight make a rainbow
  • Watch a movie outdoors (local venues often have a temporary outdoor theatre in the summer – worth watching out for!)
  • Paint in the park
  • Have an evening picnic in the park after dinner, just for drinks and dessert
  • Sat outside at a pub with friends in the evening with a cold drink
  • Make ice cream and smoothies
  • Eat breakfast outside – only in the summer months are those early hours warm enough for this. Make the most of it!
  • Go punting (my favourite is to go from the Cherwell Boathouse in Oxford)
  • Listen to the dawn chorus. It’s light and warm when the birds start their singing and it’s quite something to hear them!

Turkey

IMGP0070aWe spent a wonderful week at the end of May in the Turkish cities of Adana and Istanbul. A good friend is teaching English out there and she gave us a fantastic introduction to the country’s culture. We tried Shalgam and Bici Bici – two Turkish delicacies I would be happy not to try again! – and spent many hours in the sunshine with friends.

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We sat through a lightning storm, paddle-boarded on a lake, pedalled a pedalo on a river, visited multiple mosques and ate an incredible number of kebabs.

We explored palaces and cobbled streets, took a boat tour and inhaled Istanbul at night.

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For those visiting this intoxicating city, I would suggest a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace and dinner at Sarnic restaurant – an old Roman cistern on the walk up to Ayasofia and the Blue Mosque. If you would like to see Topkapi Palace, be sure to see it before Dolmabahce, or it may be a disappointment after the latter.

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Istanbul is a remarkable mix of middle east and europe, old and new. Its culture changes, dependent on east or west and the less touristy areas are by far the most interesting.

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The Blue Mosque is one certainly worth seeing at night. Istanbul is quite a city. One to discover for yourself and I’d strongly encourage you to!

May reflections / June hopes

May reflections - June hopesThis month has brought a welcome change in pace. We saw Pentatonix live, who were just amazing, had a photography day with friends, enjoyed a wonderful week away in Turkey and spent some quality time with some of our favourite people. The sunshine has tried to make an appearance among a host of heavy showers but the season is definitely drifting into summer. Sadly the job location move didn’t happen quite as planned but even with that, we’re certainly getting there.

I’ve done some thinking this month about why I’m setting monthly goals and what I hope to get out of them. I don’t want them to stop me from being spontaneous just because I want to make sure I achieve everything I set for myself. So for the summer months, while the days are longer, my goals are going to be a little more vague, hopefully allowing space to enjoy these days of sunshine, simplicity, warm breezes and lazy time lived with friends.

>Reflections<

Take a class at the leisure centre – I actually enjoyed it! Go figure. I went by myself just to try it out but I’m really glad I did. It was exactly the kind of class I was looking for and a great balance of cardio and weights. I only managed one class but I’ll definitely go back next month.

Don’t get sunburned in Turkey – hurrah! I’m not sunburned! I’m also not particularly tanned because I was wearing factor 50 sunscreen, but I’ve lost the blue-white glow that comes from living somewhere it rains a lot!

Pin down a date to make an item of clothing – Yes! June 14th is in the calendar. I even bought the fabric in Turkey so we’re all set to go.

Wash the car – May turned out to be more full of showers than sunshine but we still managed to wash the cars one evening. It’s less fun when you don’t have a hose but we did an ok job with a bucket, sponge and some car shampoo. Definitely one to do again when we have access to a hose!

Get some more dates in the diary for fun things – Less so than I had hoped but I have planned to go punting with a bunch of people next week so we’ll leave it at that for now. I’d still like to book in a cake decorating class…

>Hopes<

Have drinks outside with friends – I want to make the most of these long evenings in every way I can and being outside as dusk arrives is one of my favourite ways to enjoy this season.

Send some postcards – life is best when shared and I have some wonderful postcards with Puffin book covers from the last 100 years that are so fun to send. Snail mail is the best kind of mail.

Make smoothies – it’s summer, smoothies are definitely a requirement!

Make ice cream – same reason as above, it’s about time we got the ice cream maker out again!