A few months ago I was watching a BBC documentary about most famous spices in the world. In the third episode, while I was watching vanilla cultivation, I had an idea: how does vanilla taste in savoury dishes? I mean, I love, many people love using vanilla in delicious cakes, cookies, desserts, but what about the other side of the coin? After a bit of research, I got inspired by a chef and started to work on this olive oil infusion.
Some days when you are home and you suddenly crave for a cake, you just whisk a few ingredients at hand and in less than hour, you have a cake. This is one of those cakes, but there is just a small and simple twist in this basic vanilla cake recipe which combines sweet and sour: cherries! And if you don’t have cherries hanging around or in your local grocery store 2 minutes from your apartment, then you can replace it with blueberries, raspberries, any berries you like really.
When I was a kid, I used to think that some dishes could only be made by certain family members. For example, there was a black tea cake that I believed only my mother could bake. Turkish dumplings, I thought only my mother and aunt could make so delicious. And then there was this pastry which I believed could only be baked by my aunt, my father’s sister, as if there was something magical or that the trick was in her oven or something. Turns out, I was wrong. You just need to learn.
I recently made a big confession to myself. I don’t like quinoa as much as I convinced myself. I don’t hate it either. It’s just that quinoa has a slightly weird taste by itself and you generally need to use a lot of other ingredients to give anything with quinoa a pleasant flavour. And these balls are exactly like that, with lots and lots of other ingredients!
I love eggplant. It is one of the most amazing and versatile vegetables out there. There are so many dishes you can make and so many ways of cooking with it that you can eat eggplants every day for a long time and still would not get bored!
I’m thinking and I’m thinking hard, but I don’t remember eating cauliflower before 2003. That was the year that I studied design in Paris as an exchange student. No seriously, I don’t think I ate it, I don’t remember my mother cooking it or even forcing me to eat it. But then suddenly in Paris I started eating it in big amounts. Why? Because I was trying to live in Paris with a small student budget most of which went to rent and cauliflower was cheap!
About a month ago I bought a 5 kg bucket of tahini. The amount of hummus or any other Mediterranean / Middle Eastern dip I made for my caterings that contains tahini exceeded all sorts of expectations and in the end when I saw that huge bucket, I just took it. And I already used more than half of it! And so here is one more dip / spread with tahini for you today. For this one, tahini meets butternut squash.
I didn’t use to like goat cheese at all. I couldn’t stand the smell and I got genuinely upset when it appeared in my food. But then a few years ago I did Rachel Khoo’s salty cake that had goat cheese in it among other things and my perception of goat cheese changed overnight!
My aunt used to bake the best version of this cake. Moist chocolate cake… It was one of my favourite cakes when I was a kid. In later years I forgot about it, until suddenly I woke up one day a few weeks ago and I immediately craved for this cake. It could be because I miss my aunt and five o’clock tea time in her home in Istanbul…
You know what? Since I started getting to know gluten free baking more than a year ago, I realised how great cakes and cookies and other baked goodies you can get without the use of regular flour. It is much more challenging, but it pays off always with each cake’s unique texture and taste.