Category Archives: Desserts

Fancy Meringues

Do you ever feel that some recipes a suited better for different seasons, or weather?

Well this is definitely a summer recipe.

In the summer when it is so hot (hopefully ;-)), I never feel like having a really heavy dessert, and I usually prefer to have something easy, and fresh, this is it.

Simple, yet fancy, sweet, but fresh. The perfect summer dessert.

I had never really eaten a meringues until I went to Turkey, and even then I rarely ate them because, let’s be honest, they are a bit boring on there own, but they are gluten free, which makes them an easy option.

Then I saw this recipe, and made it.

It is so light and fresh, plus it is super easy! Give it a try!

Fancy Meringues
Adapted from Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meals

4 meringues, nest-shaped works best, but any shape will do.
4 tbsp Lemon curd
a handful of strawberries, cut up small,
1 tsp of strawberry jam
4 tbsp plain yoghurt

Mix together the strawberries, jam and yoghurt.

Scope a tablespoon of lemon curd onto each meringue. Top with the strawberry yoghurt. Serve.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

When it comes to making cookies, I am generally not too adventurous. I make chocolate chip cookies throughout the year, and the shortbread and gingerbread at Christmas.

I never make oatmeal cookies.

I don’t know why I never make oatmeal cookies, maybe because I usually think they are too healthy to be a cookie. Or because they usually are so hard that they would make a better hockey puck than after school treat. I just never make them.

My friend Jane makes the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten. Whenever she has them out at her house, I usually eat about ten, I’m not even kidding!

And she uses really delicious/expensive Belgian chocolate…

When I was in England, I bought a bag of really soft oatmeal raisin cookies from the Tesco bakery. They were so delicious, with a hint of cinnamon.

I thought to myself, there is no way I can compete with Jane and her expensive chocolate, so I will try to make something better than Tesco’s.

I made them with lots of raisins, and lots of cinnamon. It gave the cookies a really nice texture, and flavor.

Here’s my recipe…

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C.

Put the raisins to soak in a bowl of warm water.

In large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture.

Stir in oats and remove raisins from water and stir in.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
Cool slightly, remove from sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Pineapple Cupcakes


As I’ve mentioned, I have an amazing husband, but there is one thing about him that can be a bit much… He is football (soccer) crazy!

Turkish league, Spanish league, English league, Champions league, Premier League (how do I know all this?!), he watches it ALL! Basically if there is a match on, he will watch it!

Now that we have been married for so long, I no longer feel that I need to fake like watching football, so I don’t. I leave him alone to watch the matches. He seems to like this, he gets himself a snack and a drink, and watches his matches and tries not to wake us all up when he is yelling at the tv.

The only time he doesn’t like watching the matches is when it is a ‘big’ match, like a Derby (when two teams from the same city play against each other).

A couple of weeks ago, such a match came on, the two biggest Istanbul teams were playing against each other, so Seyfi invited two of his friends over to watch the match.

What worked out great is that the guys all got together at our house for pizza and beer, while the wives and kids got together at one of the other houses to hangout and avoid having to watch the match!

It’s so great when both the husbands and wives are such great friends!

Since my friend was going to be making pizza for the ladies and kids (which was some of the best pizza I’ve eaten in a long time) I thought I would make a dessert to take over for all of us.

I wanted to make cupcakes, but I didn’t want them to be your regular standard chocolate cupcakes (besides, one of the kids doesn’t like chocolate). I decided to make pineapple cupcakes, because lets be honest, who doesn’t like pineapple?

These cupcakes turned out really nice, not too sweet, just right.

It ended up being a good night for all of us. Seyfi’s team won, and I got to hang out with my ladies. Don’t tell Seyfi, but with the European Championship coming up this year, I may ended up watching a match or two, just to have an excuse to invite friends over…

Pineapple Cupcakes


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1 can (8 ounces) pineapple slices

Cream for whipping

Put five rings of pineapple into the food processor and add your other wet ingredients. Once they are blended, add the dry ingredients until it all comes together to a chunky (from pineapple) batter.

Pour into paper lined cupcake tray and bake until golden about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.

While the cupcakes cool, pour the whipping cream and about four tbsp of the pineapple juice from the can into a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until firm.

Cut the remaining pineapple rings into quarters.

Spread the whipped cream over the cupcakes generously, and garnish with a piece of pineapple.

Apple Cinnamon Swirls

Sometimes, you want to show your family how much you love them by making them something from the heart.

Sometimes you just need something easy.

Sometimes, you just want to make something that is going to come out of the oven.

This recipe is it.

A few weeks ago, I realized that Alara wasn’t eating her lunch properly. There had been a miscommunication, I had thought there was a set programme about what kind of snacks they were eating. There wasn’t, so the cake, that I had bought (oh the shame!) was getting eaten in the morning, and the fruit wasn’t.

The problem for me wasn’t only that the cake was getting eaten, and not the fruit, it was that the cake was filling her up, and then she wasn’t eating everything at lunch time, and then with no snack, after school she was starved.

I decided to make these for Alara’s morning snack. They have fruit, very little sugar, but they look sweet, so Alara loves them.

Here’s how you make them:

1 apple, cut into small chunks
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 sheet puff pastry
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix the apple, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Lay out the puff pastry, brush the melted butter over it.

Cover the puff pastry with the apple mixture.

Roll the puff pastry up into a log. Cut into 2cm slices.

Lay the slices on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper.

Bake at 180C until golden, about 10 minutes.

Birthday Brownies

There is a bakery around the corner that I absolutely love. They make the these cream filled, chocolate ganache topped, pain chocolat, with the best dark chocolate in them. Ask my dad, I think we had one every day when he was here.

They also make really good bread.

A few months ago we learned that this bakery also sells fresh gluten free bread. It is Seyfi’s favorite type of bread, soft. We order it every week, and are so grateful that it is here.

For Seyfi’s birthday I had hoped that I would be able to order a gluten free cake for him, but unfortunately they only offer the bread. So I decided to make him a deluxe brownie.

I like really fudgy brownies, and gluten free brownies always turn out great, I think it is because unlike a normal cake, they are more dense and use less flour.

To make these ones special for his birthday, while the brownie was baking, I topped it with rolos, caramels, and chocolate with whole hazelnuts in it. He really liked it. So did I.

Here’s how I made it.

Birthday Brownies

1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 rolls of rolos, cut in half
15 caramels, cut in half
1 bar of chocolate with hazelnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan and spread out evenly.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, sprinkle the rolos, caramels and chocolate chunks on top and continue baking until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. About ten more minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Pull apart Cinnamon Bun Bites

Would you like to know something that I’ve been missing since moving abroad? English Magazines! Specifically cooking magazines.

Sure, I can find English magazines if I want to pay a fortune for them, but a magazine is not a book, so why am a paying the same price for both?

Luckily, for my birthday, Seyfi bought me an iPad, and guess what I can do on my iPad?

Buy English, cooking magazines for normal price!

I subscribed to Martha Stewart Living, and Food magazine. I’ve been quite happy with both of them, and often find recipes to make.

This month, in Martha Stewart Living, I found the perfect recipe for the brunch we had at our place last weekend, Pull Apart Cinnamon Bites.

This is actually a wonderful idea for a big brunch because, when you have got lots of food choices, who wants to be eating a great big cinnamon bun? This way, you can pull off as many or as few cinnamon bites as you’d like.

Warning! This recipe takes a long time to make! I had to get up at three to get the whole thing started to be ready for my guests…

That being said, it is totally worth it!

Pull Apart Cinnamon Buns
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living April 2012

Cinnamon Bites:

1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp dry yeast
Approximately 4 cups flour (plus some more for dusting)
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, (1/2 stick melted)
2 tbsp cinnamon


1 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp milk


In a large bowl, gently combine the water and the dry yeast. Let it rest for about 8 minutes (it’ll be foamy when ready).
Add in 1/2 flour and mix to a paste. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Add eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and flour kneading together to a soft doughfor about 3 minutes. Knead in a stick of butter and continue to knead the dough for ten minutes on a floured surface. Cover with plastic and let rest do 2 hour.

Melt 1 cup of butter, and combine the cinnamon and remaining sugar. Butter your baking dish (I used a round cake pan).

Roll the dough into walnut sized balls. Once all the dough has be rolled into balls, take each ball, first dip it in the butter, than roll it in the cinnamon sugar. Place in the cake pan in a pile. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Cook for 55 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the baking dish.

Mix together the icing sugar and milk, drizzle over the cinnamon buns after they’ve been out of the oven for at least fifteen minutes.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No Bake Gluten Free Lemon Cheesecake

We have got a group of friends here in our neighbourhood that we just loving getting together with. The wives all get along, the husbands all get along, the six of us all get along, in fact, the kids all get along.

There is only one problem, if the adults want to just hang out and chat inside, it can be quite difficult because the kids always seem to need someone.

We have found a solution for this, parents only meals. Once and a while we get together without the kids. We enjoy a meal and a great conversation, and can completely relax.

This weekend we had everyone over to our place for brunch. Seyfi and I decided that we would do a buffet style brunch, everyone could help themselves and just relax and chat away the morning.

We prepared lots of different things, some Turkish, some North American, some with gluten, and some without.

For Seyfi it is really important that we have enough gluten free food for everyone to at least be able to try some. He doesn’t want to have a separate plate with gluten free food on it for only him.

For me, it is really important that we have a few different options of gluten free food so that he doesn’t have only one option, while everyone else has lots of options.

So for the brunch, when I was planning the dessert, I’d planned to do my Earl Grey Chocolate Cake (with gluten) and try making a Rolo Blondie (gluten free).

Unfortunately, the blondie did not work out, tasted delicious, did not look that way… So, I thought I’d make a no bake cheese cake.

This cheesecake is actually really easy, and super delicious. The crust is made out of speculoos cookies (ginger snaps) and lemon curd.

Usually, Seyfi thinks he doesn’t like cheesecake, but after eating half of this one, I think he’s changed his mind!

So here’s the recipe:

No Bake Gluten Free Lemon Cheesecake

For the crust:

100 grams Gluten free Speculoos cookies (or ginger snaps, with to without gluten) crushed
2 tbsps sugar
6 tbsps melted butter

For the cheesecake:

200 grams cream cheese (one package)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

For the top:

3/4 cup lemon curd

To make the crust, mix together the crushed cookies, sugar and melted butter. Press them onto your pie plate coating the bottom, and up the sides if necessary. Put it into the fridge.

To make the cheesecake, whip up the cream until you have soft peaks. In a separate bowl, cream together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Fold the heavy cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cookie crust and put in the fridge for an hour.

Spread the lemon curd over the cream cheese layer and put in the fridge for at least an hour, or until ready to serve.

Olive Oil Banana Bread

I had always wanted to try baking with olive oil, but was always worried that whatever I had made would end up tasting like olives. A taste that I actually really like, but not in a cake.

So, last week, when I invited a friend over for that afternoon, I got my chance to bake with olive oil. You see, I had no butter in the fridge and three very ripe bananas that needed to be used.

I made this recipe, it made the softest banana bread I’ve ever eaten. The recipe also has very little sugar in it. I mixed the whole thing together in my food processor, and was very happy with how this turned out.

Olive Oil Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed, ripe bananas
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180C and grease a loaf pan.
One by one put all your ingredients into a food processor blending in between each addition.
Pour into your prepared loaf pan.
Bake until golden and a tooth pick comes out clean (about 50 minutes).

Pear Spice Cake

Diets. I hate trying to diet when I am not working outside of the house. When I am home all day, it seems like every time I walk into the kitchen, I want to eat something. Let me tell you, I’m not hungry, I just want delicious tastes.
I’m actually not on a diet (don’t worry mom!), but I did have a baby two months ago. And although I am back into all my old clothes, I need to be eating healthier.
The problem is two fold, one I had gestational diabetes and was on such a strict diet during my pregnancy that now I am going crazy with the sweets. But according to the doctor, I should still be eating carefully. This is not helped by my second problem, breast feeding.
I love breast feeding, but it makes me crave a ridiculous amount of sweet stuff. When I was breast feeding Alara, I was eating a chocolate bar a day. However, I was working in a school and much more active than I am now.
Until last week, my dad was here with me, and he didn’t help with my sweet cravings (I’m not blaming, simple stating a fact). Every day we would have a ‘treat’ from the local bakery. My treat of choice, a chocolate croissant with chocolate ganache on top and cream inside, heaven!
Now that my dad has gone home, and Alara is back to school, I’ve decided that this week is when I will start to get my healthy on. So far it is going…
Well, this is what I’ve decided, I can still have sweet treats, but the have to be something that I’ve made, or small pieces of dark chocolate. It’ll work right?
Anyway, yesterday my good friend invited me to her place for lunch. I knew that she is also trying to get healthy, but loves a good sweet treat herself. So I decided to make this cake. It’s not too sweet, but still satisfies that craving. Plus, it’s got fruit in it!
I only made a small batch, half is this recipe, just enough to make four little loaves. This way there wouldn’t be a lot left over. It satisfied our sweet tooth, and didn’t leave us feeling too guilty.
It worked, I only ate the cake yesterday, but I just left the kitchen wondering what I should make today.
Pear Spice Cake
adapted from Joy the Baker
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons speculoos mix (similar to all spice)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups buttermilk
3 pears, peeled, cored and diced into roughly 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 to 1 1/4 cups of fruit)
Make cake:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour bundt pan. (I used little loaf pans)
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat together butter, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, add in the eggs, one at a time. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches, mixing well after each addition.
Spoon batter into loaf pans and bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely.

Gluten Free Earl Grey Chocolate Cake

Winter in Belgium this year has involved a lot of cold days, no snow, only a bit of rain, but generally cold. Well cold for Belgium, my Canadian family would not be impressed by what I am calling cold these days.

It is cold enough to want to come into the house, get under a blanket and curl up with a hot mug of tea, or in my dad’s case, coffee.

I love tea, especially Earl Grey. I love chocolate (I’m very lucky to be living in Belgium). I love cake (don’t trust anyone who doesn’t). So when I saw this recipe come along on one of my new favorite blogs ( I knew I had to make it.

The combination of chocolate and Earl Grey tea is one that I fell in love with last year while I was in a chocolate shop in Brugge, Belgium. I had never tried a tea paired with chocolate and instantly fell in love.

The unfortunate thing is that after, I couldn’t find it anywhere else. Then I had the gestational diabetes, and I wasn’t looking for it. I thought it was a distant memory, a taste never to be enjoyed again.

Then last week I was out for Valentine’s day lunch with Seyfi, at our favorite salad restaurant, Boule de bleu in Mons, when with my coffee, comes a little piece of Earl Grey chocolate.

The taste was back!

A day or two later, this recipe was out, and I made it instantly. It was delicious. I can now make the flavour combination in my own kitchen.

I’ve made this recipe twice now, the first time using normal flour. I just wanted to see how it would taste. I was so good, that I ate all of it, (ok, probably 3/4, and it was over three days…) I also wasn’t sure if Seyfi would like the idea of tea in a cake. But after he saw me enjoying it, he wanted me to make him some too.

All I did to make this recipe gluten free, was change out the flours. I also made it in little loaf pans. Delicious!

This cake is super moist, I would recommend using the darkest chocolate you can find.

Here is Shutterbean’s recipe (and link) with the adjustment for gluten free.

Earl Grey Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free)

6 Earl Grey tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
4 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 350° F.

Coat an 8-cup fluted tube pan (that’s a bundt, right?) with cooking spray. (I used little loaf pans)

Brew the tea in the water 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags or strain the leaves and set the brewed tea aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter, eggs, and granulated sugar until fluffy. Blend in the chocolate. Beat in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, yogurt, and brewed tea. Pour into pan.

Bake 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.

Turn out of pan and cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.