my blueberry birthday

blueberry birthday cake with a light cream cheese filling

This is my birthday cake.

I am absolutely, 100%, not ashamed to say that I baked my very own cake.

Mel’s been making fun of me since last week. He keeps telling me that a person absolutely should not be making their own cake. He might be right.

I on the other hand absolutely insist that it’s not a birthday unless there is cake. Which presents me with a problem. There are no gluten-free bakeries on the island, & other peoples ovens make me nervous. I want a reaction-free cake. Then there’s the problem that Mel’s no baker. Which leaves me with my one & only options of….. You guessed it… ME!

I had wanted a cherry & amaretto cake since I’m absolutely addicted to the combination at the moment…. but I’m a moron & forgot that cherries were out of season. Didn’t want chocolate. I feel like all I ever do it use chocolate. Carrot cake I’ve made countless times. So, what else? Banana? No, Eirini doesn’t like banana. Vanilla? Too boring. Fruity. But not peach.

Lucky for me, I love the colour purple & always have blueberries in my freezer. Problem solved. Blueberry cake for Lauren.

Don’t make fun. I put my age on it too. Yeah, I’m a bit of a strange one. Enjoy the recipe!!!

As for me, I special ordered the harvest moon tonight & it should be arriving here in an hour. How’s that for a birthday present!

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new & improved carrot cake

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-free

I used to have a carrot cake recipe that I would use to woo people with. It was delicious & perfect, and completely stolen from Ottolenghi…. Yes, I confessed to this a few years ago in this post.

If it had been up to me, I would have gone on for another decade using the same tried & tested recipe. Not everything in this life is within my control, however.

You know how they say that good things come from bad situations? I’d like to think my new recipe is one of those good things.

I had a failed attempt where I’d simply tried to convert the old Ottolenghi recipe to gluten-free… my cake literally fell apart. Pieces. There were pieces of cake just sliding off & landing in a pile of crumbs. Disaster doesn’t even begin to cut it. Once I scrapped the conversion of his recipe & decided to start afresh with my own, things started to come together nicely.

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-freePleased doesn’t even begin to explain just how thrilled I am with the results. So that’s the moral of this little story… a change in circumstance led me to write my very own carrot cake recipe & branch away from the theft of someone else’s. I guess I became a better person for it.

Make it. Love it. Thank me later.

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strawberry mint macarons

strawberry mint macarons

So far, all the people that I’ve become acquainted with on the island have all been “temporary” friends. I’m not saying this in any way to suggest that I’d like to terminate the friendship or I don’t foresee is lasting, it’s more a testament to the fact that all of them are only on the island for a very limited amount of time before they head to their new (or old) destinations.

Lucky for me though, I was introduced to a girl who wandered over this way to attend university on the island a few some years ago… and just never left! She’s here by choice because she loves it!

Nice fit huh?

Not only that, but she’s into baking. AAAAaaaaaand…. the first time I tried making macarons, it just so happened she was tucked away in her kitchen giving them a whirl for the first time too!

Talk about coincidences.

Looks like I’ve made myself a new friend.

Wait! There’s more! My new friend & I had a baking-date yesterday to see if our luck with macarons was luck, or if we’d actually figured out how to make them. We even tried a few techniques & got creative with the flavor choices.

….best macarons I’ve made so far. Maybe it’s because two heads are better than one & there was a talented woman standing next to me who had just as much enthusiasm for the small, Italian cookies as I did.

Any way, between us we came up with the wonderful combination of flavoring our macarons with strawberries & mint… & they were the chewiest, most delicious little treats. She sent me home with well over half & I’m a little ashamed to say that Mel & I have already polished off the lot.

There you have it. Friends = successful baking. All is right in the world

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blueberry cheesecake tartlets

mini gluten-free blueberry cheesecakes

At some point at about 04:00am last night when I was laying in bed wide awake, I started wondering what on earth I could bake using the ingredients I had in my house.

It’s not that I’m against buy other ingredients, it’s just, well, grocery stores are shut on Sundays & there’s been a strike on the boats since Wednesday so even if the grocery store was open, chances of it being stocked with everything are slim to none. Joy of joys.

I remembered I had some leftover pastry dough in the freezer from an attempt with some blood oranges a week ago… & some blueberries stashed somewhere in the back corner. In the fridge there was sour cream, cream cheese & lemons… doing the math it seemed like cheese cake was the only appropriate response.

I’ve done chocolate cheesecakes before, and a brandy pecan cheesecake too. Why not a fruity one this time round? I mean sure, I made them more like mini cheesecake tartlets since I’ve conveniently run out of cupcake wrappers… but I really don’t hear any complaints about my methods.

What the hell, it’s Sunday & I’m going to improvise! Not too shabby for an unplanned bake session.

x

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cream cheese, blackberry & rolled oat muffins

You know those moments where you’re sitting, looking at a recipe & thinking to yourself “my god that’s a lot of butter”.

You sit there scratching your head & wondering about whether or not you should reduce it, replace it with oil, or maybe find some other substitute for it.

Don’t. Just don’t to it.

Instead what you should do is take out a calculator & divide it by the number of portions the recipe says it’s going to make & just plane realize that realistically speaking, when it comes right down to it, it really isn’t all that much.

I tried to do that earlier in the week. I was looking at one of my old recipes thinking about how I could adapt it into something new & gluten-free, maybe even put a healthy spin on it by throwing in some whole oats, so I cut out almost half of the butter & sugar.

Big mistake. I should have taken my own advice.

Actually, I sat there looking at the by product & wondering “what in the world have I done?!”.

I can’t accept failures as failures though. They down-right irritate the living daylights out of me. So I worked myself up into a fluster, went out & topped up on all the ingredients I’d run out of, & today I finally got my butt back in the kitchen to make things right!

Oh, and did I ever make them right!!!! I even threw in some fresh blackberries… mmm mmm mmm.

……all gone! 

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