Posted in Bread, British Cuisine, Cheese, Mediterranean, Quick and Easy, Snacks, Toast, Turkish Cuisine, Vegetarian

Tina’s Pide Toasties

There is nothing like a tasty toastie to fill a rumbling tummy.  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I don’t just love cheese, I ADORE it!  So here is my 3 cheese creation made with pide, which is a kind of flatbread that is very popular here in Turkey.  It can fill one hungry tummy, or be split in half and served with coleslaw or a little salad for two!  You can change the contents and add ham or tomatoes, depending on your preferences.  Enjoy!


2 pieces of Pide bread (Flat bread)

A large spoon of soft cheese (Labne / Philadelphia)

A couple of slices of Goat’s cheese

A large handful of grated cheese (Cheddar or Kaşar)

A few slices of onion

A few slices of green pepper

Salt, Pepper, Oregano and some chilli flakes (for seasoning)


Firstly switch the toasting machine on to heat up.

Lay a piece of Pide, bottom side facing up, on the chopping board (or a plate) and spread the soft cheese on it.

Next, crumble the white Goat’s cheese over the top.

Now sprinkle the grated cheese over this.

Place the sliced onions and peppers on top, season, then place the second piece of Pide, bottom side down on the top.

Press down on it to flatten a little, then place in the toasting machine.  I usually brush a little olive oil on the outside of the toast to make it crispy.

Once cooked, serve on its own or with a side of coleslaw or salad.




Posted in bake, Bread, British Cuisine, Oven, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Snacks

White Bread Loaf

Who doesn’t like a slice of deliciously home made bread with their meal. After all you can eat it with almost anything.  Whether it is to accompany a cheese plate, dip into a curry or to make a simple sandwich.  This is such a quick and easy recipe, and pretty cheap to make which is good news for me with the steady increase on the cost of bread here.


Dry ingredients

400 g white flour

1 tsp salt

7 g packet dried yeast

Wet ingredients

284 ml buttermilk (normal milk with squeeze of lemon juice)

2 eggs

2 tbsps olive oil


Grease your loaf tin(s).  This recipe makes one large loaf (tin size 900 g) or two small loaves (tin size 450 g).  The above photo is a small loaf tin.

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a different bowl.

Now slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a sticky dough.  You will need to add more flour to form a ball (as it will be quite sticky to begin with) then turn out onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough (adding more flour as necessary) to release the air.

If making small loaves, split the dough into two halves.  Form the dough into a sausage shape then place into the tin(s).

Place a piece of oiled cling film loosely over the top of the tin and leave it some where warm for about an hour to allow it to rise.

Preheat the oven to 190 c (Gas mark 4) about half an hour before you want to bake it.

Remove the cling film and place in the oven.  Bake it until golden and well risen (approx 45 – 55 mins depending on size of tins used).  You can test if the inside has cooked by slipping a sharp clean knife into the centre. If it comes out clean it is ready.

Remove from tin(s) onto a cooling rack and wait 10-15 minutes for it to cool before slicing.


Posted in Biscuits & Cookies, British Cuisine, Cakes, Cheese, Chocolate, Mediterranean, Oven, Uncategorized

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

slice cheesecake

Living in Bodrum, a once small Aegean town in Turkey, which is growing rapidly each year, you cannot miss the abundance of orange and mandarin trees.  With not only the Christmas season upon us, but with it being the season to harvest all those sweet fruits, I thought it would be the perfect time to make a chocolate orange cheesecake, to remind me of my favourite Christmas treat, Terry’s Chocolate Orange which I can’t get here.

The recipe is quite simple to follow so you do not need to be a master chef to bake this cake.



250 g digestive biscuits

100 g melted butter


200 g labne (mascarpone)

200 g soft white cheese (Philadelphia)

200 g suzme peynir (a type of soft white cheese in Turkey)

150 g thick cream

3 whole eggs and 1 yolk

75 g sugar

3-4 tablespoons orange flavouring

Zest of one large orange

100 g chocolate chips


200 ml bitter chocolate

300 ml thick whipping cream

2 tsps sugar

2-3 tblsps orange flavouring

Sliced baby oranges and a star anise for decoration


First of all prepare your baking tray.  Line a spring release cake tin (approx. 20 cm) with baking paper.  Cover the underneath with aluminium foil to seal it.  If you have a release tin with a lipped tray that holds the water you don’t need to use the foil or submerge in another dish of water.

For the base

Break the biscuits in a bag, then using a rolling pin roll over them until finely crushed. Alternatively you can use a blender.

Mix into the melted butter and mix well until all combined.

Place into the cake tin and spread out pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon.  If you have too many you can press against the sides too.  (This may be the case if your tin is a little smaller) Place the cake tin in the refrigerator to chill for around 30 minutes.

Now pre-heat your oven to 180°c.

For the filling

Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk.  Then add the sugar and the cream and whisk together.

Place the labne (mascarpone), soft white cheese (Philadelphia) and the suzme peynir (a type of soft white cheese in Turkey) into a separate bowl and mash together until smooth.

Now add this to the first bowl containing the eggs, cream and sugar along with the orange zest and then add the orange flavouring and whisk together until smooth.  Finally, add the chocolate chips and stir gently to spread evenly.

Pour onto the cheesecake base and level out with the back of a spoon.  Make sure to get into the corners if not a round tin. Place the tin into another larger bowl or tray with water about one third of the way up the sides in order to stop the cake from cracking.

Place in the oven for 55-60 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool then cover with stretch film and place in the fridge over night for best results.


Break the bitter chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream until it almost comes to a boil.  Pour the hot cream over the broken chocolate and stir continuously until all the chocolate has dissolved and you have a smooth chocolate topping.  Add the orange flavouring and decorate with the sliced oranges and star anise.



Posted in British Cuisine, Cakes, Chocolate, Halloween

Double Chocolate and Banana Devil’s Cake (with chocolate ganache)


With Halloween fast approaching, there is nothing better to appease that devil inside than a good old chocolate cake.  As I happen to be surrounded by banana trees in this beautiful place I live in the south of Turkey, I thought why not chuck a few of those delicious bananas in too.  Top it off with some chocolate ganache and there you go, one devilishly delicious cake!!

Ingredients (for the cake)

175 g sugar

175 g flour

1 sachet bicarbonate soda (5 ml)

1 sachet baking powder (5 ml)

4 tbsps cocoa powder

100 ml sunflower oil

175 g very ripe bananas (mashed-blacker the better)

3 eggs (1 whole and 2 with yolks and whites seperated)

50 ml milk

100 g chocolate chips

Ingredients (for the ganache)

100-150 ml double cream

A large handful of chocolate chips or bitter chocolate broken into small pieces

2 tbsps desiccated coconut (optional)


Pre-grease and line a cake loaf tin with greaseproof paper or liner.  Preheat oven to 160°c.

You will need 2 bowls. In the first bowl place the sugar, flour, bicarbonate soda, baking powder and cocoa powder. Gently stir to combine.

In the second bowl pour the oil, mashed bananas, the whole egg plus the 2 yolks and the milk. Stir well.

Add to the dry ingredients in the first bowl and combine until evenly mixed.  Add about half of the egg whites and mix well.  Now add the rest of the egg white and the chocolate chips and fold in gently.

Pour into the loaf tin, and bake at 160°c for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.  Allow to cool in the tin for about 15 – 20 minutes then remove from tin and place on a cooling rack until cold.

To make the ganache, warm the cream over a very low heat and add the chocolate chips stirring continuously until thickened and all chocolate has melted.  You can add more or less cream/chocolate chips as you prefer.  Add the desiccated coconut (if using) and stir to combine.  This also helps it thicken.

Pour over your cake allowing it to drip over the sides.  Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the ganache to harden.  It is now ready to serve.


Sprinkle with desiccated coconut or crushed almonds (or both) to decorate (before refrigerating).  Goes well with cream or ice cream.

Posted in American Cuisine, Barbecue, Beef Dishes, British Cuisine, Casseroles, Greek, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Turkish Cuisine

Basic Meatball / Burger Mixture


This is a basic recipe that can be used to make all kinds of meatballs or burgers.  In Turkey we like our Köfte, which are meatballs flattened into small discs.  In Italian and Indian cooking I tend to roll the meatballs into small balls.  You can even put small cubes of cheese in the middle of the balls which are especially nice when cooked in a tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. This is my husband’s recipe which he learned from his mother.


500 g minced beef

1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (if using freshly ground – only use half a cup if using fine breadcrumbs bought in the shop or it will be too dry)

1 egg

1 onion (finely grated)

1 tsp cumin

A pinch of thyme

Salt & pepper

A pinch of hot chilli flakes (optional)


Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hand.  Knead it for a good few minutes then form into a ball.

Now you can pull off small amounts to form into meatballs which you can freeze for later or cook straight away.  You can also divide up larger amounts to make burgers too.

Posted in American Cuisine, British Cuisine, Cheese, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Snacks

Cheesy onion rings in breadcrumbs

What could be better than an onion ring? A cheesy onion ring!! I found this recipe on the Tasty app, and it was just as easy as they said.  The only tricky part was placing the cheese between the onion rings.  Also a good piece of advice is to have the window wide open if possible due to the fumes from the onion burning your eyes. Very quick to make but bear in mind there is an hour of freezing time involved, so better to prep in advance.


Medium to large sized onions (thickly sliced)

Slices of cheese


1-2 eggs (beaten)


Oil (for frying)

**Measurements are not given as you will use as much as you need depending on how many you are making.


First of all, you need to sort your sliced onions so that you have one ring that will fit inside another with a clear gap between them.

Now you need to cut your sliced cheese so that it fits between the two rings of onion.


Next you need to place on a tray covered in baking paper and freeze for about an hour.

While you are waiting, set out a bowl of flour, a bowl with the beaten eggs and a bowl of breadcrumbs.

Once removed from the freezer, coat the ring first in flour, then in egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs.


To cook, heat a pan of deep oil (I use vegetable or sunflower oil) over a high heat. Carefully place the rings into the oil using a slotted spoon.


Allow to fry for a few minutes or until golden then remove onto some grease-proof paper.

Serve hot.



Posted in American Cuisine, British Cuisine, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Mediterranean, Mexican, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Stir fry, Vegetarian

Perfect Rice


Cooking rice can be rather hit or miss.  Either it can be bland, or puffy and over cooked, it isn’t as easy as you think.  But now I have a fool-proof recipe.  This recipe is based on 2 people so double amounts accordingly.


1 cup of rice (I use Jasmine)

2 cups of water

a pinch of salt

1 stock cube (chicken, meat or vegetable)

1 tbsp olive oil


Put the olive oil, rice and salt in a flat bottom pan (as in the photo) and fry over a medium heat on the hob for about a minute stirring continuously.

Add the water and stir.

Cover pan with a lid and simmer over a low heat until all the water has evaporated (approx 20-25 minutes).

Serve hot.

**You can also add grated ginger or turmeric powder for added flavours.  Ginger goes nice with Chinese dishes, and the turmeric for Indian.

Left over rice can be chilled in the fridge over night and is then perfect for fried rice dishes.