Author Archives: ulya

Gnocchi with Simple Tomato Sauce

I can’t believe this is the first post of 2012! After baking everyday for the last ten days of 2011, I promised myself not to bake for a long time. And so I did what I promised. What’s more, I took a bold decision last month, and cut my processed sugar intake. This was probably the best decision I’ve made in a long time.; because processed sugar is like drugs, the more you consume, the more you want to consume. I was constantly thinking about the chocolate box in the office, and I just couldn’t stop when I ate them.

I didn’t really have a problem with maintaining my weight, but my body fat was a little high for my weight. And I realized that it was not because I was consuming too much fat, but because I was consuming too much sugar. So, I decided to cut the unhealthy carbs out.

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Apple Strudel (NYDC Day#11)

So, this is the last day of the challenge.. I’ve been baking and blogging continuously (except for one rest day) for 11 days and even if I’m terribly exhausted, I’m so glad I made this challenge. After cutting cookies for hours yesterday, I decided to make something easy but delicious today: Apple Strudel. First, I was going to use the book my aunt brought me from Austria, but then I decided to use a recipe from mom’s recipe notebook she prepared years ago. I didn’t make my own Strudel dough, and bought some fresh phyllo dough from a phyllo shop (yes, there is such thing in Turkey).

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Gingerbread Cookies and Epic Icing Fail (NYDC Day#10)

What happened to NYDC Day#9? To be honest, I wrapped presents all night, and since one day is only 24 hours, I couldn’t make anything else. I know, I broke the laws of the challenge. But since it is my challenge, I can make my own laws and I decided to rest one day, just as in running.

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Chocolate Peppermint Cream Puffs (NYDC Day#8)

Remember the pate a choux I’ve frozen last Saturday? Well, I used it today! My first intention was to make Napoleons using this quick puff pastry recipe that I have been wanting to try for a while. But, since there is not a habit of labeling the flours in our house, I accidentally used a low gluten, whole-wheat flour, and the puff pastry didn’t puff. And I had already prepared pastry cream to make Napoleons. So, I used my frozen pate a choux and made cream puffs!

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Spice Butter Cookies with Mulberry Molasses (NYDC Day#7)

A couple of years ago, I had a chance to taste the best butter cookies in a hotel lobby. They were thin like leaves, and so crispy, buttery and spicy. After that, I tried to replicate those cookies, but I never really managed. This is by far the closest taste I could get.

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Cinnamon Roll Banana Pancakes (NYDC Day#6)

Today, I decided to relax and make something easy, after waiting in front of the oven anxiously for pate a choux to rise all day on Saturday. So, I made cinnamon roll pancakes that I saw on Pinterest, although I made up my own cinnamon filling recipe. Tomorrow, there will a more exciting post, I promise!

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Ginger Choux Puffs with Lemon Curd (NYDC Day#5)

Yesterday, I didn’t create any recipe, but combined two recipes and came up with something I wanted to make for ages: Lemon Choux Puffs!! Do you know my favorite dessert as a child? Chocolate profiteroles of course! That’s why I always love food made with pate a choux. And I decided so many recipes. This is yet another recipe from one of the blogs I like to follow. But instead of filling the puffs with pastry cream, I tried something different and made lemon curd instead. I came by this recipe in Claire Robinson’s show (I love that she uses only five ingredients in her recipes!). But the pate a choux recipe yields 40 puffs, and my lemon curd wasn’t enough for all of them. So, I refrigerated half of my pate a choux to use later. However, I now think that I may have increased the lemon curd amount by adding some whipped cream. You can try it that way. Next time, I’ll try it that way.

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Lemon Coconut Cornmeal Cake (NYDC Day#4)

This is the best cake I’ve made for a while! Seriously! And it is not even that impromptu! I planned it the day before, and except for the unsuccessful glaze, which was an epic fail and was overly sweet. This cake is so amazing itself that it does not need any glaze or topping. So, I’m not going to talk much today, but I advise you to get some non-GMO cornmeal, make your own shredded coconuts and try out this recipe immediately! Then, if you are sure not to fail like me, you can put some lemon whipped cream or lemon glaze on top.

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Cezerye Truffles (NYDC Day#3)

I know that making cezerye does not involve baking, so it doesn’t count as a part of the Baking Challenge. Therefore, I decided to change the name of my challenge to New Year Dessert Challenge (NYDC), which means I can make more truffles (especially chocolate truffles!) in the following days too.

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Pear Apple Cake with Mixed Flours (NYBC Day#2)

I love grained photos in winter!

Today, I have a very interesting and very impromptu recipe to share. So, I knew I had to bake something, so I looked at the fruit bowl and saw that we have some tangerines, apples, pears, a quince and some oranges. I decided to make apple and pear cake by using my beloved Carrot Cake recipe as the base. And since I came by this deliciousness today, I decided to lay some pears on the bottom of the cake mold.

Then, I decided to double my carrot cake recipe, since I know that it doesn’t yield much. But, doubling came with pain..

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New Year Baking Challenge Day#1: Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Challenge time!! Starting from today, I will be baking everyday until December 30th. Throughout this challenge, I’ll use my old recipes as well as some new ones. So, let’s get started. First day: the best chocolate-chip cookies!! (Standard recipe: here, healthier version: here)

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Peach & Berry Crumble

I’ve been meaning to write  this post for a while, but as always, I was busy with other things going on in my life. I made this recipe back in summer for guests, and they were very pleased. Little they knew is that crumble is so easy to make, and also healthier than any other possible dessert choice (Remember, I live in Turkey, country of baklava, so we could have served them those too!). I took this recipe from one of my favorite books, Cooking Light Way to Cook. What I love about this book is that recipes are easy and quick to make. I love reading complicated recipes, but when it comes to cooking, I can sometimes become the world’s laziest person. So this book is great for me. I changed the recipe and replaced sugar with honey, as usual. Honey brings more flavor to this recipe, therefore it is really not necessary to use sugar, when there is a healthier alternative to it. So, go ahead and make crumble today! Possibilities are really endless with this recipe. For this season, apple & cinnamon, pumpkin & raisins, or quince & walnut can be just a few flavor combinations to use in your crumble! Enjoy!

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Chocolate-Covered Chickpeas? (KI Turns 2)

About a month ago, Kitchen Impromptu turned 2! Over the course of these years, I managed to publish 61 posts (62, with this post) even though nobody read my blog. At first, it didn’t really matter to me, because I was just writing for pleasure. But during my busy times, I was not really motivated to write. I know I decided to focus on my blog so many times before, but this time, it will be different. Promise.

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PHBC Day#5: Going Simple

 Today, I decided to give up having sweet things for breakfast for a while. Why? Because I gained some weight. Why? Because apparently, the sweet breakfasts increase my blood sugar level (and don’t keep me full until lunch), and since I basically eat vegetables, fruits and yogurt during the day, my sugar level drops. And when the dinner time comes, I am so hungry that I binge on everything I can find. So, I’m going to try for savory breakfast options for a while. And guess what, it worked well this morning!

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PHBC Day#4: The “Buddink” with Mulberry Molasses (Pekmez)

Sorry for the late post. So, what is “Buddink”? It is my favorite indulgence for the past couple of months, and it is basically pudding, but not just your average one.

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PHBC Day#3: Oatmeal

Although I’m not an oatmeal-for-breakfast person, I try to eat oatmeal regularly, because it’s healthy for you. It’s high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Besides, it’s low in fat, so you can add in as much healthy fats as you want (in my case, mostly peanut butter). But, as I said, I’m not a fan. I find it somehow disturbing to eat because of its slimy texture when cooked. So to make the oatmeal more interesting and healthier, I do the following..

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PHBC Day#2: Granola

PHBC Day 2! Today was the granola day. I simply mixed 3 tablespoons of granola with some milk and called it breakfast.

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PHBC Day#1: Overnight Chocolate Pancakes with PB&J

Did you know that when I was a child, I didn’t like to have breakfast? I used to only drink a glass of milk in mornings, and then crave for the entire day. Then when I was a freshman in university, I used to eat fatty pastries every morning with a big cup of sugared tea. Yuck!

But now, I’m older and I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and not only it keeps you full for hours, it is also helps you maintain your healthy weight. I can easily say that when I don’t have breakfast, I tend to binge on any food I can find that day.

So, breakfast is good for us and we have to have it everyday. But it’s not easy huh? For some people, having a breakfast early is not tempting. My sister, for example, cannot have breakfast very early. That is of course not true for me. But I have another problem. Since I like to sleep, and am therefore usually rushing for work in the mornings, I definitely don’t have time to have a decent breakfast. Fortunately, these two breakfast preventive situations have one single solution: “pre-made breakfast”.

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Mini Veggie Burgers All the Way

Long time no see, as usual. I’m guilty. I didn’t have time for Kitchen Impromptu, and I didn’t care because I wasn’t in my writing mood after all. Yet, I think that’s OK because 1) I’m not a full-time blogger, 2) I don’t have to write in predetermined frequencies and 3) I don’t believe in forced blogging, because I do it for fun. But I really like to talk, so  for me, blogging is simply not talking out loud, but talking to my keyboard. That’s how I managed to write 30+ posts over the past 1.5 years. But let’s face the facts: keyboards aren’t human, and since I don’t have thousands of readers who leave 200 comments per post, I don’t feel the pressure to write. Is it good to be by yourself, being free to write anything anytime, or is it good to have thousands of readers and feeling pressure? I can discuss this for hours and come up with no solution..

No, we are off-topic right now. Today I want to talk about my latest obsession: mini veggie burgers, or MVBs. Now, I have to indicate that I’m a burger lover,  I like to look at AHT during my office breaks, which makes me think about burgers everyday. So I get burger cravings very often. However, eating blobs of animal fat doesn’t always seem appealing all the time. Veggie burgers rescue me in those times. They are little, heavenly patties made of chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils or more. Moreover, veggie burger has a very simple base recipe, which leads to millions of variations.

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Engagement Food and New Blog

I haven’t been around here for quite a long time.. I wasn’t that busy to write anything, though. I just couldn’t decide about the blog’s future. As I wrote before, I was thinking about opening a Turkish food blog with an emphasis on healthy eating, but couldn’t find a proper name for the blog (or couldn’t find any empty domains for candidate names). Then, after waiting endlessly for an idea to pop into my mind in bathroom or before I sleep (where creative ideas usually come to me) I decided to stop trying to be always creative and perfect, and just open the Turkish blog under kitchenimpromptu domain. So, for Turkish readers, my new blog is tr.kitchenimpromptu.com, until I find a better name.

Other than my new blog, a lot of things and a lot of cooking happened in the last couple of weeks. My cousin got engaged, and most of the food served was homemade by us! My contributions were: hummus, spinach strawberry salad, sweet and salty avocado dressing from Choosing Raw (killer!), strawberry lemonade soda adapted from here (also killer!), chocolate barks, homemade bounties, chocolate covered peanut butter and chocolate covered fudge babies. And a cute cheese plate!

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Quince Dessert and Some Blabbering

It’s been a long time.. Sometimes I really don’t feel like posting anything to the blog, although I have a ton of recipes and photos that I took. Actually, I have  never been a good writer, and that makes it sometimes hard to write. But I can proudly say I’m a total blabbermouth, and I always have something to say. In fact, that was one of the reasons I started blogging. I didn’t want to irritate people with my unnecessary talking, and I also wanted to improve my writing. But I have never blabbered in this blog (at least, not too much). I just couldn’t decide if it’s the right place to talk, talk, and talk (or in this case write, write and write). But, hey, blogs are meant to be the places you express yourself, so from now on, I’m going to write about anything that comes to my mind. The problem is, should I open a new blog for that, or should I pollute my food blog with unnecessary talking? I’ve been thinking about that for sometime.

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Fudge Hearts with Leftover Cake

I made Katie’s Fudge Babies a couple of times, and they make an excellent snack. But those babies are packed with a lot of nuts and dates, which is healthy and at the same time, calorie-dense. Since I don’t have the luxury to eat as many babies as I wish (acne + belly), I decided to “lighten” up the recipe a little bit, and used leftover chocolate cake instead of half the amount of walnuts. What I came up has about 25% less calories than original fudge babies, but is as yummy as they are. To make them even more tastier (and to add more calories, unfortunately) I decorated my fudge hearts with some white chocolate, and it was literally heavenly! So, go ahead and use your leftover cake! And be sure to use white chocolate, if you don’t mind extra 10 calories per serving; because it really fires up the taste.

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Best and Healthiest Chocolate-Chip Cookies Ever!

This is it! This is the BEST chocolate-chip cookie recipe ever! And what’s better is that it’s way much healthier than your average chocolate-chip cookie. Impossible? Well, I don’t think so.

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Easy Mushroom Dish

I love mushrooms! But, I wasn’t always a mushroom fan. In fact, when I was a kid, I used to hate mushrooms. Why? I don’t know, because I had never tried them. I just judged the mushrooms by looking at them, and somehow decided that they are ugly and tasteless. I know, I was a strange kid. I didn’t even eat vegetables. I thought they were like “grass”, so I used to eat only meat. How ironic!

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Famous Carrot Cake: Third Version

If you follow this blog, then you probably know about my “famous” carrot cake, my all-time favorite cake! But, the fact is that this cake is not so healthy to eat every time. So, I tried to came up with a healthier one, using honey instead of processed sugar. But the result was not as I wanted to get. The unique taste of my “famous” carrot cake was gone.

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Extremely Chewy Olive Oil Brownies with Whole-Wheat Cereal

Finally, I found my lost brownie recipe! I actually found it by chance in my wallet and I don’t know how it got in there.

Anyway, this recipe is originally from my recent favorite book, and after some modifications, I came up with my own.

WARNING: Don’t be fooled by the photo. These brownies my not look appealing to you, but they are extremely chewy! To make them even more chewy, I used some whole-wheat cereals instead of walnuts. So, if you don’t want to be on the high-chewiness side, just use some walnuts, hazelnuts, or simply nothing.

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Super Easy Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Remember the super easy pumpkin soup I was talking about? Well, here it is! It’s really easy to make, but tastes fantastic, and what’s more fantastic is that this soup requires only five ingredients (excluding salt and water, of course)!

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Pumpkin Feta Muffins & Purple Carrot (or Parsnip?) Muffins

Yesterday night was interesting. After a tiring work day, I went to the groceries and aimlessly wandered around the sections. When I went to the fruits&vegetables section, I randomly chose 3 things: some mushrooms, 4 slices of pumpkin and 2 purple carrots. Why? I don’t have any idea. But I have some guesses:

  • I bought mushrooms because I haven’t eaten them for a while.
  • I bought pumpkin because I saw a pumpkin bread recipe today in a blog, and I had been thinking about it since then.
  • I bought purple carrots because I had never seen them before, and they looked interesting to me. Are they carrots at all? They are probably parsnips, but I can’t really tell the difference between them. If you have any ideas, please enlighten me! Google doesn’t give any results for neither purple carrot nor purple parsnip.

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Homemade Butter & Popcorn

Oh, I’ve been so busy with everything that I couldn’t enter one post. Actually, I was going to post a brownie recipe, but I lost it! I have the photos, but I cannot find my recipe! Ha!

But, there was one thing that doesn’t have a recipe, and that is homemade butter! It’s nothing like those smell-less and taste-less things you buy from the groceries. It’s real butter and super easy to make.

You have three options to make butter. First two are the best ways, but they take longer time. So, there’s a third way for the lazy ones;)

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Dark Hummus

I love chickpeas. Have I told you that before? I guess so, probably about hundred times.. Anyway, I bought some dark baby chickpeas, also known as “desi chickpeas” or “kala chana”. They are quite smaller than regular chickpeas, and they look like little chocolate drops when boiled. Wikipedia says they are higher in fiber and they have a very low glycemic index. So they are good for you!

Instead of cooking these chickpeas plainly, I decided to make the best chickpea product and one of my favorite dishes: hummus! I haven’t tasted dark chickpeas before, so I was curious about the results. My mum told me that it might not work, but I didn’t care that much, because chickpeas are chickpeas! They can be light or dark, big or small but they are chickpeas. And I wasn’t wrong!

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Chocolate Gingerbread Tree & Rose Truffles

So, the New Year has come, which means it’s Gingerbread Cookie Time! There’s a strange tradition in Turkey. As we’re not Christian, we don’t celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving, but instead we celebrate the New Year’s Eve like it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving. We decorate our houses with Christmas trees, we bake Turkey, and as for me, I bake gingerbread cookies. I try different recipes each year, but until this yesterday, I couldn’t find the perfect one.

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Cuba

Hola! Where have I been this whole time? I was in Cuba people, in Cuba!! I had the time of my life there, met nice people, ate nice food (OK, some of them weren’t so nice), and listened to nice music. In fact, I was so pleased with this “happy country” that after two days, I started to make plans about moving there. Seriously.

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Kitchen Impromptu Turns 1.08 – Carrot Muffins

Yeah, ı was supposed to celebrate my first year with carrot muffins but I was late, I had tons to do. So these are the late celebration (1 year 1 month=1.08 years) muffins that I decorated with whipped cream and cinnamon carrots & “1″s. Just enjoy the photos…

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Kitchen Impromptu Turns 1 & A Quick Vegetable Pot Recipe

Last Monday, Kitchen Impromptu turned one, which means I’ve been blogging for one year. Unbelievable! I was planning to celebrate my blog’s birthday with a fancy cake that writes “1” on it. But no, I didn’t have time for that.  Besides, it may seem funny to you to celebrate the blog’s birthday like it’s a hugely-read blog, since only like ten people follow the blog, and all of them are the friends & family. But, I don’t really care how many people read it. I write it for myself, and I feel good to share my recipes, even if nobody cares. And yes, I’ll still make some carrot cupcakes with “1” decorations, don’t worry. I started the blog with my famous carrot cake, and I’ll celebrate its first year with some more carrot cakes.

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Sweet Potato Meal

I’ve never seen sweet potatoes in Turkey. Although potato is something widely consumed here, we only know the yellow ones. There are small and large varieties here, but always yellow, as far as I saw. Therefore, when I saw the sweet potato recipes in blogs (sweet potato soup, fried sweet potatoes, sweet potato pie, etc.), I could only imagine how they taste like. I was guessing it tastes like something between yellow potato and pumpkins. I wasn’t wrong, though. Last week, mum bought me one large sweet potato from the grocery store, which was, and therefore expensive.  After seeing that, I wondered why they’re not grown in Turkey, is there something about the weather conditions or the soil type, but they didn’t make sense at all, because we have yellow potatoes, and Turkey has some very productive lands and has many types of plants. So, I made some research, and I found that sweet potatoes originated from South America, and somehow never managed to come here. But, in Southern Turkey, they have started to grow sweet potatoes. So, we’re planning to buy some seeds and plant them in fall (that’s when they’re grown).

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Apple Birthday Cake With Homemade Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Another week has ended, so has my sister’s birthday celebration. She’s been suffering from gastritis recently, so she cannot eat chocolate, spices and a lot more things. I also had gastritis two years ago, so I can understand how she feels, and I decided to bake her a birthday cake, which is almost guilt-free for her. It’s an apple cake with some nice homemade whipped cream. I said it’s almost guilt-free, because I added some cinnamon to the cake (honestly, I cannot think of an apple cake without cinnamon!).

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My Birthday Cake with Coconut Butter and Pineapple

I love autumn. I love it because me, my sister and my three cousins’ birthdays are in this season, so there are lots of celebrations to make. The first one to celebrate is my birthday, and it was on the last Saturday.

As usual, I wanted to make my own birthday cake. This time, I was hoping to make something that does not only taste good, but also looks good. Well, it was not a disaster, but you know I don’t have the ability to make cakes that look storebought.

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Experimenting with Rice Flour

Rice Flour PuddingSorry, that would not be the nicest thing to say starting the post, but my intestines are very active. It has always been like that. Although it’s not a big problem for me (actually it’s a good thing, isn’t it?), my mum and my yoga instructor told me that I may have celiac desease, in other words, I may be gluten-intolerant. To be sure about this, I’m going to buy a DIY celiac test. In fact, I don’t think I have it, because I rarely get sick because of my intestines, but I have to make sure about it. You know, if I don’t do the test, I will always be “What if I have it?”.

Few weeks ago, when I was on my regular grocery shopping ritual, I bought some rice flour. I have never experimented with this flour, and thought it would be nice to use it somewhere, and if I am gluten-intolerant, it would be nice to experiment it before. Here are the two recipes that use rice flour. The first one is “banana cocoa rice flour pudding”, and the other one is an unbelievably tasty impromptu dessert that I want to talk about. I call it simply rice pudding cake, but there’s more than that.

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Goat Cheese Potato Breakfast Muffins

Ok, so I was wrong about nut butters. In fact, it was a big mistake to eat nut buttered breads every morning. Result? Pimples on my face! I think my face couldn’t tolerate such amount of nut butter. I don’t know, I gave up eating them for now.

But now I have a new candidate! These breakfast muffins are nutritive yet not so fatty as nut butters. My mom really love them, so do I, which is an unusual thing because I normally don’t like savory muffins that much, but they have potatoes and goat cheese in them, and I’m a huge potato lover- who doesn’t like potatoes anyway? So, here’s my updated breakfast. Enjoy!

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Nut Butters

My homemade nutella was so successful that I ate some with a slice of whole wheat bread every morning. Yeah, every single morning! And now that I hit the bottom of the jar, I made some more. But this time, not just hazelnut butter. I’ve made 4 different nut butters, following the same process.

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Chickpea Madness: Leblebi and Chickpea Burgers

I’m recently obsessed with chickpeas. I always find myself eating something that is made of chickpeas. One example is hummus. The other one is leblebi. And now I have my own homemade leblebi, which was easier to make than I expected.

Leblebi is a Turkish snack, and it’s simply roasted chickpeas. It’s traditionally made by roasting the chickpeas two or three times and resting it after each time for days, which is a complicated process, so you basically buy it from your grocery. But there are two easy ways to make it in your home: using the oven or using the pan. I tried the latter one. I boiled some chickpeas, and I put them in a pan with oil, sea salt and black pepper. Than I sauteed them for about an hour in low heat, and I got some crispy leblebi, which are different from the storebought ones, since they are roasted in special ovens. But if you want to have your leblebi that taste closer to storebought ones, you can roast them in your oven for an hour.

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Homemade Nutella

I’m still trying to adapt my new life. In case you don’t know, I have recently graduated and started to work, which primarily means waking up early to me. What I do in the mornings is basically waking up at the latest time possible, and trying not to be late. It means also that I generally sacrifice my breakfasts in order to sleep five more minutes. In such cases, when I was late for school, I used to eat whole grain cereals with oatmeal and low-fat milk. But it’s always nice to invent new things, since I don’t like to eat the same thing every morning. One solution I found was the oatmeal energy bars. And this is the second solution. Homemade Nutella! Well, I have to warn you, it of course does not taste like original creamy yummy Nutella, but if you’re like me and do not want to always eat full-of-additive food, then this is the simplest and the most delicious solution. Yes, I told that it does not taste like Nutella, but it has a very rich and distinct taste (and of course a very rich hazelnut smell!!).

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Another Semolina Muffin Recipe with Sour Cherries

Well, the actual title of this post should be “Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Honey Semolina Muffins”, which would tell more about the ingredients, but it was so long that I sticked with this one. Since the freezer is full of sour cherries and we can’t eat them raw with sick stomacks (we all have gastritis & reflux in family), it’s better to use them in desserts. This is yet another semolina muffin recipe, if you remember the one with apples. I really like to put semolina in muffins, because semolina gives a nice texture and I think it increases the nice smell I get from the muffins (and I don’t know why).

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Sour Cherry Peach Ice Cream and My New Favorite

(And I said I will try to post twice a week… Well, I’ll try next time…)

The second best thing about summer for me is definitely ice cream (The first one is summer vacations, of course). And when we have a lot of fresh sour cherries the garden, it would be shame not to use them in a recipe. So, I decided to make some ice cream with them. But sour cherries, as you know, are a bit “sour”, and I didn’t want to use a lot of sugar to make them eatable, so instead, adding some peaches not only made me put less sugar in it, but also gave a distinct taste to the ice cream. I also drizzled some homemade sour cherry jam before serving.

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Almond Milk & Mini Fat-Free Donuts

Wow, is that my blog? When’s the last time I posted here??

After my epic macaron fail, I’d been denying to post any recipes and that wasn’t the only reason. I was so busy with my finals (I graduated by the way!) and then my getaway to Bodrum -such a nice vacation!. Then I started to work and I’ve been trying to adapt this crazy lifestyle since then. I wake up at 7 am. YEAH 7!! Now you may say “What’s wrong about 7? We all wake up at 7.” But remember, for the past 4 years, I was a college student, and I was trying to schedule my classes no earlier than 10 am . If I had to take a class at 9:30 am, I was usually skipping it. Well, things have changed. Now I don’t have the excuse to “skip” the work, obviously. So, I wake up at 7, go to work and come back home at 7 pm, which means I have little time to eat my dinner, do some other things and finally cook for the blog. Actually, I don’t have time to cook. Then I decided to plan my days and I think I’ll cook for the blog 2 days a week, because I really want to improve this blog. The thing is, I don’t really plan the recipes (that’s why it is kitchen “impromptu”) and I don’t bother much about the photos. I just take them, without using any setting, which makes the photos, I think, poor. See, I’m quite lazy..

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Epic Macaron Fail: Black Tea (Non)Macarons sans “pied”

This time, I was sure to succeed. I bought Ogita’s book “I Love Macarons”, which is said to be the one of the best guides to make macarons and I really loved it, because it gives you a lot of different macaron options based on a “basic” recipe. It also has some very detailed instructions and I read all of them carefully to finally make some “real” macarons. OK, this is my third trial by now, and I have the worst looking macarons ever! They’re even uglier than the macarons I made by whisking the egg whites using my hand. Yeah, the macarons didn’t crack as the previous ones, but I couldn’t make the foot, or “pied” as the French call it. Ogita says if the batter is too dry, you cannot make the foot; but I don’t even know how I got the batter that dry. I didn’t even whisk the egg whites too much (that can make it dry). And what is worse, according to Ogita, my “things” are not even called macarons because she says: “Without it [pied], the pastry cannot be called a macaron.” So, I just call them macaron-ish-s or (non)macarons! Though these things taste good, in terms of looks the result is a big epic FAIL..

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Baked Zucchini & Eggplants with Mustard Cream

Da-da-da-daaa! Here is a recipe that I made up. I was actually going to bake some vegetables, and decided to make the dish more fun by adding some cream in it. And then I told myself “Why don’t you add a little bit of mustard?”.  And guess what! It was super-delicious and it was really easy to prepare, so I think I’ll put this recipe to “Ulya’s favorites”.

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Sinem’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

I said I won’t be posting dessert recipes for a while, but these cookies changed my mind. Sinem made those for our project visit to Istanbul, and we all enjoyed them during the flight and at the hotel. Normally, I’m not into those buttery chocolate chip cookies, but these were quite yummy that we all got the recipe from her.

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Thick Crust Whole-Wheat Pizza

Woaaa! Long time, no see my dear blog. I don’t know what happened to me, I just want to sleep all the time. I actually made this recipe about a week ago, but I was so lazy to post it. But that’s enough. From now on, I’m focusing on my blog. So, I’ve promised to make some savory recipes, and this is one of them.

For the New Year, I bought myself a lot of cookbooks, and one of them is called “Cooking Light Way to Cook”, and it’s really an interesting one. It’s just the book I’ve ever wanted. All kinds of recipes (from salads to desserts) in a healthier way! And I found the pizza dough recipe from that book.

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Pomegranate Lavender Macarons: with and without KitchenAid

Throughout my 3 years of cooking experience, I didn’t need to use any electrical equipment for mixing, whisking, beating, blending or kneading. Instead, I used my hands and my beater. Actually, if you’re making cakes, muffins or cookies, you don’t really need an electrical mixer. But when it comes to beating egg whites, it ca become a painful job for your hands. And why the egg whites are so important? Because of the macarons of course!! I am quite obsessed with making macarons. Couple of months ago, I had a disappointing macaron trial, and only 5 out of a batch came out clean. Only 5! Why? Because I whisked the egg whites using my hands! And as far as I observed, making perfect macarons moves you to the next level in cooking:) So, I decided to buy a KitchenAid stand mixer, and move to that next level.

I was also hoping that it will help me save a lot of time making cakes and other pastry. But, I was such a fool to assume that KitchenAid will solve all my problems. Well, here’s the result:

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Caramel Chocolates

I swear this is my last chocolate post and I’m not going to make any chocolate recipe for a very long time! I know I’ve been obsessed with chocolate recipes recently, and it has two reasons. First of all, I have been consuming a lot of chocolate these days, and don’t know why.  Secondly, chocolate making is easy in terms of ingredients; you just melt some chocolate and pour it in molds. Actually, the reason I’m always making desserts rather than savory dishes is that. I always have sugar, flour, eggs, and milk at home, which are the basic things for pastry. Anyway, this is a recipe from Making Artisan Chocolates, which is like my artisan chocolate Bible. It’s originally “turtle tablets”, but I don’t have molds for tablets, I changed the recipe and make little molded chocolates, which have caramel filling. And I used brown sugar when making the caramel, because I didn’t have any white sugar left.

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Spicy Chocolate Cake

Last week, I was in Italy and I bough a lot of chocolate from Torino after they told me that the city is famous for its chocolate and grissini. So to finish all the chocolates (about 400 grams (14 oz.)), I decided to use them for my mother’s birthday cake. However, some of these chocolates had red pepper in it, so I made a spicy cake.

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Chocolate Eclairs with Banana and Honey Cream

Well, I know the eclairs in the photo do not look nice and cool, but their taste is inversely proportional to how they look.. Really.. The reason for their bad appearance is due to a little accident. After I finished making my tiny eclairs, the plate they’re on fell off to the kitchen table and their chocolate glaze was all over the place.. I think I’m never going to make some good looking food..

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Spicy Chocolates!

There are some white and dark chocolates waiting to be used in the kitchen for about a month. Actually, it’s a miracle that these chocolates can survive in the kitchen for a long time. In short, it was the time to use them. So, what I did was quite impromptu, I brushed my chocolate molds with white chocolate, and filled with some nice dark chocolate with almonds. But it was too “plain”. So what should I do to make these boring chocolates extraordinary? I simply added some red hot pepper on tops, and make these chocolates reaally hot!! Enjoy!

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Chocolate Orange Cream Cake with Orange Sauce

Oh, no! Chocolate and orange cake again????? I know, but I think they’re the best couple ever.. Whenever I make something with chocolate and ask myself “What else can I add?”, the mantra repeats in my mind like “orange, orange, orange, orange”. Well, I know it’s not creative at all, but there is a plenty of orange on the kitchen table at this time of the year, and I just can’t resist them!

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Experimenting with Agar Agar: Spicy Orange Agar Jelly

No, I don’t like jellies. And no, I didn’t like this one too. But the difference of this jelly is; it has agar agar in it rather than gelatine. Agar agar is a gelatinous “thing” made from seaweed, and commonly used in Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia. I first saw them in Luxirare as jello shots. So just for curiosity, I ordered some agar agar from the internet and tried to make something with it.

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New Year Treats Part 2: White Chocolate Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate Raisin Truffles

What I like most about truffles is, they are easy to make and you can let your imagination do the rest! The last time I made truffles, I followed the recipe, but this time it was a real impromptu. I made two types of truffles: hazelnut and white chocolate dip truffles and dark chocolate raisin cocoa dip truffles.

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New Year Treats Part 1: Gingerbread Cookies

Every new year, I make the same old gingerbread cookies. This year has no difference too! The only little difference is the recipe I used. There was an old recipe I used to make every year, and I really don’t know where I found it. But this year, I decided to use the recipe from Joy of Baking and changed a bit, and the results were interesting. I got some very spicy and crispy cookies and everyone liked them!!

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Apple Meringue Cake – This is Heaven!

It’s been a long time since my last post, I know.. But I was very busy with my midterms, quizzes and projects, and I didn’t even have time to sleep and thought I was going to die because of headache. Anyway, I’m better now, and am here with an incredible recipe: apple meringue cake!

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Treats for Project Proposal Meetings: Mini Chocolate Cupcakes, Sugar Cookies and some Canapés

Being a senior year in college, I have to make my senior project (obviously). Our team is doing a “green” project for Unilever’s Heartbrand (ice-cream), and we have a project proposal meeting tomorrow. Since we are the host of this meeting, we thought it would be nice to serve some treats, other than the usual ones bought from a patisserie.

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Apple Layer Muffins

I don’t know how to name these muffins. The idea popped into my mind while I was trying to sleep (I think a lot about these kind of unnecessary things before I sleep). I thought about putting a layer of sugary-apples between the muffins, and make some apple “layer” muffins. Enjoy!

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Nutty Oatmeal Energy Bars

These bars are like granola bars, but they’re also like fruit&nut bars. So I call them just “oatmeal bars”.

I don’t like those granola bars with a sharp honey taste and lots of oatmeal. And I wanted to make something for the late mornings, when I’m late for school and don’t have time for breakfast (Actually, I’m “always” late for school, but that’s another story). These bars are something that you can just take (and your tea mug) and leave home.

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Hypnotic Chocolate Orange Cake

You’re probably thinking right now that I’m obsessed with chocolate and orange. Well, that’s true, but in this case I used these two ingredients just because I had to. I wanted to make a cake, and searched the kitchen. There were only oranges in the fruit case, and I found some bittersweet chocolate, all-purpose flour, and one egg. I took a risk to make a cake with just one egg, but I thought the chocolate would do the same job as eggs and hold the cake. The cake was delicious, although it falls apart easily because of the lack of eggs. I think, you can get the best results by using two eggs, but I haven’t tried it.

Why hypnotic? Because there is something strange with this cake that you cannot stop eating it. It is probably because of the melted chocolate, but I named it “hypnotic” anyway!

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Cezerye (Turkish Delight with Carrot)

Well, I’ve decided to put some recipes from Turkish cuisine, and started with something I really love to eat: “cezerye”. Cezerye is like Turkish delight, but is made from carrot. It is not something you cook at your home, you usually buy these for the religious festivals. I’ve never made these jelly-candies before, and when I found this easy “cezerye” recipe today, I decided to try it.

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Chocolate Truffles with Orange and Earl Grey Tea

My artisan chocolate making attempts are continued! I really liked the Earl Grey taste in my previous hand-dipped chocolates, so I used tea again in these truffles. I also added orange zest to strengthen the orangey flavor. Unfortunately, I messed up the kitchen again, but I am happy now eating my truffles and drinking my holy Early Grey tea!

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Carrot Muffins with Honey: Healthier?

OK, I know I’ve made a lot of muffins recently, but I love to make them. I am experiencing the results of adding honey to my muffins. Well, as far as I noticed, honey makes the muffins look smoother and the edges brown as if you brushed it with egg yolks. Even though my mom claims that the vitamins in honey are vanished when heated, I think it’s still better than processed sugar, which makes these muffins healthier than my carrot cakes. You obviously cannot get the same taste, but you save calories (6 tablespoons of sugar is about 400 calories, while 3/4 cup sugar required for the carrot cake recipe is 600 calories) And this lighter version tastes “acceptable”. In fact, my aunt thinks these taste better than my regular carrot cakes.

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Chocolate-Chip Banana Muffins with Honey: Suprisingly Good!

This is another impromptu cake I just made up and it didn’t disappoint me. I came by some ripe bananas in the kitchen the other day, and decided to use them in what I do best: muffins! I also added the chocolate chips I’ve recently bought from the coffee shop (I usually use chopped chocolate instead of chocolate-chips, but the girl in the coffee shop insisted me to buy them and I gave it a try). I didn’t want to add sugar to the cake, so I used honey. I don’t usually use honey in my cakes, but this time it really worked and the muffins were neither too sweet nor vapid. This has become one my favorite muffin recipes.

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Apple and Coconut Semolina Muffins: 100% Improvised

It was another boring night with nothing to do, and apples on the kitchen table. So, it was a “must” to take a risk and make something totally improvisational. I mixed everything that comes into my mind to make a cake, and this is the result. Try!

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Bruschetta Pizza: Because I’m Lazy

My homemade refrigerated pizza stock is over now, and I am too lazy to make new pizzas (Waiting for the dough to rise is nervecracking!) And yesterday, when I needed something that can satisfy my usual “pizza-cravings”, I made these bruchetta-pizzas, and they require bread instead of pizza dough. This quick dish is also my parents’ favorite for a Sunday brunch at home.

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My First "Successful" Onion Soup

It was only a year ago when we had our first onion soup in Paris with my mother. It was a traditional French onion soup with beef stock and large onion slices and was very delicious.

Back in Turkey, I ate some other onion soups, and tried to cook it using beef stock. I also added some vinegar according to an anonymous recipe I found on the internet. The result was horrible..

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Heart-Shaped Raspberry Cakes and White Ganache Trials

I spent my whole Friday trying to make some flavored white-chocolate ganache. I made chocolate macarons using David Lebovitz’s recipe, and used fig and orange flavored white ganache to assemble the macarons (I simply added 1 orange’s zest orange flavored one, and 2 mashed fresh figs for the fig flavored one).

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Lentil Chickpea Patties

I used to be a total carnivore, eating meat two times a day, and considering a meal without meat not a “true meal”. But those days are over now, and I have been eating healthier things for a couple of years. And I really love playing with legumes and creating new recipes. One of my favorites is this lentil chickpea patties recipe, and I make veggie burgers with them. Yummy! They’re easily stored in the freezer, and whenever you need them, just cook in a pan or grill for few minutes and prepare your burger. Yummy!

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Hand-Dipped Chocolates with Earl Grey Tea, Hazelnut and Raisins: Poor Look, Great Taste!

OK, I’ve wanted to make artisan chocolates for a long time. I even had some very-amateur chocolate trials for the past two New Year celebrations, which turned out to be not-so-bad, but I still wanted to learn some real stuff on how to make artisan chocolates. So, I ordered “Making Artisan Chocolates” by Andrew Garrison Shotts, which is a very informative book about chocolate making. After reading some introductory info and seeing the delicious photos in the book, I decided to try some recipes.

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My “Famous” Carrot Cake, to Begin With

It was only three years ago when I first started cooking. I started with simple vegetable dishes, and moved to desserts as I gained some confidence. And the very first cake I made was from a carrot cake recipe I found in AllRecipes. However, my first carrot cake was very sweet, greasy and topped with an ugly cream cheese frosting  that I couldn’t make properly.

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