I do have a soft spot for Oriental desserts, though not for their sweetness. However I could bathe in cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla and rose water. If you then hand me a jar of tahini, ground pistachios or findik ezmisi (Turkish hazelnut butter), I believe you can create some of the best and most flavourful desserts in the world (sorry Italy and France). Just try a spoon of this creamy rosewater rice porridge topped with spiced and sweetened apricots and you know what I’m talking about. It transports you to a different place where the sun is shining, Turkish coffee is served and you get lost in the hustle and bustle of the spice and fruit bazaars….
After a beautiful and sunny long weekend in Zurich, I’m back to Istanbul. I always love coming home, not only because of my cats but because I enjoy the moments that allow me to process the past trip. I usually dive deep into work straight away, edit photos, write down thoughts, make lists of my favorite places and pursue ideas I’ve come across while wandering around. Not this time. This time I got really sick, the second I stepped foot into the taxi in Istanbul. Don’t you think it’s a funny coincidence. After we arrived in our flat, only 45 min later I felt like a truck has rolled over me. For the next three days I wasn’t capable of doing anything. The only hour I felt better, I decided to bake a vegan rhubarb almond cake. After that I went back to bed and didn’t do much for the next day or so….
Where is this beautiful place, you might wonder? So let me tell you about last weekend. We spontaneously decided that we wanted a weekend away from Istanbul as the weather forecast looked very poor and we felt like it was about time again to explore some new regions in Turkey. Initially we planed on going to Izmir but I wasn’t in the mood for such a long drive. So I literally put my finger on a map, went a little north of Izmir (closer to Istanbul) and stopped at an island, which is just a stone, throw away from Lesbos, Greece. Our destination for the weekend, Cunda island, a 4.5 h drive from Istanbul.
A word a blow and the alarm went off at 5 am on Saturday morning. The day before I had prepared a picnic basket with English Hot Cross Buns, raspberry chia jam and coconut chia cream. I had hoped that we would find a nice spot on the way but unfortunately almost the entire route was built up with houses and factories. And so we quickly agreed it was better to wait for some peaceful greenery than sitting next to the highway. In hindsight, this was the best decision. Because as soon as we reached Cunda island, or how I would call it “the island of olive trees”, I spotted the perfect tree for our picnic….
The sun is shining, spring is slowly arriving and it’s almost Easter. Wait…what! How is it already Easter in two weeks. I haven’t even finished writing down my 2017 goals yet. But hey, I’m on time for the yearly overdose of Easter recipe. Maybe I’m even the first one you see this year. If I tell you that this is more or less an accident, would you believe me? Though I really wish I would be a little bit more organized when it comes to blog content (and goal setting) but I just don’t care much about holiday recipes. Neither Valentine’s Day cakes nor Easter bread or Christmas cookies (though I did actually post one last year here). …
I had a plan. I even had a list of to-do’s for that said plan. And then I got hungry. My plan was to only post savory recipes for a while. I had just gotten back from Israel (and written a Quick Food Guide to Tel Aviv) with lots of inspiration for savory dishes. Like Vegan Shakshuka, Sabich, Israeli Salad and Cauliflower Sinya. And then on Friday afternoon, the weekend was near, I was craving something sweet. That doesn’t happen too often. But when it happens I usually make fruit crumble because it’s easy, it feels a little healthy and it’s super quick. I don’t remember why my mind suddenly wanted a cobbler. Probably because I was browsing Pinterest while developing my appetite for a sweet treat and simultaneously came across faring well‘s recipe for Peach Blackberry Cobbler.
I had never tried cobbler before and the recipe looked fairly easy, so I gave it a try. In comparison to crumble or crisp, a cobbler is not baked with a crust of a mixture of cereals, flour and nuts that loosely covers the whole fruit filling and has a streusel-like texture. Cobbler is made with a biscuit crust. At first I was afraid that the discs of dough would be too dry after baking but I guess the fruit filling keeps it moist and soft inside and crispy outside. Either way it’s a new dessert favorite in the bwv household….
This is probably the toughest post I’ve written to date. Why? I’m on a juice cleanse and I didn’t prepare any content for my blog or Instagram. I was however smart enough to shoot some photos over the weekend as I’d imagine it would be a little challenging (read impossible) to cook or bake something while on a juice cleanse. So at least, these photos don’t smell like freshly baked banana bread but I still had to edit them and write down the recipe for you. You’re welcome! Because banana bread turned into doughnuts need to be in everyone’s life and I didn’t want you to miss out on it any longer. I have most of the batch waiting for me in the freezer for when I’m done with my cleanse the day after tomorrow.
Though, writing this post wasn’t the easiest task of today, I’m thankful and glad I did it. I’ll be (hopefully) putting together a post about my juicing experience soon but this 3-day cleanse is as much about getting back on healthy food track as it is about self discipline. Yes, I hear you and myself say “Don’t be too harsh on yourself”. I’m not. I just want to prove to myself that I can still begin and finish something even though it’s hard. And trust me, I thought this juice cleanse would come easy for me. But it’s much more challenging than expected. And writing down the recipe for these banana bread doughnuts is just another milestone I managed to reach….
Note to myself: Let’s keep this post short.
Hopefully these pictures speak for themselves. And you find the idea of replacing bananas with avocados in a banana bread to make it a sweet avocado bread as fascinating as I do. Are you still following? So yes, this is a banana bread but with avocados and it’s one of those food revelations I wish I had discovered earlier in my life. If you make it with white wheat flour and white sugar, it will definitely have a greenish colouring. I used dark whole wheat flour and brown coconut sugar, so it turned out rather brown than green. You can add more sugar if you want to have more of a cake than a sweet bread. And the other way around, add less sugar if you want a neutral bread instead of a sweet bread.
I’ve used MINIMALIST BAKER’S ONE BOWL BANANA BREAD as a rough base for this recipe. Dana’s recipe is vegan and gluten-free. The Sweet Avocado Bread is only vegan but you can follow Dana’s recipe if you’d like to make a gluten-free version. In terms of flavour, the avocado taste is actually quite strong which I loved. The texture is super moist and almost creamy and it’s best when fresh (2-3 days) or toasted. I sliced mine and popped it in the freezer so we’ll have some delicious sweet breakfast bread for Sunday mornings….
Did you notice, that it’s almost February again? Where have these three and a half weeks of January been? It seems like time flies like crazy and then again, it’s very slow sometimes. But I also feel that I’ve become slower. That I take more time and try to get less distracted. I read a book instead of scrolling through Instagram. I bake Sourdough bread instead of committing to yet again another time consuming project I actually don’t have time for. And I spend more calming moments with my cats instead of checking my phone. I even took up Yoga again after I got back from our holidays in Sri Lanka.
And that’s because on New Years Eve I didn’t make a list of things and goals that I want to achieve in 2017. I decided to take a step back. And live a more mindful and slower life. Maybe not always and everywhere but here and there. The more I tell myself that I can take my time to evolve, learn and accomplish goals, the more I relax. It’s like magic. I haven’t felt anxious or overwhelmed in weeks. I’m at ease with myself and my work. I have fallen in love with photography all over again. I have even slightly changed my editing style and feel very comfortable with the mood and vibe of my recent photos. But, there is a big BUT….
Last week I had a talk with friends about the perfect gift. We all agreed that it’s super difficult to give someone trinkets and nonsense things. At least not if the person didn’t put it specifically on her or his wish-list. Like that drinking game for your grown-up cousin…maybe not so cool. Or that ‘bake your own boyfriend’ cookie cutter might be funny once but probably ends up in the drawer and never be used again. You probably wouldn’t want any dust catchers in your home either.
There are a few gift ideas I love to fall back on when I don’t have anything specific in mind. Like when non of my family members and friends mention in my presence “Oh, I’d wish I had (fill in the blank)”.Since that pretty much never happens I almost always turn to my “the great three”. …
How come we are already two weeks into December? I’ve not even bought a single Christmas present yet, though I have a list of things in my mind. Phew, at least something. But where have all those days gone? I feel like I haven’t done anything though I did actually achieve a lot. Or let’s rewrite that last part. I’ve started a lot of things in the past few weeks. But then again I wish I would have more time to finish what I started. Because lately I’m very very excited about…me? This blog? My work? All things related to black.white.vivid.! I feel very motivated and inspired at the moment. I can’t even really explain the shift of my mindset because, you know, it’s dark outside. And rainy. And cold. So normally my brain, heart and soul would go into sleep mode. But not this year. Not this year….