Thursday, July 11, 2024

Spicy Cucumber Salad

Hello everyone, I know it's been a long time.  The last recipe I added to this blog was back in November of 2023.  My word, seems like forever ago.
If you follow me on my main blog, you will know that in January, after routine blood work, I was told my Triglycerides were slightly elevated and I needed to make a few changes to my diet.  I've never been one to eat a really bad diet to begin with, but certainly had to make quite a few changes, mainly ditching all the junk, sweets, sodas and snacks and embracing a more healthier way of life.
I had already been looking into the Mediterranean diet and had made a few dishes, but after my doctor suggested the same diet to me, I just dived right in.
My meals now revolve around a lot more fish and chicken, minimum red meat.  Lots of veggies and fruits, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas and wholewheat pasta and rice.  Minimal potatoes and when I do have those, they are either red skinned which are healthier, or sweet potatoes, but even then, I have a few pieces and that's all.
I have lost 35 pounds since February and am in the best shape I've been in since my twenties.  My goal is to maintain this healthier way of life, but not give up everything yummy completely.  I still have a sweet treat once in a while, maybe once a month if that.
But, I want to start sharing some of the meals I've been having, here on the blog, not just to help others achieve a healthier way of life, but also as a record for me to have for the future.  Hope you enjoy!
Today's recipe is one of my husband and son's favorites lately, well, and mine too.  This spicy cucumber salad is so refreshing with just the right amount of heat.  It's delicious.  The recipe comes from Recipe Tin Eats, she has amazing recipes so be sure to check out her website. 

Spicy Cucumber Salad
Source:  Recipe Tin Eats


  • 4 cucumbers (~20cm/8", scale up/down for shorter/longer, Note 1)
  • 3/4 tsp cooking/kosher salt
  • 1 eschalot/French onion , halved then very thinly sliced (US: shallot) (Note 2)
  • 1 cup green onion , green part only finely sliced (1 large, 2 small stems)
  • 2 tbsp+ chilli crisp (crispy chilli oil) - Laoganma is my fave (Note 3)
  • 2 tsp white seame seeds , toasted (save some for topping)


  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar (sub any clear vinegar)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce , all-purpose or light (Note 4)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil , toasted (ie brown, not yellow)


Smash & salt cucumbers

  • Smash - Hit cucumbers with a meat mallet, rolling pin or similar to make the sides burst open. Cut in half lengthwise then into 2.5cm/1" pieces.
  • Salt 30 min - Place in a bowl, toss with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes to draw out water (Note 5). Drain/strain and discard salty water, leave cucumbers in same bowl.


  • Whisk Dressing in a bowl.
  • CHECK spiciness of your chilli crisp - they vary by brand. If using Laoganma, stick with recipe, else adjust to taste.
  • Toss - Put green onion, eschalots, sesame seeds, dressing and chilli crisp in with the cucumbers. Toss until eschalots go floppy - ~30 seconds.
  • Serve, sprinkled with extra sesame seeds and dollops of chilli crisp if you dare!
Note: Water continues to come out of cucumbers so after few hours/next day, you'll have a lot more dressing but not as intense flavoured. So eat/serve with spoon to get plenty of dressing in every bite!


Thursday, November 09, 2023

Chocolate Yogurt Cake


I love easy recipes, the kind that take a only a few ingredients and are easy to remember.

This yogurt cake is so easy to make and so delicious.  It just uses a yogurt cup for the measurements, so you don't even have to dirty your measuring cups.  Even better right?

The versatility of the cake is that you can make a simple vanilla cake, you can make chocolate, or even lemon, which I did last week, and was immediately devoured by my lemon loving boys here at home.

So, without any further ado, let's bake.....


Chocolate Yogurt Cake

1 plain yogurt 170 gr, cup  (6 oz)
Now using the same cup, we measure the remaining ingredients:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 eggs
Chocolate chips

In a bowl, beat the eggs with the yogurt using a whisk, then add in the oil and sugar.  Whisk until well combined.  Add in the cocoa powder and mix.

Add the flour, a little at a time, sifting while adding.  Lastly, add in the baking powder and mix gently just until combined, don't over mix the baking powder or it may make the cake dense.

Grease the cake pan with butter and cocoa powder, then transfer the cake mix to the pan.  At this point, you can pour some chocolate chips over the batter, but it's optional.  I like to, just to make it even more chocolaty.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Let cool completely then invert onto cake dish.  You can leave the cake as is, and make a simple chocolate frosting to cover the top, or you can cut the cake in half, and use your favorite filling.  

For simplicity purposes, I just used some whipped chocolate frosting, that I already had on hand.  


Kibe de Forno - Oven Kibbeh

Have you ever had Kibbeh?  

Do you know what Kibbeh even is?  I didn't for a long time, but a couple months ago, I started looking more into Mediterranean cooking, and found a whole new world of delicious recipes.  Kibbeh is one of them, and funny enough, it is quite popular in Brazil too.

The traditional Kibbeh is usually made into balls and fried.  I am all about the traditional most common way, but I also love trying the variations to the more popular recipes, from each country.

Ok so, first of all Kibbeh is considered to be a national dish from Lebanon.  It's basically a combination of ground meat, bulgur wheat and spices, and it is absolutely delicious and quite easy to make.  
One thing to keep in mind, there are different types of Bulgur Wheat, you want to use the fine, although I could only get some medium coarse which works well too, it just takes a bit longer to soak.

Let me show you....


Oven Kibbeh

2 cups of bulgur cracked wheat 
2 cups of hot water
2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, finely diced
Parsley and Cilantro
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic to taste
Juice from 1 lemon
Sumac, to taste (Sumac has become one of my favorite spices)
Aleppo pepper, to taste (another new favorite)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Cream cheese
Olive oil

In a big bowl add the bulgur wheat, pour over the hot water.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it soak for about an hour.  Should be long enough to hydrate the wheat. 

After the hour has passed, give the wheat a good stir to loosen it.  To the same bowl, add the meat, onion, parsley and cilantro to taste, butter, salt and pepper, garlic, lemon juice, sumac and aleppo pepper.  Mix well.
Drizzle a little olive oil in a baking dish, I used a 13x9 inch.  Take half of the kibbeh meat mixture and pat down into the dish.  Next, cover the mixture with some cream cheese, and then shredded mozzarella.  Take the remaining kibbeh and pat down on top of the cheese.   (I find it easier to grab handfuls of the meat mixture, at a time, and then pat it down on the palm of my hand, then place it on top of the cheese, that way it's not pulling off the cheese.)

Take a knife or dough scraper, and make a diamond pattern on top.  I just make diagonal lines one way, then come back the other way.  You don't have to go all the way down to the bottom of the dish, you basically just want a small dent to drizzle on more olive oil.

Once done, drizzle some olive oil across every line, then bake in a 375 F, for about 35 minutes.  Keep an eye on it, if you overcook it, the kibbeh will dry out.  I just check after 25 minutes, and if there's a lot of liquid in the pan, I pour it out and then pop it back in the oven for the last 5 minutes.  

Serve warm!


Thursday, October 05, 2023

Turkish Flatbread Pizza - Pide

I have recently been on a journey, to find and try different recipes from all over the world.  My background is quite diverse, I am Portuguese, born in Africa, my greatgrandparents on my father's side were Brazilian, the ones on my mother's side were all from Portugal, Madeira and Azores.  We have French ancestors too.  
But having lived in South Africa my entire childhood, also opened up my palate to African food.  So I am quite blessed to enjoy so many different cultures with so many wonderful recipes.
Loving food the way I do, also means that I am very much interested in trying dishes from all over the world, and sometimes, something simple as watching a series or movie from a different country, and seeing the food they're eating, is enough to make me want to try.
I have recently (over the past few months), become completely obsessed with Turkish shows.  So of course, seeing what they eat, has peeked my curiosity into the food they eat.  The whole Mediterranean cuisine itself is very appealing to me,  Fresh ingredients, healthy food, lots of vegetables, delicious street food, and the flatbreads?  Yum!!!
So today, I am bringing the first of many recipes I've been trying, and loving recently.  
The Turkish Flatbread Pizza, known as Pide. 
The Pide originated in the city of Samsun,  in the Turkish Black Sea region, and has been a favorite since 1725.  The flatbread is shaped into a boat, or a flat American football, if that helps you visualize it, then filled with a variety of delicious fillings, from beef, to cheese, to spinach....yum!
This was my first attempt at making these, so although they were absolutely delicious, I wasn't thrilled with the final look.  It takes a bit of practice to make sure the Pide doesn't open up, and stays flat around the edges.

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy this recipe, it is a great alternative to your usual Friday night pizza.  

The recipe I'm sharing with you, is from one of my favorite Turkish channels on Youtube.  I just love Aysenur, she is such a sweet lady and shares so many wonderful recipes.  Be sure to give her a follow.

Turkish Pide


  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 25 gr. fresh yeast or 1 tbsp active dry yeast (use dry yeast according to packet details)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • about 5 to 5+1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt

PIDE TOPPINGS: (You can adjust the amount depending on which pide you want more)

MINCED MEAT TOPPING (This is enough for about 8 pides)

  • 1 medium-size onion
  • 2 sweet green peppers
  • 1 medium-size red capia pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 250gr. ground beef (%30 fat would be ideal if you can get it)
  • 1 tsp salt and ground black pepper
  • if the meat doesn’t have much fat add 3-4 tbsp olive oil


  • 1 small onion
  • two handfuls of fresh washed and pat dried spinach
  • 1/2 tsp salt and ground black pepper

CHEESE TOPPING (use as much as pide you want) Turkish white cheese (crumbled) shredded kashar or mozzarella cheese


How to make Turkish Pide

Prepare the simple yeast dough:

  1. In a mixing bowl add lukewarm water, yeast, sugar. Disolve the yeast or use according to package. Add most of the flour amount along with salt and knead adding more flour if needed until it is smooth and elastic.
  2. Cover and let it rise until almost doubled in size


Traditionally we use a special knife to chop veggies and minced meat together. But it is easier to make it in a food processor. You can choose whichever you like.

  • For minced meat topping: In a big size food processor process onion, red and green pepper until it is chopped in small cubes. Add peeled tomato, salt, black pepper, red pepper and tomato pastes and minced meat. Process pulsing until everything is chopped and mixed well. If the minced meat doesnt contain much fat you can drizzle a little bit olive oil.
  • For spinach filling: Proccess onion with washed and dry spinach leaves, salt and pepper pulsing until everything is chopped (don’t make it very small) While fill it you can alternately add crumbled Turkish white cheese (or feta) or kashar, mozarella cheese (Check the video)
  • Cheese and Sujuk topping: (use as much as pide you want) Turkish white cheese (crumbled) shredded kashar or mozzarella cheese

Shaping The Pide:

Rolling Turkish pide dough

Classic Open Pide Shape (Açık pide)

  • Heat the oven to highest setting (about 230 to 250C). Cut the risen dough into 12 pieces and shape them round. Cover the ones you don’t use with a damp clean kitchen towel or freezer bag so they don’t get dry. 
  • Roll out one piece in a lightly floured surface into a oblong shape that can fit to your baking try. Place then to the try that is lined with baking paper. Add generaously from the minced meat filling (about two full tbsp) on top leaving 1cm space in sides. Spread evenly with back of a spoon or your hand.
  • Fold the sides of the pides inside and press them well.
  • Pinch the ends and seal. Hold from the corners and strech a bit more as far as it can fit to your tray and place it back. Brush the sides with egg yolk and bake until sides and bottom has nice golden color.


Friday, April 21, 2023

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

My sweet boy, turned 20 years old on the 11th of April.

I have always made my kids birthday cakes, I don't think I've ever bought them a cake at the store, or maybe once?  Although I can honestly say, I don't remember ever doing it.  

But anyway, some of their cakes I decorate with fondant, and some with icing, and then some are just plain cakes, it all depends on what they request for that year.

For his 20th, he just wanted me to make one of his favorites, which is pound cake.  That's it, a simple pound cake, no parties, no big get togethers, nothing, just a cake and dinner with dad and mom, and his sister.

So that is what I did.

I have to say, this is probably one of my favorite cakes too.  I much prefer a simple, plain cake, to one that is slathered in frosting and icing.  

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened (3 sticks)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Set out the butter, eggs, and cream cheese to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Move one oven rack to the center of the oven and remove any racks above it.
  • Pull out a standard 12-cup capacity bundt pan. Grease the bundt pan with extra butter or shortening, then scoop 1/4 cup sugar into the pan and shake it around until the fat is well coated in sugar. Dump out any excess sugar. Set aside.
  • Place the softened butter and cream cheese in the bowl on an electric. Beat on high until the mixture is totally smooth. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining 2 3/4 cups sugar. Beat on high again for 3-5 minutes to cream the ingredients until very light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl again.
  • Turn the mixer on low and beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt. Then slowly add the flour a little at a time, until fully combined. Once the batter is smooth, turn off the mixer, as to not overmix the batter.
  • Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack for 80-90 minutes. After 80 minutes, test the cake by inserting a toothpick deep into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, take the pound cake out of the oven.
  • Let the cream cheese pound cake rest in the pan for 15 minutes. Then carefully flip the cake onto a platter or baking rack.