To Banana Bread with Cherries

First baking experience in Turkey!

Preparing for baking in Turkey created more anxiety than the average baking adventure. I am relatively comfortable in a kitchen – and it’s a good thing too because foreign kitchens (literally in the sense of being abroad but also as in not use to because it’s not my kitchen) always lend for a good story. This one was no different. I wanted to bake earlier in the week but when I saw the dial for degrees I knew I had to do some question asking – on Wednesday night at dinner with a friend I was informed that it will mostly be a trial and error approach – I thought I can manage that – or at the very least I was gonna have too. Not to mention she told me that the bundant pan would be my best friend which I was confused on until I realized she meant bundt pan – haha ohhh good times.

maybe each number is 20 degrees (C) – lets pray and hope so….

On Monday I went and hunted down a measuring cup! This could be one of the most magical finds in Turkey yet because at first I thought it was just mL but in fact it is also cups! Yes a 2 1/2 cup measuring cup to be exact. Now this is not the proper way to measure solids, but sometimes you work with what you have.

Now I will try to give exacts as much as possible – which is quite accurate – but a few things (specifically temp) is complete ballpark guessing.


1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 packets vanilla sugar (they don’t have extract here – this is the equivalent of 1-2 tsp.)

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 packet baking soda (1-2 tsp. equivalent)

a generous amount of cinnamon (:

3 ripe and mashed bananas

1/2 cup yogurt (2 containers of activia plain)

1 cup cherries (pitted and quartered)


Cream the butter and sugar. Then add the egg, vanilla, bananas and vanilla. Finally stir in the dry ingredients and lastly the cherries. Next time I would double the amount of cherries. At this point you could also add in other things (future possibilities – oh yes there will be more banana bread in Turkey – chocolate chips – they do exist here! just a tad expensive – nuts, other fruits)

More cherries needed next time!

Bake 45 min – 1 hr. at about 350F – this is an estimate – for me it was dial 10 for 30 min and then dial 9-7 for the last 20 min. Haha too funny. The host daughter was laughing but was super excited when she came home and could smell the bread baking (:

Gotta contribute to this family that is giving me so much while here.

I am a fan of this cute little bundt pan

Cheers to banana bread in Turkey


Student turned Teacher

Still a Turkish student but as of today I am also an English teacher and I can cross Teaching English Abroad off of my Bucket List!!!! Success success success! I felt into a pretty sweet deal of teaching a few hours of English a week while here and I couldn’t be more thrilled for the opportunity (:

The English school is pretty much neighbors with my Turkish school so I don’t even have to go far for work – quite fantastic. Today I had two students – Ahmet and Aydan – both who are finishing their Masters in International Relations at Ankara University – quite awesome because at one point we just chatted about our thoughts on Turkey and Foreign Policy – ahhh how it delighted me. Hearing what they thought about Turkey’s position on a global scale as well as their opinions of the hot question of Turkish accession sure did bring a smile to my face.

I taught for 2 hours and will see them again next week and will be getting more students too! Another adventure in Ankara.

As for yesterday’s absence of a post – apologies, but I left at 8:30 and wasn’t home until 11:30 at which point I was pretty tired and still had Turkish homework to do. While it was a long day it consisted of Turkish language class, thesis research at my new favorite cafe (Aylak Madam) and then meeting up with two friends for dinner and ice-cream. This ice-cream was heaven sent – caramel, pistachio and tiramisu – delish. Glad I ran today /: Funny story though was one of the girls was craving chocolate and there was none – she sounded like a sad child when she asked in Turkish “Is there chocolate?” “Cicolata var mı?” – the answer of “no” “hayır” was not what she was wanting to hear.

Other success story that I will give a pre on but will be written about in a different post (right after this one) is that I successfully made banana bread!!!! Now in this case it’s not a matter of being able to make banana bread – that is a skill I mastered long ago – rather the fact of the matter is mastering the conversion of measurements and using a degree-less oven to actually bake the bread. Not only do I think it tastes great, but the host daughter had 2 pieces – upon me coming back from my run she said it looked too good not to take a piece and then she had to have another – woot woot! happy turks all around.

I enjoyed a piece after my run (10km another feel good moment) – it definitely hit the spot – my family is going to soon realize (if they haven’t already) that I consume an abnormal amount of bananas – and I add them to everything possible.

A nice heads up that there may or may not be posts for Friday and Saturday since I will going on my first weekend trip to Diyarbakir – the city of Kurdish culture in Southeastern Turkey. Depending on internet options will determine whether I can give updates – but I can promise photos from the trip sometime next week (:

Cheers to crossing things off one’s bucket list