Meating The Maker #cake #vegan

I’m not a vegan; I’m not a vegetarian. I eat far less meat than I once did, and have little red meat but… chicken and fish… yes, I do. And so do – maybe did – my family. Then the Lawyer and the Beautician returned from six months in Singapore and announced they’d found the light, or maybe the lite and they were vegan. For now anyway.

This created a small dilemma. As you with kiddies will well understand, after an absence you want to see your sproglets on their return and this often involves food. So a rapid review of our many cookbooks and online recipes was undertaken. In the last few days we’ve enjoyed a mushroom speltelet, a cashew and green bean curry, various soups and an apple crumble that ticks every vegan box. Pretty good, all of it.

But regular watchers of these pages will notice the lack…

…. of cake.

Well, damn it, that’s not going to happen, is it? So another bit of research and I had it. A completely vegan carrot cake. Yep, including the customary creamy topping.

I just thought, you know, let’s share it. It is rather scrummy.


260 gm plain flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarb

½ teaspoon nutmeg

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

125 gm applesauce (I used a Bramley from the garden, that I’d previously softened – no added sugar in my case – having larger lumps added interest to the final cake)

1 cup of Almond milk (we already use this to make porridge – if you like porridge and haven’t tried this it is fab)

2 teaspoons of vanilla

120 grams caster sugar (I’m  great believer in not believing you need anything like the sugar they say in recipes – I halved this without any loss of taste)

½ cup melted coconut oil

240 gms grated carrot

Heat oven to 350F, 200C. Grease loaf tin. I line the sides and bottom to make sure the cake comes out easily.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, bicarb, spices and salt. Separately whisk apple, almond, vanilla, oil and sugar.

Add dry to wet and mix well. Fold in carrots.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes: cover the top towards the end if you think it might burn. Use a skewer to check it is done.

It needs to cool after cooked before applying the topping which is made thus:

60 gm macadamia nuts soaked drained rinsed

60 gm cashews soaked drained rinsed

¼ cup almond milk

¼ cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

Blend everything till smooth. Chill. Spread over cake.


And while you are eating have a giggle; Charlie Drake was a very visual comedian from my childhood. This version of the 1812 is superb. I was reminded of it from a piece about infinity mirrors that Sue Vincent wrote here 


Posted in cake, cooking, miscellany | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Eyes Up! #writephoto #flash

Sue’s prompt this week is

Candice Charming pushed Thomas Reedy back into line. This Year Four were undoubtedly the worst year yet. ‘Mandy, leave Gerry alone.’

She caught her colleague, Millie Stammler’s smile and feigned a heart attack. ‘So what do you think this was when they built it?’ She waved at the monumental brickwork towering over them.

April Cousins’ hand went up, as it always did. ‘Yes April?’

And, as always, it sunk down without an answer. She glanced to her right, wondering at what point Humphrey Attagood would deign to answer. Sure, he was exceptionally bright for his years but like his parents he had already acquired the supercilious smugness of the convinced know-all.

‘George? Harriet?’

They all knew it was a game between her and ‘Humph’. She smiled to herself. His parents couldn’t have picked a more apposite name for one who was always ‘humphing’ about some error in her preparation, or hole in her knowledge.

Millie, short, stout and not given to the waves of self-doubt that often threatened to engulf Candice put her hands on her hips. ‘Come on, you lot,’ she growled in her most ferocious Glaswegian burr, ‘Ideas for Miss Charming please or none of us will have time for our sandwiches.’

Humphrey yawned. ‘Obviously a folly.’

Candice titled her head. ‘Enlighten us Humph. Why a folly?’

‘Useless construction on a grand show-off scale,’ Candice thought that description suited Humphrey’s father rather well, ‘no windows, no real purpose.’ He turned away, apparently bored.

Candice opened her hands wide, ‘This, in contrast was purpose-built to bring jobs to the area, albeit supporting a less than holy cause.’ Gratifyingly, Humphrey looked momentarily stumped before rallying with a ‘I doubt it.’

‘Inside everyone and let’s see if you can work out what it is.’

As the children filed ahead, a small buzz of conversation suggesting at least some intrigue on their part, Millie sidled next to Candice. ‘Bullshit or bravado?’

Candice affected a small smile. ‘Brilliance actually.’

As Millie moved back to cover the rear stragglers Candice heard her say distinctly. ‘I hope so.’

Inside Candice made them form a circle and stare up at the ceiling. A small round hole let in the light, pinpointing Humphrey, who stood in the very centre of the floor, as if he were spot-lit.

‘Imagine that when this was in full use there would have been ladders all the way up the sides and a platform at the top. Where Humph now stands there would have been a large cauldron of water and over there where – Mandy I’m sure Gerry would prefer to keep his trousers on – there would have been a furnace. Any clues?’

Thomas Reedy ran in a circle one hand brushing the wall. ‘It’s a space rocket!’

‘You know, Tom, for once you’re not far off. It was military.’

Thomas stopped and joined the others staring at the hole. ‘Did they, like, fire missiles out of there?’

‘Not quite. What else gets fired, in battles?’

The class hesitated, one or two not sure if they should answer. They glanced at Humphrey who still stared at the roof opening as if hypnotized. Finally, Gerry said, ‘Bullets?’

Candice gave a show of being delighted and clapped hard. ‘Exactly. This is a shot tower. Do you know what a shot is?’

Mandy turned away from Gerry. ‘It’s what my sister likes with her boyfriend when Mum’s out and they tell me to stay in my room.’

‘In addition to that, they are lead bullets. To get them perfect they would drop molten lead into cold water and the result was a perfectly round piece of shot. The hole in the roof, what was that for?’

Humphrey turned round, facing Candice, his expression unreadable. She guessed he was annoyed. ‘It’s to get rid of the crap. Miss.’

The urge to put him right, to humiliate him was so strong but Candice couldn’t; he was nine after all and a product of his family’s attitudes.  It wasn’t her place, but still. She caught Millie’s stifled snort. ‘What Humph is saying everyone, is it is a chimney, to get rid of all the smells and smoke. It lets all the rubbish out.’

Just then something passed over the hole, throwing the class into shadow. Everyone glanced up and watched as the light picked out something moving, tracing a line from the hole to Humphrey.

Splat! A yellowy-white handprint appeared on Humphrey’s head and began to drip down his face. Whatever the bird was it was either very large or very incontinent.

‘And sometimes,’ said Millie as she moved past a frozen Candice, ‘It lets the crap back in. Come on Humph, let’s clean you up. After all it’s meant to be lucky for some.’



Posted in #writephoto, flash fiction, prompt | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Eking Out The Energy #gardencolours

October should be the end, really. The summer is well past and autumn is a time when the leaves turn, to give their final show before dropping, but the blossom… it should be past its best. Well, no actually.

We are experiencing a mini heat wave courtesy of the fag end of Hurricane Ophelia or some such.

While further south hurricanes are generally unwelcome, when they’ve blown themselves out and bounced off the eastern seaboard of North America, they can often travel the Atlantic and provide us with a benign period of raised temperatures and welcome rain, even if the winds do sometimes wound. This might be one of those times; we shall see.

Occasionally, as in 1987 the storms amount to hurricane force winds ripping across the country and we are as ill-prepared for that as anywhere. Rather like with snow, which we handle with the grace of a ceramicist wearing gardening gloves.

I missed the 1987 storms by the neat expedient of being in Peru, but the effects were all too apparent on our return. Fences down, walls deconstructed, roofs now reduced to rubble. Even Sevenoaks in Kent had had to be renamed Oneoak.

Famously one woman went outside at the storm’s height because she could see her new car being battered by a tree that was whipping its branches across the roof.

She decided it would be better if she moved it, despite all reason telling her to stay inside, and put it in her garage.

She unlocked said garage and lifted the door. As she did so a gust of considerable force blew into the now open garage, lifting its roof.

The roof was all that held the walls up which now collapsed in on themselves, like a Reverse Ikea, which sounds like a chess move or maybe an earlier form of computer language but was devastating none the less.

Defeated she turned in time to see the miscreant tree collapse on her car.

I suppose as she dragged herself indoors she hoped the old adage of bad luck coming in threes had no substance behind it.

Anyway I hope you have enjoyed the colours and the Dog, more than she did her sojourn in the gales.

Posted in gardens, humour, miscellany | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

If You Want To Get Ahead, Get A Hat #flashfiction

Prendegast ap Tyrol stared at the diorama and fumed. How could they? They’d made a half-decent job of his face, with just the right depth of chin-dimple and rendering his cheekbones at an encouragingly rugged thirty degrees. And if his complexion was more Everglow than Everest, his nose was less the blob than reality.
He tuned back into the curator, aware she had said his name with especial emphasis and essayed what he hoped was a winning, if enigmatic smile. Not that she deserved it. She seemed to be listing his latest feats – the 24 hour free dive, the runs up the top seven highest peaks without oxygen, the ultra-crawl across the Gobi desert drinking only his own urine. Someone sniggered; someone always sniggered.
Prendegast shifted feet. He wasn’t used to standing still and his right buttock began to cramp. Had they cut off part of their own arse to survive, he pondered? Of course not; steatopygic to a man. He could live off them for weeks.
He blinked back to the auditorium. The audience had fallen quiet. The presenter held the microphone towards him, clearly expecting him to reply to her remarks. They expected him to be grateful, to reciprocate her sentiments. After all they’d given him his own permanent display, in the Explorer’s gallery at the Achievers’ Museum, highlighting his many feats of endurance, pushing the boundaries, exploring man’s limits and then going beyond. Well, no. He knew he was part of the pantheon of greats and they done this to him. He’d overcome many setbacks, risked humiliation and death. But not this.
Burton and Speke had their sola topis, Bleriot his aviator’s hat, even that upstart Fiennes had a bobble but what did they do to him? Give him a baseball cap. On backwards.

Posted in flash fiction, short story | Tagged , | 17 Comments

I’ll Be The Judge Of That!

If you are looking for some guidance when it comes to the latest rodeo flash fiction competition being hosted at the Carrot Ranch head over to fellow Judge Lucy Brazier and she has some words of wisdom for you (other teeth are available) Source: I’ll Be The Judge Of That!

Posted in miscellany | 5 Comments

All Things White And Wonderful #writephoto

Sue Vincent’s prompt this week is

There are days when all the planets seem to align and the world is a better place. In countries plagued by drought a warm sun is interspersed with refreshing showers to feed stressed crops and replenish waterholes; places suffering cold and bitter winds are blessed with balmy days of sun loosing hunched muscles and allowing layers of clothing to be discarded as the vitamin D supplies are restored; in sweaty jungles the humidity drops as gentle breezes provide relief from enervating toil; and in lands prone to flood the sunshine dries the soil and the homes and restores some hope to despoiled lives.

Thursday the 14th of May would go down in Earth’s history as the day that everywhere became pleasant, even if only for 24 hours. Wars paused and arguments were put on hold; schools took a break and governments simply did nothing thus relieving their peoples of both despotic demands and democratic deficits. For evermore the day the earth sighed and knocked off early would be recalled with a wistfulness that, for once, prove the truth of that otherwise nonsense saying: ‘it was better in my day’.

Wise people pondered the meaning, scientists sought rational explanations, religions poured over their good, and not so good books seeking revelation, all hoping to explain this unique phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in a kitchen somewhere in Asgard, Athena wiped her hands on a towel and went outside. Horace, her son sat on a stool, in one hand a plant spray and in the other a mirror.

‘Mum, when can I stop this?’

‘Horace, I warned you about playing with that planet without permission. If you are going to be their god, you need to understand that mortals need a boost from time to time.’

‘But dad says they are my playthings…’

‘Atlas is old school in many way. A modern forward looking god offers options. It’ll be a good lesson for you to make their day perfect for once, given what you’ve done to them recently. Now hold that mirror tight. You need to reflect the sun off your teeth with care or you’ll fry them.’

‘It’s so unfair.’

‘Indeed.’ She watched her son for another day and then took the mirror from him. ‘Alright. Off you go. Your uncle Loki has left a parcel. I just hope it’s not another of those ‘Brew Up A Plague’ kits he so likes. They do stain the carpet so.’

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Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2 (this one is mine! All mine!)

When Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch asked me to come up with a flash fiction competition for her October Rodeo there was only one way to go. Humour. And so here it is. Go have a look and join in. Everyone has a book in them, they say. Maybe but I know everyone has a laugh in them.

Release that beast. Free the Glee. Give it a go. You know you want to.

And there are prizes and stuff and it is free to enter and there are other competitions still to enjoy.

Go have a peek, have a dabble. I am so looking forward to this.

Source: Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2

Posted in competition, creative writing, flash fiction, humour | 3 Comments