#AtoZchallenge Z – Zucchini Cake – #glutenfree #dairyfree

On the last day of the AtoZ challenge, I am really pleased to share my recipe for Zucchini cake. It’s my favourite cake of all time, and it’s almost healthy!

Think about the vitamins and minerals from those fresh ingredients, and it’s gluten/dairy free as well.

Cake Ingredients

I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years and think I’ve finally found the perfect mix of ingredients. Recently both my kids have used this cake for homework assignments. Here is my daughter’s instructions on how to cook it.


3 eggs

400g of self-raising gluten free flour

100g of ground almonds

1tsp of salt

1tsp of ginger powder

150g of raisins

250g of brown sugar

150g of rapeseed oil

50g of caster sugar

Zest of a large orange

500g of grated carrot and courgette

3cm piece of ginger grated


  1. First you need to get a bowl and scales. Put the bowl on the scales and measure 400g of self-raising flour.
  2. Secondly add the rest of the dry ingredients which are ground almonds, salt, ginger powder and raisins.
  3. Now get another bowl and put in the wet ingredients which are the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Next tip a quarter of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients bowl and stir. Then repeat until there is no more dry mixture left.
  5. Now line and grease 2 cake moulds and share the mixture between both.
  6. Next put in the oven at 170 degrees fan oven and cook for an hour.
  7. Lastly leave it to cool then enjoy.

(Do I have the new Delia on my hands?)


The kids love this cake and ask for it every birthday. They also love to help with the making; cracking eggs, grating, weighing ingredients, mixing, and eating it still warm from the oven.


It’s a wonderful cake for any time of year, especially in the summer when there are plenty of Zucchinis / courgettes to spare. It works for breakfast, lunch or tea, and is surprisingly good with custard. (I’m actually making this cake to take to a family BBQ tomorrow. Because it’s not too sweet, it goes perfectly as a dessert with alcohol!)

The cake freezes well, and fresh it last for a few days, but it does become drier the longer you keep it. No chance of that in this house.

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Thanks for joining me on  my A-Z Challenge. It’s been fun, but I need a rest. Now to switch off the internet, flick on the kettle and resume editing my WIP.

Cake anyone?

Find links to all my other atoz posts here.

#AtoZChallenge Y – Yummy bird seed toast

I wasn’t looking forward to finding a subject for Y in the A-Z challenge, so I went for something fun. This yummy bird seed toast is fun to do with the kids, a good way to feed the birds as well as using up old bread. Also, I hope Bill Oddie will approve of this better use of bread which has no nutritional value to birds.



Toast old bread. Poke a hole through it, not too close to the edge, and thread with string.

Spread it with lard or fat.

Sprinkle on seeds and press down.


Put in the fridge. This helps the fat set and the seeds will stick better.

Hang outside in a secluded spot and watch the birds queue up to enjoy.


In my case, we had other visitors, but we don’t mind.

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Neither does Poppy.

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Since making this bird seed toast, I noticed a neighbour had made a similar feeder using a pine cone smeared with fat and seeds. This method really would make Bill Oddie happy I’m sure.


And finally, tomorrow a very special treat for Z…

For links to all my other A-Z blog posts, please click here.

#AtoZChallenge X – Xtremely Healthy Lunch

One of the perks of working from home is homemade, warm and healthy lunches. I still want it to be fast and easy to prepare, I can’t stand to waste my precious writing hours cooking.

A stir fry is quick and easy, and can use up whatever’s in the fridge. The small amount of oil needed must surely be countered by the lovely fresh vegetables. I prefer to use olive oil or rapeseed oil

I like a combo of coloured peppers, courgettes, onions or leek, mushrooms, tomato puree and whatever else needs using. You could even use cabbage or broccoli. I also like to add some tinned and or fresh tomatoes and fresh herbs towards the end of cooking. You just chop it all up and chuck it in the frying pan. Easy.

Top with a few cubes of crumbled feta cheese (available low fat), a couple of handfuls of tortilla chips (available gluten free) and it’s a healthy delight.


You could finish the meal with a slice of Gluten free Carrot cake or the Ultimate Flapjack.

Of course you may want to keep it healthy and have an Orange Vitamin Shake or a hot cup of Elderberry syrup instead.

But I recommend waiting until Z… That’s a real winner.

Now you’re all set for an afternoon of writing, editing or proofreading (check posts on E & P if you need a helping hand). Good luck.

Do you have any Xtremely healthy lunch ideas?


Tomorrow a little something for the birds….

Check out the rest of my a to z posts here.

#AtoZChallenge W – Warwick Castle and re-enactments

Warwick Castle is a wonderful place for a writer to wander, soaking up the atmosphere and reliving history through the re-enactments. I’ve captured many images of Warwick Castle over the years and its been hard to narrow down my selection of photos to a few. I decided to share a few of the castle itself, but to mainly focus on the re-enactments which are lots of fun to watch.

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And now for my favourites…

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A bit more re-enactment with horses!


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Another fight…


Add a little fire…


Finally, a little horsing around.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip into the past.

Have you been to Warwick Castle, what did you think?


Tomorrow how about an Xtremely healthy lunch?

Check out other A-Z blog posts here.

#AtoZchallenge V – Vitamin A & C Syrup (make your own)

This syrup is a great way to use these lovely vitamin rich Elderberries after a foraging trip. The syrup is quick and simple to make, it lasts for months in the fridge and has been used traditionally as a cold & flu remedy. Plus it tastes delicious.

Beware – the stalks and leaves of the Elder are toxic, so be careful with the preparation. And it is not recommended to eat them raw.



A bowlful of delicious berries stripped from the stalks.

Water to cover the berries in the pan.

450g of sugar for each pint of juice that is produced.

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  1. Wash the berries.
  2. Add to a pan and cover with water.
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Put the mixture through a sieve and discard the seeds and pulp.
  5. Add 450g of sugar for each pint of juice.
  6. Boil this down for about 10 minutes, to thicken the juice.
  7. Bottle and store in the fridge once cooled.

I’ve made this for the last few years, and we’ve used it when we feel sniffy or need a vitamin hit. It’s also very tasty if you just want a spoonful of goodness. Last time I forgot to reduce the mixture over the heat for very long and ended up with a thin syrup. It hasn’t affected the flavour and I’ve found it’s delicious adding a few spoonfuls to hot water. It makes a nice alternative to tea, and it’s hopefully doing a bit of good at the same time.

You can also use it as a Coulis and trickle it over ice cream. Yum!


Next time W for Warwick Castle.

Check out other AtoZ posts here.



#Tuesdaybookblog The Great Escape – Megan Rix #childrensbook #bookreview

Title: The Great Escape

Author: Megan Rix

Genre: Children’s book 9+

Published: 2012

Pages: 208

I received a copy from my daughter who really wanted me to read it.



Robert and Lucy Edwards love their pets more than anything, but the threat of the Second World War forces them to flee to Devon – leaving their animals behind. As the air-raid sirens sound, the animals are sent to be put down. But Buster, Tiger and Rose make a daring escape. With danger at every turn, can the trio make it across the country – and cheat death for a second time?

First Impressions:

The Great Escape is a brilliant read for children. It’s packed with little facts and details about World War II, but as it all forms naturally within the story it doesn’t appear like learning at all. The author handled difficult topics like evacuations & mass animal destruction with great skill.


Robert and Lucy and their pets were well drawn characters and I really enjoyed following their story.


I enjoyed all the interesting bits of history that the author cleverly wove into the story. Winston Churchill even turned up for a few pages as he adopted Tiger the cat and named him Jock (my daughter had learnt about this in school so it was a great way of reinforcing facts).

However, I didn’t like how the author switched between different character viewpoints within scenes. I haven’t read many childrens’ books to know if this is normal practice, and it may just be the writer in me nitpicking. It did not spoil the story in any way.

Recommend this book to:

It is a perfect learning device for children showing them how it was to live though the start of World War II. It should be recommended reading in all junior schools. Children and animal lovers will enjoy this tale.

Final thoughts:

I found this story emotional and enjoyed it a lot. I would like to thank my daughter for introducing me to this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

#Tuesdaybookblog Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson #bookreview

I am very pleased to share this 4 star review of my novel, Visions of Zarua.

Book Savvy Reviews


Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction

Pages: 472

Published by Suzanne Rogerson on November 16th, 2015



Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past.

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.

Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to…

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#AtoZChallenge U – Ultimate Flapjacks

Although not gluten free, these Ultimate Flapjacks are wheat free. And although full of sugar and syrup, they are a delicious treat. They are so easy to make, and the kids can easily get involved with the measuring and preparation.



250g oats

100g raisins

125g butter

60g demerara sugar

4 tbsp. golden syrup

pinch of salt

(you can add other dried fruit, chopped nuts, seeds etc)


  1. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan on a low heat setting.
  2. When melted and the sugar dissolved, turn off the heat. Add the oats, raisins and salt and mix well.
  3. Pour the mixture into loaf tins or a high-sided baking tray and press down.
  4. Cook in the over 180c for about 20mins until brown and crispy.
  5. Cut into squares, allow to cool and enjoy.

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You could be munching on these Ultimate Flapjacks in less than an hour, start to finish. Just don’t burn your tongue on the hot raisins!


Tomorrow – Vitamin rich syrup

Check out my other AtoZ Posts here.

#AtoZChallenge T – Title Trouble & a poll

I have a terrible writer’s affliction called Title Trouble.

book-307524_1280It’s getting serious. How can I get my cover art ordered if I don’t have a title?

We all know titles must catch the reader’s eye. Next to the cover image, I’d say it was the most important draw to make the reader want to check out your book. Then the blurb and opening lines have to finish the job.

Sometimes titles are easy. ‘Visions of Zarua’ wrote itself and encompasses what the book is about.

The title Spirit Song, yesterday’s flash fiction story, came from the story itself.

When titles are hard to think up, I use a working title. The trouble with this method is those titles becomes so engrained, it’s almost impossible to see beyond them.

Now I need your help;

I hope to publish my second fantasy novel this year. It will be the first book of a trilogy. The pesky working title has stuck and I can’t see beyond it. Maybe I don’t really want to change it and that is the reason for my Title Trouble.

What do you think?

Bloodlines Trilogy

Book 1 – Search for the Sentinel


Would you pick up this book purely on its title? Would you be intrigued?

Does the title matter to you as a reader? If you’re a writer, how do you come up with your titles?

I look forward to your comments and seeing what the vote will be.


Next time its back to some cooking with Ultimate Flapjacks.

Check out other A-Z posts here.