#AtoZChallenge G – Gluten Free Carrot Cake

I wanted share my favourite carrot cake recipes. Its gluten, wheat and dairy free, but does use ground almonds instead of flour so no good for those with a nut allergy.

It’s a very moist cake, which gets even more moist over time. Of course it doesn’t last very long in this house. I save calories by leaving out the topping. It’s so delicious, it doesn’t need anything added.


Original recipe from ‘Beat IBS through Diet’ by Maryon Stewart & Dr Alan Stewart. I’ve added my own twist to this delicious recipe by adding cinnamon, raisins and using orange peel instead of lemon.



225g grated carrot

225g ground almonds

225g sugar (I’ve used Demerara sugar, which really changes the flavour. I love the slight crunch it gives)

4 eggs.

rind of an orange or lemon

80g raisins

1 & 1/2 tbsp rice flour

1tsp w/f baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon (could easily add more)



1. Add the egg yolks, sugar and peel to a bowl and beat.

2. Add the carrot, ground almonds and raisins and mix.

3. Add the rice flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.

5. Gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the mixture.

6. Add to a lined and greased loaf tin or high-sided baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes at 160/170 fan.


Delicious, and the kids love it.

I love finding healthy (ish) gluten free recipes. Have you any to share?


Tomorrow Hampton Court.

Links to previous posts can be found here

#AtoZChallenge D – Dried flowers, Drying Rosemary & ‘Dear Rosemary’

Dried Flowers

I remember putting flowers in books as a child to press them. It was always fun to discover them months later, perfectly preserved.

Last year a visit to Kew Gardens and its beautiful galleries (Marianne North Gallery and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art) reminded me of this childhood hobby. I decided it would be something fun to do with the children and bought a flower pressing kit.


In spring 2015 we chose a dry afternoon to pick some flowers to press. It must have been early May because flowers like the honey suckle are no where to be seen in early April. A few months later we made bookmarks and key rings with the dried flowers. It was fun, apart from the children arguing who should have what flowers.


The results have faded over time, but I decided to try again. There’s not much choice in the garden at present. All we could find were plum blossom, rosemary flowers and a few tiny pink heather flowers. We’ve put them in the press and just need to remember to tightened it every now and then. We can also add more layers as the flowers bloom in the garden.



Flower pressing can be a fun project as long as you remember to collect several of each flower so there are no arguments! The smaller and thinner the petals, the better they will be preserved. Big fleshy blooms don’t press well, and be careful of your colour choice. We chose a vibrant red bell flower which as you can see from the picture of the bookmark above has turned a horrible shade of brown. Stick to paler colours.

Drying Rosemary


Rosemary is my favourite herb. I love the tiny delicate blue flowers and the contrast against its dark green foliage. I can’t resist stroking my hand across the plants whenever I see them and releasing that pungent aroma. The name Rosemary holds memories from childhood as I had a pink toy rabbit I named Rosemary. And its also the title of one of my all time favourite Foo Fighter song from their brilliant album, Wasting Light Dear Rosemary (this is the first time I’ve seen their video and its a little weird, but that’s what I expect from the Foo’s).

I’ve never used my rosemary plants, so I decided it was time to try something new. I researched different methods of drying these woody herbs and chose to air dry rather than in the oven. I’ve yet to find a proper hanging space, but for now above my desk will do perfectly. It’s out of direct sunlight and I can enjoy looking at as I listen to the Foo Fighters.

Once the plant has dried, I’ll have to research how to use it. I can’t let this beauty go to waste.


Tomorrow it’s back to writing and some editing tips.

Click here for a list of previous posts.

#AtoZChallenge C – Candle making

Candle making.

I got a Kirstie Allsopp ‘Vanilla Voltive Candle kit’ for mother’s day. I love anything to do with crafts and these packs with everything you need to get started are a great introduction to trying out something new.

This kit consists of;

2 bags paraffin wax pellets, 2 bags beeswax pellets, vanilla scent, cotton wick, metal wick holder, 2 wooden sticks with holes, 2 candle moulds.

What you need;

Pliers, pegs, two old pans – one big, one smaller.


I chose a windy and wet bank holiday weekend to make my first batch of candles. It was simple to do, apart from having to put the wick together and guessing a third of a bag of wax etc. Also there wasn’t any instructions on how much vanilla to add, but I just used common sense and put in a couple of drops.

The first attempt I didn’t have enough melted wax to fill the two moulds to the top, so the second time I just used the rest of the bag and had plenty to spare which I used to fill an old candle holder. I also added dried lavender, though it just sat around the top in the mould so it wasn’t the effect I was hoping for.

P1160190 (2)

Conclusion to candle making;

It was quick, simple and not too messy. They look good, burn nicely and fill the room with a lovely vanilla scent. They are really good fun and would make a nice handmade gift. It would be fun to experiment with colours and scents, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see what new designs I can come up with.


Tomorrow follows more crafty ideas.

A – Amber’s Method Top 5 writing tips

B – Beta Readers