#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 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 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.



#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 J – Jam Making

Plumberry Jam is the perfect summer recipe.

It uses fresh blackberries, plums and cooking apples from the garden or after a foraging trip. I love the added sharpness of the lemon in this jam recipe. It makes a delicious change to the usual sweetness you expect. Original recipe from Clippy McKenna’s book ‘500 Jams & Preserves’.

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600g sugar

2tbsp fresh lemon juice

225g each of peeled & chopped cooking apples, de-stoned plums and blackberries.

3 tbsp. water

(The original recipe also adds fresh vanilla which I didn’t have. I didn’t add any vanilla essence despite its appearance in the picture!)



  1. Gently boil the water, apple and plums in a pan. It will take about 10 minutes to go soft.
  2. Add the blackberries and lemon juice and cook until soft – 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Once soft, add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. Cook with the lid off so the mixture starts to reduce and thicken.
  5. Cook on a rolling boil. It will be ready in about 5 minutes.
  6. Check it has a jam consistency. Leave to cool a little before pouring into sterilised jars and seal.

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As you can see it made three smallish jars. I’m eeking out the last jar, and can’t wait for the summer to make some more.

I also love marrow, ginger and cinnamon jam. It’s even more delicious than plumberry. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to share of this, but I’ll do a post about it later in the year.


Tomorrow I’ve be answering some of Kai’s Questions…

Please check here for links to other a-z challenge posts.

Take a break and eat cake!

Every writer needs a break from their computers once in a while. Something I’ve found always relaxes me is baking my favourite cake. This is not just any cake. It’s gluten and dairy free and has a few secret ingredients that make it tasty and healthy.

How can a cake with these ingredients be anything but good for you!

Cake Ingredients

Time for a cuppa and a slice of cake.


What better way to spend a rainy day than making Plumberry Jam.

plumberry ingredients

Blackberries and plums from the garden.

225g cooking apples, 225g plums, 225g blackberries, 3tbsp of water, 2tbsp lemon juice, 600g sugar.

Cook apples and plums for 10min (until soft). Add blackberries and lemon juice and cook until soft. Then add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Boil until a jam consistency is reached.

plumberry results

Tasty results.