cake, Ian Somerhalder, inspiration, organic food

Food, Men and the Weekend…

By Clare
What a lovely line up! First of all, the food. Here’s the picture that didn’t quite make it in time to be included in my blog as a new fan of the Abel and Cole Writers’ Lifeline – otherwise known as their box scheme.  You can get more information about them here (love those Easter treats, by the way). 
Food has also been featuring in a big way in my son’s science lessons recently. His class have been working on the difference between mixtures and compounds. Last week they made Cornflake Cakes. Apparently, they are a mixture on the basis that you could (in theory) separate out the cornflakes from the chocolate if you wanted to (ha – like that’s ever going to happen!). This week, his class made Chocolate Brownies, in which cake mixture became the delicious compound we all know and love, by the application of heat.  His weekend homework is a delight, too – he has to write up the recipe of his favourite dish, for possible inclusion in a cookery book to be sold in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. He’s quite a cook, so tonight we get to sample his Spaghetti Carbonara so he can take a photo to illustrate his written work. I can’t wait – why wasn’t science taught like that when I was at school? 

Enough of the pure enjoyment – now to put a little impure sizzle into your weekend. I’m blogging over at Authorsoundrelations right now, about matching the hero and heroine I have in my mind as I work on my current book with some images of real people. The idea is to find some photos to go on my inspirations board. Here’s one of the front runners, Ian Somerhalder, to whet your appetite – I’d love you to drop by and join in the fun!
notmyson, by vagueonthehow

cake, chocolate, Christina Hollis author, Christmas, mincemeat

If You Like Chocolate and Christmas, You’ll Love This…
By Johnathunder, via Wikimedia Commons

This time last year, I was getting ready to make our usual rich fruit cake for Christmas when my daughter suggested we try something new. She loves chocolate courgette cake (which was a bit of a leap of faith for me at the time!), and wanted to try this odd-sounding recipe. I was apprehensive beforehand, but it really works and we all love it. 

There are a few things to note: it’s not gluten free, and you really need the dots to be white chocolate – I didn’t have any when I first tried this recipe out, and the ordinary milk-chocolate dots I used were virtually invisible in the finished cake!


150g softened butter 
150g soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
185g  self-raising flour
40g cocoa powder
400g mincemeat (I used my own recipe of mixed dried fruits, plus grated apples and brandy)
80g each of sultanas and raisins
20g quartered glace cherries, washed & well dried.
50g blanched almonds, chopped
100g of white chocolate dots


Pre heat oven to Gas Mark 3/Electric 160 deg. C, Fan 140 deg C.
Line a 20cm/8” tin with a couple of layers of greaseproof paper.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat for 1- 2 minutes, until well mixed.
Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for between 90 minutes – 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  You’ll probably need to cover the cake with tinfoil toward the end of the cooking time, to stop it browning too quickly.
Leave the cake to cool in its tin for a while before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

This cake doesn’t freeze and is unlikely to keep for as long as a traditional rich fruit cake, but this doesn’t matter as it vanishes in a very short time!