Tuesday, 26 May 2009


I met up with a friend I hadn't seen for six months last week, that's a long time of not seeing each other. It happened like this - we had arranged to meet up in March. My friend e-mailed me to change the date, no problem, I was free on the suggested date a couple of weeks later.

The day before we were to meet I sent a text and e-mailed to check where and when we were meeting. No reply. Odd, I thought, but maybe my friend had been called away urgently, it sometimes happens, or was ill. I sent another e-mail a week or so later, expressing the hope that all was well. No reply.

I was caught up in the final essays at uni, and very busy, and assumend my friend would contact me when free to do so. Two months later, I got a text saying 'Hope you're ok etc". I was delighted and responded by text and e-mail saying how pleased I was to hear all was well. We finally met up last week. It transpires that an inadverdant slip of the finger had identified my messages as spam, so they weren't received, not only that, but the messages my friend sent me were also not sent.

If only we'd either of us picked up a "real" telephone and called, instead of just wondering, and commenting to our partners! Just goes to show how easy it can be to lose touch. I was upset because I'd been ignored, and so was my friend - what a pair. I hope you won't let the same thing happen to you!!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Easy Chocolate Cake


Today I'm giving you a simple to make, yummy to eat, chocolatey cake. It doesn't have chocolate, as such, in it, just cocoa, but you could put melted chocolate over the top, or cut it in half and spread it with chocolate spread to make it even more choccy! It's based on a recipe from On The Eigth Day Cookbook pudding section. I make mine vegan and wheat free, but you can use milk and wheat flours. It works either way - I used the recipe before I became intolerant to wheat! Read the decisions bit at the end re choices to make. Heat the oven early, it's so quick to make!!

Grease and line an 8" cake tin. Heat oven to 180C, Gas 4.

Mix together:

170g SR flour
30g cocoa powder
75g sugar
1tsp baking powder (add more baking powder if you used plain flour instead of SR flour)

Melt 100g margarine, then stir it into the dry ingredients: add
125-175mil either apple juice, cold water, or milk of any sort to make a quite runny cake mixture. Pour it into the cake tin and bake for about 25 mins, until firm in the centre.


Flour - half and half wholemeal and white, or whatever you fancy. I use rye, soya, barley and besan flours.

Sugar - I like to use vanilla sugar - just stick a vanilla pod in your sugar jar and leave it, topping up the sugar as you use it. You can use soft brown, white, demerara, it's up to you.

If you like fruit in chocolate cake, you could stir in about 50g of raisins, cherries or whatever you fancy.

Leave it to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning it out to cool. Leave it as it is, or cut in half and sandwich with chocolate spread, or black cherry conserve for a Black Forest Gateau type cake, drizzled with kirch and some cream or soya cream topping. Yummy. Enjoy it whatever method you choosen :-)

I'm off to meet my friend for an afternoon dawdling round the shops, then for an Indian meal at Shimla Pinks in Manchester - they serve lovely, freshly made food, and handle the fact that we're vegan with no problems as a rule. Worth visiting if you're in Manchester and enjoy Indian food.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


Today I discovered a lovely site 'I am a Writer' at http://picturespoetryprose.blogspot.com/. Every day there is apparently a new photograph posted, to inspire visitors to write. It worked for me - a photo of a gnarled tree in the foreground, overlooking a valley in the autumn, inspired the first poem I've written for months - and I enjoyed it! I hasten to add, though, that it may not have much merit, that is for others to judge. I hope someone will enjoy it, I'm repeating it here:

Slanting sun, shapely shadows,
Ribs of the world, highlighted.
Slumbering hills, soothed by sunlight
Untroubled by this century’s wars.

Ancient body, gnarled and twisted,
Watching over his kingdom.
Eldritch Ent, will he awaken?
Is he needed yet?

Gold, umber, green, brown,
Autumn spreads her cloak.
Sheltering all who patiently wait
For Spring to stir them to life.

This begs the question, should I have opted out of poetry next year at uni? The problem is, there are too many interesting and enjoyable modules on offer, it's impossible to take them all. Since writing short stories is what I plan to do, I've opted for all prose modules. Now I'm wondering whether I should modify my plans. Time will tell!

I've just been looking at vegetarian cookery blogs, and am consequently feeling rather peckish. Still, looking at the clock, it is time for "elevenses", so I shall go and put the kettle on and have a green tea and a slice of fruit cake. Actually, I'll give you the recipe for the cake. It was my birthday the other day, and I made a couple of cakes; a chocolate one complete with chocolate frosting (ok, I know it's naughty, but it was my birthday!), and a more everyday fruit cake. It's got ingredients which, allegedly, help to ease those "tropical moments" that those of us of a certain age can be prone to. I do think they're easing nowadays, no, not due to this miraculous cake, I mean in general, which is good, because whilst it's handy if the central heating system is broken to be able to heat a whole room effortlessly, it's not pleasant :-(

Anyway, back to the cake, which is based on the "Feel Good Cake" from Vegetarian Cooking Without by Barbara Cousins ISBN 0722538979:

Boil 125g carrots until nearly soft. Cool, mash. Add:

270ml soya milk

125ml carnola oil (I've just discovered this oil, look at the lovely golden hue it gives!)

270g mixed flours - Iused barley, soya, channa, polenta

1tsp each ground cumin and coriander

60g pumplin seeds

30g sunflower seeds

285g mixed dried fruits - I used blackcurrants, raisins, currants, cranberries

Mix it all together and pour into greased, lined 20cm cake tin. Bake 170C 45 minutes, then turn down and bake a further 30 minutes at 145C, or until firm.

Leave to cool in tin for 5 mins before turning onto cooling tray.

The book says eat within 3 days or freeze.

It's a good, solid cake, with only the natural sweetness of the fruits. I had a slice for breakfast - which makes it good for a dieter, I suppose, the pleasure of eating cake, without the guilt cos it's good for you at the same time. Neat!! I'm a novice photographer, as you can see, but I hope it's good enough to give the impression.

Enjoy. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

One or two of the fiddly ropes!

Well, I finally managed to remove the gigantic photo which over-shadowed the whole site - that was definitely one of the fiddlier ropes, and inserted a more modestly sized version instead. Thanks to those who offered suggestions :-)

I've also managed to put a couple more photos in. It's amazing the sense of achievement I've got from these small successes. I just wish I could remember quickly how to do things!! Must practice more, and more, and more ...

Word soup tonight at a local hostelry to keep the creative juices flowing. One day I'll be brave enough to stand up and deliver one of my pieces, one day. For now, I'll just keep listening to others and scribbling, well, typing, away in private, sharing only with a few trusted friends.

Whilst mentioning hostelries, I'm going to advertise a wonderful stain remover which I discovered. Some red wine managed to spread itself across a pale pink shirt whilst I was out, and despite soaking in the bath overnight in cold water, it was still there the next morning. I'd bought something called Oxy Fresh 2 in 1 stain remover byXpel Marketing Ltd, WA8 0TH, just a few days before, and thought I might as well try it out. I squirted it on, two little jets of clear liquid, which generate some chemical reaction or other, and wow! the stain disappeared! Red wine! Gone! The shirt is as good as new. My reputation as a sober, upright person was doubtless shattered at the bar, but the shirt's ok.

Time to go plant some seeds. Bye for now.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Well, here goes ...


My name is Christine, and I'm an alcoholic, no, that's wrong, start again

Hi, my name is Christine, and I'm a new blogger. Yep, that's better.

I went along with a couple of friends to a blogger's evening at The New Continental, and was inspired to create a blog site. Thanks to those there for their precious words, and especially to Jane for sitting between us with her laptop and patiently showing us the ropes - the big, easy to hold ropes, that is. There are, apparently, several smaller, more fiddly ropes to handle later.

I'm going to fill in all the profile details, when I find out where they're hiding, but for now, I'll just give you a brief overview of who I am. You can yawn quietly and switch off whenever you've had enough, but, trust me, you'll be back another time, just wait and see.

OK..... I've just completed my second year as a UCLAN undergraduate, studying English Literature and Creative Writing, and am waiting, patiently, for the results to come through. I'm what's politely termed a "mature student", which is sooooo much better than being labelled an "elderly prima-gravida", which happened when I became pregnant at the age of 28 - elderly!!!!!! That baby is now 26 and happily married herself, and I still wouldn't appreciate being referred to as elderly!

I'm vegan, and have been for about 16 years, and vegetarian before that due to the refusal of said baby to eat lamb for dinner after we'd been out for a family walk, admiring the white, fluffy bounding beasts in the fields. My brother kindly came and emptied my freezer of gammon, lamb and other corpses for me. He still thinks I'm strange - but there's little chance of me having mad-cow disease, is there?

I love cooking, and have dozens of cookery books. I'm allergic to wheat, which is a real pain (literally and metaphorically) as I used to love baking bread, and it just doesn't taste the same without the wheat - the resultant loaves could, though, probably take on new lives as substitutes for bricks, I must be careful not to throw one at a window, I suspect the bread would win the contest.

I love to grow my own vegetables. David has built me
three raised beds in the back garden to grow them in, so that I don't have to keep bending too much. They haven't got anything in them except some Swiss Chard at the moment, but they will have, they will - and, if I'm lucky, there'll be enough for the slugs, snails and me.

I enjoy making greetings cards, my little bungalow complains sometimes that I try to cram too much inside it. I gave it a conservatory last autumn, just to keep it quiet for a while, but it's started moaning again, so the loft will have to be done next. The things we do for a quiet life! David is tiling the conservatory floor for me, as I speak.
I'll have a go at anything crafty, really. I used to knit, crochet and sew a lot, but haven't done much recently - too busy reading and writing essays.

That's enough of me, for now. I'm going to see if I can find my way round the site.
Thank you for visiting :-)