18 Nov

I made these epic cake pops for my writers’ circle this weekend. The icing-covered ones were kind of a disaster but the chocolate ones were great. I know which kind I’ll be making from now on!

They went down a storm too, I can’t wait to make more. Nobody could keep their hands off them.


Thanks to those who braved the icy temperatures today to join us in Nexus Art Café for some writing and cake pops!

We had a lot of fun today and some of us even got some NaNoWriMo written. Jon has written up a quick rundown of what we did and posted the lovely stories he wrote at the meeting. You can read them on his blog here.

We also released a preview of our upcoming short story collection, which you can download and read here!

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Foodie Penpals #2

31 Oct

My second Foodie Penpals was almost a disaster!

Unlike last month, I got myself organised nice and early and had everything planned out. Unfortunately my penpal found themselves unable to take part, so then I had a wait while I found out who I was reassigned to and got their details.

In the meantime, I went to Venice. Not knowing anything about who I was providing a food package for, I decided to get a selection of treats while I was there and hope there would be something in it they liked!

I then had a nailbiting wait of a whole week in which it didn’t seem like my package was going to show up. Good thing I  didn’t send any perishables! At long last I found out that Lisa had received my package. Yay! You can find out more about Lisa and her incredible looking baking on her website Sweet 2 Eat.


While all this madness was going on, I was paired up on the receiving end with another lovely Sarah. I was so thrilled by the box she sent me, as she’d put so much thought into it.


Sarah sent me this lovely card explaining why she’d chosen the different foods.


I love chilli chai, or any kind of chai, but actually the others were a weirdly prescient choice, as I came down with a cold a few days later!


Sarah had obviously discovered my love of porridge, as she sent me some oats and these delicious looking toppers to try. I’ll be using these for brain food when I start NaNoWriMo tomorrow!

Just to show how much thought Sarah put into her package, she baked these muffins for me, using soy milk specially as I’d told her I was allergic to regular milk. Yummy!


These snacks disappeared in about ten seconds flat, especially when my cashew-fiend partner got his hands on them.

All in all, a successful Foodie Penpals run (in the end!). Can’t wait to do it all again 🙂

World Porridge Day

11 Oct

Love it or hate it: Porridge is here to stay.

If you were ever in doubt, maybe you haven’t heard of World Porridge Day which is celebrated on October 10th.

In celebration of this warm, filling breakfast, and my minor obsession with chai spices, I bring you my new favourite recipe:


Quick brekkie-at-work Chai Porridge

Porridge always fills me up more than I expect, even when I try to make less! I think I used about 30g of porridge oats today. If you’re just measuring by sight (as I did), definitely use less than you expect you’ll need. You can always make more 😀

Top up with double the amount of milk.

You could use chai syrup, but I used a chai teabag – messy but delicious, and you get to decide how sweet it is (or not!)

Pop in the microwave for two minutes(ish), until the oats are thick and creamy, and the teabag leaks brown when you squeeze it.

Stir in the teabag until the chai flavour is as strong as you want it. Add a drizzle of honey depending on how sweet you like it.

Top with cinnamon, and enjoy!


Does anybody else have a favourite porridge recipe? I feel like this could become a series. Particularly interested if anybody has savoury porridge recipes, but my sweet tooth is happy with either!

8 Oct

My first attempt at a foodie penpals box!


Woah there. Seven months of Foodie Penpals … Wahooza! Seven months of getting ace parcels of deliciousness to my door? Wahoooooooooooooooo.
This month I was paired with two Sarahs. Sarah who I sent my parcel to runs a blog about lots of things, but one of the most important aspects is her candid discussion of mental health. You can read about how she found the package at her blog ‘Make-up and Mirtazapine’.

My parcel came from another Sarah, who has her own writing blog here. And once more, what a lovely parcel I got!

I did my usual ritual of saving it and then settling down with a cuppa and some cake, for the unpacking!

What would be inside my box of wonder?

All the amazing things! Sarah had clearly read through other posts and worked out what things I’m interested in and what sort of things…

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Foodie Penpals #1

1 Oct

September was my first adventure as a Foodie Penpal.

Alright, so not a lot of actual adventuring was required, unless you count my tastebuds which have certainly had an adventure.

I was paired up with Lucy from Leeds aka Offally Good (I do love a good pun), and hopefully you’ll be able to find out more about the box I sent her on her blog. She also posts some really interesting recipes and general thoughts about food, I recommend a read!

On the receiving end I was paired with the lovely Sally Telford from Bristol aka You make me swoon, who spoiled me with all her favourite Bristolian treats. Sally also managed to pick a lot of my favourite foods for which I was very impressed indeed.

I was delighted by Sally’s attention to detail

First thing was this adorable tin of loose leaf tea from Sally’s local tea shop/café with a booklet about their teas. Really interesting and it’s great to have tips about local places in case I get to visit there.

It’s a mystery how my terrifying love for Turkish delight escaped and permeated through the internet, but there you are. These lasted all of ten minutes, and they were absolutely delicious.

Clockwise: Tea, a card from Sally, turkish delight and mini chocolate bars (and more turkish delight, yum!)

I love chilli and make it pretty often, but unlike some stick-in-the-muds I pretty much try out a different concoction every time I make it. I was delighted therefore to get this recipe for something I already love but in a new way I’ve never made it!

I also got these delicious little chocolate bars (dark chocolate because I’m allergic to milk – yay!) which will go perfectly on my chilli.

I’ve saved my favourite part of the package for last, which was this beautiful jar of jam:

I’m a bit of a jam snob, and this is already half gone.

In her card Sally explained why she’d chosen each item for me.  The jam comes from a local place which forages ingredients and makes them into produce, like this Elderberry and Bramble jam.

I’ve eaten about half of this jar already, the jam is delicious and just what I would choose. I hate jam that is too sweet and tastes sickly or false, but this has a lovely rich flavour that’s just sweet enough. I was also worried the little berries in it might be bitty like eating raspberries but they are squishy and wonderful. I need to get my hands on more of this jam.


All I can say is I’m delighted I took part, I’ll definitely be doing it again, and I hope to meet many more lovely foodie friends through this blog 😀


The Lean Green Bean

Clandestine Cake Club

25 Sep

Free cake? New people? I’m in.

Last week I attended my first Clandestine Cake Club meeting. The club brings together cake-lovers for a friendly chat and an indulgent sampling of a range of homemade cakes.

Each meeting has a different theme: ours was ‘tipsy cakes’, and where possible the location matches the theme. The location itself is kept secret until just before the meeting.

Kro Piccadilly

Anyone can go along: hobbyists and professionals alike, and you’re welcome to take along a guest to help put away all that cake.

The Central Manchester group is still fairly small which was ideal for a newbie. Emma, the group’s organiser, was very friendly and made the effort to introduce me to everyone. All the Cakies were enthusiastic about trying everyone’s offerings, and very welcoming.

I quickly learned that you start with tiny slices of each cake, and only go for a bigger one if you’ve still got room after sampling! Looks like my cake-munching stamina isn’t what it used to be. All the cakes were delicious; there was rum and ginger; rum and cherry; gin and tonic (mine!); rum and coconut; chocolate and guiness and several more that have sieved out of my cake-fevered brain since last week.

My now-infamous gin & tonic cake

Everyone was reluctant to try it at first claiming they didn’t like gin, but after tasting they all said the cake was fantastic.

At the end everyone gets to take cake home with them, and it’s strongly advised to bring an extra Tupperware for samples of all the cake you didn’t get to try (or want to try again!). I took my leftovers into work the next day; they were hoovered up in about two minutes by some of the boys in the office, who apparently were standing around sampling and comparing them like a group of WI experts.

I’m really hoping to go again to the next meeting. I was quickly overwhelmed by the amount of cake but it was really nice to get out and do something different with a new group of people for the evening.

If you’d like to try out my cake you can find the recipe right here!

24 Sep

From now on I’ll be recording recipes and other food adventures over here, so I’d better put this up for posterity!

a slice of imagination

I’m afraid I haven’t had time this week for writing, so here’s the write-up of a baking adventure I had at the weekend.

We’ll return to regularly scheduled programming shortly.

I recently joined the Clandestine Cake Club and I’m going to my first meeting on September 19th. The meetings are themed with the next being ‘Tipsy Cakes’. I decided I’d like to try a gin & tonic in cake form, so this was my first attempt at baking one. I took a recipe I found online (I have forgotten where :/) and have adapted it slightly and added metric measures (yeah!)


Gin and Tonic Cake

makes one large 9×13 baking dish

(This makes a BIG CAKE. You may want to halve these quantities—my cake was far too thick and took twice the time to bake, resulting in a slightly crusty outer edge)

3 cups/720g all-purpose flour (plain flour)


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