Sunday, 1 July 2012

On the road again!

Today I feel like the White Rabbit's grandmother! Talk about being late! Where in the world has the time gone to?
Part of it was taken up with the honing of a co-written script called VOODOO MAGIC. The film, co-written with and directed by Elom Bell @HmmmElom on Twitter, then went into production and is now going through the process of being edited. More about this a little later!

On the soundtrack today

The wonderful  Anthony Dominick Benedetto singing Yesterday I Heard the Rain.
Never heard of him? 'course you have! It's the legendary Mr Tony Bennett!
As an added bonus, Mr Bennett also sings' People' from that wonderful musical 'Funny Girl.'

It was written by the profilic mexican composer, Armando Manzanero.

Quote for today

' Write while the heat is on you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts, uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.' Henry David Thoreau
Featured Website, Article or Blog

I'm really pleased to be able to feature Eric B. Thomasma's blog:

You can find him on Twitter @seams16 Eric is not only a husband, a father and a very busy author, he is also a pretty damn decent human being. Inspite of all that he does, he always has time to promote other writers and direct readers to their blogs! He does this all the time, and I think that is pretty amazing!!
I recently bought his book And So it Begins. Haven't had a free moment to read it, but I will, and promise to review it.

Recipe for today

The Best Chocolate Cake I've ever eaten!

If you're looking for a light, airey fairy sponge-type chocolate cake, then this recipe is not for you!
This recipe is for a heavy, solid, 'stick to the ribs' kind of cake. You know you've eaten a choclate cake after eating a slice or two of this!
I first ate this cake years ago, when a male colleague brought one he had made,  to work. One slice, and I was hooked! A few months later, I paid him to make me one for my birthday. I am not at all ashamed to say that I ate most of it! Over a period of a week or so, mind you! The family knew better than to mess with my cake.
Then, horror of horror, before I could get the recipe, the maker of the cake disappeared and I spent the next year or so, (on and off) trying every damn chocolate cake recipe I found, hoping to be able to recreate that dark, dense, taste sensation. Eventually, I found it, and it has become a firm favourite amongst friends and family.
Several years later, I met my cake making friend on a London Underground tube. "It's easy," he said, when I told him about my search. "You just take an orange..."
I'm going to share the recipe with you , and hope you will try it and love it as much as I do.Recipe at the bottom of the page.

Writing and stuff

So what have I been doing that has prevented me from blogging? Told you a bit right at the beginning of this piece of writing. Writing and re-writing bits of the script for VOODOO MAGIC. If it had only been that, it would have been OK, but due to the size of the budget, I agreed to provide the food for the cast and crew! I was told, that it would be a maximum of 15 people per day. That sounded 'do-able'! One main meal, sandwiches and snacks, breakfast stuff, etc. etc.
In reality, we never had 15 people on any day! The average was around 30, and on the days when all the extras were in, it rose to beyond 50! It was done, but OMG what a nightmare! I kept having nightmares (I kid you not!) waking up from a sleep (in the day time) thinking that the runner had come to collect the food and I hadn't even started cooking it! Cooking was done at night in readiness for a 6/7/8 am pickup!
Only managed to get to the location on the very last day. Was totally impressed! Production team in one room, costume/make up elsewhere, walkie-talkies going off, summoning people to the set! WOW! Professional!
Film is in post production now. Here's hoping...
Bookwise: WHY isn't my first novel SMALL FREEDOMS out as yet? Ask @HmmmmElom Next week is the promise. It never comes bearing my book trailer! Just may go without it! Have started up with ALWAYS NOT FOREVER again. Passed the 77,000 word mark yesterday!
Spend a fair amount of time thanking etc. my dear friends on Twitter. Haven't gone 'automated' on that. Thank each and everyone, personally. Am grateful for their encouragement and support. Have bought few of their books as well! Quite a backlog on my Kindle now!

Finally, the recipe!

  • 1 orange
  • a little melted butter , for greasing
  • 100g plain chocolate , broken into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 240ml sunflower oil
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • orange candied peel , to decorate( optional, but a good idea. 'Tells' people it's a chocolate/orange cake!)
A dense, dark and divinely delicious cake. This will be gone in sixty seconds!


  1. Pierce the orange with a skewer (right through). Cook in boiling water for 30 minutes until soft. Whizz the whole orange in a food processor until smooth; let it cool. If there are any pips,I'd remove them at this stage.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C. Grease and line the base of a 23cm/9in round cake tin. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. You could microwave it for 2 minutes on High. Stir after 1 minute. I don't like using a microwave too much, but it's up to you. Let it cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Gradually beat in the puréed orange, then stir in the cooled melted chocolate. Sift in the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Mix well and pour the mixture into the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the middle. (Check after 45 minutes and cover with foil if it is browning too much.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Make the chocolate ganache: put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour over the chocolate. Leave for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Set aside until firm enough to spread over the cake - usually up to 1½ hours, but could take longer!
  5. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Using a palette knife, swirl the ganache over the top. Decorate with strips of candied orange peel if using.
  6. Slice and eat and go straight to chocolate heaven!

Friday, 6 January 2012

I'm Still Here!

I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland! I'm Late, I'm Late! Should have blogged ages ago! But now's the time, so here goes!

On the soundtrack today 

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? Sung by the wonderful Nancy Wilson,

Perhaps a little late (or too early?) to ask this, but I could listen to this track anytime of the year!
This beautiful song was written by Frank Loesser in 1947, and recorded by many people, including Barry Manilow, Harry Connick Jnr, The Carpenters and Ella Fitzgerald.
Loesser has written many wonderful songs, and the words, music and scripts for some well loved musicals.
Anybody heard of Guys and Dolls? :-)
Quote for today
Even the most productive writers are expert dawdlers ~ DONALD M. MURRAY
(I am a productive dawdler!) That, BTW, is a meism and nothing to do with Donald Murray!

Featured website, article or Blog

Paul Dorset, writer of several books, can be found @jcx27 on Twitter. He is a Twitter and Facebook friend. I love his Blog, Utterances of an Overcrowded Mind, and something he wrote a few months ago, titled 'Do I Really Have To Edit My Novel? Seriously?' is very relevant to where I am, today! Later about that!

 Recipe for today

Thai Seafood Burgers
A mixture of fish and prawns and a few other 'bits' make this delicious, light burger, totally yummy!
Recipe at the bottom of the page.

Writing and stuff
So where am I right now with my writing?
Here is where Paul Dorset's piece on editing comes in.
I have just completed my 5th edit of SMALL FREEDOMS, and am about to embark on my 6th. At 152,046 words, that's going some! Will the 6th be the last? Who knows? I'll see how many errors I find on the 6th time around!
Fortunately (for me), I'm still happy reading what I've written! And, if I'm honest with myself, at times I'm pretty amazed that I've written what I've written, and start to wonder where those thoughts and ideas came from. Regardless of wence they came, long may they continue to do so!
I've had several versions of the book cover sent to me. Can't make up my mind about the colour. So, I will be putting several versions on here on this Blog, very shortly, and will ask people to help me to choose.
Discussions for the book trailer are well under way, so I think I'm getting where I want to be. Out there, exposed, and asking for criticism!
That's to come, in the not too distant future. Right now, let's hit the kitchen, and cook!
No need to tell you that these scrumptious, easy to make and even easier to eat burgers are a firm, family favorite!

Thai Seafood Burgers
Serves 4
350 grams any skinless white fish (cubed)
150 grams raw prawns
2 spring onions (scallions)
2 red chillies (deseeded)
4 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro)
1 medium egg (lightly beaten)
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon toasted rice flour/fresh white breadcrumbs
4 burger buns
Handful of finely shredded lettuce and 'matchsticks' of cucumber
4 burger buns or any other buns that you prefer
2-3 tablespoons Mayonaise

 Chop the spring onions and deseeded red chillies, then put the spring onions and half the chillies, into a food processor. Add the fish, prawns, egg, 3/4 of the corriander, lime zest and a little salt to taste. If you prefer to be more authentic, a few shakes of Fish Sauce could be used instead of salt.
Whiz the lot together briefly. Only briefly mind you, because we still want some texture in there! Add enough of the toasted rice flour or breadcrumbs to hold the mixture together. It will still be a bit 'runny', but don't panic!
Turn it out onto a plate, and form the mixture into 4 burgers. Cover the plate with cling film (Saran wrap) and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so to 'set'.
Meanwhile, mix the Mayo with the remaining chillies, chopped corriander and enough of the lime juice to give the mayo a tangy lift. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

You can griddle, shallow fry or even barbecue these burgers, but only for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Split the buns and spread them with the lime and corriander mayo.
Place a burger on each of the bottom half of the buns, top with a handful of lettuce and cucumber, add the top half of the buns, and lift them slowly to your mouth!

Let the smell seduce you first, then let your tastebuds take over!
Bliss, absolute bliss! But don't just take my word for it, take my recipe and do what it says!