Category Archives: Mslexia

The Ultimate Ginger Cake #mondayblogs

Felicity’s perfect ginger cake. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

What better way to spend a frosty Saturday afternoon than baking this perfect specimen of a cake? That is, after one has finished one’s writing for the day. Put that vacuum away, forget the windows! Here’s the recipe and a link to the full article by Felicity:  Perfect Ginger Cake

I’d add my chaos-comments but I have to finish my blog post for Mslexia. You’ll find me here.

100g butter, plus extra to grease
100g dark muscovado sugar
175g self-raising flour
4 tsp ground ginger
175g golden syrup
3 tbsp ginger wine
2 free-range eggs, beaten
Walnut-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
150g candied ginger, finely chopped
75g icing sugar
1 piece of stem ginger, to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 160C and grease and line a 23cm loaf tin. Cream together the butter and sugar with a pinch of salt until fluffy. Sift together the flour and ground ginger.
2. Pour in the golden syrup (the easiest way to handle the syrup is with a lightly greased spoon and a silicone spatula) and 1 tbsp wine and mix to combine.
3. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, then gradually mix in the flour. Finally, stir through the fresh and candied ginger and spoon into the prepared tin. Level the top and bake for about 50–60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
4. Allow to cool in the tin. When it’s completely cool, make the icing by mixing together the icing sugar and remaining ginger wine and drizzle over the top of the cake. Slice the stem ginger thinly and arrange down the centre of the cake.


Dark Night of the Soul #mondayblogs

Despair – Or: Dark Night of the Soul

(Part 5 of a six-part post)

How does one feel when one has invested hours of research, money for materials and glistening bits of self into a project? Add to that the decision to share the project with other mortals. The result: a fruit salad of emotions; grape halves, bananas and pineapple chunks with bits of cucumber and salty ham.

Now the hour has come to bare all. My plan is in place and I’ve practiced the process more times than I am willing to admit. I stand before the big event and I feel like I’m coming out of a cave, into the open, to expose my soul to the rest of the world. I’ve finally mustered up enough courage to submit my story. And the guests are coming tonight. Read more…


Too Much Romance? #amwriting

Romance – Or: How Much is Too Much?

(Part 4 in a six-post series)

So, we’ve had an idea, brainstormed and have sorted out some sort of structure for our meal and for our story. Now we’re coming to the next phase. I need to reassess the work I have done, season, thicken, tweak and refine. I need to tighten up the plot, add descriptions and emotional nuances, elaborate here and there and spice up the characters in order to make this experience large and memorable. Here’s the question: how much is too much? Read more…

Chocolate Brownies

Learn to Break the Rules #mondayblogs

Rules – Or: Learn Them Before Breaking Them

(Part 3 of a six-part post)

Last post we brainstormed the appetizer and the beginning of the story. Better said, we threw a soup together and slammed a thousand words into a word document. The soup simmers away on the back burner. The story turns over in the back of my mind along with feedback from friends who’ve added their grease to the plot.

Now things are getting serious. Read more…


How Not To Follow a Recipe #amwriting

Chaos – Or: How Not to Follow a Recipe

(Part 2 of a six-part post)

In my last post we discussed the project at hand. I am writing a short story called The Women of Tragic Hearts and working through the trial round of a three-course meal for unknown guests in order to compare the creative processes involved and underline some of the similarities. And I have time today to practice the meal and to write. But I’m not feeling it. The inspiration has left me. Or could it be that I will regret exposing products of my so-called talents? Read more…


What Are We Hungry For? #amwriting

(Part 1 of a six-part post)

Idea – Or: What Are We Hungry For?

Writing is much like the art of cooking a fine meal or baking a tasty cake. Our tastes grow, change and become more refined as we hone our skills. Not only are they both fun but they are life sustaining…read more here at Mslexia


Join me for the Aperitif of this six-part post that first appeared at the Mslexia Blog!

The theme of my blog residency is The Love of Writing Compared to The Love of Cooking. Now what do these two things have in common? Everything starts with a dilemma; a problem that needs solving. Out springs a bright idea that I think is as good as when the wheel was invented. This evolves to some sort of planning, then chaos, then the clean-up and an eventual surrender to discipline. And this results in a readable story or an edible meal. So I hope. So, you have a choice of two alcoholic cocktails, favorites here at the cafes in Germany. And one non-alcoholic cocktail as well:

Try an Aperol Spritz:d1638-aperol
(Aka lovely, poison-orange liquid in a wine glass.) Here’s the 3-2-1 principle. Three parts white wine or prosecco, two parts Aperol and one part sparkling water. For example: 60 ml wine, 40 ml Aperol and one splash of sparkling water. Add an orange slice and some ice and you’re set!

Or try a Hugo:
(could be compared to a Mojito, but fruitier and much lighter) Why don’t we mix a pitcher while we’re at it? Take 500 ml prosecco, 100 ml elder blossom syrup, 3 limes, some mint leaves and a splash of sparkling water. Crush the mint leaves and the lime in the bottom of a glass pitcher. Slowly add the prosecco, then the elder blossom syrup and top it off with a shot of sparkling water. Can also be served in a wine glass but a cocktail glass will do fine.

Non-alcoholic Hugo can be prepared with an alcohol-free prosecco or with a sparkling water.