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Sunday, 30 September 2012

My AWESOME Coffee Cake Recipe!

Nearly every time I go to a fundraiser for animal welfare charities I always bake and take one of my world famous coffee cakes! I have had hundreds of requests for the recipe, so here it is!


6oz Sugar
6oz Margarine (Stork or something similar - NOT butter)
6oz Self Raising Flour
3 eggs
Three tsp instant coffee.
1/2 tsp baking powder (Mary Berry is wrong, use TWO kinds of raising agent!)
(For filling and topping 1oz Margarine + little knob of butter, 1oz icing sugar and a little dissolved coffee to taste, a small amount of milk and butter)


Warm your oven to 200 degrees C. 

Dissolve the 3 tsp instant coffee in a little boiling water and leave to cool.    

Grease and flour (or line with grease proof paper) two nine inch cake tins.

Break and whisk up the eggs in a small bowl. Whisk them a LOT! Cream together the margarine and sugar with an electric mixer or whisk until it's light and fluffy, add the egg mixture very slowly. Whisk it up until it's a smooth consistency.

Sieve in the flour and the baking powder. Fold this into the mixture carefully (folding is not mixing, use a large spoon and cut and turn the mixture folding the flour into the mixture. One fold and move/turn the bowl a quarter of a turn, then repeat - folding helps keep the air bubbles in).

When all the flour has been incorporated gently fold in the coffee mixture until it's evenly distributed.

Divide the mixture between the two tins and put into the oven. Every few minutes or so turn the tins so the cake cooks evenly. It'll take about 15-20 minutes to cook.

When the cakes are well risen and browning a little, you can test them to see if they're cooked. Carefully insert a thin sharp knife in the middle of the cakes. If the knife comes out clean they're cooked! If not put back in the oven for a few minutes and repeat. Try not to make too many holes in the top! Tap your finger lightly on top, the cake should be firm but springy to the touch

Let the cakes cool in their tins for a few minutes before carefully removing and putting on wire cooling trays.

When the cakes are cold make up some more coffee mixture (a strong, small amount), mix it into the margarine and icing sugar. Beat this into a smooth consistency. Sandwich the cakes together with the coffee butter cream and top with soft coffee icing (a mixture of margarine or butter melted into warm milk,sieved icing sugar and coffee mixture - go easy on the liquid otherwise you will use mountains of icing sugar). Don't make the icing mixture too solid or it will start to lift off bits of cake when you are trying to spread in on top.

Finally! Cut a HUGE slice and enjoy this tasty, moist sponge cake! And send me some pictures!       

Raising funds for animal welfare.

A big thank you to everyone who came to support us at the Westmorland Veterinary Group Practice Open Day at Kirkby Lonsdale.

As well as raising funds for Bentham and District Pet Rescue they were raising money and awareness for Animal Rescue Cumbria

(Me and my better half!)

Thanks to Lakeland Radio!

Thank you to Lakeland Radio for the great interview yesterday, and a HUGE thank you Westmorland Vet Group for raising so much money for deserving animal charities!

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Yorkshire Times Noah Ramsbottom story!

As I am a Yorkshire children’s author and not only do I enjoy reading The Yorkshire Times every day I write articles for it too! Here's a special Noah Ramsbottom story for children to celebrate the YT's first birthday - try reading it to your children tonight when the party is finished and then ask the children to draw pictures and send them to The Yorkshire Times, they might even get published!

"This be magicmazing!” gasped Mr Littleplod the Cave Guard.
“What is?” Asked Noah Ramsbottom, the famous Yorkshire explorer and adventurer, as he sat with his friend having tea and cakes in the entrance to the magic cave, the Cave of Victoria.
“Heehee! We be having an invitation to a birthday party, Noah Ramsbum," replied the cheeky elf. 
“A birthday party? Wow!” replied Noah taking a bite out of a large piece of the Yorkshire curd tart that he’d bought that morning on the market.
Littleplod was catching up with local events by reading The Yorkshire Times on his elf pad, he read it every day to catch up with everything that was going on in Yorkshire and the rest of the world. And when he didn’t have his elf pad with him, Littleplod got updates sent to him on his shell phone too!
Noah dropped his tart and stared wide eyed. Something big was approaching the magic cave. But this was unusual, normally Noah had adventures when he went through the magic doors that were set deep in the cavern, not as he was sat at the entrance overlooking the lush, green hills, stony crags and fields of the Yorkshire Dales!
THUD! THUD! THUD! Whatever it was it was getting closer.
“Littleplod!" Whispered Noah.
“Mmm...” the elf was reading an article in The Yorkshire Times and was totally engrossed.
“Littleplod!" Said Noah a bit louder.
“Mmm..." He was reading an article on how well Yorkshire had done at the London 2012 Olympics by his favourite author, Robert Bullock, “Yorkshire be a very sporting place," he muttered.
“Oy! Forget about Yorkshire being a sporting place!” snapped Noah, “something big’s headed our way!"
“What be the matter, Noah Ramsbum?" Littleplod eventually looked up.
Noah was panic stricken as the thudding stopped and a large head on the end of the longest neck he’d seen since he visited the Dinosaur world appeared right in front of him.
“That be a Diplodocus," declared Littleplod rather too calmly.
“I KNOW!" Replied Noah not daring to move.
“Littleplod be knowing his monsters," replied the elf proudly.
“I KNOW!” Noah didn’t want to move even his little finger.
“This be Cedric,” replied the Cave Guard.
“CEDRIC?" Noah stared at his friend, “” He stuttered.
“Of course I be knowing him, Noah Ramsbum!"
“How do you know him?"
“He be coming here every day for his Yorkshire Rhubarb of course!” Littleplod could barely drag himself away from the Yorkshire Times.
Cedric stood there, a neck longer than two London buses was attached to an immense body which was, in turn, attached to a tail as long as the neck. He was almost as long as the entire crag that the magic cave was situated in.
“Heehee! Of course, we be having our own Iscoseles rhubarb triangle behind door number 180, very dark, damp and mathematically correct!” Littleplod grinned, being a very clever elf for once.
“Oh shut up and just GIVE IT TO HIM, PLEASE!” Snapped Noah, “I’m feeling a bit scared!”
“Heehee, scaredy cat!”
“It be in that bag at your feet, Noah Ramsbum," replied the elf calmly.
And when Noah looked down there was indeed a huge bag full of tasty rhubarb. He bent down, took it out of the bag and held it out for the dinosaur. After sniffing it cautiously, Cedric delicately took the succulent stems and then plodded off along the fields.
As the thuds got quieter and quieter Noah sat down, barely believing what his own eyes had just seen.
“Cedric be reading the Yorkshire Times too...” mumbled Littleplod taking a sip of tea.
“What?" replied Noah, “how?”
“Hee-hee be reading it on his e-Bygumpad of course!"

Happy Birthday The Yorkshire Times!

As a proud Yorkshire person, I was honoured to be asked to write a special Noah Ramsbottom story for the celebrations! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

SAVE 15% on Sam Marsh: The Viking King

SAVE 15% on Sam Marsh: The Viking King

Simply type in PIRATA when you check out to receive your discount! Offer ends September 21st!

Team Badger

For anyone that doesn't know, here in the UK the government are planning to kill thousands of badgers in order to reduce the risk of Bovine TB in cattle.

The science behind this is flawed and already millions of pounds have been spent over the last 9 years killing thousands of badgers for NO GOOD REASON!

They now intend to spend many millions more killing many THOUSANDS more!

Please visit Team Badger, sign petitions, and get involved to stop this madness!


Thank you


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wonderful Whithorn Library!

Feedback from my recent workshop in wonderful Whithorn Library, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

We (including the children) enjoyed listening and having you too! Compliments all round!
Thank you again
Whithorn Library,
St Johns Street,
Newton Stewart,


Sam Marsh and the Battle of the Cloudships in Australia!

Sam Marsh and the Battle of the Cloudships in Australia!  Now Just $18.35!


My Noah Ramsbottom stories! 


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Fantastic weekend in Dumfries and Galloway!

Here's a copy of my email to Sarah Cowan at Education Services, Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Hi Sarah
I really did had a fantastic time over the weekend! And I hope to visit lots of D&G schools soon! Your children are so talented!
One highlight was during Sunday’s session for older children where I read from my book Sam Marsh: The Viking King and Sam Marsh and the Battle of the Cloudships. One of the participants was 14, very unenthusiastic, and to quote his own words ‘I don’t know why I’m here!” Well, he sat spellbound during the reading, contributed fully to the discussion and wrote a fantastic story of his own! Just one example of how inspiration isn’t restricted by age!
Another example of this was the awesome impression of a T-Rex roaring by a dad at Stranraer library! The children were frightened, other parents scared, and I was soooo terrified!
D&G is a gorgeous area and the awesome hard work and effort put in by you organisers should inspire other areas across the whole of the UK to REDISCOVER Literacy! Well done. Please invite me back next year! 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

REDISCOVER Weekend - Still some tickets left!

I am delighted to be taking part in the brilliant REDISCOVER weekend in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, this forthcoming weekend the 8th and 9th September.

I will be at Whithorn Library on Saturday morning and then in the afternoon at Stranraer Library!


At the Gretna Hall Hotel, Gretna on Sunday!


If you're in the beautiful part of the world this weekend please support this brilliant venture.     

Save 20% on Sam Marsh: The Viking King!

Save 20% on Sam Marsh: The Viking King! Offer ends 7th September 2012.

Simply type in CITHARA20 when you check out!;jsessionid=6670C91593C21A078437B8F15C86CD4D


Monday, 3 September 2012

What do writers do on their days off?

What do writers do on their days off? Well this weekend was spent helping raise much needed funds for Bentham and District Pet Rescue 

A busy Saturday was spent baking sponge cakes and a batch of fruit scones were added on Sunday morning before we helped host Afternoon Teas at Langcliffe Village