Wheat-free chocolate and almond cake

Popping this old recipe here so it doesn’t get lost again. No photo since it’s years since I made one!

Chocolate and Almond Cake

This wheat-free chocolate cake is an old family favourite and it is quite a grown-up take on chocolate cake. Having said that my daughter loved it from an early age! It’s ideal for a dessert or with coffee. It should be quite moist in the middle with a dense, texture and a deep chocolate flavour.


  • 1/4 lb of chocolate (Green and Blacks Organic Dark or similar)
  • 3 onz organic butter
  • 3 onz organic castor sugar
  • 3 onz organic ground almonds
  • 3 free range organic eggs
  • 1 table sp rum or brandy
  • 1 table sp black coffee (fair trade organic of course!)

Oven: very low: Gas mark 1 – 290 F

Grease one 7 inch shallow sponge tin


  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces put them into a bowl in the oven to melt with the rum and coffee.
  2. Add the mixture, ground almonds, butter and sugar to a saucepan
  3. Stir over a very low heat until melted.
  4. Leave to cool for at least 20 minutes
  5. Meanwhile separate the eggs
  6. Beat the whites until very stiff and put on one side
  7. Stir the beaten yolks into the chocolate mixture
  8. Fold in the egg whites
  9. Pour gently into the tin
  10. Place the tin on a metal baking sheet and put into the oven
  11. Cook for 45 mins.
  12. Leave in tin until cool
  13. Turn cake out very carefully!!!! It is very fragile because of the lack of flour

So there it is, totally wheat free chocolate cake. Add a nice sophisticated topping like single cream and enjoy!


Trying to charge me for using my own image

I just received a demand in the post from what looks like a reputable stock image company who shall (for the moment) remain nameless for payment for my use of this image on this blog.

Will tourists be standing in line just to photograph the Orbit Tower in 50 years time?  Source - my original image taken April 2007
Will tourists be standing in line just to photograph the Orbit Tower in 50 years time?
Source – my original image taken April 2007


Extract from my reply:

“I recently received a letter to my home address re an image used on my personal blog. The image is from my own collection, was taken in Paris in 2007 and uploaded to Flickr. The same image of the Eiffel Tower from below must appear in literally millions of other people’s photos!
You can see my original image here
As you can see it was taken in April 2007
Like all my images it carries a Creative Commons license.
I trust the matter is now settled.”


A quick image search reveals many similar photos. It’s an iconic landmark after all.  Millions must have stood where I did and taken this exact shot. I wonder if they will pursue them all?

As it happens my photo has a Creative Commons license so anyone can use it on their website, and I hope lots of people will! Still I wonder how many will be approached and  cough up the £350 to “amicably settle the matter” and never realise?



Displays Level 2 STLS – Short Course

A Short Displays Course to Support Level 2 STLS?

Displays Level 2 STLS - Short Course
Displays Level 2 STLS – Short Course – an interesting addition?

Just been looking again at running a 3 day on-line intensive course about the displays optional unit for UK Teaching Assistants doing Level 2 STLS (Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools).

  • We would take 3 days to cover the knowledge base.
  • I would work with them to make sure they understand exactly what evidence they need to gather for their assessor.
  • Learners would then have a workbook to complete which would provide evidence for their portfolio.

Costs are yet to be worked out but using my own site lets me keep them quite reasonable. Teaching assistants (and teachers!) mostly fund themselves to take my courses so it needs to be inexpensive.

I decided against a self-study version due to upcoming changes in the VAT position with regards to digital sales. (Basically all digital books and any ‘automatically delivered’ digital courses will be subject to VAT from January. Boo Hiss!)

I’m really not sure though. I’ve been happy avoiding the NVQ style evidence box ticking with the Basic and Advanced courses. The Basic course produces people with a better understanding of display basics than the performance criteria of the STLS standards ever would. However there is a demand for the STLS course.

Still pondering this – what do people think?

Apple Bread

Apple bread cooling
Apple bread cooling

For Lisa:

I use a cup to measure.

This makes two loaves.

First I make apple puree. This is made by chopping the windfall apples and then cooking gently in a very small amount of butter till they are fluffy. I do it in a saucepan. I add honey if the apples are under-ripe. I usually add 4 cloves. Count them and make sure you remove 4 when it is cool.


  • 6 cups of spelt flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
  • handful of dried fruit or dates (optional)
  • 2 cups of apple puree
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of milk (could use cold, strong, black tea or roobosh)

You need two loaf pans. I use non-stick so no need to grease.

Warm the oven. (180 C on my fan assisted electric oven, Gas mark 6ish)

Mix the spelt flour and the sieved baking powder.

Stir in the nuts & dried fruit

Add the apple, chop it in & mix it with a knife. Bits are OK but it needs to be mixed right through. Should look a bit like breadcrumbs by the time you are finished. Work fairly fast.

In the middle of the mix make a well. Add the eggs & half the milk. Give it a stir then gradually combine it with the rest. Add enough of the rest of the milk to make a sticky dough. It should stick to your hands. Yep, I usually end up doing the last bit of mixing with my hand, just to make sure all the flour is mixed through.

Divide between the two pans.

Place in oven – 30 minutes at 180, 30 ish at 160. When it is done the apple bread will stop singing. If you take it out and you hear any noise from the tin pop it back in for 5 minutes.

Tip it out on a rack to cool.

Nice with butter and a cup of tea. Makes excellent toast!

My Hats

my winter hat
My winter hat

Welcome to my collection of hats,
There are so many.
Here are my every day hats,
Carelessly thrown down in a corner,
Ready to grab on my way out or stuff in a pocket.
The cosy woollen one, made with love and friendship,
The linen sun hat that protects me from the glare of the world.
Others are not so comfortable,
This one is stiff and a little too tight,
A teacher’s hat, it no longer quite fits and I long to be rid of it.
Still it sits on the shelf, ready for the days when I have to wear it.
These two in pretty hat boxes are old and precious,
Put away,
Wrapped in tissue paper and tears.

(Found this poem from last year’s journal and decided I still like it.)

Bara Brith – my quick version

Bara Brith – Welsh tea bread, my quick, simple version so I don’t lose it again! Better version used yeast but takes longer.

  • 2 1/2 tea cups mixed fruit of your choice
  • 2 tablsp sugar (unrefined  is best)
  • 1 cup of tea, no milk! (try a spicy chai roobosh for a change)
  • 2  tea cups spelt flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice (optional)
  • 1 beaten egg


This is the kind of tin I mean (Amazon link)

Soak fruit & sugar in hot tea overnight

Heat oven to gas 5, 375 F, 190 C

Prepare a loaf tin

Sieve flour, baking powder & spice. Keep any bran & pop it back in the bowl.

Add fruit and egg and mix. Should be a bit sloppy

Bake for about 2 hours ish. ( Fan Oven see update below!)Test from about 1:30ish with knitting needle in centre – should come out clean.

Try not to eat the same day, if possible as it gets better! Don’t feel too bad if not possible as very easy & quick it make! 😉

Photo tomorrow when it is baked!

Update: Trial and error with a fan oven means bake at 180 for 15 mins drop to 160 and test after 45 minutes.