Thursday, 30 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - Z is for Zephyr - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - Z

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles

Hello and welcome to the last day of the AtoZChallenge. Thank you so much for coming on this vampire drabble journey with me. I hope you have enjoyed it. I have one last offering for you here.

Z is for Zephyr

noun - a light, gentle breeze

It's a warm night and the hotel's air-conditioning is something out of the ark, of course I opened the window. Took me twenty minutes too, the damn thing was painted shut. There was a sign saying: 'do not open', bloody health and safety gone mad, it's only the second floor.

The breeze must be blowing over the river because it's gone all misty. I can even see it coming in the window from where I'm lying. It's cold and smells like wet earth and something unpleasant. Never seen anything like it. It's swirling into a column; it almost looks human.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: Z is for Zillionaire


AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Recipe: Rosemary and Parmesan Potato Waffles #Vegetarian #GlutenFree

Recipe: Rosemary and Parmesan Potato Waffles

If you are looking for today's AtoZ post - sorry, I will be getting to it later. The WittegenPress Website is playing silly whatsits for no reason I know about, so I am having to chase that around and my creativity is suffering. Never fear, I will write today's drabble, I just have to sort that out first.

Recipe: Rosemary and Parmesan Potato Waffles


So these are based off of Nigella's Garlic & Parmesan waffles from her book, "At My Table", but these have a flavour profile I like even more and made up on the spot, so I though it would be good to share them.

Yes I know Parmesan isn't vegetarian, but it is easy to find vegetarian equivalents - in fact that's what we usually use since it's a) cheaper & b) just as nice. We buy the pre-grated fresh Italian hard cheese from the supermarket.

They are absolutely delicious with eggs and maple syrup - and yes they are savoury waffles, but the salt and sweet is divine.

Makes 7 waffles (10cm x 12cm/ 4''x 4.7'') - 1 serving = 2 waffles, but they can be reheated later if there are too many.

Ingredients

  • 400g / 2 cups mashed potato (I had left over from the night before, but you could use defrosted frozen mash or make it fresh)
  • 4 tbsp (60ml) butter
  • 8 tbsp (120ml) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 45g/ ~3/8cup finely grated Parmesan (or vegetarian equiv)
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Dried Rosemary (I like the grind it in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder to make it distribute better and release its flavour)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter and leave to stand to cool down.
  2. Preheat the waffle iron.
  3. Using a fork or something similar, break up the mash so that it is light pieces, not one lump.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together the cooled butter, eggs and milk.
  5. Add in the potato a little at a time, whisking it in each time. I used a flat manual whisk, but you could use an electric hand whisk or a bowl mixer if you prefer.
  6. Add the Parmesan, cornflour, baking powder, rosemary and salt and pepper and beat until smooth(ish).
  7. Add about an ice cream scoop of batter to each side of the waffle iron if using a square one (ours is electric and looks like a sandwich maker) - if using a round one go with what you are used to and close. You'll soon know if you used too much because it will squidge out the sides πŸ˜‚.
  8. Cook for about 7 mins total or until golden brown - different waffle makers will vary.
  9. If making lots, pop the cooked ones in a low oven until ready to eat.
As I mentioned above, these are lovely with eggs and a touch of maple syrup. They make a wonderful breakfast or brunch, but they would also go well with meats or as a side for a main meal as well.

The amounts of cheese and seasoning are all very handwavy - you can go with whatever you like best, but I was very pleased by the overall taste of these.

Enjoy! Stay safe.

Banner Background Photo by nabil boukala on Unsplash

AtoZ2020 - Y is for Yesteryear - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - Y

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles

Hello, sorry this is late today. Technical woes. Here is today's vampire drabble. Thank you so much for sticking with me and my tiny vampire stories this year. See you tomorrow for the last day.

Y is for Yesteryear


"I miss swords," Paul said, "and duels."

"Come again?" Mike responded.

"Swords and duels," Paul said, fiddling with his glass of red wine, "they were such fun. And they made a great cover for dinner. No one ever questioned a bloodless corpse if he had an obvious hole in him."

"You're weird," Mike decided.

They'd been friends for twenty years and Paul was usually thoroughly modern but, just occasionally, he reminded Mike he was much older.

"Anyway, blood bags are much easier," Mike added, sliding a glass across the table.

Paul took a sip and sighed.

"I still miss duels."


Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: Y is for Yuki-onna

AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - X is for Xenolith - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - X

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles

Good moring, I hope you are all well and safe. This year for the AtoZ I am writing vampire drabbles, each one inspired by a vampire word. Well X is always difficult and this word isn't usually associated with vampire, but geology, but I decided to use it as a metaphore. Enjoy πŸ’–

Don't forget that today is podcast day over at Virginia's blog.  A new naughty episode of the Sexy Stories podcast is live, with the companion eBook ready for download from all the major retailers for all the extra plot. Today we have frolicking werewolves.

X is for Xenolith


noun

a piece of rock within an igneous mass which is not derived from the original magma but has been introduced from elsewhere, especially the surrounding country rock.
They dance, they drink, they laugh, and I watch from among them. Such sheep.

Not one of them has the sharpness of instinct to sense me. How much the human race has lost to progress. Once someone would have noticed, looked at me as other, as not them. Now I could stand among them with fangs bared and they would think it a joke.

They have no concept of the alien predator among their herd. Nothing makes their spines tingle.

I insert myself into their community with no effort.

Where is the game? Where is the challenge? I am bored.
Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: X is for seX and Episode 4 of the podcast is live for listening.

AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Monday, 27 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - W is for Wolf - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - W

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Greetings and welcome to day 23 of the AtoZChallenge and the letter W. I am writing vampire drabbles this year and vampires have always been associated with wolves, so my inspiration word is wolf. Enjoy.

W is for Wolf


"No," Markus shouted, using his speed to put himself in front of the boy.

Karin laughed and her wolves growled.

"Feeling brave, Marky?" she jeered.

"No more," Markus said. "It ends."

"Even vampires die when torn to shreds, Markus," Karin laughed some more. "You are weak brother."

"The senseless killing stops, Karin," he replied.

She moved her hand and the wolves snarled. Their vampire bloodline always had an affinity with wolves.

"Move, Markus," she warned him.

"No," he replied and reached for the power he had never used.

His body shifted and he howled. The wolves joined him in chorus.
Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: W is for Werewolves

AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - V is for Victim - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - V

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles

Greetings one and all, I hope you are having a good day and are safe and well. This year for the AtoZ  I am posting 100 word stories inspired by vampires. Today I have to give you a warning, this story has an attempted attack on a woman, so if that will trigger you, please stop reading now. To everyone else, please enjoy the drabble.

V is for Victim


Sarah stopped, glancing over her shoulder. She had heard footsteps, but the path was empty. Pulling her jacket tighter, she quickened her pace, turning into the alley to reach her car.

Halfway down something hit her, spinning and pushing her against the wall.

"Saw you at the club," her assailant said, fetid breath making her screw up her nose. "You all think you're too good. I'm gonna show you good."

He reached down to his fly.

Sarah relaxed. It took him a second to notice. He stared as she smiled, letting her fangs lengthen.

"Big mistake," she said and attacked.
Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: V is for Vampires

 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Friday, 24 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - U is for Undead - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - U

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Good morning my lovely people, I have no excuse for this not being out at 6 this morning, we've just entered the 'did not write it in advance' part of the month πŸ˜‚. I hope you are all well and safe. This year I am posting a vampire drabble (100 word story) every day for the AtoZChallenge. Enjoy! πŸ’–

U is for Undead


Jack looked down at the bullet hole in his chest.

"Ow, what did you do that for?"

"Oh god," Daphne repeated to herself like a mantra.

"Shoot him again," Kal insisted.

"No, don't shoot him again," Jack countered, "that hurts, and I only have a limited blood supply with me."

"He's undead, he's going to eat us," Kal declared. "Daph, shoot him."

"I've never eaten you before, why would I start now?" Jack pointed out.

"You're newly undead!" Kal decided.

"I'm three hundred years old," Jack said.

"Oh," Daphne said, lowering the gun.

Jack hated misunderstandings, he really did.
Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. Have you had any unfortunate misunderstanding in your life? Were they resolved okay.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: U is for Unbelievable

 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - T is for Thirst - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - T

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles

Good morning my friends, I hope you are safe and well. Welcome to my blog for another vampire drabble this AtoZChallenge. A drabble is a story of exactly 100 words and I am inspired by vampires this year. Enjoy!

T is for Thirst


Ah, the joys of lockdown; my girlfriend is beginning to look delicious.

Of course, she knows I'm a vampire, but I've never explained exactly how I deal with my condition. She thinks I get transfusions from the family physician. Actually, I go out, find someone malleable but strong, and take a quick drink.

There are plenty of idiots out there breaking the lockdown, but I can't risk it. There's no way I can be infected, but something I touch could bring it into the house.

We may have talk about her becoming a vampire a little earlier than I expected.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. It there anything you are craving while in lockdown that you just can't get?

I'm really lucky, we have not run short of anything significant. My only craving is for chocolate, and we have plenty of that.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: T is for Tom

My apologies, I realise I forgot to attach this part to my last couple of days posts.

 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Nigella's Garlic & Parmesan Mash in the Instant Pot

Recipe: Nigella's Garlic & Parmesan Mash in the Instant Pot

πŸ’–Looking for today's AtoZChallenge post? Please scroll down to the previous entry.πŸ’–

Nigella's Garlic & Parmesan Mash in the Instant Pot

So I tried out Nigella's recipe for garlic and Parmesan mash last night and it is delicious, but since I use my Instant Pot for everything these days, I couldn't resist adapting the recipe for that. Hence, here you go. For those wondering, the recipe comes from her book "At My Table" which is an amazing book, so go check it out.

Makes enough for 6-8 people - but keeps up to a week in the fridge and can easily be reheated.

Ingredients

2 kg (4.4lb) potatoes
8 fat cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
75g (2/3 stick) butter
50g (1/3 cup/ 2oz) Parmesan (grated) or veggie equiv

Optional topping

50g (~5/8 cup) Dried breadcrumbs or panko (since I had no breadcrumbs, I took a crust of brown bread, crumbed it up and dried it out in the oven before using it)
50g (~1/2 stick) butter
35g (1/4cup /1.5oz) Parmesan (grated) or veggie equiv

Instructions

  1. Peel and quarter all the potatoes.
  2. Bruise the garlic cloves with the back of a knife, but do not remove the skins (they will prevent them sticking to the bottom of the pot).
  3. Put 1 cup of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  4. Add the bruised garlic and a tsp of salt to the water.
  5. Put the potatoes into a steamer basket and then into the Instant Pot.
  6. Put on the lid, make sure the knob is to sealing and set for high pressure for between 8-16 min. It will depend on the potatoes - they need to be very tender.
  7. Do a quick pressure release after 8 mins and check the potatoes, if they are not done, put the lid back on and do another few mins with QPR. It will come to pressure quickly because it is still hot.
  8. Once the potatoes are done, remove the steamer rack and place on the side.
  9. Tip the water from the bottom of the pot into a jug and make sure there are no garlic skins still in the pot.
  10. Put the butter in the pot and allow to melt (it will be on keep warm, so is perfect for this).
  11. Add the potatoes and the garlic cloves (without the skins - they should come away very easily) back in the instant pot. (If using a potato ricer, use it at this stage).
  12. Sieve the cooking water over the potatoes in the pot to make sure all garlic skin is removed.
  13. Mash the potatoes using your mashing method of choice, unless you have already used something like a ricer. I have one, but can never be bothered to get it out, so I use a regular hand masher. Keep going until it is smooth or at your preferred consistency. After all you are the master of your mash (I have been watching too much Chef John from Foodwishes.com πŸ˜‚).
  14. Add the Parmesan and stir in - now check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
  15. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan (390F/350F fan)
  16. Butter a 30x25cm (12x10'') baking dish (I used a Pyrex one).
  17. Spread the mash into the baking dish using a spatula.
  18. Rub together the breadcrumbs, butter and Parmesan (if using the topping) to form a crumble mixture.
  19. Sprinkle the crumble over the top of the mash.
  20. Pop in the oven for 20-30 mins until piping hot and the topping is toasty.
And what is even better, is the left overs can be made into waffles, which is the next recipe in Nigella's book, BTW. I made them this morning and my husband and I had them with a fried egg each and they were delicious. You'll have to check out her book for that though. πŸ˜‰

Banner BG Photo by Varun Gaba on Unsplash

AtoZ2020 - S is for Stake - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - S

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Welcome to my blog for the letter S. I have always liked this letter because my twin's name begins with it. It's also such a versatile letter. This year I am writing vampire drabbles (100 word stories) every day inspired by a vampire word. What else could I go for with the letter S than stake? Enjoy πŸ’–

S is for Stake


"What the ever-loving f…"

"Oh, those old things, do you like my display?"

Lila stared at her new friend.

"They're stakes," she said.

"I know," Maggie replied with a smile.

"They are one of the few things that can kill us, and you have a wall full of them," Lila pointed out when the other vampire showed not the slightest discomfort.

"Well, yes," Maggie replied, "but they're trophies."

Lila made a confused face.

"Well, I had something of a wild youth," Maggie explained, "and I attracted attention. Each of those is a hunter who came after me. Ah, the memories."

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. Do you have trophies (I don't mean of things you have killed ;) - more things that make you remember good times)?

I'm not really a trophy kind of person, mostly I prefer things I can use or watch or read. I suppose the wedding cake top we still have after 23 years is a kind of trophy.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: S is for Succubus

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - R is for Revenge - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - R

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Greetings and felicitaions, I hope you are staying safe and well. Welcome to my blog for the letter R. Every day this April I am posting vampire drabbles - short 100 word stories all about the undead. I hope you enjoy them.

It's also podcast day on my other blog Virginia Waytes, so pop in for some naughty fiction too.

R is for Revenge


It burns around me and all I can do is laugh.

They run, terrified of the flames, but there is no escape. Every door is barred, every window sealed and only I hold the key.

They cannot believe this is happening to them.

It has taken me over four hundred years, but finally it is done. They trusted me; thought I was one of them. How blind could they be?

With a bite they took everything I had. Immortality! What is that compared to love? My husband, gone. My children, gone.

Well now they are gone too. Now and forever.


Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: R is for Ritual & Episode 3 is live for listening.

Monday, 20 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - Q is for Quiet - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - Q

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Hello again, and welcome to week 3 of the AtoZChallenge. I hope you are safe and well. This year I am posting vampire drabbles - that is a one hundred word story every day on the theme of vampires. Some are dark, some are funny and some are in between. Enjoy!

Q is for Quiet



"Do you know how long something like this takes to cover up?"

"Of course I do…"

"There is blood everywhere."

"I know…"

"At least you killed them all. You did kill them all, right?"

"Yes, I…"

"Satanic cult, no, that's been done too many times, maybe drug fuelled murder suicide. Do you know what they did for a living?"

"No, they just moved in…"

"Dammit. I'll get someone on that."

"Sorry, I didn't mean…"

"Why in hell did you do it?"

"The music…"

"Their taste offended you?"

"No, it was loud."

"Loud?"

"Yes, for thirty-six hours. I just needed quiet."

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q.Have you ever had neighbours who played music too loud or had their TV way up all the time? Did you manage to do anything about it.

I've been lucky, most of my life I've lived in places with nice thick walls.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: Q is for Quickens

 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - P is for Photophobia - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - P

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Hello one and all. Welcome to my blog and the AtoZChallenge. This year I am writing vampire drabbles for each letter of the alphabet, all inspired by vampire related words. Enjoy! Stay safe. πŸ’–

P is for Photophobia


Your eyes flick open and, like a switch flipped, your brain goes from off to on. You hate it. If your heart could beat it would be racing. No time to slowly wake up, no gentle transition.

You sit up, senses alert for danger. The sun is going down, you feel it, it's what woke you, but you can't shake the fear.

There, over by the window. The blackout curtains have moved in the night, just a tiny bit. There is a sliver of light. You scurry in the opposite direction. No one told you it would be this bad.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q.  Do you have a phobia?

I'm afraid of bones in fish - can't eat it anymore, and I am terrified of spiders, although I am not sure that is phobia level.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: P is for Pippa

 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Recipe: Healthier Chocolate Mayo Cake with Healthy Chocolate Frosting

Recipe: Chocolate Mayo Cake


πŸ’–If you are looking for today's AtoZ post, please scroll down to the previous post. πŸ’–

Healthier Chocolate Mayo Cake with Healthy Chocolate Frosting


Now, I'm not trying to claim this is a healthy cake - its chocolate and sweet things, but as I have mentioned I am trying to cut out as much processed sugar as possible from my diet, and cut down on the amount of other sugars too, because I was eating way too much junk. This has led me to trying sugar alternatives (not sweeteners - because I hate them and lots of them are terrible for us) like honey and maple, because these have good properties as well as all the calories. πŸ˜‚ Before you say it, I know, it's still sugar, but it's better than all the processed stuff.

This is a fabulous site for working out how to bake with honey rather than sugar: BeeMaid Honey Converter.

So this recipe is based off of this one: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, but mine is way smaller and also uses honey and maple for the main cake and has a healthy frosting.

This cake comes out very dark, moist and rich - I would recommend it to dark chocolate lovers. Probably not the best cake for children as is, since they tend to like sweeter things. [Edit - have a chance to test this out - my sister says it is delicious - see the bottom for an alternative, coffee buttercream frosting for those with a sweeter tooth.]

Makes a 7 inch cake - just scale up for more.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 large egg
  • 87g 2/3cup plain/all purpose flour
  • 23g/ 1/4cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • a smidgen of salt
  • 50ml honey
  • 37ml maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 73g 1/3 cup mayo (full fat or light)
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in just under 1/2 cup of water (or just water if you don't want you cake so dark)
  • 50g extra dark chocolate chips
For the frosting (from here)
  • 50g  1/5 cup cocoa powder
  • 60g 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 2-3 tbsp honey

Instructions


  1. Preheat the over to 160C/320F
  2. Butter or spray a 7 inch round cake pan (or quiv) and line the bottom with baking paper.
  3. Sieve together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl - set aside.
  4. Using a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer, combine the egg, honey, maple and vanilla in a large bowl on high speed for 4-5 mins until they are light in colour and fluffyish in texture.
  5. Add the mayo and combine on low speed.
  6. Use a spatula to make sure nothing is stuck to the sides of the bowl.
  7. Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, add the flour mixture and mix slowly, then some of the coffee/water, and repeat until all the ingredients are combined.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  9. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and place in the oven. Cook for 25-30 mins until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  10. Leave to completely cool on a cake rack.
  11. Mix all the ingredients for the frosting in a bowl with a spatula or hand mixer.
  12. Use a spatula or spoon to spread the frosting on the cake.
  13. Eat!
Now as I said above, this is a very dark recipe. We could only eat a small piece at a time, which was perfect πŸ’– and it goes really well with a nice coffee or tea. If you like cake less dark, I would suggest a lighter chocolate frosting, or even a vanilla one. The original recipe suggest chocolate ganache, but a butter cream would work too.

Because the frosting is yoghurt based, you will need to keep this cake in the fridge, and believe me, it improves with age too. It can be kept up to a week.

Alternative Frosting
Coffee Buttercream

This is enough to do a 9inch cake or 6 cup cakes.

  • 125g (approx 1 stick) butter at room temp
  • 250g icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp instant coffee
  • 0.5 tbsp boiling water

  1. In a ramekin or similar, mix the coffee and boiling water and leave aside so it can cool down.
  2. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, whisk the butter in a large bowl until it is light and fluffy - this can take up to 5 min.
  3. Add the icing sugar slowly and whisk in each batch until combined and the mixture is smooth. Take time to prevent the mixture being grainy.
  4. Add the vanilla and coffee and whisk one more time to combine.
BG banner Photo by Taisiia Shestopal on Unsplash


AtoZ2020 - O is for Old - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - O

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Welcome one and all to my AtoZChallenge post for the letter O. This year I am writing vampire drabbles. Today I have chosen the word 'old' since it goes so well with vampires. Enjoy! Stay safe.

O is for Old


I discovered the grave when we knocked down the old house. I'm a surveyor and I needed to check the foundations were sure for the planned rebuild. The stone on top was ancient, carved with a language I didn't understand.

I should have walked away.

I didn't.

She was starving. My husband, his father, and brother are all dead, sacrificed to her appetites. Me she chose to keep. A toy for her new life, claimed with single drops of blood.

I bring her victims, one, sometimes two a night. It sickens me, but I am lost, only the blood matters.


Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. What would you do if you found an old grave? Call the archaeologists? Take a quick peek?

I'd call the experts because I've seen far too many horror movies to get involved until someone else has done the opening ;).

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: O is for Oli

Thursday, 16 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - N is for Nosferatu - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - N

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


So sorry this was not out at the normal time this morning. I managed to edit the post and hit save, not publish, so it was sitting in the drafts, not the scheduled. Hello, and welcome to day 14 of the AtoZ and the letter N. This month I am doing vampire drabbles - that is micro-fiction of exactly 100 words. Enjoy! πŸ’–

N is for Nosferatu


"That was so scary," Lani said, rubbing her arms and shivering as they left the cinema. "How can you be so cheery?"

She knew it had been a bad idea when Taz had suggested the late-night screening of Nosferatu, but Taz was very persuasive. Lani had only seen her new friend at the bar before, but when you were asked out by a gorgeous woman, any sensible girl said yes.

"It was funny, not scary," Taz said.

"Funny? That makeup was horrific," Lani objected.

"Oh, that's not horrific," Taz said, smiling far too wide, all teeth, "this is."

Lani screamed.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. Do you have a favourite film that scares you? Or do you avoid such things?

I like a good scare from time to time. My husband and I will put on some Asian horror if we really want a good scare - something like Ju-on.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: N is for Nula

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - M is for Mesmerism - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - M

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Hello, lovely people. First of all I must apologise for not visiting everyone back over the last few days. I have been so busy, but hope to play catch up very soon. And secondly welcome to my blog for vampire drabbles, 100 word stories using a vampire word as the inspiration. I hope you are all safe and well. πŸ’–

M is for Mesmerism


"If you… it's… just a mom… Stop screaming!"

Julia fell silent instantly.

"Now look what you made me do," Hugo said.

The woman's empty eyes stared at him.

"If you had just let me get a word in, you would know I mean no harm, I'm just hungry so I can't put away the vampire bits."

Of course, he knew she wasn't remotely aware anymore. That was the problem with using his powers.  Another potential friend falling at the first hurdle.

"In ten minutes, you'll wake and remember nothing," he said with a sigh, clicking his fingers and walking away.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. If you had the power to mesmerise someone and get them to do anything, who would you pick and what would you get them to do.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: M is for May

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - L is for Lair- Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - L

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles

Hello everyone, welcome to my blog for day 12 of the AtoZChallenge. I hope we are all having fun. This year I am writing 100 word vampire stories.

L is for Lair


"No! You don't want to come over," Gareth said. "We'll eat out."

"Darling, don't be silly, of course I am visiting your lair while I am in town," his maker replied, totally ignoring him.

Before he could respond the call ended.

"Bollocks," he said, looking around at his home.

There was a Play Station, an X-box, a wall full of Funko Pops and the state-of-the-art TV, all perfect for a man in his twenties. The problem was, Gareth was in his hundred and twenties, and Monica was going to go on and on about the standards of a traditional lair.
Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. Do your parents disapprove of bits of your home, or do you have to hide anything when they come over?

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: L is for Lucy & episode 2 of the podcast is live for listening.


 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Monday, 13 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - K is for Killer - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - K

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles

Hello all, I hope you are all well today. This year my theme for the AtoZ is 100 word stories based around vampires. Today's entry for K is a little darker than some of my others, so be warned, it's a little gory. Best wishes to all. πŸ’–

K is for Killer


Peter carelessly dropped the human, licking his lips as the delicious blood slipped down his throat. Looking at the floor, he laughed as the pathetic thing tried to crawl away.

"You're already dead," he said, sucking the blood from his fingers.

Feeding was messy, but so fun. There was nothing quite like sinking fangs into a screaming victim. The fear, the divine nectar.

"No…"

He was shocked when it spoke. He had all but forgotten about it already.

"…you are."

He frowned as his prey brandished a tiny button. There was a click and a beep, followed by blinding heat.
Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. Are you squeamish about blood, or do you not understand how anyone could be, or somewhere in between?

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: K is for Kelpie


 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - J is for Juvenile - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - J

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles

Greetings all, and welcome to J day. I hope you are all safe and enjoying the AtoZ so far. This year I am writing vampire drabbles for every day - those are 100 word stories. Enjoy πŸ’–.

J is for Juvenile


Angelina walked slowly up the stairs. The sun had gone down an hour ago, but she always wanted to look her best. Damian always told her she could put on sweatpants and men would still fall at her feet, but she liked to look elegant. Vampires had a reputation after all. Her brother had probably already run off looking like a complete nerd.

She pushed open the door into the main house. On instinct she moved with vampire speed. Water splashed behind her as a bucket tumbled down and rolled across the floor.

"Juvenile tricks," she snarled.

Damian would pay.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. Do you have anyone that like to play juvenile tricks on everyone? Have they ever got their comeuppance?

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: J is for Joshua

 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Friday, 10 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - I is for Immortality - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - I

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Greetings and welcome to my blog for the AtoZChallenge. This year I have chosen to write drabbles, 100 word stories, all inspired by vampire related word. Today we have one of the iconic ones for the letter I. Enjoy πŸ’–.

I is for Immortality


"I have seen thousands of nights, each as dark and as lonely as the next. I long for the touch of another. The brief, fleeting moments in the endlessness of eternity where I know I am not alone. The simple act of human togetherness, the closeness of another being to awaken my soul. This is what I live for, why I go on."

She gave him a long, even stare.

"And that get you laid does it?" she asked and walked away.

That wasn't how this was supposed to go. He'd been asleep too long, this new century was confusing.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. What is the corniest pick-up line you can think of?

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: I is for Immortal

 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Recipe: Fridge/Store Cupboard Raid Stew

Recipe: Fridge/Store Cupboard Raid Stew

πŸ’–Looking for the AtoZ post for today? Please scroll down to the previous post. πŸ’–

Recipe: Fridge/Store Cupboard Raid Stew



So my husband made a plea not to make something with beans in it (we have been going through the cupboard using up all our cans of various beans and his stomach is finally rebelling πŸ˜‚), so I thought, stew. This is another recipe that can be made from just about anything, so I am sharing it.

You could make this recipe vegetarian by using a meat substitute like tofu and quorn, or mushrooms, swapping out the Worcester sauce for soy sauce, and using robust veggie stock cubes.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 chicken breasts in chunks (can be any meat, just needs to be bite-sized)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 540g/19oz can new potatoes (fresh would be fine, new or old, just bite sized again)
  • frozen peas - however many you have or fancy (or fresh or canned - whatever is in the freezer/cupboard)
  • veggies - peeled and cut in to bite sized pieces - I used a large carrot and half a courgette (zuchinni) because that's what I had  (could be suede or parsnip or sweet pot or turnip or anything to hand as long as it's robust) 
  • 1 can cream of tomato soup (440ml/14oz) (if you don't have this, ketchup, a little tomato paste and some water made up to the right amount will work)
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 400 ml boiling water
  • 1.5 tbsp corn flour (starch)

Instructions (Instant Pot)

  1. Turn on the pot and put the oil in the bottom.
  2. Use the saute option on normal.
  3. When the oil is heated, add the meat and brown.
  4. Mix the stock cubes with the water and use a little of this to deglaze the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing is sticking to it.
  5. Add the rest of the stock cube mixture.
  6. Add all the potatoes and veggies and stir.
  7. Add the cream of tomato soup and stir in.
  8. Add the dash of Worcestershire sauce and the spice and seasonings and mix.
  9. Put the lid on making sure the value is set to sealing.
  10. Cancel the saute.
  11. Use the pressure (may be called manual on some models) option and set for 15 mins.
  12. When the timer goes off, leave to natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
  13. Release the remaining pressure and open the pot.
  14. Make a slurry using equal parts cold water to corn flour.
  15. Turn on saute again and add the slurry to the pot, stirring all the time until the broth thickens. If it does not thicken enough make more slurry, half a tbsp at a time and add it until the desired thickness is achieved.
  16. Serve in bowls with crusty bread.

Instructions (Stove/Oven)

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 3 (320F/285F for fan)
  2. Using a stove proof casserole dish with a lid, heat the oil and brown the meat.
  3. Add the stock cubes to the boiling water and add them into the casserole.
  4. Add the potatoes and other veggies and stir in.
  5. Add the cream of tomato soup and stir in.
  6. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the spice and the seasonings and mix.
  7. Put on the lid and place in the oven (if you do not have a lid, wrap the top of the dish tightly with foil to seal it).
  8. Cook for 2 to 2.5 hrs until the meat is really tender.
  9. Make a slurry using equal parts cold water to corn flour.
  10. Put the casserole back on the hob and add the slurry to the pot, stirring all the time until the broth thickens. If it does not thicken enough make more slurry, half a tbsp at a time and add it until the desired thickness is achieved.
  11. Serve in bowls with crusty bread.
This was delicious and not too heavy, so good for bright days as well as murky ones. We actually used turkey in our stew the other night because I had some that needed using up. It fell to pieces because it was thinly sliced turkey steaks, but it was lovely none-the-less.

Banner BG Photo by Selina Thomas on Unsplash

AtoZ2020 - H is for Hunter - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - H

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


We are chugging along nicely with the AtoZ now, aren't we? Here we are at the letter H. My theme for this year is vampire drabbles, so every day in April, apart from Sundays, I will be posting an 100 word story with a vampire theme. I hope you enjoy them.

H is for Hunter


Dawn was breaking as he watched the two teenagers pull the door of the derelict house closed behind them. It was ridiculously easy to slip through the window into the dark interior. He stepped lightly, making no sound as he followed their voices down to the cellar.

They were carefree, laughing.

At the bottom of the stairs was a door. He stilled beside it, listening while they moved around inside.

Carefully, silently, he slid the crossbow from his back as the scent of dead things tickled his nose. He had killed their maker, now he would dispatch the undead spawn.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. Do you think you could kill a vampire if you had to (suspending disbelief for a moment)? I'm really not sure I could - I have enough trouble with bugs, but I suppose if it was desperate, needs must.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: H is for Home

 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - G is for Grave - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - G

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Greetings one and all, and welcome to G day! Of course with a theme like vampire drabbles how could I not go with the word 'grave'? It called to me. This one is a little bit of a different take, however, I hope you enjoy it. #LGBTQ+

G is for Grave


Charlie placed the rose on the old grave.

"Goodbye, Cornelius … finally," she said before turning to the woman who had made this possible.

After 200 years of misery, it has taken a modern outlook, an extraordinary scientific brain and some supernaturally inventive, less-than-scientific surgical techniques, but Charlie was finally who she was supposed to be outside and in. No more body dysmorphia, no more torment.

"Are you alright?" Rosa asked.

"I am wonderful," she replied. "You have given me new life, now I will give you yours."

Rosa would make a wonderful vampire and together they would enjoy eternity.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. If there was one thing you could change about your physical self, big or small, what would it be? Or are you happy just as you are?

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: G is for Gerry


 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - F is for Fang- Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - F

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Welcome to F on the AtoZChallenge. Best wishes to all, I hope you are well, or at least getting better. πŸ’– This year my theme is vampire drabbles - 100 words stories using vampire themed words as the inspiration. Of course I had to go with 'fang' for F - since they are iconic.

F is for Fang



Bran lifted an eyebrow as the upstart in front of him bared half-inch long fangs.

So stupid, so young.

Among vampires it never paid to go on appearances. Bran dressed like one of the new, had the face of a teenager, but he was neither. He made sure to give the idiot his best look of distain.

"Remove yourself," he said simply.

For the first time his challenger appeared unsure.

Brad sighed, opening his mouth and letting his fangs descend fully, all three inches of them. He rarely showed their full length, but it made his point. The upstart fled.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. Have you ever been mistaken for someone much younger? It used to happen all the time to my husband - he has a baby face.

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: F is for Family & even more exciting - the first episode of the podcast is live! All the details are in today's post.


 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Monday, 6 April 2020

AtoZ2020 - E is for Energy - Vampire Drabbles - #AtoZChallenge

Tasha's Thinkings - Vampire Drabbles - AtoZChallenge 2020 - E

AtoZChallenge 2020 - Vampire Drabbles


Greetings fellow bloggers and welcome to the AtoZChallenge and letter E. My theme this year is vampire drabbles. EnjoyπŸ’–!

E is for Energy


Eloise ran her finger down the side of Ray's face as he smiled at her, but it didn't reach his eyes. He was looking so tired. Her ancient heart skipped as she realised it would not be long.

It happened to them all sooner or later. Every human she took to her bed became weak and sick, as she thrived. Sometimes it took days, sometimes years, but it never failed.

Of course, she knew it was her that was sucking their lifeforce from them, but she could not stop. Did not know how.

Soon she would leave to save him.

Thank you so much for visiting - drop your comments and links below - I try and visit back everyone I can.

Q. Do you know anyone who is an energy vampire - not a literal one, but those who suck all the energy and joy out of a situation with their presence?

This year I am also taking part as my alter ego Virginia Waytes - all about the characters and setting for my new paranormal romance podcast and eBooks, Sexy Stories - The Manor. Check out today's post: E is for Ember

 AtoZChallenge Master List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YphbP47JyH_FuGPIIrFuJfAQiBBzacEkM7iBnq6DGDA/edit?usp=sharing
Click here to see all the other wonderful bloggers taking part.