Five Very Bookish Questions

The lovely Tania McCartney asked me Five Very Bookish Questions over on the Boomerang Books Blog last week. You can read them here; http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au. It could be that I talk about picture books – and what I think makes a good PB. And there may even be some favourites from my childhood… and now.

Pop over and have a read!

Nutty Zucchini Chocolate Cake

When the cupboards are bare and cake is needed…

My fridge held a lot of zucchini – but not many eggs. And I stood in need of a cake! Having tried zucchini bread and zucchini in coconut bread, I googled ‘zucchini chocolate cake’ to see what I could find.

I found this No Egg Chocolate Zucchini Cake, but because I love a wholesome cake, and I did have ONE egg (and every other zucchini recipe used 3 eggs) I made a few modifications… and came up with this scrummy Nutty Zucchini Chocolate Cake. It was a hit with a bundle of boys – especially my KitKat who has a very strong aversion to zucchini – and a great love of chocolate!

Nutty Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Ingredients;

  • 2 cups zucchini – finely grated
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
    (guestimate – add more if dry.)
  • 2 cups SR Flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • sprinkling of shredded coconut
  • sprinkling of slivered almonds
  • 1 tbsp LSA (Ground linseed, sunflower & Almond – optional)

Method:

1. Mix zucchini, oil, egg, milk & vanilla.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
3. Add moist ingredients and combine. Mixture will be paste-thick!
3. Spread into 2 x round greased & lined round tins.
4. Bake at 180 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.
5. When cool, spread one cake with jam and frosting. Sandwich cakes together and top with frosting.
6. Serve with whipped cream.

Frosting:

  • 3tbsp vanilla yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 3 – 4 tbsp milk

Moist, dense and decadent delicious! Definitely one to bake again. So good, that in fact, I just did! :)

Catty Competition Cat-tures Cats to Purrrrfection!

Thank-you to all our wonderful entrants in the Catty Competition. I can only say I’m glad I’m not responsible for the judging – because just two entrants were in when I knew it was beyond me! It’s over to Heath and Alison for that.

For now I give you… The Cats - in order of appearance in my inbox.

.

And the winner is…

Heath:  For some reason, I like the last one that is just a sketched face – great eyes!

Congratulations to Branyon – and all the other talented artists who got in on the fun, and shared their purrrfect pictures with us! Thank-you also to Heath and Alison for visiting the blog and being a part of the competition. I have been on author visits in schools the last couple of weeks and have overheard lots of positive things about your Marmalade in my travels. Which made me smile… :) 

Let’s get Catty – and a Competition!

Today, I’m going to be a little bit… catty. I’m hosting a cat book on my katswhiskers blog, so we’re running to a theme… and running a competition! (Today’s competition is a little bit different to the other competition that’s running throughout the blog tour at http://www.alisonreynolds.com.au.)

But firstly, welcome Alison Reynolds and Heath McKenzie – and congratulations on your dreamy new picture book, ‘A Year with Marmalade’.

Thanks very much!

Thank you, Kat!

To start the ball rolling… In keeping with the blog, can you each tell me one thing that you think is… the kat’s whiskers? (Or mayhaps it’s the cat’s whiskers.)

Perhaps my new baby daughter, Ava!

Oooh. Lovely! Congratulations, Heath. I’m sure Ava is the kat’s whiskers!

My family and dog. Although I’m not sure if the dog will like being referred to as the kat’s whiskers! 

Haha! Now that could be a little bit catty, Alison. ;)

Where did you find Marmalade, Alison?  Is he the type of pet you would want to keep forever?

When I was little I had a very special green-eyed cat called Charlotte. I feel as if a cat based on her was just waiting to pop into my mind. I was brainstorming book ideas with my publisher, and we wanted a sort of self-contained character, which is a very cat-like characteristic.  I definitely wouldn’t want to give Marmalade away. I spent half my childhood unsuccessfully trying to convince my parents to let me have another pet.

Alison, is Marmalade one of those cats who willfully does his own thing? Or does he have a soft and smoochy side?

Marmalade is a mixture of snuggles and snarls. He is very independent, but wants to be included and loved. Much like most of us!

Not being an artist myself, I’m always fascinated by the Illustrator’s process. Heath, there’s a lot of whitespace in this gentle, breezy book – almost a touch of whimsy. What influenced your decision in terms of colour and whitespace – and characters?

I felt a simpler approach would suit this particular story – something gentle and not too over-thought or designed. Hence the approach of letting the line do most of the talking and leaving colour to make a single statement in each image.

What I find particularly interesting, is that the children (Ella & Maddy) are line drawings – not colour. Yet Marmalade, who would seem to be of equal importance to Ella, is colour. As is background. What is the artistic reasoning behind this, Heath?

Given a big and striking part of the different seasons, from a visual point of view atleast, is the many distinct colours that emerge each year – colour was always going to be the best way to highlight the changing seasons (and then a little extra here and there where an image might not have a direct seasonal element to focus on!)

As for Marmalade’s colour – for a long while, Marmalade wasn’t in colour but ultimately it was decided Marmalade, being the key player here, might need to stand out that bit more – and fair enough too!

The seasons! When you say it, it is of course, very logical. (I feel a bit of a scatterkat for asking!)

Alison What five individual words best describe Marmalade?

  1. Watchful
  2. Awkward
  3. Fun-loving
  4. Loyal
  5. Purrfect

It’s the ‘awkward’ makes Marmalade so real and loveable, Alison.

HeathI’m hoping you have that cat-like quality of landing on your feet, because I’m going to throw you a challenge… I’m pretty good at drawing the katswhiskers (to the right -> ) but that’s my limit. I’m hoping you can extend my repertoire a bit, and skill me up on some other cat moves.

To help you out, I’ve listed some catty emotions I thought you might cat-ture!

  • ’fraidy cat
  • ecscatic cat
  • purrrrfect cat
  • catastrophic cat
  • caterwauling cat
  • cat-ching cat – on the prowl

They’re gorgeous, Heath!! So much personality on the page.

Now it’s over to you, Alison! What can YOU do with Heath’s examples? (Yes – I am asking you to draw a cat pic for us. :P)

I’m no scaredy cat, Kat. But remember, I never claimed to be a artist!

A very catatonic cat, Alison. And clever word play. Well done, you!

COMPETITION TIME!

READERS:  This is your chance to get catty!

1.  Draw your best cat picture. You can have a bit of fun with it like we did.
2.  Email it to; contactkat @ optusnet . com . au (no spaces) by 8pm this Friday, 17th August, and
3.  YOU are in with a chance to win your own, signed, original Heath McKenzie cat picture!

Please keep cat files less than 300kb. 

Your pictures will be posted to the katswhiskers blog on Sunday, 19th August, when we will also announce the winner, as decided by Heath and Alison.

So – pick up a pencil, pen or piece of charcoal and get drawing!

Want to read more about ‘A Year with Marmalade’? Follow the blog tour;

A Year with Marmalade Blog Tour

7th Aug Dee White;  http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com
9th Aug Karen Tyrrell;  http://www.karentyrrell.com
11th Aug Tania McCartney;  http://www.kids-bookreview.com
13th Aug  Pass It On;  http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/school-magazine
14th Aug  Kathryn Apel;  http://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/blog
17th Aug  Dale Harcombe;  http://orangedale.livejournal.com
20th Aug  Peter Taylor;  http://writing-for-children.blogspot.com.au
22nd Aug  Susan Stephenson;  http://www.thebookchook.com
23rd Aug  Robyn Opie Parnell;  http://robynopie.blogspot.com.au
27th Aug Sally Odgers;  http://spinningpearls.blogspot.com.au
29th  Aug  Angela Sunde;  http://angelasunde.blogspot.com.au
31st Aug Chris Bell;  http://christinemareebell.wordpress.com

Looking forward to seeing your cats! >^,^<

Madness – I’m Sane Again

The Madness Poetry Tournament continues over at Ed DeCaria’s blog – but I am sane again. :P I was knocked out of the tournament in Round Four, and seem to have spent the last 36hrs fighting sleep. (Five hours sleep per night isn’t enough for me. Who knew? Who knew sustained suspense could take such a toll?)

You can still follow the madness at Ed’s Think Kid, Think blog – and vote on the remaining two rounds. I’ll be there, voting.

Meanwhile, here is my collection of poems, inspired by the Madness. If you click on the pictures, they will take you direct to the match-up on Ed’s blog. Remembering that each poem had to include a given prompt word… All poetry on this page is Copyright Kathryn Apel, 2012.

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Madness – Round Four

Round Four. In truth, when Ed asked us at the start of the tournament where we thought we’d finish, I didn’t expect to make it this far. I think that may be why I’ve second-guessed every poem I started this round! I’ve written four… started more (!!!)… polished two.

This is my first. I hope my second is better – because it’s the one I entered for the Madness, over at Ed DeCaria’s Think Kid, Think site!

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Madness – Round Three

Click on the picture to go direct to the match-up.

Voting has started on Round Three of the March Madness poetry tournament, over at Ed DeCaria’s Think Kid, Think blog. The competition is fierce and beautiful. Two musical poems that both capture the essence of music. Whatever the outcome of today’s tightly contested poem, I’m so grateful to Ed and Allan, for pushing me to write this heartfelt sonnet. And whilst it’s making it very tricky for the voters, I’m also glad that Allan’s poem is heart too – in a humorous way. What a wonderful contrast of our words.

Go over now and vote! There are four match-ups left to be contested in this round. Some exquisite poetry.

6-scratched-vs-15-virtuoso: CLICK TO VIEW THIS MATCHUP!