Living with the Stephens family is without a doubt a bit crazy. I've always said that had Slaveboy and I not had children, we would probably by now be the modern day Bonnie & Clyde. SO we are pretty grateful to our children for keeping us on the straight and narrow-ish.
Slaveboy hurt his back somehow after returning from sound-engineering a live band on Wednesday. When he crawled in at around 2am, I was still up, completing the last details of this roulette wheel cake I had been asked to make for someone's birthday. The floor was plastered with flour, icing sugar was in my hair and sugarpaste icing was stuck to various implements.The pets were getting twitchy and even our friendly poltergeist didn't dare chuck any mini cheesecake at me.
I crazily thought that it was going to be pretty straightforward but I failed to take into account that the given the size the cake will be, it was going to be a real pig to get the numbers on the little sections at the outer rim of the cake. Not helped by the fact that I had to hand cut the numbers as nowhere in town had in stock small number stencils. And my hands weren't strady enough to pipe with royal icing numbers that small (that made me feel quite inadequate - there I was, able to lambdoidal suture manouvres but unable to ice numbers to that size).
The woman who ordered the cake from me was really chuffed with the cake, I wasn't so much but I think I did pretty ok. I know I chickened out on showing you a proper photo of it but I took the photo late at night and it didn't turn out very good.
And to top it all, because Slaveboy had hurt his back, he couldn't bend down to pull his socks off. Totally ming and indeed mong. That's all I have to say on the matter.
Slaveboy didn't get long to recover though as the next evening, he was despatched to the local supermarket for cat food, vegetables and some other essentials. He came home with 6 bags of potatoes, 2 bags of parsnips, lots of salad leaves and 2 punnets each of strawberries and redcurrants. The strawberries did look a bit sad for themselves (he got them off the bargain shelf) and after having got ready for bed, I decided they couldn't wait til the next day to be used. So down the stairs I marched and I weighed the four punnets of soft fruits and added to them the same amount of preserving sugar and left them in an airtight container in the fridge.
The next day, it was just a matter of emptying the content into a pan and allowing the sugar to dissolve and bringing it up to boil for about 5 minutes. Halfway through this process, after the fruits had gone soft, I pushed them through a sieve and continued with the boiling process. Then, I emptied it into three sterilised jam jars and allow them to cool down at room temperature before placing the jars into the fridge.
And in a backward fashion, I made some scones using the sour milk I had in the fridge and some lemon curd buttercream I had skulking around in the freezer. I simply replaced the sugar from the recipe with the buttercream and the end result was delicious!!!! All 30 were gone by the time breakfast was over (that was before they moved on to making themselves porridge).
8 oz. self raising flour
2 oz. butter, at room temperature
1 oz. caster sugar
Pinch of salt
5 fl. oz. sour milk
Preheat oven at 220C or 200C for fan oven. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Rub flour and butter quickly til a fine breadcrumb texture.
- Add the sugar
- Gradually mix in the milk with a palette knife and you'll probably end up with a soft mix.
- Flour your work surface and rolling pin. I usually line my work surface with baking parchment.
- Roll out the dough to around 3/4 inch thickness. Please, please, resist the temptation to fiddle with the dough or add more flour to it to make it less soft. Just work fast and confidently. You are going for taste, not cookbook perfection visual impact.
- Use a 1 1/2 or 2 inch round cutter (I prefer fluted cos I am girly that way) and tap them out on the baking sheet. The dough should make around 12.
- Bake for around 12-15 mins.
*This recipe was adapted Delia Smith's recipe. Yes, I admit it. I am a secret Delia whore. I am unashamed.
As you can probably guess, my task for today was to bring some sense to my fridge and in my rummaging, I found a bowl with egg whites in it, something I had stored two days ago. I remembered reading a completely new way of making meringue in Baking With Passion, a book lent to me by Spiker. She probably won't lend me anything anymore after that ransom note debacle.
It involved actually measuring the weight of the eggwhite and adding to it caster sugar and then heating the mixture up on a bain marie until the sugar dissolves. You then take it off the heat and whisk it until it becomes thick and stiff, and this it did significantly faster than my usual method.
The recipe asked for it to be baked at 150C for a specific length of time and then the oven switched off for the rest of the night (dunno what you were supposed to do if you baked it in the day - hee hee). I couldn't afford the time to do that as I had mackerels to bake so I baked the meringue, which I had dolloped into individual sized ones, for about 30 minutes and took them out when I felt the shells were nice and crisp.
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