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. 

  1. Rub flour and butter quickly til a fine breadcrumb texture.
  2. Add the sugar
  3. Gradually mix in the milk with a palette knife and you'll probably end up with a soft mix.
  4. Flour your work surface and rolling pin. I usually line my work surface with baking parchment.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 
  7. Bake for around 12-15 mins. 
These keep pretty well, and you can freeze them too. Or you can be totally unconservative (gooo on, you know you wanna), and make them at 11.30pm and eat them at 1.00am and call it breakfast. That way you will never need to feel guilty about missing breakfast ever again. Promise.

 *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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Hee hee. Snort.

Both Spiker and I have been having a crappy time lately so I sent her this photo that I mocked up using the bowl she left here and the icing nozzles she lent me in order for me to do this Roulette wheel cake for someone's birthday.

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Sometimes the wind blows a certain direction..

And I just get some mad idea that I would just randomly cook from a recipe out of the pile of ripped-out-of-old-magazines. I think I was having a bad day yesterday. Which was a follow-on from the bad day I have the day before. Tis all related to this house move and I shan't bore you with it. Suffice to say, I despair at the rate some things are being done.

So, I found this recipe called Candied Sweet Potato. I really should have figured that it was gonna be a no-goer just from the title. Note the optional extra - MARSHMALLOWS!!! I omitted the marshmallows and we had it with cous cous and the kids said that it tasted like cinnamon rolls, and that time, it wasn't a compliment.

So, this morning, I decided I would make a sweet potato loaf cake out of the leftover. I found a recipe on the 'tinternet and I assure you, it is very yummy and moreish. I adapted the recipe to take into account the added sugar and spices already present in the cinnamon rolls casserole candied sweet potato dish leftover.


1 1/2 cups sugar  I used soft dark brown sugar 
1/2 cup vegetable oil I used sunflower oil with a little dash of light olive oil
2 eggs 
1/3 cup of water

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour I used plain flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato I used my leftover
1/2 cup chopped pecans yum yum
1/2 cup raisins I used sultanas


1. Combine sugar, oil, eggs, and water.
2. Add next 5 ingredients, mixing just enough to moisten.
3. Stir in potatoes, pecans, and sultanas.
4. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured loaf tins.
5. Bake at 175C degrees for 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from tins and allow to cool completely.

Yesterday was Day 2 of Chichester's Local Food market. I have to say that despite valiant attempts, it was rather lacklustre in the sense that none of the stalls had that visual impact from afar. There were my usual haunts, Debbie from Veg Out from whom I bought 2kg of onion which I made onion marmalade with. The game stall man with his scrummy game pie mix. The Weald and Downlands Museum stall was there and I managed to restock on their stoneground wholemeal flour - a rather large 10kg bag of it. I was happily chattering away to the stallholder lady but I don't think she thought I was orally legible enough, despite my affected semi Sussex accent, or maybe she was just utterly amazed that anyone brown skinned with head to toe in tattoos would be making excitable proclamations about what wonder Yorkshire puddings the flour make.

A rather unattractive view of Chichester's local food market. You can hardly see the Cross for this perspective.

This gentleman was selling hollowed out oversized breadrolls filled with soup!!! I didn't have time to try some.

Cute, kitschy. Cath Kidston-y stall, selling things I don't really need but would love to have.

I did make some bread but have failed to take photos of them. Here, have some pictures of the batch I made the day before. They're whities but still very yummy.

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