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Dear Friends,

You might have noticed that there hasn't been much activity on this blog lately. I have moved the blog over to Wordpress as it is a more secure platform for me as I am using the iPad mainly to update the blog.

I would really, really LOVE to see you there and to those who have followed this blog, cash I please ask you to follow the new blog.

The address is;



This Blogging Lark

I'm not even going to apologise for my blog-tardiness. The Sniff&Snort household has been topsy-turvied by my early Spring
cleaning (or long overdue if you consider that we haven't done any for the past six years). It got to the stage where there simply wasn't any little spots of sanctuary in the house, just piles of stuff that needed to be sorted and stored, charity shopped or thrown away.
Last month saw us reaching another milestone in our family. The 7th wonder was given the all clear by her Consultant Paediatrician. Not that any of us nearest and dearest had any reservations about how well she was doing. 7th Wonder had an episode of illness which necessitated hospital admission at day 6 after her birth and despite the fact that it was a 'we'll have to just wait and see' situation, an overly zealous Paediatrician saw it fit to diagnose her with a condition which at its worst, had a life affecting prognosis (words like brain damage, deafness, long term hospitalisation were bandied about). He even went as far as referring us to the Social Services.

Honestly, harsh as this may sound, I don't give two hoots if she is deaf, or will have learning difficulties or will have trouble interpreting the sounds that she hears. She smiles back. She is crawling. She throws her toys aside when you walk into the room with a plate of food. She turns to her name. She goes 'oooff' when she sees her sister's soft toy named Woofy. We love her regardless. The truth of the matter is, I believe that things happen for a reason. Yes, 7th Wonder was dreadfully ill. She almost had a full blood exchange. She could have been worse off than she is now, due to her illness. However, the reality is, 7th Wonder saved my life. Had she not become ill and required hospitalisation, they would have not picked up on the fact that I had contracted a rare but potentially life threatening infection which has since been categorised as a notifiable infection. The onset came on rapidly and in a different circumstance, I would have stayed at home, wrote it off as mastitis, gone to sleep to wear it off and possibly not wake up from it. It is realities like that that really puts into perspective that whatever special requirements 7th Wonder might need later on in life, we are still truly blessed.
Last month, also marked the 2nd anniversary of my leaving midwifery practice. Every single passing month, I expect to regret that decision and yet every single passing month, I find myself breathing a huge sigh of relief. Midwifery has been a huge part of my life, and has shaped who i am as a person, a woman and also a mother. It has changed my parenting style. It has led us, as a family to home education.

What it hasn't done is grant me the patience to brush the Small Shouty One's hair.

Every time, there are tears. From both of us. You can always tell when things get a bit tense during the hair brushing. The pets are cowling in a corner, the rest of the brood will suddenly discover chores unfinished and Slaveboy will retreat to the kitchen to crape burnt bits off from the bottom of pans. The Small Shouty One will be 5 this month and she will be having her first sleepover. I've offered to take her and her friend to a posh French cake boutique. She wants to go to Macari's for Mr. Whippy. Sigh. So many other landmarks too. My 2nd son winning 3rd place for Classical Guitar at the Chichester Music Festival. My 4th daughter doing her 1st ballet exam. My 3rd daughter passing yet another diving assessment. My firstborn below getting well and truly stuck in with her theatre work. That's her dunking a shirt in a coal bucket filled with soot. The things the Chichester Technical Youth Theatre get up to.

And finally, I leave with this. I promise to blog about cakes & flour confections soon. Once I find the floor in my bedroom. I will share with you Whipped & Baked's recent adventures. I might even post about my grand plans for the postage damp size garden plot. Until then, I would like to share this gem. I hope my children will one day read this. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Day of Rest

So I won't be finishing up those drafts. I know I'm taunting you guys. I sort of spent last night watching the latest episode of True Blood (Erik the Viking, sigh, how unoriginal but isn't he easy on the eyes). Then I got caught up catching up with Being Human and the first instalment of The Killing. Hence this morning, I felt absolutely murderous. The sight of the cartoons of 2chicks egg white in fridge just highlighted my sense of failure. So I made these.

I like them knobbly. I simply warmed up the egg white & sugar solution in a double boiler and then got it whisking in my table top mixer. I can't remember for how long but I usually wait for it to get glossy and stiff, but not dry (this, dear readers, is a rule I apply to MANY MANY things).

As you can see, the inside is marshmallowy, we like them that way as we eat them straight up.

Chewy and soft, none of that hollow crunchy type that you buy from supermarkets. So what have you been baking today, dear Snorters? - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


On the sofa

Again. With the small, shouty one.

She took offence to my lying my head on her back. Always quick to rectify any injustice, she is. My to do list includes several blog posts which are in draft mode. There is the bane if my last Tuesday,

And this,

But until then, I'm on the sofa, righting the wrongs of the world, universe and CBBCland with my 4 year old.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Crikey Stripey

What I would really like to do is swear. I get antsy from time to time and suffer from an epic proportion of melancholy. Truly, I become winter of discontent personified. So, last night saw me making white chocolate mud cake for my daughter's birthday get together. I'm still playing around with temp control on my new oven and wondering why the heck they only gave me one shelf. It irked me a bit last night and I'm thankful that the thought didn't cross my mind today as it would definitely have tipped me over the edge. And there were other crap that was bugging me, petty minded little eejits who've rattled my cage a little. However. I must remember what my newly found Twitter friend, @wraggamuffins told me. Things happen for a reason. Amen. I do wonder though how long it would be before new parents name their babies with an @ prefix. Gotta be done. I'd even half consider renewing my midwifery registration to the NyouarenotthebossofmenowMC just for the opportunity to sow the seed of this idea to new parents in the delivery ward. Anyway, this cake. Saturday is always a crazy day at the S&S camp. 7th Wonder wad particularly unsettled - I think she's teething. Some friends were popping in and I had this cake to decorate. I was just hoping that it would turn out alright as I would look a right numpty if I had to redo the decorations. The cake design was fairly simple.

It was filled and covered with chocolate buttercream (made with chocolate, not cocoa). I find that there are a few tricks/tips that help when trying to ice/cover a cake.

-when torting the cake into slices, stick a cocktail stick on the side of each layer in a neat well aligned vertical line. That way, you know which is the right aspect of each slice so when you sandwich back together, you're not sticking the left side of one to the right side of another.

- Always whip your buttercream til it's nice and sloppy. That way it spreads well and doesn't take a chunk out of your cake when you spread it.

- If you are making a 9 inch cake, then place it on a 9 inch board. That way, when you apply the buttercream, you have the border of the cake board as a guide. Use a flat plastic scraper to get the surface nice and level.

- always coat the side(s) of your cake. That way you won't mess up the top.

- chill your cake so the buttercream set. - knead, knead, knead your fondant til its pliable. - roll out more fondant than you need and dust your surface well. Keep moving the fondant, dusting as you go.

- bring the cake to the rolled fondant, not the other way around.

- work fast but don't panic. Always smooth the top first. Make sure you pull out the sides before you smooth it down. This way you don't end up with overlaps of fondant at the bottom.

- always, always work with dry hands and implements. Fondant sticks to everything and tears. -and most importantly, have fun. I love it in most parts. I only hate it when I've rushed it or not used enough fondant. More from me tomorrow when I will gibber on about fudge. Maybe.


On the Road (again)

Again in the sense that I am having a deep sense of déjà vu writing this cos I have already written it. On my iPhone. Except that the blogpress application crashed on me and took with it my whole post. So I have dug out my iPad and am writing the post on here and will have to wait to publish it til I get home. So I'm on a train to London because numpty here, despite her resolve to simplify 2011 and take it easy in light of the pretty much horrendous and traumatic 2010, have been asked by the Great British Bake Off crew to bring along some baking samples to an audition. A few weeks back, probably mid January, I sent in an email application for Season 2 of The Great British Bake Off. No agenda at all, just this overwhelming notion that I'd be plagued with 'what ifs' had I not. The questions were quite thorough, and highlighted LOTS of my shortcoming as I discovered that I do bugger all of pastry or pies or tarts. They also asked questions like What is Your Greatest Achievement, to which answered 37 yrs old, midwifery training, 7 children, home educating and I still have hair and all my teeth. I also declared that one of the reasons why Slaveboy and I are still together is because I make a damn fine baked American vanilla cheesecake. So you get the gist here. I really didn't rehearse my answers. The day after I submitted my application, I received a phone call from the Production Company asking to do a phone interview. A week or so later, in the midst of crazy planning and baking for the Brighton Tattoo Convention, whilst shopping for a table cloth, I get a phone call saying that I was through to the next round and can I please turn up at their London's office in a week's time with some samples of my baking. One sweet. One savoury. So the whole Brighton Tattoo Convention weekend was spent stewing over what I would bake, that and kissing various Hell's Angels (Slaveboy understands this proclivity of mine) and swatting women in the boobs (very animated arm gestures when nervous or having consumed too much sugar). By around Wednesday, I had pretty much decided. You might presume that I would have arrived to the sweet decision first but I didn't. I decided on caramelised pear & Stinking Bishop cheese individual tarts. I think I made in once before, like two and a half years ago. The sweet was going to a fondant decorated lemon cake. Until I wobbled and thought that the cake would give the wrong impression. The cake was going to be scrummy but I worried that would be overshadowed by the fact that it would have been White chocolate ganached, fondant covered with handmade White chocolate plastique roses. It just didn't sound like baking to me. *In retrospect this might have been a better option but I was too shattered from my Brighton Tattoo Convention weekend to gauge properly*. So I switched to my crowd pleaser - cinnamon rolls. This involved scalding milk, proving, kneading, rolling, chilling and making a frosting. Unlike the tarts which were made the day before, I woke up at 6:20 on the itself to get the already rolled dough out so I could bake them as near to leaving time as possible (8:30am). Twenty minutes later, having left the 7th wonder in bed with Daddy Slaveboy fast asleep, I get a phone all from him with 7th Wonder wailing in the background. The question was simple, can he bring her downstairs? So, there Slaveboy stood, jiggling a growling baby as I frantically mix the maple frosting that is to go on top of the rolls. And in true comedic fashion, midway jiggling the baby, Slaveboy's sarong fell to the floor. And I tell you this, it's not only Scotsmen in kilts who go commando. Once I finished rolling around on the floor laughing, thinking that what would properly complete the scene was our hermit neighbour walking past our non-screened off kitchen window, I took the 7th wonder off of him so he could regain his dignity, if not decency. It amazes me how surprised I am by how crazily hectic trying to bake with a young baby is. At the same as breastfeeding the 7th wonder, I was applying make-up, pulling on tights and fending off requests for DVD viewing from the shouty one. There really isn't much more I can say about the experience as I've signed some doo dah saying won't say anything until the show is aired but office to say, I didn't get in although they did compliment me on the cinnamon rolls, saying they were delicious and my tart cases felt and looked right (I fear caramelised pea in tarts is still an acquired taste). Just as well really since upon arrival at the audition, I developed a hives on my ore head and by halfway through, my right eye was watering and stinging so much that I would have looked like someone with a nervous tick had I been asked for screen test. That's happens when you poke yourself in the eye with your mascara wand. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Brighton Tattoo Convention

There are very few events that I really look forward to every year. The Brighton Tattoo Convention, organised by a lovely man called Woody is way up there in the top 3. It's vibrant, quirky and very friendly. This year was doubly better because we were returning to the event with our cake stall. You guys here to look at photos of tattoos, you can just scroll down ;)

These sold like err, hot cakes. Coca Cola cupcakes with Sailor Jerry rum buttercream. Half a bottle went into 50 cupcakes' worth of buttercream.

I actually love this photo.

They were so cute. If anyone know who they are, please let me know. I would love to send them a copy of the photo.

Some wickedly fantastic ladies.

I had hair envy.

The moustache Mafia were out in full force at the weekend. Between them and the men donning trouser braces, I had plenty to ogle at.

Pretty sure he's a tattooist.

Pretty, pretty ladies. And they liked my cakes!

Her hair reminded me of Neil Gaiman's Crazy Hair book. It's phenomenal.

Aaaaa, the Wildcat gang. I do love them. Ever so jolly and funny. With their bling bling sign that they only take out twice a year because it's too big to fit anywhere else. The guy there loves big bosomed women bearing cakes.

And this is what all good girls get when the come bearing brownies and cinnamon rolls for the Wildcat gang.

I saw some pretty spectacular chest pieces at this convention.

This reminds me of the bizarre conversation I had with one of the staff. I had been asked to make the prize cake for the best decorated tattoo booth. I was trying to look for Woody, and the guy had a radio communication jiggy thing. The conversation that followed; "The cake is for best decorated booth..." "Best decorated boobs you say?" "No, boothS. Not boobs." "Yeah, boobs, that's what I said." At which point he flashed us his decorated chest. Sigh. I could have gone on with that conversation for a fair while, voluntarily.

He was a bit nice. According to my firstborn.

And I'm pretty sure this lovely lady was born with a few rib bones missing. Check out her tiny waist.

I'm always a sucker for tattoos of roses.

My piercer sought me out on Sunday. Being a vegan, she couldn't have any of my cakes. Must get round to making her vegan cakes.

The winners. Blackheart Tattoo Studio. Unbeknownst to me, this turned out to be Woody's studio and he was a bit reluctant to accept it, seeing that he was the organiser of the convention. However, he relented and said that it would make his wife (pretty lady in black) really happy to have won it. All in all, a great weekend. Looking forward to next year's.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Brighton Racecourse