We’re back with #fdbloggerfriends today and the lovely Lynn, who I met when we both went to the filming of An Extra Slice – you can read about my experience here – and we’ve been following each other of Twitter for ages! All of Lynn’s bakes are FANTASTIC and my particular favourite is the Spiral Cake combining my 2 passions of cake and maths!
Hello you lovely lot reading Andrew’s fab blog!
My blog name, Ink Sugar Spice, was picked to reflect my artwork and my range of recipes. It’s a slightly unusual approach to food and the recipes I create encompass sweet and savoury and often include my artwork, illustrations or makes. Recipes I develop and write up include patisserie, bread, confectionery, sweet and savoury bakes, family recipes and (now I look back at what I’ve done) seemingly a lot of biscuits, cheesecakes and pies especially!
Many years ago (coughs and mumbles age under breath) I went to art school and obtained an honours degree in 3D theatre design. Although I didn’t pursue that discipline I went sideways into graphics and web development and copywriting. So much of my life, whether at work or at home, revolves around art, craft and design. As my main hobby is cooking and baking (baking especially) it’s natural for me that food and art and design often end up mashing together.
I try to include some unusual element in all my recipes. That wasn’t conscious at first – I realised after a while that I was just doing that. Now it’s sort of my thing. This might be instructions to make something, an unusual decorative design, a hand illustrated recipe, bonkers flavour combinations, the science behind how a recipe works (another interest of mine) or a historical background story.
Five facts about me
- I play guitar – classical, electric and bass and we have a large collection of guitars and amplifiers
- I have twin teenage boys who were born very premature at ten weeks and one day early
- I’m a Studio Ghibli film nut and Howl’s Moving Castle is my favourite
- I take sketch books with me everywhere: for ‘proper’ drawings and for doodling food ideas and taking notes
- I like (occasionally) making and customising my own clothes and I was taught to pattern cut
How food has shaped my life and why it’s so important
I don’t have any particular extraordinary tale to tell: there is no food epiphany or key food-oriented memory. After I was married and we had twins, we lived far from family and were the first of our friends to have children. This meant no help. Life with baby twins proved all-encompassing and isolating and I kissed goodbye to hobbies or any semblance of social life (and my husband also) for many years. I’d always enjoyed cooking and baking so I poured my energy into feeding my family and turned it into my hobby. But what a hobby! Odd to find late in life that there was something that you were ultimately best at that you didn’t pursue. It makes you wonder whether if I’d been a pastry chef whether I’d be considering now if I should have been a designer! I would like to eventually incorporate my cooking and baking into my working life – not sure how yet, but watch this space.
My last meal on earth
It would have to be a last meal as part of a giant beach party late on a hot-sweet summer evening. I’d invite everyone who meant something in my life together with anyone who’d ever made me laugh or shown me something I didn’t know before (cue a list full of musicians, comedians, writers, actors, chefs, cooks, scientists and historians). And anyone who simply wanted to come: open invite.
I’d have all those typical summer sharing foods and childhood treats: huge amounts of slow cooked meats turning on a spit, fresh fish cooked in herbs on a smoky barbecue, giant vats of fresh salads, buckets of crispy fries and honey barbecued corn-on-the-cobs slathered with butter. You’d have to ensure you had room to dive into the tubs of clotted cream ice cream and fresh berries, all crumbled over with toasted flaked almonds and shavings of chocolate. It would all be washed down by best English cider and homemade lemonade and then we’d dance around in the foamy surf to music late into the morning and watch the sun rise. Anyone want to join me?
Why I started
So, although Ink Sugar Spice hopefully is a representation of my art/design and my baking and cooking, I originally kicked it off just to get me to provide ‘photo evidence’ to accompany an application for the Great British Bake Off the year before last. While that’s never going to happen (I realise this, but it won’t stop me repeat applying! I am a bit of a GBBO nut like many other millions out there), I found I quite enjoyed posting anyway: you can tell I like rambling, right? I have kept recipe ideas books since my twenties and despite having already gone past the 100 recipes mark on my blog I have plenty of old ideas to draw from and lots of new ones whizzing about in my head.
My favourite posts
The science of meringue – this is typical of one of my “I have to go and learn more’ moments. I can’t just do a thing. I have to understand why it does what it does. So I’m compelled often to do a lot of research on posts before I write it up https://inksugarspice.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/the-science-of-meringue-making/
Spring onion and shallot bhajis. This is something I make regularly and has been years in the adaptation. I’m proud of this one too as it was printed in a Saturday edition of The Telegraph earlier this year https://inksugarspice.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/onion-and-shallot-bhajis/
Mango baked cheesecake with mango compote. One of the best cheesecake’s I’ve ever devised – you’ve got to make a baked cheesecake: those no bake ones just aren’t the same. I was overjoyed recently when the glorious Lorraine Pascale nominated this (and my IG account) as her #followoftheday on Instagram https://inksugarspice.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/mango-cheesecake/
Yuzu meringue daisies
Egg whites – 3 from large, fresh free range eggs
Caster sugar – 175g
Vanilla extract – ½ teaspoon (do NOT use vanilla bean paste here as the seeds will show)
Yuzu powder – 1 heaped teaspoon (not got yuzu powder? Make it lemon-flavoured instead by substituting 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice)
Bright yellow gel or powder food colouring (avoid liquid colouring with meringues as it will interfere with the protein strands bonding)
1 large and 1 smaller bowl – metal or glass is preferable and they must be squeaky clean and fully dried
Balloon whisk, electric hand whisk or stand mixer (if using a stand mixer your bowl counts as the large one above). Again make sure the whisk(s) used are squeaky clean
Two piping bags: one with a 5mm round nozzle and one with a small crescent (petal) nozzle
Large baking sheet lined with baking parchment
- Turn your oven on to 100 C fan or 110 C conventional
- Start whisking the egg whites and continue until they are voluminous and at soft peak stage
- Continue whisking and add the caster sugar in a little at a time – about a heaped tablespoonful in one go only
- When you have added all the caster, then add in the extract
- Continue whisking until the meringue is glossy and shiny and has reached stiff peak stage
- Spoon about a third of the meringue into the smaller bowl and add the yellow food colouring and yuzu powder and combine
- Transfer the yellow meringue to the smaller piping bag with the crescent nozzle and the white meringue to the large piping bag with the plain nozzle
- Pipe discs of yellow meringue (similar in size to a macaron – about 4 to 4 cm across) on the lined baking sheets. It will make around 12-14 discs
- Using the crescent nozzle and yellow meringue, pipe a ring of small petal-shaped droplets around the disc (place the nozzle next to the disc and pull outwards as you pipe, so that the fat part of the petal is touching the yellow centre and the meringue forms a petal-shaped strand radiating away)
- Repeat this action to make two more complete rings of ‘petals’ so that there are three layers of meringue surrounding the yellow centre
- Repeat for all the yellow centres
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes – the meringue should be crisp and shiny on the outside and mallow-y chewy on the inside
Connect with me – well, if you want to that is
My blog Ink Sugar Spice can be found at www.inksugarspice.wordpress.com
Become a Twitter friend at @scarletclark
My Instagram feed is full of my food plus my artwork and just inspiring beautiful things I spy as I’m out and about: www.Instagram.com/inksugarspice
Pinterest – you know what this is! More photos. Of stuff! uk.pinterest.com/inksugarspice