This collection of ramblings has been dragged together to reflect my love of art, crafts and both sweet and savoury cooking – hence the name which is meant to represent all these areas. I’ve hopefully moulded Ink, Sugar & Spice to have something for most who wander by, but it’s particularly going to suit anyone who is a little creative, quirky, inquisitive and who likes to play with their food.
It’s not just recipes…
I have a passion for research and learning, and this is reflected in the recipes I develop. Many posts look back at the history and development of recipes over time, the etymology of terms, or the science behind what’s happening in your pan, oven and food to create the end result. Other posts include mathematical explanations of the finished product or ‘kitchen science’ experiments. There are also many crafty and highly creative things for you to replicate or my musings on my kitchen to help you in yours – and a few injections of my illustrations.
Some examples of the diversity of my posts are:
- How to check for hotspots in your oven
- Spiral cake and maths
- The basic equipment you honestly need to start to make pasta (and a follow up post)
- Gingerbread fox biscuits and how to make your own cutter
- Homemade corn tortilla chips
- How yeast works
- Algebra and puff pastry
- Sourdough croutons – and using leftover good bread
- Growing your own pet yeast – sourdough starters
- Pastry ‘art’ and berry pie
Please see the full list of posts.
What’s here in food
Ink Sugar Spice is full of recipes and skills/techniques. I have not dumbed down my recipes – there are only additional photos or illustrations for very precise steps – even if it’s an easy recipe. But while my recipes are not beginners’ pictorial guides, some of my craft posts do have a few step-by-step images for when only a photo will cut it, explanatory-wise.
I originally set up the site as a mechanism to record and show just my baking because at that time I wanted to apply to the Great British Bake Off. So, I ignored all my crafts, pasta and other cooking for a time and you’ll notice all my earlier posts are entirely baking or baking related – which I still of course include, but I am trying to even out the other areas I enjoy and make it a more well rounded resource.
There is a range of skill levels accommodated here, from almost (but not quite) all-in-one baking through to very tricky confectionery and handmade pasta and craft skills. I also love to create all that I can from scratch and I am a keen gardener (especially herbs and edible flowers) so there are many preserving techniques and recipes, handmade bread (including sourdough techniques) and detailed patisserie.
Examples of the breadth of recipe posts include:
- Making ricotta at home (and ways to flavour, infuse or enrich)
- Various fruit curds – lemon, hedgerow fruits, orange
- Hot water pastry and wild boar hand raised pie (and Tudor rose decoration)
- Poor man’s capers
- Spring onion and shallot bhajis
- Beef and cheddar pasties
- Roasted butternut squash ravioli
- Fresh and sourdough yeast Pan D’Oro
- Bread shapes and a video on complex plaiting
- Alice in Wonderland Victorian fondant fancies
- Esterházy torte – nut dacquoise layer cake
- Strawberry semifreddo (and “types” of ice cream desserts)
- Various baked cheesecakes – nectarine with peppercorns, Limoncello, mango, mint chocolate
- Chilli jam
- Wild garlic and walnut pesto (with some foraging tips and ‘rules’)
A caveat on my recipes…
You won’t specifically find my recipes especially health conscious or low fat – although sometimes such things creep in! There may be the occasional very healthy recipe thrown in as balance and I do a lot of use of fruit, veggies and (especially) herbs throughout.
I aim for me and my family to eat very healthily for at at least 80% of the time. This gives me some leverage on indulgence while still looking after our health. I cook my family’s meals from scratch, so I know precisely what’s in their food and that there are no additives or other chemical ‘unnecessaries’ and we get a healthy dose of fruit and veggies. That allows us to have an occasional treat. It feels fabulous to eat fanciful things, full of joy and flavour. It improves our emotional well-being to have an occasional treat. To lessen the calorific impact I tend to bake in small batches (so it’s impossible to binge). If you’re coming round to ours, expect a treat but without having to leave feeling like you’ve overindulged and now can’t walk…
My personal bugbear in food is waste, so many of my recipes are originally devised to use up scraps of ingredients I have in my fridge. Pasta recipes are particularly good for this. This has been borne out of being pretty broke at times in the past and growing up in a home where every single penny counted. Things aren’t quite as dire as that now, but I still have to keep a careful eye what I spend on food. I don’t always directly mention that any recipe is money saving, but if you read one that has a bit of this and a little bit of that to build up a range of flavours or has any leftovers or odds and ends of food, frugality has probably been the initiator.
One last thing about this site – I do not earn money through here (at the moment). If you see adverts on my pages they are because WordPress places those adverts there to compensate for allowing me to have a free site (this happens to all those using the free WordPress.com service, not just me). I didn’t know this was the case until someone raised my awareness, I guess that’s the pay off for using something freely, so seems fair. If my situation regarding this changes I will amend this notice.
I hope you enjoy some of my recipes and please do comment (I like to chat back). If you want to know more or contact me please see the About me page.