Oh dear, no luck with the easter fancy baking mentioned in my last post. I used, or rather, was inspired by (I tend to make changes in recipes, not always to the better, unfortunately) Peggy Porschen‘s basic fondant fancy recipe from “Pretty Party Cakes“.


But it all went pear shaped and they didn’t even taste very good. All too sugary and nothing else for my taste. All in all; a complete disaster.


The other day I found this baby version of the china swan that I got earlier and which is currently housing some grass for my lil’ blue bloods to nibble on. But this baby swan (which, as you can see, has already been inaugurated by the duchesse) has become the perfect water holder for ink and gouache painting etc. Apart from that we’ve been getting along with some spring gardening . We’re sowing spring seeds and making a fence for our forest plot. I’ll post pictures when it’s ready. I am still work-room-less and so forth turning the whole house upside down with paper, paint and fabrics, but I’m working on that one too and sooner or later it all has to come together!



Hello hello; it’s Sticky Toffee Apple Bun time! These are really nice and cinnamony, as a bun should be, but with the added lovely gooeyness of cooked apples.


These buns were inspired by last weekend’s “How to bake” column by Dan Lepard, in the Guardian above (click and zoom for ingredients). We veganised it and made some changes depending on what we happened to have at home at the moment and these were the result:


We used veg margarine instead of butter and skipped the salt, as the margarine already had salt added to it. We used soy milk instead of cow’s milk. We skipped the yoghurt as we hadn’t any at home and added the same amount of extra milk instead. The egg; we just plain skipped. We used a mix of walnuts, almonds and pistachio nuts instead of just walnuts and that actually worked really well. Last, but not least the recipe called for “dessert apples” but we used Bramley apples (cooking apple) and it worked out deliciously. Although it might have made the final bun a bit less sweet than the original, I say I like a bit of  tart bite in my apple-y bun so I think it was just perfect!



Put the flour, cinnamon, sugar (+salt, if using) in a bowl and rub in the margarine. Whisk the yeast into the milk then add to the bowl along with the nuts. Mix eavenly, then leave for 30 mins. Knead on a lightly oiled worktop for 10 seconds, cover and leave for an hour.

Cut the apples into 1cm cubes. Heat the caster sugar in a frying pan with a spoonful of water until it turns into a golden caramel, add the apples and another spoonful of water and cook until the caramel becomed a thick syrup. Drain, cool and save the apple syrup for later.

Roll the dough into a 30cm square, spoon the apple mix on the top and roll up tightly. Cut into nine slices and place three by three in a deep, 30cm square tin lined greased foil. Cover, leave to rise by half (1 1/2 hours) and bake at 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for 30 minutes. Spoon the syrup on top and leave in the tin till warm.


Ah! Really sticky, gooey, lovely, apple-y buns!


I feel like I haven’t been here at the blog for ages, but I guess that’s just how it is sometimes. I have keept busy with domestic activities and work. J and I made this shelf for the bedroom the other day. It’s been constructed out of pallets, which is a material one is never short of here in London and they fit perfectly with my “waste-not-want!” ethos. We use pallets a lot, both for the house, the allotment and the garden and apparently we are not the only ones as our full garden fence in made out of deassembled pallets! It looks beautiful; sort of old fashioned yard-y, much nicer than those ready made panels that people tend to opt for here in the UK. It must have taken ages to make though, as pallets can be a bit of a struggle to take apart.


I covered the shelf with doilies so you can’t see those ugly brackets we used. The boards still need a lick of paint, but that will have to wait for a bit I think *~*.