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My First Week Detox: I Quit Sugar.

12 May

My Name is Serotiny & I am a Sugar addict.


The main Sugary downfalls in my diet are Baking and Chocolate.
I tend to drink lots of tea (another unhealthy habit though I do drink a variety of teas not just black) and with this have cake, biscuits, chocolate etc. I use sugary foods to boast my energy and my mood.

I consume about 500g plus of Milk Chocolate a day, added to that I could have biscuits and cakes, and that’s all with out the added sugars in my healthy cereal, mayonnaise, even the odd mixer drink etc.

I dread to calculate how much sugar this was in my diet, I just know eating as much as I did was never going to have a good out come at some point in my life.

To look at me you wouldn’t believe I ate all this, which is a regular look I get from people or the one of hate/envy. I remain around a size 6-8 what ever I seem to eat, I have done the whole of my teens & adult life thus far.

But regardless of body shape and size it’s about what’s going on with my inner self, the finer biomechanics of my body.

So here is introducing I Quit Sugar to my life:


Sarah Wilson’s 8 week Detox programme and life style change.

I purchased this and her latest book “I Quit Sugar For Life” from Amazon a few weeks ago.
But I have been waiting for the right week to prepare myself and start it.

This last week was week 1. As Sarah suggests in the book I will be documenting my changes and developments, and I intend to do this in a little note book and by sharing my experience here with you.

I would be interested in hearing if anyone else has tried the “I Quit Sugar” detox and how this has all worked out for them?

Week 1: Monday 12th May 2014


“* Start making food swaps this week For Example instead of Jam on Toast for Breakfast swap to a sugar free alternative such as Avocado on Toast.”

My Weeks meal plan.


So as I said my main area of sugar consumption is chocolate, cakes and biscuits.
I don’t regularly drink added sugar drinks or have sugar in my tea etc.
So my first week I’ve cut out all chocolate, cakes, biscuits & crisps.

I’ve also started to whittle down foods in the cupboard with added sugar or foods such as dried fruits that contain high levels or fructose, my cereal etc. As I really want to stick to the program but I don’t want to waste food either.

It’s amazing how many things have added sugar.
As the week has gone on I’m finding it really hard, I’m doubting my reasons for doing this and have begun the wrong thinking process of “well I will just cut down the amount of chocolate etc I eat rather than do this”.

But despite all this I have kept going. At the same time positively I’ve been eating a proper full Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and have cut down on my black tea consumption.

I will say I’ve noticed a pattern developing in my chocolate/sugar consumption. With the hardest times being after meals. I seem to always crave something after a savoury meal.
So I’ve followed one of Sarah’s book suggestions and have been having Natural Plain Yogurt with Cinnamon. I’d love to tell you this helps but it doesn’t yet, I could still inhale a 250g bar of chocolate. I’ve also tried snacking on nuts which are high in fats and suggested by Sarah again they aren’t really helping.

But onwards to Week 2 …



Hot Cross Buns

21 Apr

Well we seem to have been the only part of the country that hasn’t had brilliant blue sky’s and sunshine this Easter Weekend.

A few sneaky rays have made it through but mostly it’s been very grey indeed.

Saturday Mr S met up with a friend, so I took this opportunity to bake Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns.

This is the first time I’ve made a gluten free bake with yeast. So it was always going to be hit and miss as it’s a learning curve.
Generally I never have issues converting non gluten free recipes to gluten free, but with baking I know more about the why’s & how’s. With yeast baking I don’t really. I know what yeast is the principles but not visibly what a mixture is doing.

I took Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Bun Recipe on the Good Food Website. As I’ve seen lots of people have success with this and then I altered it to Gluten Free & to taste.
I have a real dislike of peel so I didn’t add any and I didn’t have an apple. But instead I soaked my sultanas in apple juice.

Hot Cross Buns

For the buns:

300ml/10fl oz whole milk
500g/1lb 2oz gluten free strong white flour (I use Doves Farm)
75g/2½oz caster sugar
1 tsp salt
7g fast-action yeast
50g/1¾oz butter
1 egg, beaten
200g/7oz sultanas
100ml/3 fl oz good quality apple juice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
sunflower oil, for greasing the bowl.

For the cross:

75g/2½oz gluten free plain flour, plus extra for dusting (again I use Doves Farm)

For the glaze:

3 tbsp apricot jam

So following the same steps as Paul Hollywoods Recipe.



Adding my own twist..







1 hour later … It has risen … Not as much a normal dough.


There was some adding of fruit and spices with another hours proving.


Followed by shaping and more proving.


The realisation I had no icing bag, so the use of a food bag to add some very ‘rustic’ looking crosses.


Baking for 20minutes.
Glazing with apricot jam.


Then Eating !!!

So verdict. Well these honestly were not the biggest success. I think in hinds site I didn’t add enough liquid; with my gluten free bakes I always add a little more liquid and as the mixture was sticky I didn’t. Secondly, I think at the final shape and prove stage I over handled them, I think I would have had a much better rise and texture if I hadn’t.

But they were edible and we enjoyed them Easter Morning for breakfast.

I would be interested in anyone else’s tips who has made gluten free hot cross buns.


Gluten Free Ombré Purple Cake

11 Aug

This Saturday was Mr S’s Mother’s birthday.

Mrs S senior is a lovely lady and I am very lucky with my ‘in laws’ in general.

We felt it was our turn to host a family advent so decided to do a birthday gathering. Plans chopped and changed to who could and couldn’t make it but regardless I went ahead with a similar meal plan which was Moroccan in theme for Starter & Main Course’s with Tiramisu & Pavlova for dessert.

But obviously being a birthday celebration all that matters is the CAKE!
And I succumbed to the ombré phenomenon that has engulfed Pinterest by attempting a purple ombré cake.

Firstly my intention was for white butter icing with purple ombré cake, but the white dye I had was not enough for the whole cake so I had to improvise and use white butter icing in the middle and purple butter icing on the outside.

Gluten Free Purple Ombré Cake


16oz / 455g Butter
16oz / 455g Caster Sugar
16oz / 455g Doves Farm GF Self Raising Flour
8 Eggs
A Splosh of Milk
Purple Food Dye
White Food Dye
Lavender ‘Petals’

* Cream the Butter & Sugar together (I did this in 2 batches of 8oz as I only have 2 tins)

* Beat in the Eggs (4 eggs if you are doing 2 batches)

* Fold in the GF Flour (8oz if doing in 2 batches)

* Add a Splosh of milk. (Roughly 1tbsp if doing in 2 batches)

Your cake batter is done, time for the fun part.

* Start with your the LIGHTEST colour you want to achieve. Add small amounts of purple dye using a cocktail stick, you can add more remember but can’t take away. When baked the colour is always that bit more vibrant.


* Once you have achieved the first pale layer colour spoon half the mixture into a 20cm round pre-greased tin, if your baking in batches, if not just remember you have to spoon a 1/4 of the mixture in.


* With the second half of an 8oz mixture or a 1/4 of a 16oz mixture continue to add small amounts of purple food dye to achieve the second layer colour you desire.


* Once you have achieved the colour. Spoon the remaining mixture into another 20cm round pre-greased baking tin.

* Bake at 170’c fan assisted for approximately 20minutes. (Adjust timings and temperature to your own cooker) You can always check with a knife gently in the middle of the cake; if it’s cooked the knife will be clean, if not just leave it for a bit longer.

* If your mixing in batches, mix up batter batch 2. If not skip to continuing dying.

* Dye the next layer the same making a little bit darker once more. Fill baking tin etc

* Complete with 4th darkest purple layer.


* Bake and leave to cool.

Butter Icing

Roughly 4oz butter to 5oz icing sugar will make enough to layer the cake.
Then another 4oz:5oz will cover the cake.
You can either use extra white dye for white butter icing or the same purple dye.

When cool layer together with the white butter icing and ice the whole cake with the purple. I decorated with fresh garden lavender.
This slightly flavoured the cake but not to much.

And there you have it. My top two layers were a bit pink for my liking as I used a Lilac dye but next time I would use just the Grape Violet dye for all four layers, as it was more purple.


Note this was a TALL cake if you were adding layers I would decrease the height/amount of batter mixture in each layer.


Gluten Free Blackberry Bakewell Tart

14 Jul

I’ve wanted to try this recipe since September when my father & I picked the wild blackberries but for some reason I hadn’t got round to making it.
So when last week I was in need of cake & had left over pastry from the pecan pie, I thought I know what I will make and here it is …

Gluten Free Blackberry Bakewell Tart


GF Short Crust Pastry. (see previous posts on pastry)

1 tbsp Gluten Free Plain Flour, Plus Extra For Dusting.

100g (4oz) Unsalted Butter.

100g (4oz) Caster Sugar.

1 Large Egg.

100g (4oz) Ground Almonds.

230g of Blackberries.

25g (1oz) Flaked Almonds.


Pre-heat the oven to 200’c/180’c Fan Assessed/Gas Mark 6.

Dust work surface with flour and roll pastry to line a 20inch loose bottom flan tin. Chill while you make the filling.

For the Filling:

Beat together the butter, caster sugar, egg, ground almonds and plain flour.



Sprinkle the Blackberries into the chilled flan case.

Pour the filling mixture over the berries.


Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until lightly golden.

Remove from tin to serve.


My tart is slightly darker than lightly golden I forgot it was in the oven, but it was saved just in time!

This was so easy to make and definitely one I will be making again.


Gluten Free Pecan Pie

13 Jul

Last Thursday was Beaters Hut Bakers Club. This Months Theme was American in honour of 4th July.

I contemplated for a while on this topic but didn’t know if my thoughts were to obvious with things like Pumpkin Pie. I emailed an American Lady I’ve got to know about any suggestions she might have and my thoughts.
After her helpful reply I settled on Pecan Pie.

Gluten Free Pecan Pie


200 g [7 oz] Butter
175 g [6 oz] Gluten Free Plain Flour
A Pinch of Salt
3 Eggs
15 ml [1tbsp] Milk
175 g [6oz] Demerara Sugar
150 ml [1/4 pint] Maple Syrup
2.5ml [1/2 tsp] Vanilla Essence
175 g [6oz] Pecan Nuts, halved

Whisk 150 g [5oz] butter.

Gradually stir in the GF Plain Flour and salt; beat well after each addition.


Add 45ml [3 tbsp] cold water and mix thoroughly with hands. Knead lightly with extra flour, as this pastry is VERY sticky to handle. Chill.


Roll out the pastry and use to line a 23 cm [9 inch] ovenproof flan/pie dish; flute the edge. Chill the case while preparing the filling.


Beat the eggs and milk together.

Boil the sugar and syrup together in a saucepan for 3 minutes.


Take the syrup off the heat allow to cool for a few seconds, then slowly pour on to the beaten eggs and stir in 50g [2oz] butter and vanilla essence.



Use half the nuts to cover the base of the pastry case, spoon the syrup mixture over and cover with remaining nuts.


Bake in the oven at 220 C [435 F] for 10 minutes.
Then reduce the heat to 170 C [325 F] and cook for a further 45 minutes, until the filling is set.

You can serve warm or cold. For all of my recipes using flour I use Doves Farm Gluten Free Flour it’s by far the best! And if your not wanting Gluten Free then use normal flour.

BHBC was a great evening chatting to new people and even the added bonus of gluten free yummies.
Check out Shauna’s Blog Beaters Hut Bakers Club For the Full Low Down on each event (tip don’t view while hungry)

Here is a quick peek at the segment of table I was sitting at…



Today’s Lesson: Don’t Use Frozen Raspberries.

8 Jun

Today I baked for the fete at a club we are members of and I have to say it is the first time I’ve had a dislike for baking.

All in our house were keeping out of my way.

My first issue was that I was baking with ‘normal’ flour and having been gluten free for so long I have completely lost the ability. Cooking times, texture … Don’t get me started.

Secondly never use frozen raspberries in icing! I can only presume this is why my tried and tested recipe curdled twice !!

Finally I managed to produce some kind of offering at least and they went down well – Thankfully.


I made Lemon Cupcakes with Mascarpone & Lemon Curd Icing, Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing & decorated with Giant Buttons and finally Raspberry Cupcakes with Raspberry Icing.


We couldn’t stay to long at the fete as we had the dog – who wasn’t allowed in, so we popped into the in-laws instead and had a catch up over a cuppa where our boy was welcome.

While baking earlier I remembered I hadn’t posted about my gift from L on Thursday!
Very kindly she had received subscription gifts which she gave to me as she felt I would have more use from them – aren’t I a lucky girl!


My gift consisted of pretty floral Tilda Napkins, Bunting and Tulip Muffin Wraps. I think we need a crafty making day where I can use these for the girls.

Also I realise I haven’t posted about June’s CPSH.
This month it is hosted by Emma at The Gift Shed .

The topics are as follows;

Something I made

I think I have tea covered… I have just a little tea addiction.

While in Dublin I saw this mug which made me smile.


There was also one that read “All You Need is Love, Coffee and Cake”.

I think ‘happiness’ is such a good topic too. It is really personal what happiness is to the individual.

Now it’s bed time for me, The Dog and Mr S are already snoring.

Good Night


Thank You Mr Postman

7 May

Well the Bank Holiday came and went Mr S is back at work but it was lovely to get to spend a long weekend together.

I have been a bit slack on the photo front over the weekend.

Saturday evening we went to our friends wedding reception. Which was lovely as we haven’t seen them in so long and the whole family are old family friends.

C had chosen purples and lilacs for her colours and they had an ice cream man and sweetie bar need I say more!

I didn’t take any photos but these I borrowed just to show you the colours, they were taken by her photograph Stuart Hunt.



On Sunday we had the 2 elder nieces; I & B. We had a fantastic afternoon cleaning out and playing with the rabbits. Then we spent hours at the park with the Dog and on the play equipment.
All exhausted we then came home for some crochet and dinner.

As dinner was coming to its last mouthfuls we heard the tune of the ice cream van and Mr S & The Girls ran to catch him and get us all Ice Creams for dessert. – the ice cream van is very exciting whether your 7, 9 or in your 30’s in our house. As a child having an ice cream like that was our annual holiday treat.

Returning to the crochet. I stupidly didn’t consider the crochet very well I should have started the foundation chain and one line before they got here as it was hard for their little fingers and 2 tired little girls to start the first row. But they are angels and waited, B started doing some of my knitting (a scarf half done) while she waited and in the end B just knitted and I continued to crochet.

I produced this before her Mummy turned up (with a little help).


Monday was beautiful weather but I spent the majority of the day indoors with Mr S sorting paperwork and other boring grown up things that pay the bills.
I just enjoy spending anytime I can with Mr S though. We needn’t be doing the same thing but I enjoy just being together in the presence of each other.

By the looks of these pictures we had a very purple weekend without realising it.

Monday & Today I’ve had a sore throat I’m praying at the moment it’s not measles. The Groom at the wedding Saturday and his brother had measles, bad luck on your wedding day poor guy.
It’s got an incubation period of 2weeks so I’m crossing my fingers I’m ok as we are off to Dublin for my birthday treat.

Talking of Dublin!

Thank you Mr Postie for bringing goodies today.


My Amazon parcel contain 2 books one on Dublin and one on crocheting.


I’ve had a quick flick through while having a cup of tea.


This has some lovely ideas for basic granny squares.

And Dublin, well I’m so excited, but until you get there I think your never know how good a guide book is.


My second package; the box.

Was an order from Baker and Maker , I have never used this company before its a new find for me, but so far so good über quick delivery especially for a Bank Holiday weekend; I ordered Friday on normal delivery and it turned up Tuesday.

So what did I pur-chase, well I gave Twitter a sneak peak at the packaging earlier …


I’m a sucker for well wrapped orders, it makes it more exciting when you have delicate tissue paper to peal back before revealing your purchases. I find the whole process very ‘eek’ with girlie excitement. (So another tick there for Baker and Maker)

Drum roll please (I’m excited as I haven’t brought anything for a while)


Where to start;


I added to my cookie cutter collection, I loved the blue butterfly then the snowflake and rabbit cutters just sort of slipped (hopped) into my shopping basket.



Again a sucker for packaging these little sugar hearts combined with the cute jar caught my eye.
The bright & vibrant colours of them will look great as a simple quick embellishment to cakes and to quote our youngest niece the other week “Serotiny LOVES sprinkles” so they were a must really!

Still with baking I’ve wanted some of these pretty case for AGES so I went for it, I think I will be returning soon for more as it was very hard to choose just one colour.


I’m really looking forward to using them but already have the niggling feeling no one will ever be good enough to use them for, so I will just sit and display them forever.

I also got a few other non baking bits…

These birdie gift tags, again perfect to use as quick embellishment for plain wrapping paper.


This ribbon had a slight discount, so I couldn’t resist it’s lacey’ness.



And last but not least the enamel bowl, I have stolen my idea for this from Silje-Sin. She has planted her enamel bowl with flowers and I really liked it (in fact I love her whole house, she is such a wonderful homemaker)
So I intend to plant this one up and see how it goes. Perhaps it will turn our home into a Scandinavian delight.


I am looking forward to using my goodies and to shopping with Baker and Maker again.

Apart from a few chores that was my Weekend & Tuesday.

I’m now off to read my new books.


Gluten Free White Chocolate Chip & Macadamia Nut Cookies.

7 May

Gluten Free White Chocolate Chip & Macadamia Nut Cookies.


250g Unsalted Butter
100g Caster Sugar
200g Soft Light Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
400g GF Plain Flour
1/4 tsp of Baking Powder
100g White Chocolate Chips
100g Macadamia Nuts roughly chopped.
A small Glug of Milk.

Cream the butter and both lots of sugar together.
Add the vanilla extract and eggs and blend together, until smooth.


Weigh and combine the flour and baking powder, sieving flour into wet mixture and mixing in as you go.


Once the ingredients are combined add a Glug of milk to keep the mixture moister than a non Gluten Free mix but don’t over do the milk it still needs to form a dough.

Finally add the chocolate chips and nuts and stir.


Spoon mixture on to cling film making ‘sausage’ like rolls of dough.
Freeze/Chill to make the dough easier to cut into cookie sized portions.


Once chilled cut into portions and place on a lined baking tray.

Bake on 160 degrees in a fan oven.
For about 15 minutes, when they are golden in colour.

Cool and Enjoy



Gluten Free Savoury Pastry

3 May

Gluten Free Savoury Pastry

Quantities for a small pie dish.

8oz / 225g GF Self Raising Flour
2oz / 55g White Flora or Trex
2oz / 55g Butter
3tbsp Cold Water
Pinch of Salt

Rub flour and fats together into crumb like mixture with hands.
Then add cold water, to bind. With gluten free it always helps to be on the moister side when using flour. So unlike normal pastry I would advise it to still have an almost sticky texture to the dough.


Wrap and place to cool in fridge.

To roll out I find that if its to cold it just breaks apart so with my hands I just reshape the dough ball to add a slight pliability to it. Dust the work top with flour and roll out as required.

This amount topped a large pie dish so for a full pie I would have needed to double the recipe.

I use GF Self Raising Flour the main reason being its my Nanny & Mother’s recipe so this is how i’ve always done it and with GF I think the self raising flour makes the pastry softer. Gluten Free can be as tough as old boots at times and need not be.

I used the pastry tonight to make a simple Ham Hock Pie.



And the left overs for Jam Tarts a family tradition with left over pastry.


Happy Baking


The Last Week

3 May

I had full intensions all week of catching up with my blogging but it’s been one of those weeks.

Having not actually been up to much really at all it’s a bit of a mystery to where the week has gone but my old ‘buddy’ has been sapping my time again recently, mentally I have been having a wail of a time but physically my body just won’t keep up.
Back ache, hip ache moan moan moan. Lets leave the moaning there! I only moan to then point out the positive.

The positive in this is that I’ve been doing stuff. I’ve been fighting my way through each day doing something rather than nothing and my driving force is my personal plan I set back in January of achievements throughout the year. I blogged about this in February under the odd title Exam Day.

In My House Planner I set myself personal goals to achieve before becoming a Mama (well trying to become at least). It was about establishing crucial routines & organisation to help me at low times as I know such times will be tough when I’m plus 1 and I’m pleased to report I’m doing a good job of sticking to them. I will blog more about this at a later date, as for now there is enough to catch up on.


My Mummy & I spent the day together, going for lunch at The Elveden Inn; they do some great food including gluten free & the service is good too. Followed by some shopping at the The Elveden Estate Shop .

My Mummy brought me a pretty new tea light holder.


I saw these paper birdies there too.



I like the idea and think they could be made out of scraps of paper I keep.

Monday evening The Parrot Cat returned needless to say we were very happy and so was he.
His settling back in.



I tried a new recipe from my Indonesian book.

“Gule Kambing” An aromatic lamb stew




I baked GF White Chocolate Chip & Macadamia Nut Cookies.



I made the dog some Large Ice Cubes, as he loves snow & ice so I figured he would love the coldness in this hot weather.



I made a GF Ham Hock Pie.


Excuse the slushy heart. Not very savoury pie like I know.

And as I had some pastry left what should you do with left over pastry? …


Thats right Jam Tarts are a must.


The dog got to play with the Ice Cubes.


Kindly sharing with me while I was obliviously sunbathing – that was a shocker I tell thee!

What Else?

The Female rabbit is broody again?! I know how she feels.
She’s nesting once more.


My Roses are still alive. One still doing better than the other.


The Cats are enjoying being back together.


I’ve also been sticking to my daily chores and laundry routines.
And when I am done well I’ve been enjoying lots of this


And this


So that’s this last week.
I’m going to try and add the Gluten Free (GF) recipes I’ve been using as separate posts. So watch this space for those.



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