My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Interview: Kate B. On Baking!

Hello readers! This is my first interview on this blog, and it is with Kate B. Kate B. is a long time friend of mine, Goth, and the lady who introduced me to my partner, and one of the people who got me back into baking. As may be apparent, this is quite a crafty blog, and with a name like Domesticated, there will be home-crafts as well as DIY fashion and art.

So, here's the interview, it was conducted over Skype, as Kate lives in Wales and I live in Scotland. My text is in bold, hers in regular formatting. I typed up this transcript as we were talking - a little difficult with some of the longer paragraphs. If you want to imagine our voices, I have a rather "proper" English accent with a twinge of French, Bristol and the Southern counties, having been put through elocution lessons at boarding school, but refusing to have every last trace of being "rustic" eradicated, and Kate is originally from the Welsh Valleys and has a very lilting Welsh accent. In response to feedback, I've edited this post shorter.

Question the first! How shall introduce you on my blog? Oh call me whatever you want! Ok, I shall call you Kate B! I am going to introduce you - and I'm typing as I speak- as one of the poeple who got me back into baking. For how long have you been baking?
Ah, since I have been knee high!
Were you introduced to baking and cooking by your family or your school?
Family, definitely family. I remember cooking with my mother and both of my grandmothers - cooking is definitely something we do in this family. *indicates shoulders* We don't raise little people in this family!
So, home cookery and baking for you is definitely about sharing food?
Oh definitely, I prefer to share what I've made than to eat it myself!

This is actually going fairly well! I need to type fairly quickly, but I can do that so this is going fairly well! Those typing lessons I took at school are actually coming in useful.

What do you like about baking over other forms of cooking?
It's not that I don't like cooking and making main meals, I think that it's you have an affinity to what you like to make, and I like making sweets!
You make especially good cupcakes. Some of your cupcake ingredients are rather unusual!
Ah you mean like the lavender ones?
Yep indeed!
I don't think lavender is that unusual, I've always known it was edible, but I didn't use them until I read this one recipe where I found out that I didn't need to put the flowers into the actual mixture, just soak them.
And I ate the sparkly cupcake! The one with edible glitter.
You did eat the sparkly cupcake, a lavender one, I believe it was.
And I didn't turn into Edward Cullen!
*facepalms and laughs*
You use alchoholic beverages...
*laughs* Yes, yes I do! I'm very careful and do say this is not meant for children! I am aware that alcohol burns off during cooking, but just incase - I don't want someone saying their toddler got drunk on a cake - I don't need that. I've got one that's very popular that I've made - and I've seen both people in my family and my other half's family go gaga for them, and that's my Pina Colada cakes with coconut topping.
You've also used Green Tea in a cupcake.What inspired you to use green tea in a cupcake?
Actually, I read the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, and I thought I'd try that and it turned out really well!
Other than cupcakes, what do you like to bake?
Cheesecake has a reputation for being a bit gloopy - how do you avoid that?
I don't know; I think I'm just good at it. I follow the recipe properly the first time and then if there's something I need to change, I work from there. I think one thing that's important in baking sweets is to experiment all the time.

Yesterday, I don't think I announced it on Facebook, but I made iced buns! These are lemon ones!Yay!
I gave one of them to my Dad to try out, and he said that's nice and everything but it should have a cherry on top. I said that I think that's a Belgian bun, not an iced bun.

Have you ever thought of going into professional baking?
I keep being told I should open a shop, but it sounds like a really big undertaking for the moment. I'd have to sort premises and rent, and I'm not entirely sure that if I create a demand that I'd be able to supply it. In this economy I'm not sure that this "little cake shop that I run" would survive - not to get too deep and political.

I like this quoute from Ratatouille: "You must be imaginative and strong hearted, you must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true: anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great."

Do you think that home cooking should see a revival in the face of people eating out more and eating many pre-packaged meals?
Yeah I do, and not only because eating out is expensive!
Do you think that cooking together as a family a good way for families to connect with each other and be more of a unit?
I remember Sunday Roasts when I was little, everyone around the table - me and my Mother and my Dad and my younger brother and both my grandparents on my Mum's side, plus anybody else in the family they'd want to invite - usually my uncle and my cousins - and I know it may be a bit of an idealised view now, but that's how I remember it.
If you ever have children, will you get them involved in cookery and baking?
I think would get them involved - and this is going to sound in-depth - but I think this will get them involved with their food. I've heard of this group in Swansea, but it could be any city, and you ask them where do you think chips come from? "Tescos" where do you think potatoes come from "Tescos". I do think it's important that kids know where their food comes from and what is going into it.
It's fun as well!
Yeah, I think it's fun - as I said, I enjoy cooking.
I have got one thing that is really, really, precious andI would never part with it ever... It was a recipe book my gran wrote down in one of my Dad's old school exercise books, it has recipes for coconut cake - which is my younger brother's favorite and I've made it for his Birthday a few times - and there's also her recipe for coffee and walnut cake and the recipe for what she calls her "simple" cheese cake, as well as her mincemeat recipe.
Will you add to the recipe collection and pass it down?
If the book survives and it's falling apart, and this may sound selfish, but I don't want to share Nana's recipes with the world.
No, that's understandable. Do you plan on passing it down in the generations of your family?
*nods* Yes, I do! If I have kids and if they show an interest, they can have it when I pass on. This may sound really mean, but I had to wait until she passed on to get it. When she passed on, it was the only thing I really wanted from her.
Do you keep your own recipe book?
No, a lot of my recipes are in my head - I should probably write them down
I'm having trouble writing recipes down for my blog because I tend to tweak them each time, so there's no definitive version...
I tried to write a few down, and when it comes to the method I try and write it as if I'm actually talking someone through it rather than being scientific and methodical about it.
What are your favourite published recipe books?
*laughs* I actually tend to work from the Weight Watcher's one, as my Mum and I both diet, despite our tendencies towards roast dinners.
Raven's making midweek roast dinner tonight. I'll be able to get another two or three meals at least from the carcass.
A lot of people seem to forget you can boil up the carcass to make stock, or grind up the bones. You know me, I love cawl, I'm Welsh! (Cawl is a type of Welsh lamb broth).Raven and I will eat the breast meat on the chicken tonight, have the wings and drumsticks tomorrow, strip the rest of the meat from the carcass for curry, and then boil the remains for chicken soup. I don't like wasting anything. Do you think food waste is a big issue in the UK?
I do, I think a lot of people throw out things that are perfectly edible. If it's not actively rotting I'll cook with it, and I've been known to cut the squishy bits off red peppers - I like to put red peppers in Bolognaise sauce.

How does cooking fit in with being a goth?
How does cooking fit in with being a goth? I don't think they're mutually exclusive.
What do you think of themed foods?
Like what?
For example the broken glass cupcakes where the glass is sugar-craft.
I'm not adverse to themed stuff, and sugar craft that's out there - it's quite amazing what they can do!
Out of the major celebrations, what do you like cooking/baking for best?
That was a rather emphatic "Halloween"
That's 'cause it's my favourite time of year! And I love to cook pumpkin pie! It's one of the first desserts I cooked for the "in laws" (In quote marks, Kate's not married, but in a long term relationship). My boyfriend's mother said "I don't know, I'm not normally into pumpkin" but apparently she ate the last piece that night!

What's the strangest thing you've made?
That would be sweet potato cheesecake.
*blink blink*
Yes, you heard me right, sweet potatoes.
That's rather an unusual ingredient for cheese cake!
I thought so as well, but then I tried it, because I figured if I didn't try it I couldn't "yay" or "nay" if it's a good recipe.
Where did you get the idea for sweet potato cheese cake from?
I remember from when I was a pre-teen, quite a while ago now, and I think it's Creole, - I'm not entirely sure on that - but that they use sweet potato in apple pie, and it's just stuck with me. As I've been off work recently, I've been cooking more as I've got time to experiement, so I looked up recipes for sweet potato, but with UK measurements - I've tried following American measurements, but I just can't, sorry - and it was a list of starters, main meals, and interestingly desserts that could be made with sweet potatoes. I saw cheesecake and part of me went "yeugh" and part of me went "I've got to try that".
Do you think you're quite adventurous with your baking?
I'm probably adventurous for the area I live in, but I'm sure there are people more adventurous than me in the world
What do think of the importance of trying new things?It's quite improtant, and it's like when you're little - just try it once, and you never have to have it again, but I will draw the line at eating insects.
I could eat insects, like ants or locusts, but not squids, octopi, molluscs... 

What is your favourite non-sweet baked good?Non-sweet? I like stake and ale pie. I'm sorry to all vegetarians out there, but it's how I was raised - I like bacon sandwiches too. What new experiments would you like to do?
Chocolate and cherry cupcakes.
Would that be a bit like miniature black forest gateaux?
Do you know, I've never thought of it that way.

Have you ever tried making Japanese sweet treats?
No actually. I was going to make sushi, and I've made miso soup from a packet, but I've never tried making Japanese sweets
I only ask because Raven has been wanting to make teiyaki bean paste stuff... I'm not entirely sure what it's like!
I actually looked up how to make a sweet steamed bun, which is something that seems to be a popular thing from anime and manga, but I've never found a recipe with a method that I understand, so I think I'll try and find someone to show me how to do it in person so I don't try teaching myself from a website and fouling it up. It's interesting about him wanting to make teiyaki bean paste, because that's what goes into the sweet bun.

My baking's actually expected; my cousin thinks I go everywhere with a box of cake! It's also expected in my gaming group - the night when I go to role-play, they expect me to bring something I've baked.
That's because your baking's so delicious.

Are there any famous chefs or cooks you admire?
I do know another cook I like - cooks I should say.
I like the Hairy Bikers!
I like that they wear S.O.P.H.I.E bracelets! What do you like about the Hairy Bikers?
I like how they actually like the food they cook, and you actually see them eat the food they cook.They're down to earth about cooking.
They are, erm, it's nice to see - and I'm not have a dig at Nigella or Deliah, but you don't see them eat it. The Bikers, you see them taste and eat everything, and that appeals to me because that's the kind of cook I am.

That is all for today on the interview front. I'm working on a recipe post on how to make triangular sushi rolls. There will be more updates on Gothic topics too, and craft projects. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please comment about your own cookery! Also recipe suggestions (as in suggestions for things to post, and also for things to try) are welcome.


  1. The sweet potato cheesecake made me lol. I bet it's actually delicious! I make brownies using prune baby food. Low-fat and amazingly rich!

    1. How do you use prune baby food in brownies? I take it they're not ordinary chocolate brownies. I like prunes, so they sound tasty :)


Please be polite and respectful. Comments containing gratuitous swearing and insults will be deleted.