Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sweet Tuesday

The weather on the island has been cold, blustery and cloudy for the past few days.  It makes me feel lifeless, dull and disheartened.  That is a state I cannot tolerate for too long.  I have to do something to bring me out of the grip of gloom.  I wandered into the kitchen, opening cupboards and mooching about for inspiration to hit me between the eyes.  I seem to have a lot of sugar around...Maybe today should be the day for learning how to make sweets.

After the children had gone to school, the beds made, bins out and dogs walked, I turned the radio on in the kitchen and leafed through my sweet making book.  I purchased this book late last year and so far have only made some nutty chocolate toffee from it.  Time to get to grips with pulled taffy.  I love those words!  They sound so mysterious and exciting, enticing me to unravel their secrets and learn their meaning.

Here we go then...

I am always a little nervous starting a new venture so I read and re-read the instructions and followed them carefully.  The syrup made lovely swirly patterns in the sugar and water and I felt a frisson of excitement that I would soon have a plateful of pretty lemon drops for the children when they came home.

Or not.  Instead of a lovely, silky smooth rope of shiny taffy, I had a solid lump of red hot lemon flavoured lava.  Oh dear.  Oh dear.  Oh dear.  Not the best start to my confectionery career.  After sobbing quietly into my cup of tea and hammering the solid mass off the work surface, I tried again.

This time the syrup seemed to be doing what the book said it would do.  But the book said to pick it up at this point and start pulling.  I tested it with a finger.  A strand of molten candy wrapped itself around my finger and I actually felt intense pain before I could wipe it off.  How on earth could I pick this lot up and fiddle with it without losing all the skin off my hands in the process?  I waited a bit longer but every second it was solidifying into lumps.  I tentatively scraped at it with a blade and found I couldn't even get it off the board.  Effort number two looked like this...

Can you see the difference?  No, me neither.  I now have two bowls full of acidic, rock hard sugar, a sink full of pans and utensils with aforementioned solidified mass stuck like limpets to the whole and a blister on my finger.  I am most displeased.

But in the true spirit of the home crafter, I will persevere; I will not be downhearted; I will triumph.  Maybe in another life, but for this one I've had quite enough of sweet making.  It would seem that the words 'pulled taffy' will remain a mystery to me for all eternity.

We should all stick to what we're good at.  And I am good at this...

Sitting down reading my new book.  Confectionery is an exhausting business and one I am not inclined to indulge in again for some time.  Putting the kettle on the stove and waiting for it to sing it's sweet music to me is something I do gleefully every day.  I have mastered the art and will continue to practise tea drinking for many years to come.  If I can read a good book at the same time, so much the better.

Relax and take it easy today. xxx

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