Sweet Memories

My boys are ill. Husband and Spider are curled up in the living room on separate sofas under duvets, coughing sniffing and generally feeling very sorry for themselves and watching a lot of Wallace and Gromit. Me ? Well I just left them to it. I’ve been sympathetic, of course I have, but only in between cooking…

I have left the “food as presents” side of things as long as I could, claiming it’s necessary so that it’s fresh for christmas. But the truth is I have been avoiding tackling my Mum’s present. I can talk about it here as she knows what she’s getting. She asked for sweets, homemade old fashioned style sweets.

Sweets ? Easy. We’ve all done sweets as kids right ? Yes, it’s just as a kid I didn’t actually have a good record of succesful sweet making. My brother and I had a free hand in the kitchen. Our parents encouraged us to cook and as long as we cleaned up afterwards and told them if we’d used anything up, we could cook anything.  One thing we made a lot of , although it is really just sugar, was cinder toffee ( take some sugar, heat it up in a pan and then at some point add bicarbonate of soda)… we made it because we liked watching the sugar bubble up like a volcano, the toffee didn’t taste very nice as we overdid the bicarb trying to get it to really fizz up.

Then there was the time I made fudge….but was too scared of burning it to let it boil enough so the resulting mixture didn’t set and had to be poured over ice cream as a sauce  instead of cutting with a knife…in contrast there was the bonfire toffee which was overcooked and shattered like glass…

or the time I assisted a class of 8 year olds to make peppermint creams and the hours spent afterwards cleaning the mixture off taps and surfaces, door handles, tables, toilets, the floor, the teacher…

No, me and sweets do not have a good track record…

Then after you have made them, all the books talk about packaging them in an attractive, imaginative way with ribbons, paper, pretty boxes and such…I stick my head in the sand and pretend that the Christmas fairies will wave a magic wand and transport my wonky efforts into pieces of art…

But now the days cooking is over, it doesn’t seem so bad, and I might even manage to crack the packaging dilemma if I throw myself on the mercies of Flapjack Queen and her bottomless store of make and do goodies

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