So much to do, so little time to do it in

Hi there. Remember me? I’m the one that’s supposed to be writing here regularly? Hi. Here I am.. (*takes a moment to shuffle feet sheepishly).. I’ve been kind of busy, what with drama craziness and stuff.. And I meant to write. I really did. I mean, I do have to sleep… Ok ok I’m sorry. Is that what you wanted to hear?! Fine. I admit it. I was wrong. Now can we get over this please?

Now that we’ve  sorted that out, as I’ve said, we’ve been rather busy in my house. 2 harrowing days of Feis again for Hannah. Therefore 2 harrowing days of Feis and Hannah moodiness for me. But it was reasonably successful. I have to say, the girl can bang out poetry like there’s no tomorrow. I mean, she is good at it.. Let me just say how beautiful the poem ‘Broken Moon’ by Carole Satyamurti is. It is phenomenally lyrical. And Banana stood up there and said it with a maturity that surpasses her 16 years. Quite proud of her. Wunnerful, just wunnerful. And on to the duologue- Hannah and Eimear, why twas quite excellent. Lovely chemistry on stage, the two just have this fantastic energy together. They were  placed 2nd, the adjudicator seemed to prefer the comedy piece this time round. But couldn’t fault the two!

And the play went really well again, and won 1st place. As the adjudicator put it ‘This is the closest thing to a professional production I have ever seen in the feis. It is as good as some of the professional productions I have been to.’ She was raving about them. It was fantastic tho. I took many many pictures (photos make Sarah happy), and in every single one, every girl was in character. I shall grace you with some of those photos.

Good innit? Congratulate her and them in the comments section 🙂

Next on the agenda. My sugar thermometer came today! I decided to buy one after failing miserably at caramel/toffee/jam many times. So I bit the bullet and got one from amazon! And naaaaturally I had to test it. So I made toffee.

Now those of you that are familiar with Enid Blyton will accept this occurrence with no hesitation. In fact, you must expect that toffee would come up at some time. And those of you who are not familiar with Enid Blyton- I pity you. I can’t imagine a childhood without Enid Blyton. She covered all the bases. You had your boarding school books with their midnight feasts, your ‘Tales of Follyfoot Farm’ horsey stories, your general fairy books of all types, not to mention Mr Meddle’s muddles! But there was one book that I loved in particular. A magical tale where Moon-face, Silky the fairy, the saucepan man and Dame Washalot, amongst others, transformed my days from the mundane everyday world right into the enchanted magical wonderland that I longed to live in. I am speaking, of course, about ‘The Faraway tree’. I loved those books. How I loved those books. In fact, when my mother tried to get rid of our kid’s books, I flat out refused to let her give those away. You know what- I think I may read them again. Tonight. I shall read them. I particularly loved the story where the kids didn’t get back to the ladder in time and had to have a bit of an adventure to get home again. Good old adventures. Gotta love those adventures. Dammit I’m off topic.

Anywho – toffee. Well Moon-face, bless his orbicular head, he loved toffee. I mean, he really loved the stuff. And ever since Bessie made him some toffee as a gift, I have wanted to make toffee. Plus Richie loves toffee so I figured I owe him one for the whole driving me up and down to Dublin.

Right. Well, I had a  basic idea from somewhere that you used about 250g of butter and 200g of sugar. So I whacked them in a pan. And then I thought.. well thats not going to be that really nice creamy butterscotch-like toffee. So I put in about 3 tablespoons of cream. That’s double cream.  Gotta love it. Butter, sugar, cream. Where can you go wrong with that combo?! So I lobbed them all in a nice heavy bottomed pan, put it on the heat at about medium and whisked it round til everything melted. Its a lovely canary yellow colour! I then put my blessed now-beloved thermometer in, put the whisk firmly away, and excitedly stared at the red line rising. However this was a rather slow process. So I got bored and started cutting up the mushrooms for my boeuf  bourguignon. (Yes I did watch Julie and Julia. Yes I did love it. Yes I did buy the cookbook afterwards) And then I checked the temperature. And it happened to have hit about 287 and was turning a burnt amber. Now I distinctly recall toffee is usually a creamy caramel colour and not a burnt amber colour. And also I had gone by the ‘recommended’ temperature of 270. So I dejectedly took the pan off the cooker, poured the burnt amber mess into my painstakingly perfectly prepared pan. And then stared with a sense of spiralling doom at the massive black patch on the bottom of my saucepan. Toffee 1. Sarah 0.  SO I sighed, put some hot water and fairy liquid in, and set it aside to soak. I went back to my boeuf, and put my failed toffee behind me. (Literally. On the table like.)

However, after tasting some delicious boeuf, my confidence sky-rocketed and I thought ‘Righty-oh butter sugar and cream! You’ll not get the better of me this time.’ I measured out my ingredients with vigour. I scrubbed the saucepan til sparkling and ready for round two. And back on the heat it went. I went for low heat this time. I changed nothing else but my level of concentration. I concentrated. Boy did I concentrate. I did not leave that cooker for more than a minute at a time. I watched the red line creeping up through the 250’s. It got to 265. My heart was beating. I gave it a few seconds more. I let it go to 270. Just to see. I didn’t want it to have undercooked toffee. And I read a recipe somewhere to let it go to 280. But I didn’t think 280 was acceptable. So when it hit 270 I excitedly took the pan off the heat and poured it into pan no.2. The one beside the 1st failed batch of toffee. It looked right! Wow!

I purposely distracted myself at this point, because of three little things I’m quite certain of. The first is that I know that 270 degrees is fairly hot. And I also know that toffee is irresistible. And the third thing I know for sure is I have no willpower whatsoever. Especially against delicious toffee.

20 minutes passed.

That’s pretty good now, you have to admit. Then.. I tasted. And… it was gooood! Yay! So now there’s a bowl of toffee sitting on our kitchen counter. It seems to be disappearing every time I walk by. And also, coincidentally of course, my jaws seem to be glued together by some kind of gooey buttery sugary creamy taste of heaven. So those of you that know where I live – Come have toffee.And read Enid Blyton.

Over and out.

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