Thursday, October 30, 2008
I have spent the last couple of days preparing treats for the neighbourhood kids. Having no little kids at home it is fun to feed other kids with things which will undoubtedly cause sugar rushes, cause unruly behaviour and generally be bad for them, without suffering any of the consequences of my actions. I am soooo bad, but the kids love me for it! The parents, not so much.
We also find being as far from the action on the actual day works best for us. We took this decision 2 years ago when we had over 70 kids come to the door. This was surprising as there were only 5 kids living in the street. Where were they all coming from? Then we saw the cars lined up at the bottom of the street and kids being dropped off. This felt wrong, are kids so desperate for candy, or sweeties as we call it in Scotland? So having made the decision to not to be at home, but also not to let the local kids down, I now make up goodie bags for the kids I know. This keeps me, and them happy, and allows me to be a bit more creative and generous. This year I made some chocolate lollies, or suckers if you are American readers. These were easily made with the help of moulds, although I think I should have invested in more moulds as it took forever waiting for one set to set before starting on a second set.
A traditional Scottish treat is strangely enough called "TABLET", why I do not know, basically a mix of sugar butter and condensed milk. Makes for a great sugar rush. You will often find this served with coffee in a restaurant, it make for a delicious after dinner nibble.
So as my husband and I head for a restaurant in the city smug in the knowledge that I have made local kids happy, and that we can enjoy a relaxed evening together without any interruption, and also knowing that we have served our time as parents of young children and that we loved that time in our lives, but things move on, life changes, kids grow up, way too quickly, so savour these times when they are young but also remember there is a life after kids, we are an example of "the next life."
TABLET: similar to but harder than fudge.
2lbs (900gr) sugar
7 1/2oz milk (200mls)
1 small tin condensed milk 7oz (190gr)
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
Put sugar, milk and butter in a heavy based pan and cook over a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil.
Remove pan from heat and stir in condensed milk.
Return to heat and boil gently until it reaches 240f(116c) on sugar thermometer. Also known as soft ball, meaning when you drop a bit into iced water you will be able to roll it into a ball between your fingers. You can use this method if you do not have a sugar thermometer.
When this is achieved remove pan from heat and allow to settle.
Stir in vanilla.
With a wooden spoon beat the mixture until it starts to stiffen and feels grainy. This will take about 10 mins.
Pour immediately into an oiled 7'x11'(18x28cms) tin and leave to set.
When almost cold mark into bars. When completely cold snap the bars apart and wrap.
I also like to serve in irregular pieces when serving with coffee.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE.