… when boiling sugar always to keep an eye on it. Turning away for two seconds is long enough to set the hob alight.

In my effort to decrease my Christmas consumerism, I’ve been making marmalades (as I may or may not have said in my last post). Today I decided to try and combine said preserve with my favourite substance ever – tea.

To get a festive sort of flavour, I opted to use chai tea – a spicy, Indian variety that in recent years has come to be very popular in latte form. Basically, I just brewed a giant cup full, using a saucepan and sieve instead of teapot and strainer. I added some citrus juice to freshen it up a bit, and hopefully add a little pectin to help the jam set, and then poured in my preserving sugar.

There I was, diligently stirring away, when the phone rang. I gave my pot one last stir, noted the whole sugar granules, grabbed the phone and then turned round to-

– just in time to see a huge plume of smoke, towering out of my pan. In the few seconds it had taken me to turn round, the jam had not only started boiling, but had boiled over onto the red-hot hob. I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t remember if sugar fires are one of the ones that you can’t put out with water so in desparation, I prodded the saucepan out of the way and tossed a dampened cloth over what looked like a sticky, black honeycomb of smouldering sugar.

The jam, I am pleased to say, is fine*. As is the vast majority of my kitchen. The only real casualties of the incident were the hob – which now has a lovely matt finish – and my fingers. A small price to pay, I feel, for combining two of the more incredible substances in the world.

Another successful day of self-employment, though I’m not sure how much longer this will last in its current form.  I want to continue working as a freelancer, but perhaps not exclusively. I went to a job interview yesterday in a bid to earn enough money to justify having the ding removed from Charlie Micra’s bumper. I’ll find out on monday if I have it or not, but I’m crossing fingers.  I wouldn’t mind the little imperfection on by gorgeous car had it been central, or on the opposite side to the exhaust, but as it’s on the same side, the back-end looks a little off-balance and it’s bugging the hell out of me.

Anyways, I’m off to make stovies. For those of you who don’t know what that is, look it up and try it.  Just bear in mind that you should leave it cooking until the tatties disintegrate and form a grey sort of soupie stock. That’s how you know it’s done.


*The jam is something of a masterpiece, actually. It tastes like really sweet tea, and has the consistency of honey rather than conventional jam. I daresay a spoonful dissolved in hot water with a slice of lemon would do someone with a sore throat the world of good.