Friday, June 24, 2011

On Not Taking The Small Things For Granted

Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference. I had cause to reflect on this recently when I lost one of the foam covers of my earbuds. I'd always thought they were fairly extraneous and cosmetic, but I was certainly wrong. As they say, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, and your earbud keeps bloody falling out of your ear. However, crochet came to my rescue...

There are a lot of theis sort of thing out there on the internet, some even purporting to have 'patterns'. I'm not sure that you really need a pattern. I made it up. It kind of worked like this:
Use your thinnest yarn (mine was a smidge bulky... I reckon you might be best off using embroidery thread), make a tiny crochet circle to fit the surface of your earbud.
When it's the right size, stop the circle increases and do another row or two.
When it looks like it'll cover your earbud, fasten off and drawstring onto your earbud.
Stitch thread in place to fix.

Easy peasy.

***** ***** ***** ***** ******

The other thing that happened recently was CAEK for Dear SO's birthday. He asked for a caramel mudcake, and I found a good, easy recipe here. I highly recommend it, if for some reason you wish to have a mudcake that is not chocolate. You strange person.

Also, I made him a GIANT FLORENTINE, because he likes florentines. I made him a batch of normal-sized ones once, years ago, which was fiddly. I wholeheartedly recommend making one giant florentine rather than making a zillion little ones. I will give you my recipe, because there's quite a few out there but this one is the best, I think, because it doesn't have cornflakes in it. (WTF. Why would you put cornflakes in florentines? If you're going to be that cheapass, what's the point?)

GIANT FLORENTINE Recipe. (Yes, you have to spell it in all caps.)

100g unsalted butter
2 tbsp honey
75g mixed peel
200g flaked almonds
200g dark chocolate
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup cream
60g glace cherries
50g plain flour

1) Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking slide with greaseproof paper. Finely chop the mixed peel and the glace cherries.

2) In a saucepan, melt the butter and then stir in sugar, honey and cream. Bring it slowly to the boil. Boil WITHOUT STIRRING for a few minutes, until it's caramel coloured and at 'soft ball' stage. (So, if you drip a bit into cold water, it makes a soft ball.)

3) Remove from heat, add peel, cherries and almonds. Once they're mixed in, mix in the flour too. Make sure it's all mixed through evenly, then turn out onto the prepared baking slide and leave to cool a bit.

4) Seriously, let it cool down. Don't get too keen or you will burn your hands.

5) Is it cooled down? Really? OK, get another piece of greaseproof, lay it on top of the florentine mix, and spread the mix out into a kind of a circle (Or, whatever shape you want, really) with your hands. Try and make it the same thicknesss all the way around, more or less.

6) See? I told you it would be hot.

7) Bake in over for 10-15 minutes, or however long it takes for it to be toffee-coloured all over. Take it out of the oven, and leave to cool on the tray for at least 10 minutes before you move it onto a wire rack.

8) When it really is completely and utterly cold (you might want to put it in the fridge), melt the chocolate. Turn the florentine over, pour the melted chocolate on the bottom and spread it around. Then use a fork to put wavy lines in the chocolate. That's important, otherwise it's not really a proper florentine.

There may, in time, be a photo of the finished result here. But I have to get it off Dear SO's phone. So for now, if you want to see what a GIANT FLORENTINE looks like, you'll just have to make one.