There's been a bit of a jelly/blancmange thing going on in my house recently. We keep coming down with lurgies and it occurred to me that jelly was perfect food for a baby with a sore throat. It's also ridiculously easy. All I've been doing is soak 4 gelatine leaves in water until soft, wring out, then stir over a low heat into 500ml of whatever juice I have handy - grape, orange, cherry, then strain them through a sieve into a mould. Easy peasy. Sometimes I suspend fruit in the jelly too (blueberries work well, or I copy my granny and use tinned clementine segments). What I haven't yet done is try to make a lime jelly. My granny used to give me lime jelly, which we used to break up and cover with evaporated milk. Lovely. I wonder how it would taste to me now?
Seeing Adam experience jelly for the first time was hilarious - his face cracked into a wide grin at the wobble factor, only to be replaced by consternation when he tried to pick it up and get it to his mouth. He soon got to grips with it (literally) and learned a technique for slurping it into his mouth from loosely clenched fist.
Then Kerstin (MsMarmiteLover) decided to make blancmange for the Fire and Knives Mixed Grill lunch. I didn't manage to try any (too busy scoffing meringue swans and truffled cheeses from the deli station) and it reminded me of the one time I made blancmange as a child. It wasn't nice - it was from a packet and I think it was peach flavoured. We had old friends of my parents staying with us, who ate some and complimented, but my mother, quite honestly, told me that they were being polite.
Looking at the recipe in Bompass and Parr's jelly book, I now wonder why I used a packet as it is as easy to make as jelly (and now I think about it we always had packets of Rowntree's jelly in the larder too - I used to steal cubes of it to suck when there was nothing else sweet available - a favourite, illicit treat). I didn't do a very good job of it though. The Bompass and Parr recipe called for infusing the milk with cardamon. I knew that my step daughter won't eat anything with cardamon in but that she and Adam both like almonds, so I decided to flavour it with honey and almond extract. Big mistake - I used too much extract and not only was the almond flavour too strong, but I could still taste the milk and the honey was barely discernable.
See, that's the main problem with blancmange - it tastes of milk, which is fine for the children (they liked it), but not fine for me. I am going to try blancmange again - this time with cardamon, rose water and honey, but I don't hold out much hope. However, there are other seriously adult recipes in the Bompass and Parr book which have to be done. I am going to be making bacon vodka to make a fizzy bacon and cola jelly very soon. Watch this space.