A Failed Experiment

If something doesn’t work out, like an experiment, is it truly a failure?

On the Jammin’ front, this week, I thought that I would try something new! Now, you know that pectin from apples is at the heart and the purity of ‘Dadda’s Jam’, so I thought that I would see how much pectin was in ‘pressed apple juice’! Worth investigating I thought! Pectin is one of those things that is really quite difficult to quantify. Well, this was my experiment, simple but rewarding in information. One litre of pressed, cloudy apple juice, store purchased, lemon juice and one kilogram of sugar. I also had 300 grams of apple pulp to add if things didn’t work out!

I have kind of worked out that as much moisture should be removed from fruit pulp as possible, or if this is not possible, the ratio of apple pulp should be higher in order to produce a well set jam! I hope that this makes sense? I also stated earlier that experiments are key to moving forward in the art of preserves. Old fashioned jam making insisted on long cooking times, producing in my mind, over cooked, Jammy tasting results. Twenty minutes is a perfectly safe cooking time to produce fresh tasting results. Also, do remember that lemon juice is key in all jam making. It supplies extra pectin for your Jams even though it is a liquid ingredient.

Okay the experiment! I boiled the litre of juice with the kilo of sugar and 50ml of lemon juice for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming the top every now and then for foam and any impurities. The cloudy colour of the juice becomes a golden amber. The outcome was a lovely tasting apple syrup, disappointing maybe, so my plan b was to add the 300 grams of apple pulp. I cooked for a further fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally and finally I strained the liquid, removing the pulp for use in another aspiration, fruit pastilles. The apple jelly showed some sign of gelling, but I was still in two minds, so I poured it into a stainless steel bowl and refrigerated it overnight. The next day I noted that there was a very soft set. My experiment had been a failure. And failure is fine – it’s the learning curve on the way to finding perfection, isn’t it?

Due to the fact that I am out of jam jars, this experiment is now in a freezer bag and sat in the freezer. Part two of this story to follow soon.

Too Early to Possibly Comment

8.30am and I’m exhausted. The rabble descended the stairs from the top floor in the relative darkness that was 5.30am. Daddy joined them on the downward journey to the ground floor – screams could be heard. The dogs, once released from a closed living room door, bolted up the stairs in order to prowl around the bed and rouse me to the fully awake mode, before trying their luck and pouncing up to join me on the bed. I shoo’d them off (is shoo’d a real word?) and I tried to sleep once again, knowing that the task was highly unlikely. The hounds tried their luck once again, I gave in and just lay there. I could make out the children chanting at daddy ‘porridge, porridge, porridge’. I knew my slumber was at an end…

In the semi light I tried to clothe myself. The dogs were milling around my feet as they do, making it impossible to pick up my socks, trousers and tee shirt. I pushed them away, they were back within a moment, though I had managed to pluck my trousers and a sock from the floor. This continued for another few minutes until I managed to dress whilst wriggling about on the bed. I then made the bed, struggled to the bathroom and cleaned my teeth, washed my face etc.

I got to the stairs, the dogs beside. Down a few steps and Remus rushes between my legs. Another few steps and he rushes through again! It’s a game we sometimes play. But at this early hour! ‘Porridge, porridge, porridge’ could still be heard below. The kitchen, a complete mess, the living room, a complete mess’ – welcome to my morning…

Twenty minutes later after having ‘tidied up’ with little, if no help, I began to make the porridge, in amongst the shouts and activities of the children. Daddy was calmly relaxing on the sofa with his iPad. Emails or candy crush I was wondering, completely oblivious to the marauding crew around him.

Goldilocks would have glutton’d this morning. What was a very large pan, filled to the brim with porridge was soon emptied, alongside the final jar of Dadda’s home grown, homemade, raspberry jam (seeded). We had to break into a blackberry cider jam in order to wash down the last of the porridge. Don’t worry, no alcohol, but made with a reduction of cider vinegar. Great sounding name, but not enough cider flavouring! I will have to work on the ingredients in order to perfect the harmony of flavours.

Well, that’s all for now. Just heading for the Nespresso machine.

Another One for the Tooth Fairy

What with the children participating in the BBC’s Children in Need yesterday at school, we had a little surprise of our own on the ‘wobbly tooth’ front! Tara’s last visit from the tooth fairy was on her birthday in March. It makes me smile when I see a child with both top front teeth out. Let’s hope the big tooth will grow through quickly.

Still trying to salvage my underperforming PC. I am now a writer without Microsoft Word. I guess that I should wait for Christmas and the new Apple Air book to buy compatible software for that, oh dear… doesn’t help my for the next few weeks though.

At present the girls are at yet another birthday party and the little ones are playing nicely. After last nights showdown – they are really trying to be good! It does show me that Thor and Aaliyah have a conscience at least. Just listening to their play, they have come on so much since starting at Big School. Their terrible twos and three’s were relentless. Onwards and upwards I hope!

Out of Breath

Thor and Aaliyah have just been marched up to bed – their screaming has been constant since 4.45pm when we finished dinnertime. I am seldom left feeling this angry. Both of them have behaved unreasonably bad. Their screams have left my head thumping. Amritsar and Sindy are at the local village hall attending ‘Rainbows’, the precursor to brownies and the girl guides. I have just asked Tara and Caleb to tell Thor to stop shouting. Aaliyah seems to have accepted her fate and is quiet in her room. Just knowing that our nanny would be gone for an hour and a half primed Thor and his extra massive tantrum. Enough is enough – the weekend has barely begun. And I am starting to feel physically sick. An update on behavioural issues tomorrow perhaps. That’s all for now (I hope).

The PC, the Podcast and Me

Well, Dadda might just get Jammin’ later on today. I have some perfectly ripe Quinces that Ocado delivered yesterday. But in the meantime I have set myself a task. Thank you to one lovely reader for opening my eyes to yet another possible project! Podcasting was mentioned and it seems that there is a little app at the App Store that makes light work of putting together a podcast.

Okay, I recently completed my new book ‘Thirteen Moons More’ on both ebook and paperback, available through your Amazon account, simply by searching for ‘Thirteen Moons More’. And I got to thinking of perhaps turning that into a podcast, chapter by chapter! It does cover twelve months of my blog ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’. But then I got to thinking that the book is indeed an edited version of the raw material. Maybe a good start would be to go back twelve months and sync my podcast with what was going on then, using the ‘raw material’! How does that sound? Any comments would be very much appreciated!

On a separate matter, my Lenovo PC upstairs has constantly given me one headache after another (this last 2 years), what with internet signal, booting up – the bloody thing needs booting out! Anyhow, I had to do a reset yesterday afternoon as the media player stopped playing media – not much good if I can’t play a Video on it, is it? Well the reboot has left me with just the meagre array of programs that came with the dratted thing. No Microsoft Office or any graphics programs whatsoever! I’m completely buggered within the bigger picture that is ‘My digital life’! Do I spend a day or two setting right this PC nightmare or hold on to Christmas when, according to a certain little elf, I might just be getting a brand new Air book! More decisions, decisions, decisions…

Anyhow, I’ll let you know later in the day as to how things pan out. The PC, the podcast and me! Oh Dear…

Decisions Decisions Decisions

Given that we are almost at the end of this week, I realised that I’ve not really talked about the family for a few days. I did have some news from the clinic in Thailand about the 6 remaining embryos in their cryo-tank. They want me to make a rather large payment in order to keep them and to be honest, I’ve really soul searched! There was incredible anguish and strife connected to their creation and to simply have them destroyed at this point! Well, it’s not an easy decision to make is it? My decision has to be made around the fact that we are not planning on extending – but it makes you think! Hey, I’m getting all broody. To find another lady willing to be our surrogate is a bit of a tall order at this time I guess. Especially someone who is resident here in the U.K. I’ll give it until next week to make the final decision on the future of our remaining embryos.

So, today’s photos should be (the most recent) of our not so famous five. Not a stainless steel container filled with liquid hydrogen and little vile’s of possibility. OMG, What is Caleb doing inside the provisions cupboard?