Ready for this jelly 🐇🏰🍮
Rabbits and recipes that we've loved and learned this week
Break from the mould
Your personal jelly history probably dates back to the bunny mould that your mum has used for every family birthday that you can remember. Sian is Team Green Jelly. Laura prefers raspberry flavour. It’s even possible that as many as two readers would choose orange as their favourite. But the history of jelly dates back much further than 1986.
The first jellies were made in the 1300s and they were really only available to the upper classes. Before it came in lurid green cubes, making jelly involved boiling down calves’ feet to make gelatine – a process that took a couple of days. To help the jellies set and cool, you needed access to ice. Early iterations were actually meat and fish flavoured – you needed sugar for sweet jellies, which was a luxury that many households couldn’t afford. We might associate it with ice cream at parties, but jelly began as an elaborate meal reserved for royal households.
The moulds have always played a big role in its appeal. Natural moulds were the obvious choice in the early days – egg and scallop shells were used by the Tudors and Stuarts, before stoneware moulds took their place. Copper moulds (lined with tin to prevent copper oxide poisoning) came along in the 1800s. It was really the Georgians who went to town with their moulds, recreating elaborate scenes in the middle of their tables. And, of course, the Victorian upper classes were no stranger to making a simple dessert an absolute bloody faff. They mastered the art of setting clear jelly around a cream centre or mousse like they were taking part in a Bake Off showstopper rather than having a light supper.
With sugar rationing and austerity after the war, there was little desire for such fanciful puds, which meant that jelly fell rather quickly out of favour. But soon gelatin became more readily available and reliable and it became a staple of British dessert treats and American salads. Little Laura was given a cube before bed every night to “help teeth, nails and bones”, and a quick search on Mumsnet tells us she wasn’t alone in this night-time treat. We’ll probably always have a soft spot for a jelly rabbit, but after spending much of our recent mornings mesmerised by Adventures In Jelly, we wonder if it’s time for the elaborate mould – perhaps in the shape of our new favourite castle – to make a bit of a comeback.
The eyes have it
We’ve long been fans of Lou Taylor’s jewellery and prints, and now we are absolutely enchanted by her collages, too. From repurposed gardening books to the sweetest paper dolls, everything is simply delightful. The lips and eyes collection might be our favourite. It brings back memories of doodling ever more dramatic eyes, complete with sweeping eyeliner and huge lashes, on the pages of our jotters at school; masterpieces which would be instantly ruined if we dared to add a nose or, indeed, the other eye. There’s also jewellery to match Lou’s collages, should you want an extra pair of eyes dangling from your earlobes. We certainly do.
Since we aren’t blessed in the fluttery eyelash department like the peepers in Lou’s collage, we need at least two coats of the black stuff to see us right. But something happens when we start brandishing the mascara wand about – it even happens to lovely Anne Hathaway – we cannot apply mascara without opening our mouths like we’re catching flies. The most likely reason is the position of nerve endings in our faces. The two nerves in control of the muscles that open and close our mouths and our eyelids are actually very close together. It’s likely that there’s a bit of a clash between messaging systems – when you open your eyes wider to get the best angle on your Maybelline, your jaw drops automatically. No scientific answer to how to stop poking yourself in the eye when you’re running late, though, sorry.
Recipes rebuilding lives
One of the many challenges that refugees and asylum seekers face is integrating into a new society. Language and legal barriers can make finding employment difficult, which has a real impact on mental health. Non-profit organisation Migrateful gives migrants the opportunity to host cooking classes around the UK, which not only improves their language skills, but also allows them to share their stories and culture with others. Cooking and food is often our gateway into learning about a country and its culture, and we’re particularly keen on the family style classes. Rather than having an individual station, you cook and chat together as a group, before sitting down to the dinner that you’ve helped prepare. The family style cooking classes are reasonably priced, too: £45 at the London locations, or £35 outside of the capital, and you also get access to all of the recipes so you can recreate your favourite dishes at home. Sian’s got her eye on an upcoming Nicaraguan session.
The Modern Croft is filled with lots of well-chosen, stylish objects that we don’t necessarily need, but we do very much want. This lovely place in Oban firmly focuses on beautiful things made well, and it’s where we’ll be going for chic presents for elegant pals. We do like a shop that introduces us to designers we haven’t yet discovered, and there are some brilliant names to seek out here. You know we can’t resist a tiny ornamental building (from bothies to brutalism), so Rowena Brown’s gorgeous Hebridean houses are right up our street, of course. We’re clearing space on our shelves for striking espresso cups by AKU Ceramics and Alexis Basso’s simple but stunning pouring bowls. And then there are these handsome coffee scoops by GreenGrapes, which will handily double as prop pipes if we suddenly feel the need to become detectives over breakfast.
Read all about it
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From penguins to stamp collectors, the Loneliest Post Office is a treat of a podcast episode.
Terri White is excellent on the Don’t Worry Darling debacle.
The fact remains that figs are delicious even if they have got dead wasps in them.
Before we forget: a little heart | birdhouse in your soul | we’ve got plans for our favourite blankets | new pencil case time | can’t wait to smell these.
This weekend, Sian is all about the pickle rice and Laura is peering into rockpools. Like what we do? Buy us a cuppa.