Yesteryear’s traditional anxiety for children at Christmas was (among Anglophones at least) – would they find the reward of an orange or the remonstrance of a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking? Well, I’ve gone with both in this little bevy of treats, after facing the anxiety-producing presence of possibly the longest-legged huntsman spider I have ever seen!
Yesterday I had just done the four hour drive back from Canberra, feeling a bit washed out, so walked down the stairs to make coffee – I was totally discombobulated by seeing those legs disappear behind the cupboard at the bottom of the stairs. Our in-house spider relocation service (who usually does a catch-and-release routine so they can live in the garden and feast on the local insects) was unable to track it down, sadly. Then, he’d gone out for a run, I was trying to get the dinner organised and about to head back up the stairs, when I found the darn thing eyeballing me from the side of the next cupboard over.
I swear this was the love child of Aragog and Shelob, and certainly had the legs to set a land-speed record for spiders. It was lodged in a corner with the wall, so faced with a choice between doing battle then, and finding the darn thing running across my face in the middle of the night, I adopted the time-honoured tradition in Oz of spray-it-til-its-white-then-drop-the-biggest-shoe-in-the-house-on-it (in this case quite a sizeable wellington boot, but I have to say I wish Al was here so I would have had one of his size 14s handy).
That was plenty of exertion for one day (and cooking with shaking hands really is fraught with peril) so I have done a double dip today – ‘orange’ in the form of orange jelly to which lots of interesting things have been added, coal in the form of dark chocolate covered Andean golden goji berries (the ones that are rather similar to sultanas although with a stronger taste) which gave the appropriate result on shape – a bit gnarlier than my favourite for this treatment, which is dark seedless grapes.
These items are all one plus spoon ratings – they are pretty easy, and although they take a little calculation or judgment, they’ll still taste great even if they don’t work perfectly. In keeping with the spirit of a post a day, I’ve given one recipe for the dark chocolate jellies, which are closer to a two spoon rating, and one for all the other sweet treats which are closer to one spoon.