The day I made the Battenburg was one such day.
After I had made the Battenburg I went on to make Plum and Apple Jelly from a recipe on the Apple and Spice blog site (is that what they are called blog site? or should I say website? I wonder what the correct terminology is?). It was a straightforward recipe which didn't require straining juice overnight and seemed to yield quite a lot of jars. Marvellous I thought.
Of course, having spent such a lot of time measuring and trimming the Battenburg it was quite late by the time I started chopping kilos of apples and plums (dark in fact) but I had survived the Battenburg experience and felt I was on a roll.
I thought it looked quite scrumptious
there was quite a lot of it when it had cooked down
and so I started to ladle it into the jelly bag which was suspended over a bowl on the table.
No problem. I had done it a million times before - which was probably the reason for the elastic on the jelly bag giving way causing the bag, full of mushed fruit, to fall into the quite full bowl of strained juice. The juice whooshed up into the air and on it's way down splattered the walls and a door before settling on the table and a chair from which it cascaded onto the floor.
I, in the meantime, found myself covered in a liquid that had just been taken off the cooker. Although in my hair it had somehow avoided my face and upper body but the front of my skirt was sodden. So, holding my skirt away from me, I made a dash to the bathroom to take everything off and put cold water on my legs. I broke the zip on my skirt trying to take if off so had to wriggle it over my head. My face and tee shirt now had juice on so I just jumped in the shower in my underwear and began spraying my legs and face with cold water. Luckily I didn't seem burnt in anyway, just a bit sticky so when I was clean and dried off I wandered back into the kitchen.
Putting the apron I should have been wearing in the first place on over my underwear (I decided against more clothes in case my trials and tribulations weren't over) I found the juice had slithered, like something from a bad science fiction film, across most of the floor and under a cupboard door.
Walking through gallons of wet, sticky juice to get to the mop I began operation clear up.
That done I went back to what remained of the juice. I hadn't finished ladling from preserving pan to jelly bag so I began all over again with a new jelly bag. I wasn't at all sure if it would work as the juice going through the jelly bag was now quite cool but after it had been returned to the pan and boiled the setting point was reached. I put the jelly into jars which had been sitting in a hot oven all this time and were therefore well and truly sterilised and to my delight I got four jars of plum and apple jelly
The lids of the jars were a little on the burnt side but it was barely noticeable - really.
I would like to say that I dealt with all of this with an air of quiet resignation. I did not swear, I did not get stressy and I did not cry. And I took on board four lessons learned
1. When looking at the jelly bag with the thought 'hmm that looks a bit full' STOP. Do not listen to the next thought 'oh I expect I can get a bit more in there'.
2. Test the jelly bag for elasticity before using.
3. Always, always wear an apron. And if making anything requiring a jelly bag and hot liquid again invest in a pair of wellies for the kitchen.
4. Get back on the horse. I made it again dear reader and it was perfect.