After three years of marriage and nearly eight years together, I’ve learned a few things about The Hungry One:

* He can be a taskmaster at the gym.
* He enjoys a romantic comedy or two.
* He loves a list (or twenty).

I’ve also honed in on two consumables that are particularly adored; coffee- and surprisingly; jelly.

So this year to mark our third wedding anniversary I embarked on a flimsy folly to try and combine his two loves.

As far as endeavors go, it wasn’t that arduous.

All that’s required to make a proper jelly is some rudimentary maths to deduce the ratio of liquid to gelatine so you end up with a gentle quivering wobble (it turns out that each of the gelatine sheets that I currently have in my hot little hands will set around 140 mls of liquid).

You can use gelatine powder or agar agar, but to me there’s something magical about the way that brittle sheets of gelatine collapse into a slippery huddle.

Most packets of gelatine will give you an indication of the right proportions. I tend to err on the shy side of the ratios. I like a bit of quiver in my life.

Once you’ve made that calculation, it’s a pretty simple process.  The gelatine sheets get soaked until they resemble the texture of something unseemly.

Then they mix with the flavoured liquid of your choice. That liquid should be warm- which isn’t  difficult if you’re talking about coffee. It’s up to you how much sugar you want. We normally shun the saccharine when it comes to caffeine, but here I made an exception. Since we would be eating these for dessert, I figured a little bit of extra sweetness wouldn’t  go astray (and besides that,  savoury jellies give me a bit of the heebie jeebies).

One of the kindest things that The Hungry One does for me is bring me a coffee in bed on the weekends while I’m leafing through the paper. He makes a very good coffee.

I don’t.

But I thought it was about time I returned some kind of favour.

So yesterday two efforts  were made.

The first was an interpretation of a  macchiatto- an espresso set in a shallow bowl, then topped with a thin layer of sweet milk jelly (a little like a flummery). It had a cap of crumbled chocolate cookies for a little contrast and crunch.

The second was a piccolo latte. Sadly any latte art was lost during the setting, but the muddled milk gave the jelly a more comforting texture. It was like the love child of a ‘lite’ coffee panna cotta and a junket.

We ate the jellies after we made our way through proper roast chicken dinner and a cheeky bottle of chablis. We had them with cookies and vanilla ice cream, while chatting idly about how much had changed since that day three years ago with the grey suit and white dress.

The only hurdle we faced that night was how much coffee we put into our systems. After we ate them we tossed and turned in bed, fighting caffeine jitters until late into the night.

Next time I make these I’m sure they’ll find a happier home on the table at Sunday lunch.

Or, shock horror, I might just turn to de caf.

We adapt and change. We live and learn.
(Some adages that apply as equally to jellies as one’s life as a wife).

Happy anniversary babe.

Macchiato Jelly

(serves 2 as part of a dessert platter)

Shopping/foraging
1.5 gelatine sheets, or powdered gelatine (check the setting strength of your gelatine- you’ll need enough to set a total of 100 ml of liquid).
2 tablespoons of caster sugar (or more if you have a sweet tooth)
70 ml of espresso
30 ml of full fat milk

Equipment
2 small bowls or glasses

Here’s how we roll

1. Break 1 gelatine sheet in half and soak the pieces cold water for 4 minutes until they’re all gloopy (if you’re using powdered gelatine follow the instructions for adding it to hot liquid).

2. Make the two espresso shots (you can make it directly into the glass you want to serve it in). Stir in half a tablespoon of sugar in each. Taste. If you want more sugar, add it.

3. Squeeze the excess liquid out of the gelatine sheets. Stir them into the coffee until they’ve dissolved.

4. Place in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set.

5. When the coffee has set, warm the milk in a saucepan and add the sugar.

6. Soak the remaining half a gelatine sheet in cold water until gloopy. Squeeze the liquid out and add it to the milk and sugar.

7. Stir around until the gelatine has dissolved.

8. Divide the milk and pour half over each jelly.

9. Return to the fridge and allow to set for another hour and a half.

10. Serve with crumbled chocolate biscuits or chocolate shavings over the top. A little ice cream on the side wouldn’t go astray.



Piccolo Latte Jelly

(Serves 2 as part of a dessert platter)

Equipment
2 small glasses

Shopping/foraging
2 gelatine sheet (enough to set 140  ml of liquid)
2 shots of espresso
70 ml of milk, steamed and frothed.
(or 1 piccolo latte)
3 heaped teaspoons of sugar (or more if you have a sweet tooth)


Here’s how we roll

1. Soak the two gelatine pieces water for 4 minutes until they’re all gloopy ( if you’re using powdered gelatine follow the instructions for adding it to hot liquid)
2. Make the piccolo lattes.
3. Add half the sugar to each and stir. Taste it. Add more sugar if you want it.
3. Squeeze the excess liquid out of the gelatine sheets. Stir one into each coffee until they’ve dissolved.
4. Place in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set.
5. A little ice cream on the side wouldn’t go astray.