Mimi Says...

Dress Up and Play As A Domestic Goddess!

Mimi

When I was a little girl, nothing thrilled me more than dressing up. In a fabulously frothy peach bridesmaids dress, I was a fairy, a princess, a bride or a butterfly as the mood took me. Once I spent so many days being a mouse that the name has stuck to this day amongst my family!

Dressing up is still one of my favourite games to play. The thing about dressing up and playing at something is there is not the pressure there that would be, should you actually have to be that thing all the time. My favourite thing to dress up as now, is a Domestic Goddess. I love to tie on my Cath Kidston apron, fluff up my hair Nigella style, and play at all the little things that are a bit too frivolous to be necessary- but delicious none the less! I think if I thought I had to be a Domestic Goddess all the time, I would hide under my apron in fright! No,no,no, that would be far too much to live up to! And I am already busy being a vintage housekeeper, tending the shelves of the library where I work, being a bride to be and so many things. Doing all of this does not always leave a lot of time for play- part of what makes play so delicious I think. You can never have quite enough to be bored with it- to quote Jane Austen, ‘It was a delightful visit, perfect in being much too short’.

So, when the sheet are all freshly laundered and smelling of lavender, when dinner is already bubbling away in the oven, when the cushions have been plumped- or when you just really feel like it- dress up and play at being a Domestic Goddess. When I am dressing up as a Domestic Goddess, I like to play at things that require little funds, time or effort (I am normally short of one- sometimes all three)- that way I can always be sure of a delightful little game. I like to play at things that are not strictly necessary- not superfluous in any way, just little luxurious fripperies, that delight the senses (and visitors!), but are often the first thing to be dropped when there is not enough time, and too much to do.

You see, I like to have a batch of raw scones in my freezer, so should an unexpected visitor call, I can bake them up at a moments notice, and have something scrumptious to offer them. But if I am late getting home from work and dinner needs to be cooked, well it is always dinner that wins, and the scones that just have to wait until another day..or week. But here is a little project that takes almost no time or effort, but the rewards are sweet, and long lasting.

I am talking about vanilla sugar. It is a delight to have in the kitchen- you can offer it to guests with their coffee, or, even more delicious, stir it into your own cup of vanilla coffee for an extra treat! (Try it even if you don’t normally take sugar- it does not so much sweeten as enhances and deepens the flavour!) Stirred into a mug of warm milk is a sweet way to drift off to sleep- but it has so many more uses than this! Sprinkle a teaspoon or two over a bowl of strawberries, and leave them in a sunny spot for half an hour or two for a delectable treat. Whenever you would use sugar in cakes or biscuits, use this instead for a beautiful vanilla whisper. I like to use it when making crème brulee, both for the custards themselves and to burn with a blow torch on top. (Not as scary as it sounds, but impressive to serve up! See Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course) Why not write out these ideas for use on a pretty card, tie with a ribbon to a jar of vanilla sugar and give it to a special friend for a wonderfully indulgent treat- after all, wouldn’t you think any lady who gave you such a gift to be some kind of Domestic Goddess angel on earth?!

Onwards then to the project- the whole thing should cost around £5, and the ingredients to buy one will probably make two, should you want to give one as a gift. The first thing to do is to find a beautiful glass jam jar with lid. I not only hoard these, but have been known to buy and eat a particular jam just for the beautiful jar! The jar must be clean (put it through the dishwasher, or wash in hot soapy water then dry in a low oven) and dry. Damp jars and spoons dipped into the sugar will bring about horrible lumps and clumps- remember, you want ‘ooooh!’ not ‘eeewwww!’ when you bring it out at tea time! Next time you do the shopping, add to your trolley (or basket) a small packet of caster sugar, and a jar of vanilla pods (they normally come in twos at least). Half fill the jar with sugar, and then slit the vanilla pod with a sharp knife, so you have two long thin pieces. Cut these in half then drop them in the sugar, then bury them with the rest of the sugar. Screw on the lid, and even the next day, your lovely treat is ready for indulgence. As you use it up, just add more sugar and give it a little stir up. You just need a little taste of this to transform so many things into scrumptious treats, so you should not find your waistline ravaged! All that is left to do is to find a nice spot in the kitchen to display your beautiful jar, and look forward to the Domestic Goddess glow you will get when someone compliments you on one of your delightful vanilla confections!

And remember- we are never too old to play dress up!

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Mimi is our newest, fabulous contributer. Along with Mabel,  Kerry, and of course my Helen, she will be blessing us with her delicious thoughts on making life scrumptious and living life lovely...

Look out for her again very soon...