Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Paper and truffles

Today has been quite a productive day. Yesterday, when Iona was getting up and I was talking with her about what we could do during the day and the week, she said "I want to know how paper is made", quickly followed by "I want to know how pens are made, I want to know how mirrors are made", as if she was just trying to come up with as many silly things as possible. However, I treated it as though she was genuine and suggested we start by making our own paper. I got out some of the credit card slips, prescription request slips and other confidential things waiting to be shredded and began tearing them up fairly small into an old bucket. Iona occasionally helped me with this, then I added water and left it to soak overnight. I planned to colour it with food colouring, but Iona added a little colour to it by stirring it with one of her green pens. Using the historical outline in funsci.com I discussed with Iona what was used in which cultures before paper and when and where paper was invented, then put a couple of dates on our timeline.

This morning I made the soaked paper into a pulp in my liquidiser, which Iona couldn't help with as she is noise-phobic. Initially I tried scooping out all the soaked paper and pulping it with just a little of the soaking water, but I had to add more and more of it to make the liquidiser work, until I had added it all. Following that, I laid a spare splatter guard, which had been too big for me to use for cooking, over the soaking pail, in the garden, and carefully spread the pulp over it, squashing it down to squeeze the bulk of the water out as I went. Iona helped a little with this, then became very enthusiastic when I described how Mulberry paper had flowers dried into it. She really enjoyed picking flowers and leaves, scented and unscented, and placing them into the paper:

I've yet to find out how good the final product will be, as the paper has not yet dried.

In the afternoon I suggested Iona make Rainbow Truffles from her Moshi Monster magazine. She had brought it down a couple of weeks ago to show me, and the next day asked if we had any condensed milk, as she'd read that was in the recipe! I'd bought the ingredients the other day, so suggested she might like to make them to share with her new friends up the road. She initially agreed, then after I'd weighed the coconut and mixed it with the condensed milk she decided she couldn't be bothered! I left it for an hour or so, no pressure, then told her I was adding the cocoa (I'd hoped to get her to do that herself). She raced in, wanting to do it herself, so I let her stir it. I then showed her how to break up the digestives in a bag, using a rolling pin, and she did almost all of that herself, too, as well as mixing the 2 together. She helped put the hundreds and thousands and other sugar decorations on a plate, then I showed her how to roll the mixture into a ball then roll it in the decorations. After doing it alongside each other for a while (I initially wanted to do the messy bit myself but she said "They're mine, so I want to do it!"), I decided to trust her and let her do it all herself:

Surprisingly, I don't think much of the mixture ended up in her mouth, and they taste delicious!!!