Toffee and Sheep’s Head.

No jokes about the excumberence USinsanian, this is about the necessities of life.
And some of its pleasures. …

This is a recipe for Head of Mutton, a delicacy in certain parts of Northern Britain and probably all of France. Which explains the behaviour of certain tractor drivers in that part of the world.

Buy the head already split lengthways and remove the brains carefully. Place them in cold salted water to which vinegar may be added.

Chop off the nose, and soak the head in tepid salted water for half an hour.

Cleanse the head thoroughly, and blanch as follows; place in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring the water to boiling point, pour off the water and rinse the head.

Remove the tongue. Tie the two halves of the head together. Boil gently for two hours with the vegetables and tongue.

Either serve the head whole, coated with brain sauce, or serve the meat and tongue cut in slices. Sheep’s trotters can be added to the above recipe if required. Wash, blanch, cook and serve with the head.

That was from this web page. Also on that site was this recipe for toffee.

6 table spoons of sugar
4oz of butter
3 desert spoons of milk
3 desert spoons of treacle
a little vinegar

You have to be very careful with the boiling. The whole mixture seems to be highly volatile and you need to keep the temperature down very low to stop it boiling. So low, in fact, that you couldn’t even see the flame on the gas under the pan, which was right down to its lowest possible setting.

The bit about dropping it into water is quite clever, too; you simply scoop a little of your mixture out using a teaspoon and let it drip into a mug of cold water. If it solidifies into a little ball of toffee and sinks to the bottom you know it’s ready.

All of which was discovered after guzzling a huge tin of peaches and wondering what to do with the remaining syrup.

It was a large tin that left me with a litre (nearly 2 pints) of syrup. This will easily render down to about a soup tin full, or maybe with a little more care, a mugfull of very thick gelid syrup.

To make a fudge you need to add butter or maybe butter and milk. I am going to add oil because I am allergic to milk and want to see if I can obtain something like with an alternative.

Also a little vinegar is recommended. I don't know if that is a cathartic to all that sugar or to help emulsify the milk content. Probably both. I dare say there is something about forming crystals that acids lend themselves to very well.

Speaking of which, you will get more toffe for your peach can if you add sugar to the syrup. So I shall add a fair bit and let you know how I get on.

DO NOT use Teflon coated pans for this. Sugar can scratch nonstick surfaces and remove it like an abrasive.

There is no need, anyway, you are making crystals not beating a sponge.

Bring the fruit syrup to the boil and add about 4 or 5 times the volume of sugar. Boiling water will dissolve 5 times its weight -just about, of cane sugar. Add some malt vinegar, the cheapest will do. I wish I had left the last of the peaches in but I didn't think.

Tomorrow I am going to get some raisins. I can get sultanas now but Californian raisins have just that pique of acid in them that makes them so eatable. I can't stand sultanas.


I just added a kilo of sugar to it. I would have added more but it hit me that I will be stuck with about 2 years' supply of toffee as it is. I wish I'd bunged it now. But anyway I pressed on and added about 5 teaspoons full of malt vinegar and about as much rape seed oil. That last was a waste of time I think. It was still too sickly so I added a spoon full of fruit acid. The crystaline stuff you can get in shops that sell home-brewers' stuff.

Malic acid I think. I bought it ages ago and the label fell off. For all I know it is neat Citric acid. It is sour at any rate. (Oof-2!)

It's in a thick bottomed stainless steel saucepan at the moment. You definitely need to stir it continually, else it will stick and burn. I don't know what I am going to do with it. (Poison myself no doubt.)


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