We’ve been back to the doctor and it wasn’t good news. He’s concerned Arabella still has The Glange in her bloodstream and therefore needs to lie low and not go anywhere or do anything for at least the next few weeks. He wrote her a medical certificate for another two weeks off school, minimum, and recommended no outings.
‘But I have my formal on Thursday’, stressed Arabella.
‘Well you don’t have to go to your formal’, he said, ‘Most kids who go to their formal don’t even remember it. It’s really not that big a deal. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed if you miss it’. And the delivery of this news just rolled off the tongue with a great air of nonchalance like all Arabella was missing was an early morning gym class.
The man has no idea.
On the way to the appointment I spoke on the phone with Arabella’s date’s mother. The date is the boyfriend who is now the ex-boyfriend but they are still ‘special friends’ (I don’t know what that means). His mother has bought her son a suit and booked his train travel from Gunnedah to Sydney. He arrives on Wednesday afternoon after his seven-hour train trip and will stay with us for three nights.
Before the doctor’s appointment we went to the jewellery store where we collected the earrings she will wear to her formal. Beautiful Thomas Sabo sterling silver drop little disco balls that are a gift from her boss.
And prior to the visit with the doctor I organised some pre-formal drinks at our house that are actually the pre-pre’s because after our pre’s we are taking her to the actual pre’s that are being held at her friend’s house. Confused?
I’ve bought the formal tickets and they cost almost as much as a week’s wages and I’ve also bought the tickets to the Afters. The hair appointment has been booked as has the make-up appointment and I’ve had to pay a 50% non-refundable deposit.
‘What’s that?’ asked Arabella.
‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’, he said, ‘You don’t want that’.
And he went on and on about what a miserable life she would have if The Glange turned into CFS. Arabella listed all that she has given up. ‘There’s the ski trip and the weekend at the races and Briony’s 18th and the movie night at Elsie’s and all the gatherings I haven’t been or won’t be going to. And now the formal?’ And she was very glum and turned to me. ‘I can’t not go to my formal, mum’.
‘What have you got planned for the night?’ asked the doctor.
‘Well there’s the pre-pre’s, then the pre’s, then the formal, the pre-afters and the afters and then I’ve been invited to stay in a suite at a hotel near the afters with another family’.
‘Arabella, do you really think you are up for all of that?’ he asked.
‘I was really looking forward to it’, she said in a very sad voice.
‘What can you cut out?’
And after a very lengthy consultation Arabella conceded to some pre-pre’s here with family and family friends, then pre’s with her own friends and attending the formal for a very short time.
‘You don’t want to play with fire’, he said.
And so Arabella and her boyfriend who is now the ex-boyfriend but the special friend have made a concession to have all the glamour but half the fun.
It will still be her ‘night of nights’.
Arabella’s not allowed to help with food preparation for fear of contaminating us all but she did enjoy watching me make this Middle Eastern favourite.
Pistachio and Rosewater Turkish Delight
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost: It really is just sugar and water and cornflour so very cheap to make and even cheaper if you make it without the nuts!
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 tsp tartaric acid
- 3/4 cup cornflour
- 1 3/4 cups icing sugar
- 4 drops rosewater
- few drops pink food colouring
- 1/2 cup chopped, shelled pistachios
Put sugar and 1/3 cup of the water in saucepan, stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved, brushing down sides of saucepan frequently. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer until syrup reaches temperature of 240F, (115C) on sweets thermometer (approximately 20 minutes). Add tartaric acid, remove from heat.
Combine cornflour and sifted icing sugar in bowl, add another half cup of the water, stir until smooth. Bring remaining water to the boil, add to cornflour mixture, stirring continually. Put into saucepan, stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, add hot syrup gradually, mixing over the heat until well blended.
Continue to boil gently 30 minutes, without stirring. It is important to boil the mixture for this amount of time for correct incorporation of ingredients. The mixture should be a very pale straw colour and transparent.
Add the rosewater, pink food colouring and pistachios. Pour into greased deep 20cm (8in) square tin. Stand several hours or overnight until set. Cut into squares with wetted knife. Toss the squares in combined sifted icing sugar and cornflour (you will need about 1 cup of each). Store in air-tight container, sprinkle with a little extra combined cornflour and icing sugar.
Makes an excellent hostess gift.
This recipe has been adapted from a recipe I found in the Australian Women’s Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook.
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