There are so many things in this world that we just trust, unquestioningly. Whether it is based on knowledge, conditioning, or an element of religious faith, we rely on the predictability of certain events and functions that will keep us safe and get us through life.
We trust that when we stop at a red light, the programming of the lights is such that they will never all turn green at once as that is the way the traffic functions, allowing everyone to get around safely. Never once do we worry that one day something may go wrong with that computer that holds all the programming, leading to chaos on the road.
We are taught to cross the road when the little green man makes an appearance and we trust that when we do cross, the cars will stop as they should because, well, them’s the rules!
And my day job……well, that is a whole exercise in trust in itself. On a day to day basis, I perform procedures on sometimes aggressive animals held by nurses who are thankfully highly capable and have our interests at heart. I rely on this as well as the fact that they pride themselves in not letting us get hurt, an assurance that allows me to do my job to the best of my ability.
Two weeks ago, I took the ultimate leap of faith, trusting in many things that were well beyond my control. I willingly jumped out of a plane at about 14,000 ft above the water and I did so with (mostly) unwavering faith that the professional skydiver strapped to my back knew exactly how to keep me alive. That when he did pull the cord, the parachute would release and inflate as it should, allowing me to enjoy the view (oh that dazzling coastline!) while we floated gently down to land ungracefully on my butt on soft grass.
All those things did happen as they should. But what I wasn’t quite prepared for was the incredible rush. Those 45 seconds or so when we were plummeting towards the earth, cold wind whipping my face, freezing my eyeballs and the inside of my mouth which was grinning and screaming all at once. Then the parachute went up and in the video, I can pinpoint the moment when I looked up to see that beautiful, billowing, colourful thing that would float me down safely.
The sensation over the next few minutes can best be described as hovering. That feeling of weightlessness is something I could never have imagined. Suspended above the land and water on a stunningly clear day while slowly feasting my eyes on that impossibly blue water, the line of froth and the voluptuous coastline where it met the sand, is an experience that surpasses any I’ve ever had. And when we landed, it felt like it was over all too soon, that it would’ve been lovely to hover just for a little longer if it weren’t for the party pooper that is the pull of gravity.
If you feel the urge to jump out of the sky from a moving plane, this is where I did it and I found the company and the staff to be very friendly, highly professional and most importantly, very capable of deploying a parachute at just the right time.
This fudge is something else you can completely trust in. It is the simplest fudge recipe I’ve ever seen and it works, every time. It is my go-to recipe if I’m time poor and required to bring a plate to a function. I always take home an empty plate and many compliments.
Okay, so technically it’s not proper fudge in that it doesn’t involve sweating over a bubbling vat of sugar and cream, vigorously stirring with one hand whilst trying to hold both the pan and the candy thermometer in the other hand.
But somehow I don’t think the fudge Gods will mind!
I can’t remember exactly where it came from but I’m pretty sure the original is a Nigella Lawson Recipe.
Simple Chocolate Fudge
300g decent to good quality dark chocolate (or a combination of dark and milk)
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Add ins (optional):
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/3-1/2 cup nuts, preferably roasted
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
Anything else you think may work!
Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.
In the top bowl of a double boiler, place chocolate, butter, condensed milk and any aromatics that you are using. Stir over medium heat until chocolate and butter melt and the whole thing combines to a smooth mixture.
Take top bowl off the heat and stir in any other add-ins (nuts, chocolate chips, etc).
Pour mixture into paper-lined tray and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
When set, cut into squares or diamonds with a sharp knife.
Serve to thunderous applause.
To create a double boiler, you need a saucepan half full of water and another dry saucepan/pot that sits on top of the first one without actually touching the water. You put the chocolate etc in the top pan to melt it gently without burning it.