Ole Time Sweeties

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Ole Time Sweeties

Grandma Ernestine Terry

Grandma Ernestine Terry gives us an insight into traditional made sweets from the Caribbean

Every grandparent on the island will remember the old days when a sweetie lady sat with her offerings at the entrance to the school yard to tempt the children as they went home from school. She had a wood framed glass box to display her sweets–fudge, peppermint candy, crunchy peanut brittle, coconut sugar cake and coconut chip chip, guava cheese, tamarind balls, sugared shaddock peel in all the colours of a Caribbean sunset, all impossible to resist. Some of these old fashioned sweets are still made today, and Grandma Ernestine Terry recalls how some were made when she was a child.

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This fudge is made with fresh coconut milk.Add sugar to the coconut milk and stir to melt the sugar and thicken the mixture. Take it off the fire, add a little butter and beat steadily with a wooden spoon until it is thick. Pour it into an oiled pan and spread it to cool and set. Cut it into squares. In the old days we use to set it in a frame made of wooden sticks cut by the carpenter, laid on a clean, damp kitchen dresser to set.

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Peppermint candy is made by boiling white sugar with water until the sugar has melted and a little of the syrup dropped into cold water forms a hard ball. Take the pot off the fire, add a little peppermint oil and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture turns white. Set it as you set the fudge.

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This runchy sweet is still popular today. The boiled sugary base is mixed with parched, shelled peanuts and a sprinkling of local spices. Set as before, but you have to break it when it hardens, as it is difficult to cut with a knife.

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Prepare the coconut by slicing and chopping it into small pieces. Drop it into hot sugar syrup and continue to boil, stirring, until the mixture starts to thicken. Drop by the spoonful onto an oiled surface and leave to dry. Slice-up (Chip Chip) is often made with brown sugar, flavoured with a little grated fresh ginger root.

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Sugar Cake has a finer texture than Sliceup, as the coconut is grated. It is made with white sugar syrup, and the mixture is often divided into two batches, one coloured pink and the other left white. The batches are poured one over the other to form a pink and white cake. Some grater coconut cakes are uncoloured and made with brown sugar.

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