If you are my friend on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter, you have heard me going on (and on) about Herman.
Herman came into our lives 10 days ago when my son bounced home clutching a little tub of...sick. There’s no kinder way of putting it. A tub of bubbly sick. And then he told me we had to grow the sick for 10 days in the kitchen until it would miraculously become a beautiful cake.
The teachers are clever at his school because just an hour before the ‘we need to grow the bubbly sick’ announcement I had attended the school assembly. The teacher had served a delicious cake with cinnamon and apple. Herman! I had been fed Herman! It was a very Derren Brown moment; all smoke, mirrors and neuro-linguistic programming.
Anyhoo, we started to grow my son’s sick/cake and my allergy baking head started to whirr. It turns out Herman is well known in recipe blogland and all the reports are favourable. You ‘grow’ the cake for 10 days covered with a tea towel but on day ten you divide it into four portions and give them away. The lucky (?) recipient then grows Herman for 10 more days, gives ¾ away, etc etc. Sort of like an edible chain letter.
Of course I wanted to try a gluten free, egg free, dairy free version, but what if after 10 days of growing it didn’t work? Worse, what if it just went mouldy?
I stupidly mentioned it on Twitter and @Ruebellesmoon egged me on. ‘Do it!’ she said secretly thinking ‘Yep, you grow the sick and I’ll only give it a go if I know it works.’ She’s not just a pretty face that Ruebellesmoon.
And so I let Herman into my life. He is definitely the weirdest friend I’ve had. I had doubts about how the gluten free flour would perform, so right at the last minute I casually threw in an extra ½ tsp of yeast. Oh foolish move.
Within a day Herman grew too large for the mixing bowl. So I transferred him to my KitchenAid bowl. The next morning it was like Aliens meets the Magic Porridge Pot; he’d grown out of the bowl and dripped down onto the worktop.
It is now Day six. Herman seems to have found his rhythm and is contained but the smell of yeast is overpowering. ‘Beer!’ splutters my daughter when I do my daily Herman stir. ‘Sniff sniff sniff’ says the dog excitedly.
Only four more days to go and the tension is mounting. We’ve baked my son’s cake using wheat, eggs and milk so I know what it should taste like. Will my allergy-friendly version turn out brilliantly? Or will Herman let me down when I need him most?
By popular request on Facebook (well, one person) I did a photo shoot with Herman yesterday. He comes alive when you stir him, bubbling ferociously – it’s almost alarming – and then he calms down and is ready to grow again.
You’re right. I am talking about Herman as if he’s a person. I will be sad to see him go.
And if anyone is going to Bite ‘n’ Write on Saturday and wants a share of Herman to grow...just let me know! (I can't promise how he will turn out...)
I'm going in...
'Hesssssss' hisses Herman a la Harry Potter
'Silence Herman! Get back down!'
Peace. Until tomorrow Herman. I love you.
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