homemade candy


After trying to make halawa (sugar paste for hair removal) and getting the texture right but finding out I don’t really like using it (takes way too long) I decided to put my new skills to a better use: sugar candy!

This morning I created a random mix from sugar, lemon juice, honey, and mint extract which really turned into candy while the flavour was a little … interesting.

When I came home in the afternoon I decided to do something simpler first. I stopped at the grocery store to get some lemon extract, raspberry jelly powder, cane sugar, and cream.

First serious try was lemon candy (yellow candy in the picture above): I melted white sugar and lemon juice, then added lemon essence. Pour on cold plate, move around, pull, cut into pieces.

Second batch was raspberry candy (pink): remains of the lemon candy mixed with more white sugar, lemon juice, and half a bag of raspberry jelly powder.

Third kind of candy is some sort of medium-hard caramel (in the right jar on the picture above): I took a fresh pot, melted unrefined cane sugar, and added some cream so it wouldn’t get rock hard. It wasn’t stretchy like the first two recipes so I had to shape the single candies by hand instead of simply cutting a string into pieces.

The fourth and last sort was toffee, which turned out a little to crumbly: made from cane sugar, cream, and butter. Maybe I should have let the sugar melt completely before adding cream and butter? Nevertheless it tastes great! I just put the bigger parts on a piece of parchment paper and filled the crumbs into a glass container to use it as a dessert topping or something like that on the next occasion.

As you can see from the picture, I had to put some powdered sugar in the jars and shake them to keep the candies from sticking together. It was my first idea for solving the problem and luckily it worked at once.

Only one downside to the whole endeavour – I forgot to set a timer for the pizza I had put in the oven and remembered it only after the third batch, so it was all burnt (still I ate half of it as I was really hungry by then). So I’ll have some ramen now and afterwards go watch the second half of the soccer world cup game Germany vs USA with some friends at church.

Have you ever made candy yourself?

your apple tree

Today I took a seed from the apple you were eating and promised I would plant it so a tree will grow. It’s sleeping in a pot of soil right now. I hope to see the day when you’ll be all grown up and pluck the first fruit off your apple tree. I hope you will grow strong.

master’s thesis … lost in translation

I need a good topic for my master’s thesis. Right now I’m sitting on my bed with the Swahili translation of Macbeth and hope that somehow I’ll get a better idea than analysing Shakespeare … why is there no Swahili version of The Lord of the Rings or 1984 or Brave New World? I found out someone wrote a science fiction novel in Swahili called Walenisi, but as far as I know it wasn’t translated to English – so much for comparing original and translation.

And I can’t start looking into the two other topics my prof proposed yet because both books are borrowed from the library by someone else right now. Sometimes I just want to curl up in a corner and convince myself that life without science could be happier. But would it? I’m not sure how long it would take until I’d be bored out of my mind. Maybe a year maximum.

automatic world and a lack of stars


Some days ago I heard this song for the first time. It touched something deep inside of me. I miss a simpler world, less hectic, less abstract. I long for nights with more than just a few stars visible against the light pollution of the city. By making our world automatic and being oh so advanced (or so we think) we robbed ourselves of so much beauty.

I wish there were more people who’d write me letters or postcards. And if I found a way to live in a more rural area and still do academic work I’d be a really happy person; I’d even give up university if I knew for certain it was the right way.

I’ll write more about stars, space, simple living, and other dreams on another day. There’s something about it, something inside me. Something that won’t stay quiet.

you can’t bottle me

When you come close to me, don’t expect me to smell of the lily and the rose, the sweet sugary fragrances of multi-layered artificial compositions. This isn’t me. When you see me you should recognize how my scent couldn’t have been born in a test tube, a laboratory, how it can’t be bottled in diamond-faceted flacons and tied up with a pale pink ribbon.

I want my scent to remind you of sitting next to a camp fire under a starry sky, smoke curling up to the milky way, and maybe a full moon rising up over a vast, mysterious landscape.

I want my embrace to carry you to mossy woods, deep and green with warm sun on rain-drenched logs, a smell of comfort, of safety and freedom.

I want to make you feel at home in fields of cornflowers growing on heavy, dusty soil, with a whiff of herbs and spices carried over by  the breeze; maybe from the Provence, maybe from a place far away full of cedar wood and pines.

I want you to take a walk by my side, inhaling the faint aroma of old leather, of hay on meadows in late summer, and of trees turning into crisp red and golden flames on the hills with the onset of Indian summer, all being threatened to be swept away by the veil of mist rising up.

I want you to stand next to me and inhale the powerful perfume of thunderstorms making rain fall in big, lazy drops on sun-hot pavement, bringing dreams of old days and new adventures, mixing ashes and the ocean in one single breath.

I want you to think of evening sun turning the world golden, making you forget the time, the place, the season, and when you look up I want to make you wonder what huge white clouds taste like.

This is me. You can’t bottle me, and neither will you ever be able to capture all of me at the same time.