Like many on the Pacific rim, we have suddenly become obsessed with our distance from the sea, the safety of our neighbours’ brick chimneys and having an emergency kit. My sister, who is still dispossessed after the Christchurch earthquake, says that when people ask her how they can help the recovery, she tells them to get a disaster kit. She’s the reason why we now have plastic containers full of toilet paper, tinned food, bottled water and various other essentials in our garage. Hopefully, we’ll be in the happy position in a few months to have to eat all the disaster supplies because they’re reaching their expiry date rather than out of catastrophic necessity.
In the meantime, I’ve discovered a packet of milk powder in the cupboard that’s reaching its best-by date and rather than a) throw it away or b) drink it, I’ve been looking for things to do with it. My friend Ann puts a generous cupful into her extremely decadent homemade muesli (which I don’t make any more because we eat it straight from the jar in about a day) and I’ve been using it to make milk for breadmaking. You can also add a spoonful of the dried powder to enrich homemade yoghurt. But my favourite thing to do with it is make my own sweetened condensed milk – a handy trick for the committed condensed milk fan who doesn’t always have it in the cupboard.
DIY Condensed Milk
Sweet things are good in a crisis, aren’t they? When disaster strikes and our house has sailed down into the next street, I’ll be the one with the fridge full of condensed milk.
1 cup milk powder (full fat, please)
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup freshly boiled water
Put everything into a jar, attach a well-fitting lid and shake like your life depends on it. Let sit for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before using. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.