This is how it was supposed to look!
I’d made it once before. Trying to emulate my favourite dessert, sago and raspberry pudding, I’d given my first attempt 7 out of 10. This time I was aiming much higher; I wanted it to look as good as the one you buy, and taste even better. I’m a confident cook, proud of my personal success rating in the kitchen, some would even say cocky! Despite my inflated view, I had to concede there was merit in reading the directions on the pack of sago. Reflecting on that evening a week later, all I remember is reading the first three lines , water, tapioca seed and sugar, and feeling a little puzzled about the ratio of water to seed, pressed on regardless. At this point in proceedings, easily distracted, I abandoned the directions.
First sin, disregard!
So I boiled the water, and threw in the tapioca seed. Gazing down into the steaming pot, wooden spoon in hand, it occurred to me, in a blink, I’d committed the second sin. The sago had instantly cooked on the outside, leaving it raw inside. It resembled a pot of clag with hundreds of half-sucked homoeopathic pilules floating in it. Idiot! The third sin was the brown sugar. Isn’t that what the recipe said? My intended virginal dessert had now taken on a muddy appearance. Fugly! Remembering I hadn’t added the expensive coconut cream paste, I ladelled it into the mix. The mixture, now hideously murky and coagulated and spewing its fury into the atmosphere like the grey heaving geysers of Rotorua, had suffered its final assault. In an attempt to resuscitate what was, in hindsight, clearly already dead, I took it off the stove, sprinkled liberal lashings of vanilla essence on its surface, put the lid on, said a prayer, and left.
A couple of hours later, bowl of lightly cooked raspberries at the ready, and half-anticipating a miracle, I peered into the pot. It was, undeniably, irredeemable! I spooned the now dumpling-like, speckled, tea-coloured sago mistake into the raspberry sauce with a curse. The dish resembled the insides of a cow!
2 out of 10!