5 November

Rainbow jelly

Here’s my (underage) crowd-pleasing rainbow jelly recipe[1].

You need:

  • 1 packet each of red, orange, yellow, green and purple jelly crystals[2]
  • a packet of chocolate coins
  • water and kettle (or anything else that boils water)
  • a mixing bowl and spoon
  • a measuring cup
  • a lot of small,[3] straight-sided[4] drinking glasses[5]
  • a ruler
  • 2 days


And here’s what you do:

  1. Make up the purple jelly according to the directions on the packet and leave it to cool to room temperature[6] on the kitchen bench.


  1. In the meantime, make sure you have plenty of room in the fridge.
  2. Use the ruler to measure how thick each of the jelly stripes should be. For example, if you have 10cm of space inside your glasses, since you have 6 colours of jelly, if you make each stripe 1.5cm high, you’ll have a centimetre of space left at the top which is about perfect. If you’re mathematically inclined, the formula is:

StripeHeight = (GlassHeight – GapAtTop)/6

  1. When the jelly is cool, pour some into the first glass, using the ruler to get it just the right height, and then do the other glasses, matching them to the first by eye.


  1. Carefully drop a chocolate coin[7] into each glass.[8]
  2. Put the glasses into the fridge to set the jelly.
  3. Rinse your bowl and spoon, make the blue jelly and leave it on the bench to come to room temperature.
  4. Pour the blue jelly into the first glass,[9] again using the ruler to get it to the right height.


  1. Then add a blue stripe to each of the other glasses, matching them to the first blue stripe by eye.
  2. Put the glasses back in the fridge.


  1. Repeat steps 7 to 10 with the green, yellow, orange and red jellies.


Some adults will find this irresistible too.


 “Mum,” said Jeremy, “I’m going to spend Christmas with Danni.”

I knew the day would come eventually but I didn’t know it would be this year.

“But you only met her a few months ago,” I peeped.

“That’s long enough to know that she’s the one and I want to be with her always.”

“You could both come here.”

“Christmas is really important to her and she wants to spend it with her family.”

I didn’t say that Christmas is really important to me, and I want to spend it with my family because that’s not likely to persuade a young man in love. I guess my best chance is to wait till next year and then propose that they alternate between the two households (and I should count myself lucky that Danni’s parents are still together, which means that they won’t have to alternate between three households).

A colleague once told me that when your daughter marries, you gain a son but when your son marries, you lose a son. But I’m reminding myself that this isn’t that bad, of course. It’s only Christmas.

[1] I promise you that proper rainbow jelly will knock the socks off three-year-old guests.

[2] It’s definitely colour rather than flavour that’s important here and I recommend Aeroplane Jelly’s raspberry, orange, lemon, lime, berry blue and purple grape.

[3] Because nobody needs a lot of jelly.

[4] If the glasses taper (like classic parfait glasses), you need more jelly for the top layers than in the bottom layers.

[5] They don’t have to match.

[6] It won’t set at room temperature unless your kitchen is quite cold (and you can microwave the jelly to liquefy it again if it does set).

[7] This is the gold at the end of the rainbow and is a big part of the appeal.

[8] This is the first reason that the jelly needs to be cool: so that you don’t melt the chocolate.

[9] This is the other reason the jelly needs to be cool: if you pour hot jelly on top of cold jelly, you melt it a little and the colours get murky.

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