This is an easy, cold mix recipe which works really well. It’s much too dangerous to use boiled sugar recipes – if students lick the hot mixture they’ll burn bits of tongue! In the 1970s, most red colouring was made from carmine which comes from cochineal insects which at the time were called beetles. If you see E120 or natural red four on a food label, that is carmine and the insect dye is still popular as the red colour does not fade. Carmine is an essential source of income to many poor farmers in Peru. Vegan products use red colouring made from beetroot and berries.
150 g desiccated coconut
200 g icing sugar
small tin Carnation evaporated milk
Line an oblong plastic box with baking paper so that it fits tightly.
Put the coconut in a bowl and sieve in the icing sugar.
Gradually work in enough milk to make a stiff paste – you need to use your hands to squeeze it together.
Divide the mixture into two halves and colour one half pink.
Pat the white half of the coconut mixture into the bottom of the box and press down firmly.
Pat the pink mixture on top and press to make firm.
Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours to set. Cut into squares and keep in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks.