We had friends over for dinner on Saturday. We hadn't seen them for years; our sons were friends at primary school and we saw them often in those days. There had been many chance encounters in shops in recent years which always ended 'we must get together again sometime' but you know what they say about good intentions. So when we bumped into each other before Christmas I actually took the initiative and picked a random date in the near-ish future and we both put it in our diaries. That date was Saturday.
As we obviously had much news to catch up on I decided to cook a tried and tested first course that I could do in advance and relax knowing all was under control while we opened the prosecco and started hearing what we had all been up to since our last get together. For dessert, I decided to do a recipe for Cappuccino Crème Brulee from my new cookery book. I'd done it a couple of times before with mixed results. The creamy part of the recipe was perfection in a ramekin. Mary Berry, I knew I could rely on you. But the brulee sugar topping that was supposed to melt and then caramelise and set to a golden, crisp layer - not so reliable.
I had my
flame thrower kitchen blow torch which has hardly been used, and Mary's instructions were super simple as she confidently gave instructions for a perfect top. Huh! The first practice ones I did a few weeks ago were a disaster. Not so much brulee as burnt. The second ones went well - 'we've cracked the caramel' I thought. So, knowing where I had gone wrong previously, all would be well for my dinner with friends wouldn't it? Well, sadly no. I don't know what went wrong but there was melting sugar, there was burnt sugar, there were even flames coming off the top of the dessert at one point (I gave that one to my husband - he'd had a beer and two glasses of wine by then and didn't notice) I managed to salvage two of the four for our guests but I definitely need to master this process.
So the thing that I learned this weekend? Some kitchen equipment needs more respect than others. Oh, and quite possibly I shouldn't be allowed to get my hands on the blow torch without assistance from a responsible adult.
On the subject of desserts, here's a nugget of new knowledge I learnt this weekend. You know the expression 'he got his just desserts'? Well not only should it be spelt 'desert', it has nothing to do with puddings or places that are made of a lot of hot sand. Deserts used to be a noun form of the word deserve. So that is why it means that someone has got what they deserve.
English lesson over. Let's give a big wave (not whilst still brandishing that blow torch) to Sian and pop over to her blog and see what things she has learnt for this Memorandum Monday.