Monday, 19 September 2011

Caramel sauce



It came to me - like Kubla Khan - this morning as I lay somewhere in between waking and sleep.

"Don't look down," I heard. "Don't look down."

It only came to me later what it meant. "Don't look down" may as well be my (rather oblique) personal motto. I try never to look down, never to think about what my other options might be - especially if I am stuck somewhere. Because if I really thought about it I might completely fucking freak out. And that wouldn't help anyone or anything.

I am stuck as this mum person. And it was my choice. And sometimes it's okay but sometimes it's extremely not okay. And so I have decided that my general attitude will be not to look down. Not to check the clock when I know for a fact it's hours until bedtime. Not to attempt to go out and get drunk - ever. Not to seek out the company of people who don't have children. Not to attempt to go anywhere that isn't child-friendly. Not think about anything but what's happening in the next two hours. Not to try to do anything but creep along this ledge I find myself on, slowly, hand over hand, all the while not looking down.

Refusing to look down is a thing I quite often do in cooking, as it happens. Although it works for me in life on a larger scale, in cooking this attitude often means that I will go at a recipe unprepared and rather blindly, assuming it's easy unless I'm told otherwise. And often there are disastrous consequences.

Like this weekend, I wanted to make a caramel sauce to go with a pudding (don't get excited - bought) and I had to go through 3 different recipes before I found one that didn't pretty much explode or set like concrete. I didn't investigate, you see - I didn't read up on what might go wrong. And what might go wrong, if you're me, is that you turn the stove up as high as it will go, nuke everything and make a terrible mess.

But this recipe works as long as you don't excitedly overcook it and caramel sauce is a terrific thing to be able to make. I was mostly excited about being able to decant it into one of my squeezy bottles that I bought from Pages last year and have yet to really find a use for. I drizzled it, without really thinking (naturally), in a zig zag pattern across the plate and brought it to the table to gales of laughter and jokes about the pudding being from 1986.

What can I say? I didn't look down.

Caramel sauce
enough for about 6 people

100g light brown soft sugar
50 butter
200ml double cream

1 Put the sugar and butter in a pan and melt on the lowest possible heat until everything has melted and combined. This may take up to 10 minutes. Be patient.

2 Take the pan off the heat and gently whisk in the cream. If you want to return the pan to the heat that's fine, just make sure it's a gentle one.

13 comments:

  1. Is that your handwriting in the sauce? What lovely penmanship you have.

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  2. Bless you, it all gets easier eventually you know! Just stay on the ledge, that's the secret.

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  3. As much as I love your writing, I am sorry, but you have to work on your pictures quality. Just use daylight and no bloody flash!

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  4. I wanted to say how much I loved your post about the whole WHAT?? thing about having children; the thing I loved the most about it was what you said about 'going back home'. That's the reason I am considering having children now, soon after my Daddy died, that whole thing about recapturing those memories, living them again. And I've never heard anyone say that before like you did! Oh yes and loike your recipes :)

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  5. Please don't go all fancy with your photos- as soon as I see blogs with fancy, styled photos or people that use light boxes I lose all hope that I will ever be able to create anything like that, and if I try it never looks quite so perfect. Depressing. Rule on with your flash! It reminds me of all my food photos.

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  6. What I like about your blog is that you have your own style. Who cares too much about the photos, for me it's more about if the person writing it shines thorough and you do.
    I struggle with my blog on a daily basis, some days I'm good. Other days I pull my hair out. Same goes for my children.
    Yes to caramel sauce. I could eat it neat.

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  7. Mmmmmm caramel sauce. The amount of saucepans I have ruined making the stuff...worth it though when it does actually work out!

    Agreed there's nothing worse than clock watching on a bad day with the little ones. Hope things look up for you soon x

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  8. Laura --> Sure your own style is important, but if you talk food you have to talk presentation. Would you like to eat your cake blind? It takes half of the fun away. Anyway this is a blog and they say it is about pictures too.

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  9. Crazy thing about parenting is how suddenly the switch flicks and you go from stretched out days full of self-doubt and not enough adult conversation to suddenly hurtling between school and activities and home and meals and chores and suddenly there aren't enough hours in the day any more. The self-doubt, for me, is a constant, though. I think I'll take your advice and stop looking down.

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  10. Just read your 'Lady' article. Just wanted to ask have you thought about baby led weaning for Kitty?

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-led-Weaning-Helping-Your-Baby/dp/0091923808/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1316604895&sr=8-2

    So much less stressful than feeding them purees and perfect for a lazy Mum like myself.

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  11. Love the don't look down idea. I am going to apply it in my own life. And, as always, I sit in awe and admiration at those of you brave enough to have the babies. Love that you admit it is not all bluebirds and butterflies. You made a whole human being, and, as with all things human, I imagine there is much that is complicated about that. (My own catchphrase is stolen from Churchill, and it is: Keep Buggering On.)

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  12. Ola----)
    I'm afraid I read blogs more for words not pictures but appreciate your point!

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  13. Who cares about the pictures when one can write like Esther!

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