Posted in Fat, Food, Life, Random Thoughts

I Created the Perfect Creme Brulee

A tough claim I know. But I did. It was glorious!

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Up until last month I have never had any interest in either cooking or eating a creme brulee. Mainly down to the fact I HATE eggs. When I thought of a creme brulee I thought of an eggy mixture with sugar on top. How wrong I was.

Despite my 20-odd year hatred of eggs I will eat an omelette (as long as there are enough ingredients to mask the egg taste), french toast, fish pie (the type with cut up boiled egg in), and egg fried rice. With the exception of the latter, you’ll notice that non of these dishes have the egg in the name – a crucial point. The moment that one of my friends offered me some eggy bread for breakfast I pulled a disgusted face and refused, when only a day before I was eating French toast which is basically the same thing.

That said, my parents always bring me six eggs from our home farm when they visit. I google “What to do with eggs when you don’t like eggs” regularly. A lemon creme brulee recipe suddenly popped up.

 

This recipe from a page called Foxes Love Lemons looked incredibly rich but more importantly, incredibly easy.

I halved the ingredients so that I wasn’t wasting a large amount of cream if everything went wrong. It is Wrong with a capital “R” to waste something as delicious and pure as double cream.

For my recipe I decided to try to make 2 creme brulees with the following ingredients

1 cup of cream

3 tablespoons of sugar

2 egg yolks

Zest of 1 lemon

A drop of vanilla

 

My method was slightly different to the one suggested on the website.

I put my oven on to heat up (150C/300F/Gas Mark 2)

I put the kettle on to boil and placed 2 ramekins in an oven dish

Putting the cream and 1 and 1/2 spoons of sugar in a pan to heat (not to boil, stopping before bubbles appeared)

While this was warming I added the lemon zest, vanilla, remaining sugar and egg yolks in a big green mixing bowl (colour of mixing bowl optional) and beat with a whisk.

Little side note – zest the lemon first, it was a lot harder than I had planned and the cream would have caramelised by the time I’d finished.

Once the cream was warm I slowly added it to the lemon-eggy mix drop by drop whilst whisking. I’ve watched too many cookery programs to know that a hot mix could scramble the eggs. Thank you Bake Off!

I poured the mix into a jug (through a fine mesh sieve, although I’m not sure what this achieved). The jug made it easier to pour into the ramekins. Hot water went into the oven dish, the dish went into the oven.

 

The first time I tried this, inevitably it went wrong, I set my oven to 300 degrees until about 25 minutes through I noticed they looked more like souffles and I was working from an american recipe on a british oven, I’d made the crucial mistake of not checking the temperature first. In the UK, it should be 25 – 30 minutes at 150 degrees C.

Checking at 20 – 25 minutes is also a huge relief, I don’t want to burn the little pots of loveliness.

Pulling them out of the oven, giggling at the satisfying wobble and leaving on the side to cool, I marvelled at the light lemony scent floating around my flat. As the recipe stated (and my stomach disagreed with) I put the ramekins in the fridge for 24 hours.

 

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Before the Brulee

 

At this point I remembered a little pearl of wisdom my mother imparted, pull the ramekins out of the fridge and let them come up to room temperature before hitting them with the heat of the blow torch.

 

It took me 4 days to find a gas canister to fill up my mini blow torch and about 5 minutes to fill my father with horror when I called him to say that he didn’t need to do it for me.

“Go outside and don’t blow yourself up!!” comforting advice

Once the blow torch worked and I was satisfied that I wasnt going to blow up my apartment, I sprinkled a thin layer of sugar over the yellow custard and attacked it with blue fire.

Result? A perfect looking desert.

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The Perfect Result

It took so much will power to make it to my sofa and let the top cool slightly before hitting it with my spoon to see the sugar layer crack.

The sunshine coloured silk that lay below was the best thing I have ever made. I was in heaven for a full 4 minutes whilst I devoured every single spec of goodness. Who cares about the calories?!!

 

The best thing? Apart from it now obviously being my signature ‘go-to’ dish… I have another one in the fridge for tonight!

Posted in Family, Friends, Life, Random Thoughts, Relationships

More attached to my Car than my Partner

My latest relationship failure has made me think more about the fact I’m more attached to my cars than my relationships.

Is that my problem or theirs?

Please don’t take this the wrong way, I do not have any sort of physical relationship with my car. I would never go so far as to be someone who marries their vehicle. The people who ‘come out’ as being in a relationship with an object confuse me, but hey, as long as their happy right?

I have just noticed more and more that my attachment to them is stronger than that to my exs.

 

Dorian, 1.9, GSOH, OH (Good Sense of Humour, Own Horn)

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I bought my first car at 19, a 2001 Land Rover Freelander. It became a bargaining chip between myself and my parents, I could buy any car I wanted (with my own money) if I took my driving test again – I’d failed a couple of times and was refusing to go back through the hell of it all.

The car, I named Dorian, was my soul mate. I loved every inch of that little silver beast. He cost me £2,500, looking back this was a rip off but I didn’t care. £1,000 on insurance and about £300 on car tax was a small price to pay for the freedom he offered.

A 1.9litre deisel was never going to be fuel-efficient or environmentally friendly but he offered comfort, safety and a hell of a lot of fun.

I’ve loved Land Rovers all of my life and now I’m proud to say I had one for my first car.

He had multiple ‘operations’ where I* changed starter motors, several crank shaft pulleys and the battery *with the help of my father. The garage changed all the breaks, pads, disks, shoes, cables, as well as corroded housing, oil lines, anti-roll links, exhaust pipes etc. He was almost a completely new car under the bonnet. I even needed a new horn, my road rage had worn out the old one.

The day he finally gave up on me was heartbreaking. The head gasket blew and the plumes of black, white and blue smoke that poured out of him showed me that it was time to say goodbye. I cried more over my baby Landy than any boy.

He sat still for 4 months before being sold to a friend’s son. I’m proud to say he started up and drove onto the trailer before being taken away, it was like a final goodbye. He’s been completely restored and is back on the road in the hands of another Land Rover enthusiast who I hope enjoys him as much as I did for the 3 years we were together.

3 years, that’s 8 months longer than any relationship I’ve been in.

 

 

Gaston, 1.9, ISOSTR (In Search Of Short Term Relationships)

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After getting over the heartbreak and being at a complete loss without a vehicle, I decided to ask my parents to find me something fun. They succeeded with a 2005 Vauxhall Tigre – convertible, 1.9l ball of enjoyment.

There’s a huge difference to driving a 1.9litre four-wheel drive and a 1.9litre convertible. Size and speed couldn’t be more different. I introduced the convertible to as many people as possible, it was just so much fun, annoyingly it was also more expensive, at least in insurance terms.

I still dream of the day my insurance is under £1,000.

The main issue I had with my little convertible, Gaston, was… he couldn’t climb trees.

3 months after I bought him, he was sold for scrap. Long story short, after a lot of spinning we parted ways in a ditch, the only casualties being the car and a few trees that got in the way.

 

Time to look for car number 3. Car shopping is not fun when you’re being forced to do it quickly and with no money, similarly to choosing a partner.

 

 

Vince, 1.6, Tall Dark and Handsome

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I settled, after a lot of shopping around, for the new Suzuki Vitara. Vincent was collected in December. The glossy black paintwork shone in the evening sunshine.

A sublte-but-sexy, modern, four wheel drive. Less power, more safety features. He came with all the gadgets (because I demanded them). If I’m spending the next 3 years paying for this then I want everything.

It took a while for the pride of a brand-spanking-new car to wear off but now I’ve begun my new love affair with this pretty guy.

I’ve had around 5 partners (give or take) to my 3 cars. I’ve cried more over a scratch than I have an argument. I definitely have spent more on the cars, both in terms of both money and time. I might not be able to cuddle my car but it provides so much more fun and general satisfaction.

 

I might not have found “the one” but my car is keeping me happy.

Posted in Food, Random Thoughts, TV

I do love a good Bake-Off-Menu-Berry-Lawson-Everyday cookery program

Are you, like me, slightly obsessed with cookery programs? I feel the need to tell the world (or anyone who’ll listen) about my secret love.

Whilst the rest of my office and most of the country are fixed on Love Island, or my closest friends eagerly awaiting the next episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race (yes, I do love a good episode of Drag Race), I have been mourning the loss of my favourite program.

Friday saw the end of the Great British Menu. For the people who haven’t seen it I’ll attempt to summarise.

Every week, 3 professional chefs, cook one course a day to be judged by a “Veteran Chef”. The top scoring 2 chefs then cook their whole 4-course menu for a panel of judges on the 5th day of the week. This happens for 8 regions across the UK. The 8 winners go on to a final where they repeat each dish and 4 are picked to cook the 4 courses at a prestigious themed banquet. This year was Wimbledon.

It has been the highlight of my day for the last 9 weeks. My closest friends and family know that every night between 7:30 and 8pm they do not contact me. My mother then calls at 8:01 to discuss the episode.

Now it’s over I am at a bit of a loss as to what to do with my evenings. They were timed perfectly so that I would eat my dinner during the episode and then not feel hungry watching the delicious dishes being prepared.

I have an issue with becoming hungry whilst watching cookery programs. Can I blame some of my weight issues on Nigella Lawson? I think yes.

The Great British Menu isn’t the only program. Everyone loves The Great British Bake Off (with the exception of one grumpy friend). It’s the best program on TV (was on TV). I am addicted to watching any old episodes on the food channel even if I’ve seen them 100 times before. Nothing has made me laugh more than the not-so-subtle double-entendre from Mel and Sue, or the accidental innuendos from Mary. Even Paul’s scathing comments have given me a giggle. I will miss this more than most, from series 1 to the final episode it has been like 4 old friends that visit every year. I will try to be open minded and watch their replacements, but who are they kidding, it’s not the same.

 

During the difficult period between the Menu and Bake Off I trawl through episodes on the food channels looking for inspiration. Knowing I’ll never actually cook the things they make doesn’t deter from the fact that I love to watch a good/bad chef whip up something so seamlessly.

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My current recommendations are The Barefoot Contessa and The Pioneer Woman. Both American ladies cooking things that I’d never try and also giving my mum and me a good giggle. From Ina and her laugh-at-everything approach during scenes with friends to Ree using bacon as a base ingredient, I’m not complaining but now a salad isn’t a salad without bacon.

 

However

I’m not sure if it’s the new attitude to my weight but I seem to have lost my desire to wade through the food channel and I’m now, for some unknown reason, spending my evenings watching dinosaur and shark documentaries on Netflix (then waking up at 1am after a nightmare based on the episode).

This surely isn’t normal. Has a sudden lack of food prompted this? Has anyone else had this issue? Is it an unknown scientific fact that sharks are the natural replacement for flapjacks?

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