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.

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