the golden caster sugar trickled into the heavy bottomed saucepan
like the first snowflakes on the roof of an old house. i could feel the excitement building as some magic known only to God and Einstein conducted itself from the flame to the pan. watching sugar melt is one below waiting for water to boil. neither of them do what you want, when you want them to. tick tock. tick tock.
interminable minutes later my eyes picked up faint fuzziness on the edges of the sugar mound. it had begun! once the first grains started to melt, the rest quickly followed and before i could say snap, crackle and crinkle pop, it had turned into a viscous, transparent lake of sugary anticipation. it merrily bubbled away revealing sexy panetone colour swatches as slowly as a Dita Von Teese show – a buttery yellow, a slow-sliding golden syrup, a chewy toffee, a creme brûlée crust, a sticky amber honey… then… the gorgeous living-on-the-edge-of-hedonism
caramel - the only colour that says, "lick me"
im fascinated by how butter can make everything better. a cube here, a smidgeon there, a block somewhere else, and somehow, scrambled eggs become creamier, marmalade tastes better and mashed potatoes become whipped, smooth and pliant. with my fascination for butter comes the compulsive need to cut it into small precise cubes. funny how the most mundane things can be so meditative.
in another saucepan, the double cream heated. it smelt like the cool winds which blow down a mountainside with a hint of freshly mown grass and cold crisp apples. i could almost hear the gentle tinkle of a cow’s bell (Daisy of course) in the distance, as it was
churned by an pink-cheeked fräulein wearing a drindle high up in the alps
‘dark caramel!’ Eric Lanlard’s smooth Frenchy voice in my head interrupted my reverie. i pulled the pan from the heat and then with utter satisfaction whisked one cube of cold butter at a time into the hot sauce. as each one dissolved into cappuccino frothiness, the air became perfumed with a spicy nuttiness and earthy butteriness, to which i then drizzled in the hot cream and the moreish tanginess of seasalt.
i baked dark chocolate and raspberry cupcakes and frosted them with the salted caramel whipped into seductive buttercream frosting. the cake, God help me, was divine. but the frosting, the frosting was other-worldly. surreal. carnal.
i was in a haze.