Tomorrow, Charlie and the children are off to spend nine days pretending they are homeless on Bodmin moor.
Well they like it, but camping is not my thing.
I'm enjoying watching Charlie getting more and more uptight as he packs the car. I hear him say the same things he says on the eve of every camping trip;
'Two soft toys only'
'There isn't room in the car'
'Has everyone got nine pairs of pants and socks?'
George is now officially old enough to buy Christmas crackers! Hooray!*
Yes, he is sixteen today.
His requested birthday dinner is steak and chips followed by burnt cream.
The problem with burnt cream is getting the grill hot enough to burn the sugar without ruining the custard underneath. At Trinity College, Cambridge where this dessert first became popular in the 18th century they used a salamander emblazoned with the college arms to sear the sugar.
In the past I have made it by making caramel in a pan and pouring it over the custard. If you are not careful the caramel sets so hard and thick as to become almost impossible to break through and your Amélie moment is gone.
But now, I have cook's a blowtorch. It does the job perfectly.
or crème brulée if you insist, but it is an English pudding.
For 6 people
1 pint or 600ml of double cream
6 egg yolks
a few drops of vanilla extract if you like
1) Mix the egg yolks well with a couple of spoonfuls of sugar and the vanilla in a large bowl.
2) Heat the cream to boiling point.
3) Pour the hot cream onto the egg yolks stirring well. Strain the mixture to get rid of the balancers (the little strings which hold the egg yolk in the egg white).
4) Pour the custard into ramekins or a wide shallow dish, place them in a roasting tin and fill the tin with water to a depth of about an inch and half.
5) Put in the oven at 140-150° c for about 30 mins.
6) Cool and refrigerate overnight.
7) Before you are ready to serve them sprinkle each one evenly with caster sugar and burn with a cook's blowtorch. I recommend you watch this for more detail on how to do this.
*Crackers, apparently, are classified as a low grade firework. Can you believe it?