...I didn't see you there. Oh, that's right, it's because I've been looking the other way for the past oh dear God two and a half years. That might explain it. You may have noticed that in the interim, everything in the world at large became extremely horrible. I'm not saying it's my fault, exactly; I'm just saying it's not 100% obviously not my fault. Mistakes were made.
Anyway, in the spirit of fiddling while Rome burns, here are some of the things I have been up to in this darkest timeline:
1. Growing sunflower shoots in our spare room, because I feel the need to be more in touch with my inner hippie and also because as unappetizingly, macrame-ish-ly wholesome as they may sound, they are actually delicious. Also because if you want to waste many hours on the internet without fear of wandering accidentally into the abyss, you could do a lot worse than opting for the cozy rabbit hole of the exceedingly detailed, beautifully photo-illustrated, compendious material available at sproutpeople.org. And then you might find yourself placing an order for some sprout supplies yourself. Or not, because you're not me. Who can say!
2. Drawing pictures of our new cat, whose name is Sardine, and who is quite insane, as kittens tend to be, in varyingly plausible situations. Like this.
The pictures go in Jane's lunchbox.
The old cat, Nemo, died a while ago. Sorry I didn't tell you. Even though his most notable habit at that point was pissing on things, we were still sad, so it took some time before we were quite ready to begin again. But time did pass and now here we are with a lovely, deranged, floofy-tailed cat beast.
3. Grading. So much grading.
4. Waiting for various academic publishers to contemplate whether or not they want to publish the book (!) I went and wrote. No, no, sit back down, it is not the exciting sort of book that features spies or romance or offworld exploration or dragons or dystopian teenagers or cats. It is the boring sort of book that features things like "referring expressions" and "presupposition."
5. Making caramels. Again! I may have failed to keep up with blog writing, but I remain faithful in my caramel making. Would you like to hear more about my caramel making? Well, whether you would or not, now you will! Anyway, the lovely Annette wrote and asked me about them. Perhaps I will tell you more about what I learned this time around after I've done it. But in the meantime, here is what I intend to do, based on prior experience:
Get out my 3-quart (actually a 3-liter! it's English) heavy saucepan, and another saucepan to heat the cream in. Prepare an 8" square cake pan by lining it with nonstick (important! though parchment would also do) aluminum foil. Then take:
- 360g cream
- 135g butter (salted)
- 270g sugar
- 35g corn syrup or glucose syrup
- scant 1/4 t. baking soda
- scant 1/2 t. salt
...and get it all lined up and ready to go. Heat the cream, butter and salt together in the lesser pan to melt the butter, then take that pan off the heat.
In the larger pan with plenty of headspace (everything will bubble up quite a lot, later), dry caramelize the sugar and corn syrup together, but not too dark, just a light clear butterscotch color.
Now add the cream, and the baking soda. OH LOOK THAT'S VERY HOT AND BUBBLY.
Cook to 248-250 degrees F (what is this nonsense, grams and Fahrenheit in a single recipe? yes, sue me.) If it doesn't get this hot it will have COLD FLOW, which is to say that it will abandon its shape at room temperature. Too much hotter and it will be too firm. Pour it into your prepared pan, set the pan on a cooling rack, and let cool COMPLETELY, i.e. overnight. Which for me means putting it in the attic so the cat doesn't destroy it, yes. Consider fridging it up a bit the next day before cutting; I won't need to because the attic is already fucking freezing.
And that's what I'm doing tonight, I guess! Twice, probably. How about you?