Last Friday was a pretty eventful day for me… first my television appearance and then I went to the Whalesbone. After a tasty staff meal (yay beetroot and goat cheese salad) Charlotte sent me downstairs with a list (in order of priority):
1. make whipped cream
2. make a batch of marshmallow fluff
3. make a batch of butterscotch sauce
4. clean the currants
5. clean the beans
All those sound easy enough right?
Whipping cream took me no time at all… I cleaned and washed out the whipped cream dispenser in warm soapy water: then combined some heavy cream, vanilla extract and powdered sugar together; poured everything in, screwed on the top, added a new charger and started to shake. With the press of a hand – whipped cream for sundaes. And I’m not going to lie… it was pretty tasty whipped cream!
Marshmallow fluff simple enough as well. I’d made this recipe before and was excited to be attempting it again. I set up the induction cook top, grabbed a sturdy pot and started boiling the corn syrup, sugar and water. Meanwhile I whisked three egg whites, cream of tartare and salt in the massive stand-mixer. Things were going great. Or so I thought…
I over cooked the simple syrup again! For something called simple syrup I seem to have a little bit of difficulty keeping it at the soft ball stage… I don’t think it got as hard as last time, but still… when I drizzled it into the whipping eggs (thanks Jenna for showing me how to do that with this mixer) – it resulted in something of an Italian meringue – – always delicious, but not quite the same as Jenna’s. Oh well… I still heart it and think it’s amazing on those sundaes. Perhaps this is just going to be my fluff style ;0)
Then I started making the butterscotch sauce. First off… I had an aha! moment. You know what I mean – when all of a sudden it just clicks and you realize “that’s what they mean!” or “that’s how it got that name!” My aha! moment had to do with the name butterscotch sauce.
I knew that you used butter (and lots of cream) but I didn’t realize that you actually use scotch! I’m sure you can picture it – I gather all my ingredients, including the woodford reserve and line everything up in front of me. I then smell the woodford reserve… even though I personally saw it get poured out of a bottle (with my very own eyes!)… it still hadn’t clicked. It took me another full 5 minutes to realize that it what I had in front of me was, in fact, scotch! Classic eh? I think I was having a very real blond moment :0)
Making this sauce has taught me that I am actually not a very patient baker… I tend to want to rush the process, which has resulted in both failures (sponge toffee attempt #1) and successes. I think this time it just might be ok… but it certainly wasn’t the initial, desired result… oh heck no!
I’m supposed to allow the sugar, glucose (so much fun to play with), salted butter and milk to come to a boil and then allow it to go quite brown… stirring constantly once it hits that boiling point so that the milk doesn’t thicken on the bottom of the pot.
stirring the ingredients… everything except the cream and scotch
I thought it was brown enough… so I decided to remove the pot from the heat, dump in the scotch and drizzle in the cream – whisking furiously… and that is when I realized that I’d missed the mark a little. No worries – Charlotte told me to just put the sauce back on medium heat and let it return to a boil… I did so. And then thought it was ready again. Again too fast off the mark… and this is how I know:
When I tasted my version all I could taste was lots of butter and lots of scotch. Not a horrible thing, right? Not horrible unless you taste Jenna’s version of butterscotch sauce. Her’s is a really well combined sauce: you taste a spiciness from the whisky without the pure taste of it; while also detected the richness of butter and cream, but not really tasting the butter.
Back onto the induction stove top it went… I decided I should occupy my time with task # 5 on the list… and therefore kinda, sorta forgot all about my butterscotch… until I noticed that there were considerably darker bits appearing throughout the sauce. Sigh. I started whisking furiously… they didn’t completely blend and incorporate into the sauce; but they did somewhat lessen… needless to say, the pot came off the induction and the butterscotch was poured into a litre container in order to temper and be stored in the fridge until the following night… I was done with it. Sigh…
At this point it’s 8 p.m. I’ve done my first 4 tasks and am ready to quickly move through the next one. Cleaning the currants. No big deal – 4 baskets of 2 L’s each… I figure, 70 minutes tops to finish this.
Nope. So wrong. More like 2 hours. 2 hours of picking off the stems, picking through the good and the bad currants, rinsing them off and then tossing them into a huge bucket. Charlotte has great plans for the currants… jam. Sigh. Delish. After 8 L’s of currants my fingers and nails were stained red… but boy was I pleased with the results.
Needless to say… by 10 pm it was a little late to start on the beans. I should have taken a picture because then you would understand why I wasn’t uber enthusiastic to start on them. There were… thousands of beans… pounds and pounds of long green string beans, piled high in a corner of my prep kitchen. Such a simple task… all I had to do was snip off the tip (with the root)… but there was no way I would get through even a quarter of them before I had to start cleaning up the prep kitchen.
So instead I got to wrap and freeze sword fish steaks. Chloé had cut and divided the sword fish earlier in the day and it was time to send them to the freezer for a little bit. Kshonze came downstairs to help with one tray (we chatted about pigs and donkeys… maybe you had to be there… but it did make me giggle): wrapping each piece of fish individually in a napkin, then placing them in large ziplock bags. It’s always fun to be able to handle such beautiful, fresh product… and I actually really enjoy the entire process. I felt like I was wrapping up presents for people… little bundles of sword fish. How sweet.