Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Wonders of Cream

The wonders of cream do not cease to amaze me.
Last year it was in clotted form.
This year custard.
(The other day it was eggnog).

Now, the word clotted is very disgusting. It brings nasty images of things that should not be associated with food to mind. When I saw it on a menu in a tea house last year, I was horrified, until Ian explained that it was just like whipped cream, and not to worry, I would like it. 
Well, I did like it, and I quickly lapped up the skimpy spoonful that had been served to me with a spoonful of jam on my scone. But, it wasn't liked whipped cream. It was much better than whipped. It was thicker, and creamier, and well, less whipped and more clotted. 
A few days later in the cafe of one of the many museums we had been visiting, I discovered the motherload: scones pilled high on a platter, flanked by two giant bowls, one of cream, and one of jam. Self-service. As much as I wanted. Dangerous. I took a whole wheat scone, to balance the cream coma I knew was coming. And then I spooned and spooned that cream until it looked like I was just carrying a cloud to the till.
I haven't been able to look at clotted cream since, but at the time, it was a lovely meal. An overdose, but still lovely.
And then yesterday came the custard: vanilla-ey creamy cool amazingly for the insanely cheap price of 1.25 pounds for a big container. I had been to the Christmas German market, expecting to be wooed by apfelsaft or hot mulled wine or those German fritter things covered in powdered sugar that I can't remember the same of. What I found were bored booth people, half-heartedly stirring vats of sweet stinking wine that had probably been simmering for hours, watching dolefully as the strong wind blew all the powdered sugar off the rather sad, drooping pastries optimistically placed at the center of people's counters.
Quickly, I crossed the street to the underground mecca of Marks and Spencers, purveyors of fine foods, etc. Rather far from where I live, I have never gotten to wander around at my leisure. And let me tell you, the extent of their prepared food section is huge, and it all actually looks appealing, unlike the usual British fare you find in the supermarkets (like Scotch Eggs). I left with a fresh donut, a bunch of fairtrade organic bananas (totally horrible for my carbon footprint), and a big tub of the aforementioned custard.
Speedwalking back to the apartment, I was already salivating over my afternoon snack. The donut was quickly gone, but I barely noticed since my mind was taken with the image of sliced bananas sitting cooly in a pool of pale, creamy custard.
And it did not disapoint. Emily and Elaine looked on in amazement as I devoured most of the carton (meant to serve six I believe), moaning the entire time. In fact, I think they were rather worried about me. It's just custard, they kept saying.
If it was just custard, I love custard. And if it wasn't, I love this custard. Made with Scottish cream, flecked with vanilla bean, and with the same satisfying simple richness as the perfect Vanilla ice cream, the custard was ideal. It was wonderful. I finished the last three spoonfuls this morning at breakfast, laughing at tricking myself into thinking I hadn't actually eaten all of it in one afternoon. 
The best news: I didn't overdose. And apparently it's easy to make. Recipes will arrive shortly.

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