There are enormous windows around me letting the virulent green of pine trees into my morning, rain drip-dripping on grey earth, like the waters rising up from the very Atlantic to say hello to this out-of-town newcomer. We’re staying in the Ninja’s mother’s bedroom right now, though I think at first opportunity I’d like to return it back to her and see if we can’t camp out in the saffron yellow guest room. I always hate displacing people from their space, but it’s also kinda important to let them give you something first thing as you walk in the door. Personally, I’m wont to offer still-warm biscuits, but that’s just me. ;)
My very first night in Cape Breton was kind of akin to being thrown fully clothed in the ocean, if by ocean I actually should have said country dance with a live performance by blues-er Matt Minglewood in a tennis court populated by this whole small town, about 30% is related to my boyfriend in some way and 90% of whom are druuuuuunk. I was also drunk. Tee! It was AWESOME. And people here dance, like *really* dance, from the core of their being, just having fun, it’s great. I got showed around a bit, “oh, this is the girlfriend?” and generally felt like an inadvertent city girl, but surreality aside, it was one of the most unique saturday nights I’ve had in ages. Reminds me terribly of the four years I spent living in rural Ontario, but…. different.
Later, after nursing some mild hangovers, we went to Little Judique Harbour for a shot of paradise and even got all totally nudist on some remote and private wave-crashing rock-lagoon. Ocean swimming ensued naturally, and after all that, we worked up a powerful hunger but were too lazy to really make food (like this 3$ blood sausage I picked up at the one food co-op for miles around), so we just ate peanut noodles instead.
His mom is gluten free, so my busy fingers are on a particular mission and I found a stash of old Betty Crocker cookbooks that seemed a reasonable way to kill time and wait for my hair to dry off. Aging bananas on the counter led me banana bread thoughts.. and then Australian banana cake… but then! Oh, Betty Crocker, thank heavens for your comprehensive scope – I found a basic recipe for vanilla pudding (something totally missing from my iPod recipe database), turned it into a butterscotch pudding, and caramelized those bananas with whiskey and poured it on top. Ahhhhh time well spent. (Ed’s note: caramelized stuff + butterscotch turned out to be a bit sweet – who would have guessed? – so I’m not suggesting that you do what I did with the bananas. The pudding is great though, that gets a pass on it’s own!)
I really don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow, but there’s a strawberry birthday cake to make for Tuesday (also gluten free), and if I can collect enough wild cranberries from the craggy oceanside, I might figure out a way to incorporate those into the mix.
Anyhoo, here’s Betty’s take on the deal, slightly paraphrased:
Ingredient ratios from the Betty Crocker cookbook circa pinafore era. Method by me.
- 2 cups milk / 500 g
- 3 tbsp cornstarch / 16 g
- 2 tbsp softened butter / 30 g
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar / 100 g
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 egg yolks / 40 g
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk the milk and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan to make a smooth slurry. Heat gently on low until the milk thickens slightly, whisking often and scraping the sides and bottom.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Heat the mixture to a gentle bubble and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the hot milk & cornstarch. Take off the heat and let cool slightly, until it feels hot, not burning, to touch..
In a large bowl set over a damp towel, whisk the eggs until liquid. Strain the hot milk slowly into the eggs, then pour everything back into the pan. Whisk the mixture on medium heat until it thickens and bubbles appear, then cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
Take off the heat, add the vanilla, pour into serving dishes and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
For more photos, check out the Flickr set.