It's needless to say, but I don't remember everything I make. I remember Psychology revision pretty well, and I can recall conversations or emails word for word; but I can't remember important documents, where I leave things, or traumatic events. (That last one is, I think, repression; the Psychology revision comes in somewhere).
Anyway, the other day I was reminiscing with my friend Alex about the good old days of Home Ec. GCSE (well it FEELS like a long time ago), and she said, 'do you remember when we both got into the finals of that cooking competition thing?'
'Er,' I said, 'no.'
I have very cold and stiff fingers cause I've just been walking the dog so I'm tempted to say that the conversation ended there, but actually she perservered a bit: 'The 'Taste of Success' thing. We had to go into the university and you made something with chicken and shallots, and this white chocolate pudding thing which I really wanted the recipe for.'
It was beginning to sound familiar. 'I don't remember the food... did I give it you or what?'
'No.' Oops. 'You forgot. But it was in little ramekins, and there were all berries at the bottom - raspberries and stuff - and white chocolate cream and then it was like a creme brulee top that you did on the grill.'
I stared at her. 'Alex,' I said, 'I made that recipe, once, four years ago. That's almost a quarter of your life. (No, I'm not so hot at maths). Are you sure I didn't give you the recipe? Because you seem to have memorised it.'
She looked melancholy. 'I just really wanted that recipe,' she sniffed.
I think the reason I'd blanked this entire episode from my mind was that a cooking competition = pressure, and I don't perform well under pressure (I once announced in a French oral exam that my dream was to be a 'chaussure'. Chaussure means SHOE. I was trying for 'chanteuse'; singer). Alex, apparently, had not, so when I went home I started going through my mum's books to try and find the recipe I'd promised her four years ago.
This is it.
White Chocolate Berry Gratin
Adapted from one of my mum's recipes (so probably originally from Good Food).
Ready in 15 mins plus cooling.
Serves 4; 356 cals p/s
140g strawberries, hulled and quartered
140g blueberries (I missed these out as my sister won't eat them, so used more of the other two)
grated zest of one small lemon
100g white choc
142ml pot double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
1. Scatter the berries into medium ramekins. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, cover & leave to chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
2. Meanwhile break up the chocolate into a small bowl. Heat the cream in a pan until almost boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Leave for three mins then stir slowly til dissolved (Alex objected to my use of the word 'dissolve' here - she is a sciencey type - until I offered to stick the recipe up her nose, at which she relented). Allow to cool to room temp until thickened.
3. To serve, use a small kitchen blowtorch or heat the grill for a few mins until hot. Spoon the chocolate cream over the berries, sprinkle over the icing sugar and blast/grill for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown & caramelise. Remove & serve immediately.
(I copied the recipe out a couple of weeks ago and stuck it in her birthday card. How could I not, after a freakishly amazing feat of memory like that?)