I don't know that it could really be called her signature dish, but the Old Bat makes a pretty mean crème brûlée. Her dish is not just burnt cream (the literal translation) but also includes (usually) white grapes. There is, in the kitchen, a gas gun used especially to "burn" the brown sugar topping. For many years, the gas gun screwed onto the top of a small cylinder of butane, the sort of cylinder that is used in those one-man-type camping stoves. As is the way with so many things, that gas gun gave up the ghost and had to be replaced. It was replaced with a modern, all-singing, all-dancing gas gun, considerably smaller than the old blowtorch variety, and operated by filling the integral gas cylinder by using a cylinder of cigarette lighter gas.
As I recall from the days when I used a gas-fired cigarette lighter, it was easy to buy the gas refill cylinders. Any tobacconist would have them, as did the cigarette kiosks at every supermarket. But not now. I have tried to buy a new cylinder at several places, only to be told that nobody stocks them now.
I do have a few more places I can try, but I'm not over optimistic of success. What then? How will we be able to finish off the crème brûlée? What do they do in restaurants?
To the butcher this morning, where we ordered the turkey (a large bird to be kept in the freezer till Easter when it will be eaten on the farm, and a smaller crown for us on Christmas Day) and, after lunch, a muddy walk in Stanmer Woods. It really is most unpleasant out of doors today with a cold, north-easterly wind and rain flurries. And mechanical things have not been making the day any easier. There was a peculiar rattle in the car which seemed to be coming from inside the driver's door. It had not been there yesterday - or whenever it was I last used the car. Strangely, when I started the car up again after visiting the butcher, the rattle was gone. Then neither the desktop nor the laptop computer would open an attachment to an email - until this afternoon, when everything has gone swimmingly. As a result, I don't even know if I'm frustrated or not. It's most frustrating!
A picture of crème brûlée under the gas "stolen"from somewhere.