Hands up Rosie Makes Jam - confess all to your dear Readers.
OK, OK - I burnt a pan.
Much worse than that - I DIDN'T CLEAN IT UP STRAIGHTAWAY!!!!
It's a good job you can't see my cheeks burning with shame.
Now, here's the thing. I was making - going to make, some gooseberry chutney. I had some frozen gooseberries left from last season and thought I had better get something done with them before this year's arrive. I put them on to cook very low, with about a teacup of water to prevent them sticking before they had cooked down.
THEN I TOOK A PHONE CALL. Never do this Ladies and Gentlemen. The danger is that you will forget all about the fruit cooking on the hob, your phone call will go on, and on, and on. Eventually the burning smell will infiltrate your nostrils and this will be the result.
Now, normally - bearing in mind I hardly ever do this - I would scrape off as much residue as I can, cover the base, hopefully still hot, with a thick layer of bicarbonate of soda, pour in some vinegar and leave overnight to work away. The bicarb foams up in the vinegar and works like a magic potion - most of the burnt bits just come away.
I rootled around under the sink for the bicarb - only to recall that I had used it all on my brick path as it is brilliant at safely killing weeds. Does it by altering the PH of the soil and they don't like it. Very effective it is too and doesn't harm things like weedkiller does. Only weeds - and other plants if you scatter it around too near them. Sprinkle it over the area, water in, or sprinkle before a rain storm. Anyway this meant that I couldn't start this pan saving procedure straight away.
It has been there for 2 weeks now.
I bought more bi-carb at the cash and carry but I knew it would be difficult to effect a cure so late in the day, and so kept putting it off.
It was raining on Saturday and rather than do another job I didn't want to do I set about cleaning this pan. I shook in the bicarb.
I added the vinegar - nothing special just good old malt
Watched it foam encouragingly
After 10 minutes soaking
You can see that after just 10 mins of soaking - I haven't touched it in this time - some of the burnt stuff is being affected by the bicarb+vinegar. It had stopped fizzing so I added about a teacup full of boiling water which re-activated it - I then left it to stand overnight.
Boiling water added
. . . the next day
You can still see a thick layer of burnt gooseberries on the pan but you can also see the bottom of the pan - in quite a few places. When I rinsed out the pan and used my nylon scourer the bare pieces got bigger.
So I decided to set to with my metal scouring pad - no chemicals, just more bi-carb. Well, I suppose that is a chemical, but you know what I mean.
Within 5 minutes
In less than 10 minutes
So, the moral here is - never use all of your bi-carb on your weeds.
The thing is, you can clearly see scratches from an earlier episode which must have occurred when I briefly had help in my work kitchen - I never take a knife to a pan as it sets my teeth on edge! My mate Kev has this theory that once a pan has burnt, it will always burn without very careful management. This seem to prove his point. While there is no visible-to-the-naked-eye residue, I bet if you looked at this through a microscope it would look like the surface of the moon! From now on then, I shall use this pan just for this . . . and no cooking