Monday 15 December 2014


Well, I know you've all been hanging out to know what happened with my fudge disaster and how (not to mention IF) I managed to turn it around.

Last week I decided to make fudge, I thought  that seeing as the blog is more than 3 years old now it was about time I made some in it's honour so I set to with the sugar, butter, condensed milk (or maybe it was evaporated, I don't remember) and it was a TOTAL disaster.

As you know if you saw my last post, my fudge didn't set.  It looked great in the pan:

But the next morning it was still only semi solid.

My first brain wave was to reheat it and re beat it and hope that would save it and turn it into lovely, crumbly fudge.

I ended up with toffee!

Undaunted I rolled the toffee into balls, dusted with a mixture of icing sugar and coco and voila!

Ok, they don't LOOK great but they tasted pretty good !

Unfortunately they were still really soft and by the next day they had all melded together to make one sticky inedible mass.

Plan C ...

Dig out the silicone ice cube tray, melt some chocolate, roll out some fudge/toffee into a sausage shape and cut small pieces.  Half fill the ice cube tray with melted chocolate, drop in a piece of fudge toffee and top up with chocolate.

When set, turn them out and ...

Yay - chocolate covered fudge/toffee chocolate strawberries!!!

They actually tasted really good and Miss Mac took them to school to sell to raise money for their prom next year.  Apparently they went down a storm and I was detailed to make more!!!

The only problem was that these used the tiniest bit of fudge/toffee each as they were mostly chocolate so I still had shed loads left and it would have taken several hundred weight of chocolates to use it up.

I also wasn't sure how long this fudge/toffee would keep so I had to think of something to finish it up or throw the rest in the bin.

Plan D was to invite Big D and the Lovely L over for dinner and make:

Bannoffee Pie!!

Miss Mac helped me with this one.  We decided to go for a flan base of sponge rather than pastry.  She took the rest of the fudge/toffee, dusted it in icing sugar so it was less sticky, rolled it out to fit the base of the flan case and then decorated with whipped cream and some of the fudge/toffee crumbled over the top.

We looked at it proudly before turning to put it in the fridge and then noticed, on the kitchen counter, FECKING BANANAS - what we had ACTUALLY made was a bloody OFFEE Pie!!

We carefully scrapped off the cream, sliced the bananas and put them in the pie - re-spread the cream and grated a shed load of chocolate on top and you know what?

It was bloody LOVELY (but I may never attempt fudge making again ...)

Wednesday 10 December 2014

It's Fudge Guys (but not as we know it...)

So, TWO momentous things!!

One is (that according to blogger) this is my 600th post!!!

Wow, who'd have thought it?

The second is that I realised the other day that in the entire time I've been writing this blog I haven't actually made any fudge!

Again, who'd have thought it?

We used to make fudge quite often when I was growing up especially at Christmas along with coconut ice and peppermint cremes and as Christmas is fast approaching I thought I'd give the fudge a whirl.

I shoved a heart attack inducing amount of sugar into a pan along with some milk, a can of evaporated milk and a dash of vanilla essence a bit of butter and boiled it to buggery.

Bloody scary stuff fudge!  It reaches temperatures that can strip flesh and burn a hole right through your kitchen work surface (don't worry, I didn't do either ...).

It looked an smelt great as I tipped it into the tray to cool.  A lovely golden mass of thick golden syrup.

Now I only recently realised that the stuff of my childhood isn't actually fudge in the tradition sense.  Tradition fudge is soft and chewy and doesn't really do much for me.  The stuff I like is Scottish tablet.

Tablet is much harder and has a crumblier texture than fudge and I believe it was originally used in the same way as Kendle mint cake, an energy boost for climber and walkers giving them a huge sugar rush.

Anyway, my fudge looked FAB!!

After it had cooled I stuck it in the fridge over night to fully set and harden and the next morning I took it out ready to cut it into squares but ...

It was still a runny mass of sugar syrup ...

I turned to the internet for advice ...

Perhaps I hadn't boiled it for long enough - maybe it hadn't got hot enough - I may have skimped on the beating process as it cooled ...


BUT - it COULD be rescued.  All I needed to do was reboil it and beat it hard.

It seemed to be working, the fudge thickened in the pan, I beat the bejesus out of it and bunged it back in the fridge.

Two hours later I had toffee ...

Soft, chewy, unctuous toffee but NOT fudge!

I could work with that!!

I pulled off bits of toffee, rolled them into balls and dusted them in icing sugar and coco to give them a chocolate coating and to stop them being so sticky.  Stuck them back in the fridge and congratulated myself on a good save.

As I mentioned to a friend, what with these balls and my cock cakes I could, with my continuing baking disaster (which would be TOTALLY saved if those Thermomix people would get on the case and send me my freebee!!) soon have a complete, anatomically accurate man!

Anyway, when I opened the fridge this morning I was met with DISATER number two!!

All my balls have spread and melded together but I will NOT down hearted (well, maybe a little ...) - I REFUSE to be defeated!

I have a PLAN!!!

Stay tuned ...

Friday 5 December 2014

Things I Know

 Linking up with Ann from Help!! I'm Stuck!! for Things I Know this week.

This week I know (as I do every week) that I'm so proud and so blessed to have my beautiful daughter Miss Mac.

The last few weeks have been a tough round of mock exams in preparation for her GCSE's next year.

She's taken English early and hopefully in January we will find that she has achieved the predicted A* meaning that she can focus on other subjects knowing that this one is in the bag.

I know that I'm still terrible at French and that no matter how much I try to help her commit to memory the 5 paragraphs she needs to learn by Tuesday for her speaking exam, I'm actually probably more of a hindrance but it's still important to her to know that I will do my best to help her so she humours me as I stumble through it with my atrocious accent and mispronounce words.

I know that I was incredibly proud to count 11 A's and 12 B's on her recent report and to have her form tutor tell me how pleased she was with both her progress and her attitude.

I know that every time I visit Miss Mac school I'm struck by the relaxed and happy atmosphere.  The way the students and teacher interact.  The very clear affection and concern the teacher have for the students which isn't entirely driven by the need to succeed in league tables but is also a genuine desire to see the students succeed for themselves.

This week I also know that my lap is just the right size for one cat and two kittens.  We have brought the kittens with two Mums home from the farm to get them used to people before finding them permanent homes and, after several days they have finally decided that I am to be trusted and lie curled up on my lap along with Squishy (the cat who has no name because we are NOT keeping her - and yet, 6 months later she is still here ...).

I know that I've taken my oven for granted until I tried to turn it on a couple of days ago and ....  NOTHING - I'm hoping it's something simple like a fuse and have someone looking at it this weekend but if it's terminal then what a crap time for it to give up on me just before Christmas!

I know that 4 cats and Christmas decorations are not an ideal mix and I also know that the actual pleasure of decorating for Christmas is about 20% of the anticipated pleasure.  Miss Mac and I fell out within 5 minutes of untangling yards of tinsel, lights and beads and almost packed the whole lot up again.  fortunately we got over it and my dream of a tastefully decorated, colour coordinating, gently lit front room have once more descended into a chaotic, gaudy jumble of every decoration we have ever owned pinned around every picture frame, light fitting and doorway but Miss Mac loves it and after a day or two, so do I.

I know that today's chocolate in my Marvel Comics advent calendar looked like an elf on a pogo stick (a very small elf on a very small pogo stick) and if it wasn't such a cool calendar I might be a little disappointed in the size of the chocolate.

I know that I read a  blog post that I found so opinionated it made my teeth itch (none of my regular reads, just one I'd chanced upon).  I know that I formed replies over and over in my head but didn't actually comment and I'm not sure if it's because I didn't want to be shot down in flames by the post writer (and I did see them do it to someone who didn't agree with them) or because I just don't have to courage of my own convictions ...  I'd like to say it's more my live and let live attitude and the fact that I don't feel the need for everyone else to share my opinion but I'm a little worried that it might be because I just found it easier to walk by on the other side.

I know that it's COLD!!  Ok, it's December and it's supposed to be cold here in England and it's not even as cold as you might expect it to be but I don't deal with the cold very well.  I also don't care that SD laughs at me for taking my hot water bottle with me when I walk the dog.  I don't care if people think I'm either pregnant or have put on weight when I stuff that hot water bottle under my jumper - I just DON'T CARE!!

I probably know loads of other stuff too this week but I think that covers the important things ...

Thursday 4 December 2014

Christmas Cheer - A Re-run

Linking up with Robo and the Lounge

There are lots of Christmas posts around at the moment and it's lovely to hear about everyone's Christmas traditions etc.

I wrote this post a couple of years ago and it's still one of my favourites giving me a warm glow each time I read it remembering how it used to be.

The dynamic of my Christmas has changed over the years.  This year different to last and last year different to the previous year ...

But there was a time where I remember the familiar fabric of this time of year, so well worn that it could have been the same comforter brought out time and time again wrapping me in a blanket of contentment and happiness.

My childhood wasn't perfect but there were times it was perfection and Christmas was always such a time.

Christmas began at the end of October when, in a steamy fug my Grandmother gathered together the ingredients for the Christmas cake, homemade mincemeat and the Christmas pudding.

Great bowlfuls of shiny dates, plump raisins and currents, oranges and lemons ready for zesting and squeezing.  Huge heavy based pans and long wooden spoons, walnuts to crack and glace cherries sticky and sweet ....

We each took a turn in stirring the pudding mix and making a wish, usually a hint whispered out loud as to what we would most like to find under the tree on Christmas morning.

Once cooked the cake was wrapped in greaseproof paper ready for feeding drip by drip from the large bottle of brandy.  The pudding swaddled in a muslin cloth and circles of waxed paper sealed the jars of mincemeat before their lids were given a jaunty bonnet of red and white checked cloth secured with an elastic band.

Everything carefully labelled with the date was then stored in the huge wardrobe built into the alcove next to the fireplace in the large bedroom at the front of the house where it sat glowing richly one the dark wooden shelves amongst the fruits of the summer which had been made into pickles and chutneys and jam.

I used to open the door occasionally just to wonder at the array of goodies lined up and breath in the scent of cinnamon and spices.  Sometimes it would seem like Christmas would never come ...