We’re into week 3 of not having an oven, and my patience is being seriously tested. I’m having to deviate from my list this week because apart from one recipe, all the other oven-free recipes on my list are ice cream. I’m not ready for ice cream yet – it was going to be a summer of ice cream, okay? I have made plans, I will stick to them, and this week I decided to make fudge. Everyone just keep your fingers crossed that next week I have an oven!
Last week my friend Alice returned from Edinburgh and brought with her some butter tablet for me. If you’ve never had butter tablet before, I highly recommend it – it’s basically a better, Scottish version of fudge. So so tasty. As I was flicking through Clodagh McKenna’s ‘Homemade’ desperately searching for something oven-free, I found a recipe for vanilla fudge, and it just had to be made. ‘Homemade’ is a beautiful book – it has amazing photography and I love the layout and everything looks like something you can’t wait to make, which is the sign of a great recipe book for me. Needless to say I have not used it enough yet, but hopefully I will be spending the summer making delicious salads and raspberry cordial and pecan swirls from it.
It’s been a long time since I last made fudge, and for some reason the other day, I decided that it wasn’t that important to stand and watch the temperature of the mixture, so I left it and did the washing up, then looked, saw it was at 180 degrees, panicked and turned it down, only to realise a few minutes later that I’d been looking at fahrenheit instead of celsius. Why don’t people teach you that sometimes there is no value whatsoever in trying to multitask? After that I apparently wasn’t thinking, and never really got it back up to the temperature it was supposed to be at, so once it had ‘set’ I was left with delicious fudge-tasting goo. It didn’t really set that well…
But, I did add walnuts and dark muscavado sugar to the mixture, which made it even more delicious goo, so there you go, not all bad. I will re-attempt the fudge, and next time remember that there is no value in multitasking.
Vanilla Fudge (from ‘Homemade’ by Clodagh McKenna)
100ml double cream
350g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Place the milk and cream in a heavy-based saucepan, add the sugar and butter, and bring to the boil over a medium heat.
2. When the mixture comes to the boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. The mixture needs to reach ‘soft-ball’ stage, which is at 115C. Once this is reached, stir in the vanilla extract. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
3. Beat the mixture with a whisk until it reaches a thick consistency. Pour the mixture into a greased tray and leave to set. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Variations: Stir 80g of rum-soaked raisins into the mix for fudge with a richer flavour. For chocolate fudge, stir in 90g of melted good-quality chocolate. Add after the mixture has simmered.
Next week, we will see if I become so desperate to bake a cake that I use Oli’s kitchen.