Sunday, 28 November 2010

Fudge recipe and more

This fudge recipe has come from the Australian Simple Savings website, where a member posted it, saying that she got it from the Family Circle Christmas Special, 2008. Conscious of copyright issues, I am posting my version of the recipe here, which is ever so slightly different!!

So, here goes:
1. Grease and line an 8" square cake tin, making sure that there is a small overhang of greaseproof paper all the way round the tin.
2. Put the contents of a 395g tin of sweetened condensed milk in a microwaveable 2 litre Pyrex bowl with 1 cup of soft brown sugar, 125g butter and 2 tbsp liquid glucose (Tesco sell it). Heat uncovered at Medium-High/70% for 6-8 minutes. Stir it every two minutes with a balloon whisk. It will start to boil. When it does, heat for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute with a wooden spoon. It will thicken, go golden and boil rapidly!
3. Remove from the microwave and put on a heatproof surface - leave for a couple of minutes until the bubbles calm down.
4. Now add 200g good quality dark chocolate, which has been finely chopped. Stir it in until it has all melted and been incorporated into the fudge. Make sure that the mixture is smooth.
5. Pour the mixture into the tin, smoothing it out and levelling it off. Leave for 3-4 hours until it has set; it can be put in the fridge when it is cooler.
6. To store, it can be wrapped in greaseproof paper and stored in an airtight container in the fridge - it won't need to be stored long! Cut into small pieces when you are ready to give it as a gift, or to serve it.

Suggestions for flavourings - you could add 3/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts and 30ml Bailey's Irish cream liqueur OR use white chocolate and flavour with Cointreau, perhaps. Next on my list to try is rum flavouring with raisins. You can also do this basic recipe here with milk chocolate instead of plain - just make up your own variations.

I think a small selection of this would make ideal teacher gifts for Christmas, or for those relatives who have everything, need nothing and are a challenge to satisfy at Christmas!!

So, back to other things - the weather, for a start........the earliest laying snow for 17 years, extremely cold weather in November, the cold snap predicted to last for two weeks, temperatures falling to minus 17 in Powys last night, more heavy snow predicted........have you checked out ukweathergeek's site which I linked to in a post last week? He's definitely onto something, and this weather is already bearing out some of his predictions, and it is not even December yet!!

The YFG and I travelled to Ipswich yesterday for her gymnastics competition. UJ, the EFG and my sister also came to watch, and my sister took us all in her car, which was a huge relief to me, not having to drive all that way home after the competition. The comp itself was eye-opening! The gymnasts are all supposed to be "recreational" which means that they train for no more than 4 hours a week. All I can say is that I need lessons on how to achieve those kinds of results on that much training - the standard was higher than we had ever competed at before, and we did OK. There were 24 competitors on each piece, so the YFG coming in the top half at 9th and 10th on some pieces was an achievement. She worked really hard, gave of her best, competed in the right spirit, and had an enjoyable day. Our other gymnast in her age group did OK too. In the other age group, the 12+ group, we had another two girls, and they did extremely well - one got Gold on the Vault and the other managed Silver on the Bars, so we have produced some regional award winners!! I am so proud of all of them for all the work and effort they put in to training for the original county competition, and then to keep it up and do it all again yesterday - magnificent!

The other coach who was there with me from our club was pleased, as I was, to be exposed to that level of competition, and we both felt we had learned a lot. The even better thing was the chap who tutored me on both my coaching courses was there with some gymnasts from his club, and he was kind enough to come over in the YFG's session when he was in the same group for us on the rotations and could watch our girls, and give me coaching points for helping them to correct some of the things that they didn't do as well as they could have done. It was invaluable help, and the sort of guidance I could do with more of!

After that exciting day yesterday, I was not keen to get out of bed this morning, but I dragged myself up at 7.30am and had some breakfast and hot tea, before I went out to the chickens. The morning feeding and watering took me an hour and a half today because I fed hot mash, had to unfreeze all the waterers, and carry the water to the chicken sheds from the house. We didn't leave here for church until 9.40am (service starts at 9.30am!!) and I nearly thought twice about going as we were going to have to walk in late, but my luck was in and the service hadn't started at 9.45am!! I was so glad that we went as the preacher was amazing - he was an elderly gentleman of 83, bent over with osteoarthritis, walking only with two sticks, but he was a true man of faith and his belief and faith was so strong, it was a real privilege to meet him and to listen to what he had to say. He has been a Local Preacher since 1956; he told us that he almost died 17 years ago. He told us of his experience - getting to the "white light" and the voice telling him that he had to go back as he still had a lot of work to do on Earth. He was incredibly inspiring, and I do hope he comes back to preach to us again.

I thought of Froog's batch cooking methods this afternoon. I had to take the YFG to town to look for a pair of plain black tracksuit trousers for school tomorrow, so I popped into Tesco to look in the reduced section - and I struck lucky - lamb shanks, and stewing steak. So when I got home, I put the lamb shanks in gravy in one casserole and the stewing steak with some onion and mushrooms and gravy into the other casserole and all of it went into the oven together for a couple of hours. We have had the lamb for tea, and the beef casserole may well come out later in the week.

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