Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas Fudge!

I've had a super busy weekend  despite having our work night out on Friday!  (Still have a bit of painting to do) but most of the wee projects I wanted to get done are finally under way and almost finished.  A lot of them I needed to get started so I could include them in my Curiosity Box!  (Just having a wee break to put my feet up and thought I'd catch up on blogging while watching Father of the Bride!)

Us girls on our night out!
My amazing tights!!

So on Saturday with a slight hangover, I made my split pea soup (managed to peel off half my fingernail, ouch!) and then got started on a wee sewing project.  I made a table runner for our Christmas table and a very cute wee stocking with the left over fabric to put in the Curiosity Box.


I then made some Creamy Christmas Fudge (after I stopped bleeding of course!) from the Hairy Bikers' 12 Days of Christmas book...

Creamy Christmas Fudge

150g butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
50g mixed dried fruit (I used cranberries, apricots and raisins)
3 balls of stem ginger in syrup, drained and chopped
100ml dark spiced rum (e.g. Captain Morgan)
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 x 397g tin of evaporated milk
500g granulated sugar

Grease an 18cm square cake tin or 26x16cm tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.  Grease the parchment and set aside.  Put the dried fruit, ginger and rum in a small non-stick pan with the cinnamon and star anise.  Bring the rum to the boil and cook until it has completely evaporated/absorbed by the fruit, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Put the 150g butter, evaporated milk and sugar in a non-stick pan and cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring regularly.  Increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil.  It will boil furiously to begin with so make sure your saucepan is large enough to hold the mixture without it boiling over.
Cook for 20-30 mins, stirring constantly and carefully with a wooden spoon to stop the fudge catching and burning.  Watch out – it will be fiendishly hot.  Put a sugar thermometer in the pan after 20 mins.  You need the mixture to reach the soft ball stage at 116oC, before taking it off the heat.  (If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a little fudge into a bowl of ice-cold water.  The fudge should immediately form a soft ball.)  Just before the fudge is ready, it will bubble less fiercely, more like molten lava, so keep stirring as this is when it’s most likely to stick.

When the fudge has reached the right point, remove it from the heat and stir energetically for 3 mins before adding the spiced fruit and ginger (take out the cinnamon and star anise).  Continue stirring for another 6-8 mins as the fudge thickens.  As the fudge cools, it will gradually change from a thick, creamy mixture to form a ball in the centre of the saucepan.  Keep stirring and when the fudge begins to look grainy and loses its glossy appearance, put it into the tin.  It will be very stiff at this stage, so you’ll need to press it into all the corners.  Smooth the surface and set the fudge aside to cool completely.  After 3-4 hours you should be able to cut it into small squares ready for serving.  Store in an airtight container.  Eat within a week or so.­­­­­­­

Creamy Christmas Fudge

All the stirring was hard work but totally worth it!  Nik says it's even better than last year's fudge which was from a different recipe but also nice - just a bit sweeter.  This Christmas fudge has a nice spice to it from the ginger!

I then made a friendship bracelet which I haven't done for years!  I used to make them all the time at school in all different patterns, still remembered how to do the basic one.  I had a minor panic when I couldn't find one of my favourite recipes I wanted to type out to include in the Box but eventually found it in a random drawer! I must have shoved it away in a hurry the last time I used it. 

Today we finally got rid of the old desk we managed to sell via Gumtree and a joiner came to build us a shelf in the window of the study - we were going to attempt this ourselves but it's a funny shape and we wanted it to be a great job.  So glad we did as it only cost us £35 and we have a lovely new perfectly fitting shelf with a corner cut out for cables and a nice edge (something we wouldn't have thought of - we probably would have just cut a piece of wood!)

Oh and I framed our degrees and diplomas to keep them safe and out of the way up on the wall in the study.  The tubes were taking up too much space!

I'm off to finish making my gift tags now, blog post on that coming soon!  ;)

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