Lush Fudge – Pic heavy

This is a very easy recipe, but can be rather tricky to master (as you can see in the photo documentation!!).

**WARNING – NOT recommended for diabetics!**

Ingredients:

397g can of condensed milk

150ml full fat (blue top) milk

450g brown sugar

115g butter

Optional –

Flavouring of your choice

Chocolate chips

Fruit of your choice

Nuts of your choice

Method:

1.  Line a 20cm square tin with baking / greaseproof paper.

2.  Put the condensed milk, milk, sugar and butter in to a large pan, on a low heat.  Stir constantly until all the sugar has melted.  (It doesn’t look very nice at this point, but don’t worry).  Blue nails are optional in this recipe 🙂

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3.  Turn the heat up and bring to the boil…  Do not stir at this point.

4.  Turn the heat down, so the mixture is now simmering, and stir constantly for 10 – 15 minutes.  Make sure that you are constantly scraping the bottom of the pan, as you don’t want the sugar mix to burn.DSCN0383

***WARNING – This mixture can be VERY hot, and WILL burn you if it touches you when it spits.  I speak from experience***

5.  If you have a sugar thermometer, test the temp for 118C.  If you do not have one, it’s still easy to check.  Simply put a drop of the mixture in to a jug of ICE COLD water – a soft ball of fudge should form.

6.  If you want to add any of the optional ingredients, do it now.

7.  When it’s ready, remove from the heat, and beat constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and begins to set.  This should take approximately 10 minutes.

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8.  You now have to work VERY quickly, and pour the mixture in to the prepared tin.

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9.   Leave to cool before cutting in to squares.  The cooling and setting should take approx 1 hour.

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As you can see, mine didn’t turn out quite as I would have liked it to.  However…  It still tasted nice – the hubby and the Gning certainly like it – and it was my first time!

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Pipe dreams

I have so many ideas for things to do, events, etc. but they never seem to go anywhere.  So I’ve decided that I am going to do something.  For a start, I’m going to list my ideas here.  My pipe dreams, if you will.  Maybe if I see then written down, I may be inspired enough to do something about them.

Craft Fair Extraordinaire

I already have a small “craft” type business set up, named ‘Treasures and Trinkets’.  I made jewellery, accessories, and other little bits and bobs…  You can view the page here: Treasures and Trinkets.  I do enjoy attending craft fairs, and table top sales to sell my wares, but something always seems to come up that I think could be done better…

I had an idea that I pitched to my husband.  I know a hall that I can hire for a very reasonable cost, and I will set up my own craft fair.  I will invite local crafters / sellers to ‘purchase’ a table, and I will have an event schedule for entertainment purposes.  In more depth, here are my ideas:

*  I would set up the hall with tables (and a chair behind each one) for other local crafters / sellers

*  I would find someone who does face painting, for the children who may come along to the fete

*  I would find a local company who can offer an “all-weather” bouncy castle to keep the children entertained…  I would not pay an up-front fee, but request that they take their money directly from the parents / children who wish to have a go

*  I would offer cups of tea / coffee for a small charge

The fair would be a mixed bag, type of event, with tables selling home crafted items such as jewellery, accessories, cushions, drawings, cakes, jams, etc…  More of a “country fayre” type event.  I’ve been to a fair few, and I enjoyed them every time.

I would have no problem setting up the event, or even finding people interested to host a stall, but my problem would be in the advertising of the event to ensure that enough people came through the doors…  Facebook is a good place to start, and I suppose a leaflet / flyer drop would be good too.  Although, the hall is situated in the rural area of a town…  It’s a little tricky to get to, but the hall is beautiful, and has free parking.  So where would I ‘drop’ the leaflets?!  I suppose I could also ask the local radio station to do a quick mention of the event, but normally they would charge.  Afterall, if I was looking to make this a regular event, I’d want to be making a profit myself, rather that putting all the money back into the event immediately.  I’m sure you know what I mean.

Play Group Mayhem

Today, I took my son (22 months old) to a play group.  It was based in a local leisure centre, and had a large bouncy castle, balls, spacehoppers, an area for crafts (today was decorating strawberry plant pots to take home), and an area with “fruit kebabs and chocolate”.  It was rather cheap to enter, and although it was on from 10am to 3pm, we were only there for an hour.  The only problem I encountered was that the group was for ages 0-11 years old.  I noticed that my little man was the only one under the age of 5…

On my way home, I mentioned (again, to my husband) that we could set up something similar to that as we have the access to the hall…

I had an idea that we could create a “Stay and Play”, where parents / grandparents / carers could bring their little ones and play with them.  I would limit it to 3 hours, and charge just a small amount for entry.

*  I would get a large selection of toys, including balls, hula-hoops, teddies, games, etc.

*  I would offer tea / coffee to adults for a small charge

*  Free juice / water for the kiddies

*  Free fruit (I like the fruit kebab idea) for the kiddies

*  I would limit the age from 0-5 years old

*  Perhaps have a different style ‘craft’ on offer each time (make a greetings card, painting, drawing, etc.)

Again, my problem would be where to start.  I’ve already had a brief look into it, and I have discovered that I do not need to register with anyone, and (although I already have a full CRB check) I do not need a Criminal Records Bureau check as parents will be staying throughout the sessions, watching their own children.  I could easily get my hands on a lot of toys…  So that just leaves insurance.  What type of insurance would I need, and where could I get it for cheap?  I don’t think I’d be doing this on a regular basis, and I don’t want to pay through the nose…  And again, it’s the marketing side of things that I would struggle on.  What happens if it is super successful on one week, then flops the second and third, but on the fourth week, the hall is full to bursting point?!  Hmmm…

Thoughts welcome.

Spiced Fruit Loaf

This is a rather traditional recipe that is used throughout England and dates back many many years. Often, with afternoon tea, a slice of spiced fruit loaf was served… Here I’ve decided to share the recipe that my nan passed down to me.

Ingredients

12oz self-raising flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 HEAPED tsp sweet mixed spice

3oz margarine or softened butter

8oz light brown sugar

8oz dried fruit (I just use mixed raisins and sultanas, but you can throw some cherries in if you like)

1 large egg

½ pint milk (preferably full fat, but semi-skimmed worked just as well)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180⁰C (160⁰C if using a fan assisted oven).

  1. Line a bread tin with grease-proof / baking paper, and lightly grease.
  2. Sieve flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using your fingertips, rub in the margarine / butter.
  4. Still using your hands, add the sugar and dried fruit.
  5. When thoroughly mixed, stir in the egg and milk until the dough holds together firmly.
  6. Place into the bread tin.
  7. Place on the middle shelf in a preheated oven for approximately 1 hour (or until cooked through – use a skewer to test).
  8. Allow to cool in the tin before lifting out and placing on a cooling rack.