SC “Foccacia” Bread

It’s safe to say, my slow cooker is doing my belly no favours.
Having said that, omnomnomnomnom! I know my next adventure was meant to be chicken, but damn you SC. Damn you.

My friend, Laura Flozzles, was telling me about this delicious bread she had made in her SC yesterday – it was simple and sounded delicious and then of course she proceeded to eat it and tell me just how good it was and I thought stuff it. I’m damn well making one of my own.

Using the base recipe that she and so many others have, I added cheese, bacon and garlic powder and crossed my fingers.

Slow Cooked “Foccacia” Bread
Serves many, but maybe only 1 or 2

Ingredients:
3 cups self raising flour
2 cups warm water
1/2 tsp salt

Add whatever else you like – add some to the mix and save some for the top.
This variation:
5 rashers bacon, chopped (fat removed) and pan fried
2 cups (or there abouts) of grated tasty cheese
2 tbs garlic powder

Method:
Line your slow cooker bowl with baking paper – you can spray this if you like (I didn’t).
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and garlic powder together. Add water, stirring with spoon/flat-bladed knife.
Add in 3/4 of the bacon  and 1/2-3/4 of the grated cheese and mix together well.
Pour into lined cooker bowl.
Sprinkle remaining cheese and bacon on top.
Lay a tea towel over the top of your cooker bowl and pop the lid on. Turn cooker onto high and cook for 1 and a 1/2 hours.
Once cooked, slide under the grill on high for as long as it takes to brown and crunchy up the topping.

Stand back and admire the simplicity of your awesomeness.

 

Nutrition: Bacon is the most important food group known to man. Cheese comes from cows, cows eat grass, grass is nature and nature is beautiful?

 

SC chs bcn bread 3

SC chs bcn bread 2

SC chs bcn bread

SC chs bcn bread 4

 

Tips:

– I know I usually say woah, too much salt but no. This needs more salt. Or more bacon, I’m undecided at this point. I suggest using at least a whole teaspoon of salt.
– Crushed garlic may work just as well as garlic powder, I would just use it sparingly..
– 1.5 hours wasn’t long enough. Although my knife was clean when I stabbed it, it was still a little too soft. I would push it up to 1hr 45mins next time, maybe even 2 hours.
– Sift the flour. I’m not a believer of sifting flour but I think I should have, this probably would have created the “foccacia” texture.
– You can do so many variations of this, just put in everything and anything you love. Onions, herbs, pineapple, sun-dried tomatoes…you could also do a sweet version, replacing salt with sugar, etc. Sultanas, raisins (if you’re that way inclined) choc bits, fruit?

Thoughts:

Yep. Pretty amazeballs.
As I mentioned, not being cooked quite as long as it should have, it was a little too soft which I don’t mind in cakes but isn’t right for bread. Having said that, the mix contained cheese, maybe once it’s cooled right down that softness will not be so evident. (Yes, I had to taste it two minutes after it was done, okay.)
Definitely needed more salt. Definitely needed the flour sifted.

Repeat Offender?

Yes please.
My next variation I will fry off some onions (thank you Flozzles), use cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and some herbs..maybe rosemary or thyme. And of course bacon.
This was so easy to make, you need absolutely zero cooking skills. Would go nicely with soups and stuff.
Have you made this before and if so, what variations did you use?
SHARE THEM WITH ME and I will be your friend.

 

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Slow Cook FTW

I’m not new to the slow cooking thing, but I must admit that I’ve only ever used my slow cooker for stews and that has been a whole…five times?

My friend is currently on a slow cooking marathon (because she is crazy like that) and introduced me to a group on Facebook, full of people just like her – crazy slow cookers!
I was amazed at the things people are cooking in their crock pots – cakes, pies, quiches, spaghetti, lasagna and the list goes on. I thought damn. I’m clearly limiting myself by just using mine twice a year for stew.

So I pulled it out – it was a smaller cooker, Home Collection brand – and thought I would try making some cinnamon scrolls.
The scrolls were wicked – the slow cooker, not so much.
I don’t know if it’s just the Home Collection brand, but the ceramic bowl seemed to have absorbed some serious stench from previous cooking, my house smelled like I’d like set a bag of dog crap on fire >.>

Thankfully the scrolls didn’t absorb the stench, but needless to say..the cooker is now resting in piece and awaiting its final adventure to the rubbish tip.

I went out and bought another because reasons.
I picked up this 6L Kambrook cooker from Big W, for $58:

 

slow cooker

I was after a Sunbeam, but I didn’t want to wait (or drive a million miles to get one) but this one is doing fine 😀

 

So, first test for my new toy – Pulled Pork.
I’ve always wanted to make this. Every time I’ve eaten it, I’ve never been disappointed.

I took the recipe below from a random Google search which landed me here at 100 Days of Real Food. Seemed like a good a place to start!

 

Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot
SERVES: 6 – 8
INGREDIENTS
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt (if desired, you can cut back on the salt by only using 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if desired, you can cut back on the pepper by only using ½ teaspoon of cayenne)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 to 3 ½ pounds pork shoulder, cut in half
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the first six ingredients (all of the spices) with a fork.
  2. Pour in the honey, vinegar, and olive oil and stir to form a paste.
  3. Place the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top it with the 2 pieces of pork and then pour the honey paste over all sides of the pork pieces. It’s okay if some of it (or a lot of it) just drips down to the bottom.
  4. Turn the slow cooker on to low and cook for 7 to 8 hours or until the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.
  5. Serve warm with fixings like homemade cole slaw and cornbread.

 

 Nutrition: If you follow the above to the letter, there’s way too much salt. But pork is nutritious and tasty and it’s made in the same place that bacon is.

Pulled Pork 3Pre-Cooked

 

Pulled Pork 2

 

Pulled Pork

Seriously, how gorgeous does that look?!

Tips:

– Do NOT use 2 tablespoons of salt, don’t even use 1. I recommend no more than half a tablespoon – I used 1 when I made this and it was way too much for my liking.
– Use a full cup of honey.
– Slice the onion into quarters.

Thoughts:

Aside from the salty, this was amazing. The pork fell apart as I tried to take it out of the cooker (the second picture shows just a part of the entire shoulder roast). I definitely recommend a shoulder piece of meat – I removed the string net before cooking. I also left the skin on – I figured the fat would dribble and help keep everything moist. Pretty sure I was right.
The meat was so soft and moist, it fell apart with no effort. It smelled amazing.

Taste? I liked it…but it wasn’t perfect. Maybe I haven’t eaten enough pulled pork? What I was dreaming of was that luscious pork flavour without all the rest, I guess. Sometimes when I cook a pork roast, the end of the roast comes out like pulled pork and melts in your mouth – that’s what I was looking for.
Next time I do this, I plan on doing it without anything – just the roast on its own. Maybe an apple or two for good measure.

Repeat Offender?
Heck yes. I doubt I will ever cook a roast pork in the oven again. I am going to remix this until I find the perfect variation and then keep the recipe all to myself 😉

Next slow cooking adventure will be chicken!

Bubble Quilty Cushion Thing

My newest niece was born on the 9th of June and being the prepared Aunt that I am, I had already started a gift for her in February….but was it finished? No.
That’s just how I roll.

Anyway, my parents came down to stay with us on the very same day and I got to show Mum the half finished project before putting my ass into gear and actually finishing it – nothing like having a deadline come and go to get your motivation running >.>

So I made her this lovely bubble quilt – seems small, but it’s quite practical.

I followed this tutorial by Skyler at AwaitingAda – it’s super easy, very detailed and just all round awesome.

Cassandra's Quilty Cushion

 

I kinda cheated with the ruffled edge – I had some light purple ruffled ribbon that I had bought for a previous project and didn’t end up  using. It made life easier (I’ve never sewn ruffles before) but that’s not to say that I shouldn’t have (or wouldn’t) tried to make the ruffles – the lady who wrote the tutorial also has an accompanying tutorial for the ruffle and it seems quite simple.

 

 

Cassandra's Quilty Cushion 2

I have a huge sheet of this gorgeous rainbow striped material that I finally found a use for!
You could use something minky/soft for the back, but I figured that my niece will be sitting/lying on the top of this and therefore a soft back would be pointless.

All in all, not a bad job…?

The Best Chocolate Cake. In The World. Ever.

It was raining. I wanted cake ALL day. I had no icing so after a quick dash to the shop, I was ready to go – but what cake would I make?
Chocolate, of course. I really wanted chocolate cake.

I was still on my mission to find THE best chocolate cake, after all. And after many years of searching, I honestly believe I have found it.

How did I find it, you ask?
Well.

I turned to Google, as I do for just about everything, and keyed in those words, ‘Best Chocolate Cake Recipe’ just as I have done many times before.
I opened a few tabs and after 30 minutes of (impatient) searching, had a look at what I had opened. THREE of these tabs had the very same recipe contained within, all tried with minor changes, but all with the same title and referring back to each other in some way.
I thought gee. That cant be a coincidence, can it? Could this really be THE best chocolate cake recipe?

Let me share with you this marvellous recipe, with my own minor tweaks.

The Best Chocolate Cake
(found at I Am Baker, Lulu The Baker & Bronnie Bakes, shown here with my tweaks)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1 3/4 caster sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 vegetable oil (I used extra light olive oil)
2 extra large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I used Moccona Instant)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F. Grease and line a large (mine was 13″ x 9″) cake pan (or two smaller 8″ cake pans).
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt into the bowl and mix until combined.
3. In another bowl, combined the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
4. Using an electric mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine.
Pour the mixture into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife or skewer inserted comes out clean.
5. Cool in pan for 30 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely (if desired).

Nutrition: Chocolate >.<

Best Chocolate Cake 1   Best Chocolate Cake 2

Best Chocolate Cake 3   Best Chocolate Cake 4

Best Chocolate Cake 5

Tips:
– Choose a thin or slightly runnier than usual icing. This cake is so soft that a standard icing pulls it apart. You can see I chose the wrong kind of icing >.>
– In the large pan, 40 minutes was bang on perfect.
– As mentioned above, I used Olive oil (as I had no other on hand) and it was fine – I would probably recommend the extra light though, just so that the flavour doesn’t overpower the chocolate!
– Don’t skimp on the coffee. I saw someone recommended a substitute which I’m sure would work fine. Next time I will test this theory with something I have in my pantry called Ecco which is an ‘Instant cereal beverage naturally free of caffeine’ and calls itself ‘The caffeine free drink for modern families’ LOL (I’m only lolling because this was always in my pantry as a child, as our house was a caffeine-free zone, but that makes this drink very much NOT modern, in my opinion XD)

Thoughts:
-wipes crumbs from face- Oh dear. Honestly? THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE. EVER. IN THE WORLD. EVER.
It’s so soft! SOOOOOOOOO soft! And..tasty. And. Wow. This reminds me very much of a cake my mum used to make when I was a child, probably the same chocolate cake recipe she still uses (why dont I have that one? GOOD QUESTION.) I love the replacing of butter with oil in a cake, it comes out so much more moist and keeps without drying quickly.
Seriously, if you need a go-to chocolate cake recipe like I did, you have found it. Bake it today and tell me I was lying!

Repeat Offender?
I’m not even going to dignify this question with a response -continues nomming-

Australia Day – Food, Of course!

Australia Day was/is January 26th. This year it fell on a Saturday, so the public holiday fell on the Monday (28th) making it a lovely long weekend!

Although I am of mixed Islander/Australian decent, I was born and raised here and I’m as Aussie as they come particularly when it comes to Australian tradition.
I also like to put my own special mix into things because lets face it, sometimes tradition can be boring.

This year, I decided we would eat lamb as per tradition (we had some lovely lamb sausages), but would accompany that with a massive bowl of Fattoush.

What is Fattoush? No, it is not a fat toosh -wiggles butt-

Fattoush is a traditional Lebanese bread salad. In Australia we have a huge Lebanese community, I will admit that I was only introduced to proper, good Lebanese cuisine when I moved to Sydney (where I believe the biggest Lebanese community is?) by my better half. He was raised with a Lebanese babysitter who fattened him up on oh so tasty dishes such as Fattoush, Tabouli,  Kibbeh and Kofta.

In this house, Fattoush is like…chocolate cake.

I did a brief survey of a few of my many international friends and found that none of them had heard of these dishes. So I thought I would share this with you!

Fattoush

Ingredients
2 large pieces of pitta bread
1 tbs olive oil
2 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced thinly
3-4 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly
3 green onions (shallots), sliced thinly
1 medium green capsicum, chopped finely
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh baby rocket leaves
2 tbs olive oil, extra
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/356°F.
Brush pitta bread both sides with olive oil and place on an oven tray side by side. Toast these in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until theyre crispy.
Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine cucumber, tomato, opnion, capsicum, mint and parsley.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine extra olive oil with the lemon juice and the garlic and sit aside until ready to serve.
4. Just before serving, break up pitta bread into small pieces. Add bread to the salad, and then drizzle with the oil/lemon combo (use it all).
5. Toss and let sit for a minute or two, then serve.

Nutrition: Aside from the pitta bread, this dish is ALL gold. A little Pitta never hurt anyone!

Fattoush

Tips:
– I like to keep my tomato on the chunky side, Im not a fan of super thinly sliced tomato. It gets mushy too quickly and this salad is all about texture and chunk. I pretty much cut it all chunky, except for the shallots.
– Dont be shy with the lemon juice – I tend to use closer to a third of a cup. Also, dont be shy with the garlic – I LOVE garlic (thankfully, so does Eric) and I always use 2-3 cloves in this dish.
– The pitta bread doesnt need to be in small pieces, just grab it and snap and crumble away. Bigger pieces are great for scooping.
– Eat it ALL up. This doesnt keep well due to the bread (no one likes soggy bread). You can adjust the quantities of the ingredients accordingly.

Thoughts:
The first time I had this, my eyes popped out of my head. The rocket is the hero of this dish, in my opinion – I mean, of course the crunchy pitta bread is a WINNER, but the flavour of the rocket sets everything else off.
When we have this, the meat on our plates tends to be forgotten until the end because the Fattoush is just so damn good. Its true om-nom-nom food.
I only ever serve this with a basic meat – sausages or a some grilled chicken breast. Its too filling!

Repeat Offender?
What do you think?! LOL Four years and counting. If I ever end up on death row with one last meal, this will be the first thing I ask for!

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Of course, no Australia Day would be complete without a traditional Aussie treat. At Christmas time, the Pavlova is the sweet tradition but at this time of the year, we tend to go in search for cakey goodness.

Again, after asking many of my friends if they had heard of this, they all failed the test and answered with a no. So allow me to introduce, Lamingtons!

I remember when I was a kid, they would always have Lamington Drives for fund raising stuff in school, etc. Lamingtons were always present at school fetes as well.

Lamingtons were said to have been invented here, and Im quite certain we have enough proof of that, but of course some other country always tries to steal our thunder XD
Note: I have to share this with you as it is a hilarious statement (taken from the Wiki): Ironically Lord Lamington was believed to have hated the dessert cakes that had been named in his honour, referring to them as “those bloody poofy woolly biscuits”.

Lamingtons
(taken from the January/February 2013 edition of the free Coles Magazine)

Ingredients
125g unsalted butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups sifted self-raising flour
3/4 cup milk

Icing

2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
20g butter
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cups dessicated coconut
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F. Grease and line a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and caster sugar together until pale and creamy.
Add vanilla essence and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Fold through the flour and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Pour into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
Cook for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
4. To make the icing, sifter together the icing sugar and the cocoa powder in a bowl. Add the butter and boiling water and stir until smooth.
5. Cut cake into 16 squares. Place the coconut into a bowl and lightly mix them together.
6. Working with one square at a time, use 2 spoons to hold cake and dip into icing mixture, coat all over allowing the excess to drip off, then place in coconut and turn to coat all over.
Place lamington on a wire rack to set. Repeat with remaining cake pieces.

Nutrition: Cmon. Don’t make me lie to you.

Lamington 1 Lamington 2 Lamington 3

Lamington 4  Lamington 5

Lamington 7  Lamington 6

Lamington 8

Lamington 9

Lamington 10

 

Tips:
– You will need patience. I don’t have much of that, but what I did have available for the day, I saved up for the moment of dipping and rolling.
– The icing mixture may seem too thin – don’t worry, its not. Don’t make the mistake I did by adding more icing sugar >.> If its too thick, the cake will begin to fall apart.
– Roll each piece well in the coconut, the more the merrier. This helps with the icing setting.
– I didn’t trust the cake to not ooze through (or something!) the wire rack, so I sat mine on top baking paper on the rack. They set totally fine this way, and my rack stayed clean (less washing up!).
– You can serve these cut in the middle, spread with jam and cream – I’ve never been fond of that version. They get too sickly. You could also add a touch of lemon juice to the mixture for a light lemony flavour.
– Put these in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour before serving them, so that the icing sets nicely.

Thoughts:
Oh, man. These were GOOD. Its actually been quite some time since I ate a lamington, and these were the bomb-diggity. The cake was PERFECTLY fluffy and golden and the icing was firm. If you’re really clever, you can do two of these in a sitting but be warned, you may be left feeling like a glutton!

Repeat Offender:
Definitely, but I’m trying to make it like a twice a year repeat offender >.>

Best Banana Cake

This cake is an absolute favourite of mine, and more so my fiances. He is banana cake mad! In a perfect world, I would always have freshly baked banana cake in the fridge just for him.
But this is not a perfect world.

I found this recipe on Taste.com.au, but have since tweaked it over the past couple of years to the point where I think I can safely call it mine? I’m not sure how the rules work with all that.
Let’s just pretend that its totally fine 😀

Of course, as with anything banana, the older and over-ripened the bananas are, the better it will be.

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients
125g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cups mashed banana (2-3 bananas)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml buttermilk
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
(OPTIONAL – 3/4 cup slightly crushed pecans or walnuts)

Cream Cheese Icing
125g cream cheese, softened
50g butter, softened
2 1/2 – 3 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F.
Brush a round or square 20cm cake pan with melted butter to grease (or use whichever method you generally use – I use papertowel and a smidge of soft butter).
Line the base and side of pan with baking paper.
2. Put the butter, sugar, banana, eggs and vanilla into a bowl and using an electric beater/mixer or processor, process together for 2 minutes or until well combined.
Add the buttermilk and process until combined.
3. Add the flour and process until just combined. If you are adding nuts to the mixture, add them in now and with a spoon, give the mixture a gentle mix.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and shake slightly to settle.
Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes (or until a skewer/butter knife inserted into the centre comes out clean).
Let sit in pan until cooled, or for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. To make the cream cheese frosting, use an electric beater/mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl, till well combined.
Add the icing sugar and beat until well combined. Check the consistency of the mixture, it should be firm enough to not drip off your finger but soft enough to spread. Add more icing sugar if necessary.
Add the buttermilk and beat until the mixture is pale and creamy.
5. When cake is ready, place it on a serving plate to ice (or leave it in the pan like I do). Spread the cream cheese frosting all over the top of the cake.

Nutritional: Bananas are REALLY REALLY good for you. So are nuts. And milk. 


Banana Cake raw mix  Banana Cake raw mix in pan

Whilst it is baking, make sure you have a puppy break. Cause its REALLY HARD WORK watching Mummy cook..

Banana cake puppy break 2  Banana cake puppy break

Banana Cake freshly baked

Banana cake freshly iced

Banana cake freshly iced and sliced

Tips:
– I like to moosh my banana up in my Kenwood super handy Tri-Blade mixer thingy. It gives you a really fluffy, aerated banana mixture and if you do it just for a few seconds, you still get chunks of banana. I over mooshed in this version. I also use this to break up the nuts, if I didn’t buy them pre-broken.
– Don’t over mix the mixture – I am partial to sometimes hand mixing the flour into the mixture just to make sure. Over mixing will result in a firmer cake which, whilst still nice, just wont be the same.
– Forgot to buy Buttermilk? Add a drop or two (depending on the amount of milk) of white vinegar to a 1/4 -1/2 cup of standard milk and mix and let sit for a few minutes until curdled. I think I’ve only EVER remember to buy buttermilk twice in my entire life pffffffft!
– If you want to get all fancy, slice up an additional banana to decorate the icing with.

Thoughts:
Mmm. Took me a few goes to get this the way we liked it. The addition of nuts was at Eric’s request (I actually prefer it without but shhh) and I find walnuts to be the better match to banana. The cream cheese icing is what EVERY banana cake should be dressed with. Its the perfect flavour addition. Remember to always lick the beaters when making this icing, it would simply be wrong not to!

Repeat Offender?
Already in effect! I’m open to other Banana Cake recipes, if anyone wants to send me theirs?

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Every year, my inner Martha Stewart pokes her head out mid-November and starts deciding what mammoth baking tasks she wishes to attempt for Christmas.
This year, she committed to preparing Christmas Hampers for our business clients, from scratch – baking, decorating, the works.

I am compelled to let her use my body for her wicked demands because after all, it is only once a year…

Day One – The Assault
Fudges & Peppermint Creams

Salted Caramel Fudge
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/26110/salted+caramel+fudge)

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
1/4 cup golden syrup
125g butter, chopped
180g white chocolate, finely chopped – I used Cadbury White (proper eating chocolate)
1 tsp sea salt flakes

1. Grease a pan, 4cm deep x 20cm (base) square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
2. Place condensed milk, sugar, glucose syrup, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 10 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
3. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6-8 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan.
Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Sprinkle with salt, pressing in with the back of a spoon to secure.
Set aside for 30 minutes then cover with plastice wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hrs or until firm.
4. Cut into 2.5cm pieces. Serve.

Nutrition: Energy – 273kj; Saturated Fat – 2.00g; Fat Total – 3.10g; Total Carbohydrates – 9.10g; Protein – 0.70g; Cholesterol – 8.00mg; Sodium – 64mg

salted caramel beginning salted caramel before chocolate added
Take a look into my pot of heart attack

salted caramel with added chocolate salted caramel after chocolate stirred in

salted caramel

salted caramel finished


You see that I didn’t use sea salt flakes. I’m not sure if I wish that I had – I don’t think it would have made much of a difference. I did use proper sea salt, freshly ground. I guess the flakes would have been more attractive, but taste wise I think it would have mattered.

Tips:
– Don’t look away! Sugar heats up super quick as does milk and you know, this entire pot was exactly that – milky sugar. 
– Keep on stirring – use a metal spoon.

Thoughts:
This recipe was super simple to make. I have never, ever actually made fudge before – my mother made us some for Christmas last year, but it had a different texture to it and she admittedly stated that it wasn’t great fudge. I think I was worried that all home-made fudge would come out that way! And pleasantly wrong.
This needs to be eaten within a few days, the salt starts to weep a little after a while. Makes the salt kick TOO salty, but you can always just wipe that off and scoff the fudge anyway. Don’t waste good fudge!
Also, I just realised that I didnt use golden syrup in this one – but it was perfectly awesome anyway.

Repeat Offender?
Hells to the eff yeah! When something this simple can taste this good, its definitely worth doing time and time again.
Fudge makes for great gifting! And honestly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it.

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Chocolate and Walnut Fudge
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/18559/chocolate+and+walnut+fudge)

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
100g unsalted butter, cubed
2 tbs glucose syrup
200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped – I used Cadbury Old Gold (70% cocoa)
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1. Grease a 4.5cm-deep, 7.5cmx25cm (base) cake pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang along both long ends.
Place condensed milk, sugar, butter and glucose syrup in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Cook stirring constantly, for 8 minutes or until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth.
2. Increase heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and caramel coloured. Remove from heat.
Add chocolate and walnuts. Stir to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.
Set aside for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set.
3. Remove fudge from pan. Discard baking paper. Place fudge on a board. Cut into squares.

Nutrition: None (LOL)

choc walnut fudge stage choc walnut adding choc and walnut in pot

choc and walnuts close up choc walnut setting

choc walnut setting close up

choc walnut finished

Tips:
– Again with the stirring. Dont look away, you simply dont have time – take the pot with you!
– Use a metal spoon.

Thoughts:
This fudge is really thick – it takes a bit of coaxing to spread it evenly in the pan. You may think that it has separated, but it really hasnt – dont panic! I think that maybe I chopped my nuts too much…

Repeat Offender?
I discovered, Im not a fan of nutty fudge. I cant actually recall eating it in the past. To be honest, I dont have many fudge eating memories so thats no real suprise.
For true fudge fans, maybe this one would appeal – I think I just didnt like the texture, it didnt feel like fudge. Not to mention, it was holy crap rich!
I wont be making this one again, because I want to eat the fudge I make, dammit.

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Choc-Caramel Fudge
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/26112/choc+caramel+fudge)

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbs glucose syrup
125g butter, chopped
90g dark chocolate, finely chopped – I used Cadbury Old Gold (70% cocoa)
1 tbs golden syrup
90g white chocolate, finely chopped – I used Cadbury White

1. Grease a pan 4cm deep, 20cm (base) square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
2. Place half the condensed milk, half the sugar, half the glucose syrup and half the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
3. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan. Remove from h eat.
Stir in dark chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Set aside for 30 minutes.
4. Wash and dry saucepan (or use another). Place remaining condensed milk, remaining sugar, remaining glucose syrup, remaining butter and golden syrup in pan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
5. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan. Remove from heat.
Stir in white chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon over fudge in pan. Set aside for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm.
6. Cut into 2.5cm pieces. Serve.

Nutrition: None (mwahahaha)

choc caramel in pot  choc caramel setting

choc caramel choc in pan setting

choc caramel finished

Tips:
– Make sure you let the chocolate set for the full 30mins otherwise when you add the caramel mixture, they will blend and it will be wrong.
– You can see I had run out of pans at this stage, plastic containers will work just fine!

Thoughts:
So simple, so easy. So tasty. This fudge set really well.

Repeat Offender?
Yes! This one was very, very nice. The chocolate wasn’t overbearing and it was light and naughty. It has kept well, and will still be around for Christmas which is also great 😀

OMG I just had an idea….BACON FUDGE o.O

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Peppermint Creams
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/564/peppermint+creams)

Ingredients
2 egg whites
4 cups (600g) pure icing sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint essence
400g good-quality dark cooking chocolate, melted – I used Cadbury Old Gold (70% cocoa) proper eating chocolate 😛

1. Place egg whites in a clean, dry bowl. Using a balloon whisk, whisk until frothy. Add icing sugar and peppermint essence.
Using a wooden spoon, stir until mixture almost comes together. Using clean hands, bring mixture together to form a ball.
2. Turn mixture onto a clean surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Knead until smooth and not sticky. Work in extra incing sugar if necessary.
Place mixture between 2 large sheets of baking paper lightly dusted with icing sugar. Roll out until 1cm thick.
3. Line 2 large, flat baking trays with baking paper. Using a 3.5cm round cutter, cut rounds out of dough. Press leftover dough together and repeat.
Place rounds on prepared trays. Set aside, uncovered, overnight, turning over once to allow peppermint creams to dry out.
4. Half-dip each peppermint cream in melted chocolate (make sure chocolate is not too hot or it will melt the peppermint mixture). Return peppermint creams to trays.
Refrigerate until chocolate has set.

Nutrition: None XD

peppermint creams rolled out  peppermint creams cut out close

peppermint creams close up drying  peppermint cream dipping chocolate

Peppermint creams dipped and setting

peppermint creams finished

Tips:
– Have extra icing sugar on hand, YOU WILL NEED IT. And be generous with it otherwise you will end up with a hard, sticky cement-like mess all over your bench.
– Cover with a tea-towel whilst they sit out over night.
– Make sure the chocolate is cool enough to dip your finger in and feel no warmth, otherwise it will melt the cream.
– Use any shaped cutters you like, as you can see I chose Christmas Trees!
– When dipping in chocolate, don’t hold onto the creams to hard – they will just break off as they are so delicate. Also, don’t hang onto them for too long – body heat will result in the same thing.
– After adding essence, taste dough – add more if not peppermint-y enough (I did).

Thoughts: 
Surprisingly simple to make. I’m a HUGE fan of peppermint or anything mint. I always loved the Peppermint Creams you could get in the shop (are they still around??) and these gave me that same happy om nom nom feeling.

Repeat Offender?
Mhmm. LOL of course! Best thing about these, was that Eric isn’t a huge fan of peppermint so guess who gets to enjoy them!

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And that was the end of Day One – The Assault.