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Posts Tagged ‘Fudge’

Did you have a romantic Valentine’s Day? Flop about slurping champagne while twiddling the stem of one of the two dozen lush red roses your beloved devotedly delivered your way? Scoffed peeled grapes while Super Sven the Sexy Swedish masseuse rubbed your feet and told you how beautiful you are? Ate grilled lobster freshly plucked from the ocean just for you by a muscled, bare-chested diver who then hand fed you exquisite chocolates specially flown in from Belgium for dessert? No? Me neither. Ahh, well, we can dream…

Speaking of fantasies, today on Friday Feast we have firemen! Oh, hang on, no we don’t. They went by the wayside. A shame, but never fear! To make up for our missing hunks we have Australian author and professional writing services provider Juanita Kees. And what a good egg she is too. I know this because I’ve met her, plus she does an amazing job promo-ing Friday Feast each week on the Romance Writers of Australia blog. Honestly, I’d shower her in pink marshmallows if I could. Instead I shall return the promo favour by mercilessly plugging her brilliant, drama-laden, emotional and deeply romantic page-turner of a debut release, Fly Away Peta.

 

FLY AWAY PETA

 

Fly Away Peta_150dpi_eBookThe time has come to face her worst fear and the clock is ticking…

Peta Johnson will go to extreme lengths to protect her daughter Bella. When Bella is kidnapped, the search for her takes Peta back to the small Western Australian country town of Williams, a place she’d vowed never to return to. The town where her dreams were shattered and her nightmare began. Back to the place she’d been destined to meet two very powerful, yet very different men. One would break her heart; the other would destroy her soul. Both would change her life forever.

The search for Bella brings them together. Secrets and lies keep them apart. Can Peta and Jaime renew their love in the face of danger or will he let her fly away…again.

 

You want this book, oh yes you do!!!! And it can be yours in either paperback or ebook with a few clicks. Try Amazon US, Amazon UK, Bookdepository, Barnes and Noble or direct from the publisher, Eternal Press.

And now here’s Juanita…

Here’s one you can’t fudge!

 

Hello everyone and welcome to sunny Western Australia. Firstly, a huge thank you to Cathryn for being brave enough to invite me into the kitchen at Friday Feast. It’s okay, I brought my own fire-fighting equipment.

I think it’s fair to say my husband didn’t marry me for my cooking skills. I have a reputation for killing casseroles and murdering meat. So if it doesn’t come pre-prepared or out of a can, I leave the cooking in the much safer and skilled hands of hubby. He grew up working in the family takeaway and can make chicken giblets look and taste good.

Sadly my manageable repertoire consists of mac ‘n cheese, bangers and Deb’s Instant Mash, and instant noodles.  I can burn water, which is why hubby very kindly invested in a water cooler that also has a heating function and keeps the water at the perfect temperature for a cup of tea.

What I do have, is a fabulous Fudge for Dummies recipe. It’s juanitaproof. The beauty of this recipe is you can undercook it for a softer fudge, overcook it for a harder, darker fudge or stop the process in between to get it just right. The secret is to keep an eye on the colour during the cooking process. Oh, and a nice deep dish – it’s quite difficult to remove from the roof and floor of your microwave. I found out the hard way…

Here goes:

Easy Fudge

1 x 500g packet castor sugar

125g hard butter or margarine (but butter is better!)

1 x 397g can full-cream condensed milk

5ml vanilla essence

Place all ingredients except the vanilla essence in a heat-resistant bowl (it should be large enough to prevent the mixture from boiling over)

Microwave on full power for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well until all the sugar dissolves.

Microwave on full power for 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye on the colour:

  • light and creamy = soft, toffee-like fudge; (6 mins)
  • thicker and darker = firm fudge; (7-8 mins)
  • dark caramel colour = hard fudge; (8-9 mins)
  • dark brown or black like treacle = burnt fudge, throw away bowl, have a glass of wine and try again later

Remove from oven (always a good idea!), add vanilla essence while it’s still bubbling and beat for a few seconds with a wooden spoon until thick and creamy.

Pour into a greased square dish and allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares.

Tip: Don’t wait too long to score and cut it otherwise it will crack and you’ll have chunks instead of slices.

Lastly – enjoy! And make good friends with your dentist 🙂

Variations:

  1. Coconut Fudge: Add 40g dessicated coconut together with vanilla essence and proceed as described.
  2. Chocolate Fudge: Add 10g cocoa before the first microwave cycle
  3. Caramel Nut Fudge: Instead of vanilla essence use 60ml chopped nuts and 5ml caramel essence after second micro cycle
  4. Try other flavours too – peppermint, rum, Kahlua etc. all work well

Cooking times may vary depending on the strength of your microwave. These times are based on a 900 watt oven.

 

A Juanitaproof recipe? Well, in that case I’ll have to give it a try. Maybe with those other flavours…perhaps Irish cream fudge. Hmm. Can nearly taste that one. Although given that on Monday I managed to explode a bowl of curry in our serviced apartment’s super powerful microwave, maybe I should rethink this.

So, Feasters, do you have a Juanitaproof type recipe? I have a few, mainly savoury recipes that I could make in my sleep, but some cakes too. Experimenting is huge fun but there are days when you just don’t want to think, or risk anything going wrong. Like me today. Two days of house unpacking and organising and general knackeredness tend to have that effect!

If you’d like to learn more about Juanita and her books please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook and Twitter.

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So, my lovely Feasters, how are your Christmas preparations going? Completely disorganised like me? Not to worry, help is at hand. Not only does Friday Feast showcase the best books for presents, we have recipes for foodie gifts too! See, you knew there was a good reason for visiting this blog.

This week I’m absolutely delighted to welcome best-selling historical fiction author Deborah Challinor. A New Zealander, Deborah now lives in Australia where she’s writing a series of novels based around four girls transported to Australia in the 1830’s, and with a PhD in history she knows her stuff!

The first in the series, Behind the Sun, is in bookshops now. Take a look…

 

BEHIND THE SUN

 

BehindSunCoverFinalFour unlikely women … one enduring friendship.

1828: Irreverent and streetwise prostitute Friday Woolfe is in London’s notorious Newgate Gaol, awaiting transportation. There, she meets three other girls: intelligent and opportunistic thief Sarah Morgan, naive young Rachel Winter, and reliable and capable seamstress Harriet Clarke.

On the voyage to New South Wales their friendship becomes an unbreakable bond — but there are others on board who will change their lives forever. Friday makes an implacable enemy of Bella Jackson, a vicious woman whose power seems undiminished by her arrest and transportation, while Harriet is taken under the wing of an idealistic doctor, James Downey. Rachel catches the eye of a sinister passenger with more than honour on his mind.

When they finally arrive on the other side of the world, they are confined to the grim and overcrowded Parramatta Female Factory. But worse is to come as the threat of separation looms. In the land behind the sun, the only thing they have is each other …

 

How compelling does that sound! And Behind the Sun is available to buy now in Australia from Dymocks, Collins, QBD, Big W, K-Mart and your favourite independent bookseller. Online you can try Booktopia, Bookworld or Fishpond. If you like ebooks, visit Amazon Kindle, Kobo or Google Play.

Now please welcome Deborah.

 

Fudging it!

 

There was a time, it seems, when almost all women could cook. Of the four girls in Behind the Sun, Harrie Clarke, Sarah Morgan and Rachel Winter can – Harrie and Rachel because they expect one day to feed husbands, and Sarah because she has to feed herself. Friday Woolfe can’t, though. Before her arrest, she eats out every day at her local London ordinary, which serves bread, cheese, sausage, pickles, eggs and small beer.

It’s ironic, therefore, that I’ve so generously been invited to guest blog on Friday Feast – thank you, Cathryn – because I can’t cook either. I only ever do it when I absolutely have to. When the kids (my step-children, actually) were small and their father was going to be late home from work, I’d try to rustle something up, but never very successfully. In fact, sometimes they’d cry, especially when I made my mystery chicken.

I just can’t see the point. Hours and hours of slaving over a hot stove, ten minutes to eat it, and two days looking at the dirty dishes. Now that the kids have grown up and scattered in all directions, my man and I have an arrangement – he does the cooking, which he enjoys, and I clean up the (stonking great) mess afterwards. If he’s away, I eat yoghurt, tomato on crackers, and chocolate (and maybe an anchovy-stuffed olive, to cover all the food groups). Or if I’m absolutely starving I’ll go so far as turning on the oven and heating up a pie. On the other hand, if I have a deadline looming, I might forget to eat altogether. Except for the chocolate.

Somehow, I missed out on learning to cook. In Girl Guides, I know I got a badge for making a soufflé (and it must have been a good one – those badges aren’t handed out willy-nilly, you know). And I attended Home Economics in Form 1 and 2 and did stuffed tomatoes and the like, but that was about it.

I can, however, make excellent fudge. Here’s my best recipe. It’s a bit of a tedious process, but the end product is rich, velvety and very more-ish. And possibly not for those on a diet.

 

SWISS MILK CARAMEL

Swiss Milk Camarel 017

4 oz real butter (not soft versions or blends)

2 measuring cups white sugar (don’t overfill cup)

¼ tin of Highlander sweetened condensed milk (not lite)

1 tsp vanilla essence

½ cup milk

1 dstsp golden syrup

Dump the lot in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Turn down to a simmer, continuing to stir gently (if it catches you’ll get black bits all through it). When it’s gone a deep, golden tan colour, which will take around 15 minutes, remove from heat and beat with a wooden spoon. When the mixture has thickened noticeably, and is adhering to the side of the pot rather than running down it (NB: if your arm isn’t sore you haven’t beaten long enough), turn out into a dish lined on the bottom with baking paper. Put in fridge, cut before completely set.

Fudge is nice, but my all-time favourite is merengues. Does anyone have an idiot-proof recipe for ones that are crunchy on the outside but soft in the middle? If so, can you please leave in comments? Thank you. Have a fantastic Christmas, everyone!

 

And a fantastic Christmas to you, Deborah. Thanks so much for coming on Friday Feast and sharing your new release and that delicious-sounding caramel recipe. Anything with condensed milk in it has to be a winner!

So, lovely Feasters, anyone have a great meringue recipe? I have a fantastic pavlova one but I’m not sure if it would create the texture Deborah is after.

If you’d like to learn more about Deborah and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog and Facebook

 

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