Friday, 12 November 2010

Cognitive boilers.

(unimpressed cold cats shot)

Have you ever suspected the cognitive powers of your boiler? Seriously, let's just think about it for a moment. They know. They know that the cruelest point for them to decide to break is during the coldest spell in weeks, when gale force winds can penetrate any tiny cracks and give your toes frostbite and disable your fingers from knitting. And you can almost hear them chuckling as they trip your circuits, meaning the alarm clock doesn't go off so you end up with a cold shower and a mad dash to work an hour and a half late.*

As you can tell it was a good start yesterday! Today I am at home waiting for the emergency plumber to hopefully fix the boiler, identify the burny smell coming from the airing cupboard and make it so I can have a hot bath and not a cold shower.

The saving grace is that the new house has an open fire and there is something rather romantic about sitting in front of a fire with your knitting and a cup of tea and eating fudge.

Oh yes, let's talk about fudge. It's old fashioned, it's full of sugar, fat and is blissfully easy to make, which means in less than an hour you have dangerously moreish little treat that you can munch on all afternoon. I must have known it was going to be "one of those weeks" on Wednesday as I had a desperate urge to make ginger fudge. Not one to ignore my culinary callings I gave in immediately and fished the emergency can of evaporated milk from the back of the cupboard and off I went.
If it's a dull weekend, if you find yourself not wanting to leave the house and needing a little tray of something to keep you company in front of the fire, television or alongside your knitting, whip up some of this and I can promise your partners/family/self won't complain (I hold no responsibility for annoyed dentists however!).

Ginger Fudge - Makes aprox 1.5lbs (one small brownie trays worth)

I should mention that this is also a great Christmas present - yes, we're all trying to ignore that the festive season is fast approaching, but at least now you have one idea!

1lb granulated sugar
2 0z butter
1/4 pint of evaporated milk
1/4 pint whole milk
3 large pieces of stem ginger, copped finely

First, line a small brownie tray with greaseproof paper, the large the tin, the thinner the squares, its up to you as to the exact size you use.

Gently heat the sugar, butter and milks until the sugar dissolves and fat melts. Bring to the boil and boil steadily until the mixture reaches 116C on a sugar thermometer**, stirring occasionally (should take about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and beat until it looks smooth and slightly grainy, add the ginger and stir through thoroughly. Pour into the tin and once cooled slightly mark into squares. Then place in the fridge to cool completely.

Make a strong cup of tea, and settle in for an afternoon with tray in front of you, no one's judging here.

** if you don't have a sugar thermometer you're looking for "soft ball" stage, which is when a small piece dropped in cold water forms a soft ball. Don't worry if you get it a little hard it will still be delicious, and I have been known to spoon too-soft fudge from a bowl in the fridge!

*the great thing about a horrid start to the day is it totally justifies a ridiculously comedy sounding order at the coffee shop that provided me with a "dessert coffee" as N calls them, which is most definitely the duvet of the hot beverage world, even more so than a hot chocolate. Comforting and yet caffienating, and so restorative. "tall, skinny, double shot, gingerbread latte please, thank you"


  1. Our hot water tank ruptured itself only the other day. We do have hot water now but also a fetching hole in the kitchen ceiling.

    Of course I am off to veganise this fudge now.....

  2. Wow, I am so making this right away. Why wait til Christmas?

  3. That fudge looks delicious! I made fudge for family & friends last winter and was so glad I bought a thermometer with which to do so - it literally revolutionised it for me, I had never succeeded with the soft ball stage (I have no idea why not!) but it's just so darn easy with a thermometer. LOVE the sound of ginger, too.
    You're so right about the coffee. I'm a huge fan of real coffee and there's so much of that to be had in London (Flat White in Soho is my favourite place for it) but sometimes, you know, you just don't want *real* coffee, you want, say, a tall skinny sugarfree hazelnut extra shot extra hot latte. I could just use one now, actually...

  4. I hope your boiler is fixed soon.

    But I must admit the open fire, knitting and fudge sounds close to heaven. I am trying to resist the urge to give your fudge recipe a spin