Fudge, Sweet

The joys and pitfalls of making fudge

Fudge PartySince I am still at home waiting for HR to sort out everything for my new job I have been spending my time with my family and my stove, specifically I have been making fudge – a lot of it!

I have been really thinking about making it into a little business that I can do part time running the occasional stall here and there. Its really exciting and I’ve always fancied the idea of being my own little boss so now I am really looking it. I have contacted our local environmental health about my kitchen and whilst waiting for them I have been practicing.

Vanilla and Cranberry BrandyI have encountered a lot of issues and was kinda lulled into a false sense of security because my first few batches of fudge came out so well that I thought, “hey, this is easy!”. How wrong I have been. I am currently writing this as a failed batch of simple vanilla fudge has split and is cooling in the kitchen ready to make its way swiftly to the bin. For some reason this time it has split and I have no idea why! Still, I will get back on my fudge horse and try again.
I have learnt a lot though and every mistake tells me what I did wrong so that next time I can fix it. I’ve learnt you can re-cook over heated fudge, not to stir too early to stop crystal formation, the right pan to use, altering the temperature to suit your thermometer. It’s no wonder there is no one recipe that is fool proof.

I will get this and some of the fudge that has worked has been fantastic, my dad even said it was the best he’d ever tasted (my dad will eat anything though!) and my fudge party that I held so friends and family could help me eat some of the mountain was very well received. Now I just need to keep at it… practice, practice, practice and then one day I might be at a stall near you.Whisky and After 8 Fudge

Food Ramblings

Summer holidays in Italy

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last couple of weeks but I’ve been away on holiday to Italy with my family.
This year has taken a lot more planning than the usual “chuck everything in the suitcase and leave” strategy. This year we have been planning our holiday for months to ensure it all went well whilst travelling with my 9 month old baby.

And luckily it did!

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We had a great time with my family, eating lots, drinking lots and sleeping lots. It might sound like a chill out holiday but with a little girl who can move faster than lightening and us staying in the family home, which got stuck in the 1950’s (seriously, you have to plug the shower into the mains in the bathroom and plugs have no earth wires!) it was spent trying to keep her safe and entertained whilst allowing her freedom to enjoy her holiday.
Plus the heat and humidity meant that everyone wore so much suncream they were slippier than a fish.

But heat and scary house aside we enjoyed it… a lot.

I decided that Italy should be the place for my little girl, Alice, to have her first ice cream. Where else does the best flavours like this? It beats down a cornetto any day.

I’d love to have a go at making ice cream like this at home but our freezer always stores meat and pasta sauce and I really don’t have room for another gadget I won’t use very often. So till next year I’ll just dream of ice cream and Italy.

Cake, Sweet

Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake

Happy Easter everyone, I hope you’ve all had a lovely day today.

Easter was and is one of my favourite holidays of the year, after

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I added the marzipan topping, 11 balls for the faithful disciples - I actually made 12 so I ate Judas.

Christmas.  As a kid there was so much to love about it, chocolate eggs, egg decorating contests at school, Easter egg hunts, films on TV… Did I mention the chocolate?

As an adult I still love it!
I love all the family getting together for a lovely meal and there is something very special about eating chocolate and not feeling guilty which you don’t seem to get much in your adult life. 

This year was the first Easter with my little daughter and although she is too tiny to understand any of it yet it was still a great day to spend with my family as my sister and brother in law came up to.

Yesterday, me and my mom decided to do some baking together and made a Simnel Cake after watching The Great British Bake Off Masterclass program.  We used the wonderful Mary Berry’s recipe.
Unfortunately, I think our cake was a little overbaked and drier than it should have been but who can resist a fruit cake with marzipan on it!? Well, except the half of the family who don’t like marzipan, or fruit cake.


Mary Berry’s Simnel Cake

Food Ramblings

A look back on 2012 and a look forward to 2013

The year 2012 has been quite an eventful time in my life – my sister got married, I bought an electric oven …and of course we welcomed our daughter Alice into the world after 9 long months of baking.

It’s been amazing how everything changed over night – me and my husband had to learn how to be parents, my parents inherited the role of grandparents, my sister became an aunt and my brother in law an uncle. Phew…and in all that I still love to bake!

So what’s going to happen in 2013?

Next year I would love to do more with my baking, but I obviously have a new priority for the next few years.  I still have the desire to write a cookbook and more than ever the idea of a children’s cookbook is appealing.  Recently I have been looking into creating a digital e-book with the advantage of no printing costs and utilizing my husbands graphic design skills.
I don’t know if this will actually get going in 2013 due to the speed that time goes these days but any step forward is a good one.

My resolutions

I don’t know why but every year I try to write some new year resolutions.  I wouldn’t say I ‘break’ them each year either because I like to try to make them pretty general so I don’t feel bad I haven’t kept to them [and end up eating more cake, thus breaking the healthy eating/lose weight one]

1. Try not to be too serious, everything has something funny in the situation.

2. Either lose some of my baby weight or learn to be happy with my body.

3. Spend as much time as I can with my family and appreciate every day.

4. Try not to go to chocolate whenever I am tired.

5. Try not to get mardy (it means sorta snappy/grumpy) even if the situation is really annoying.

6. Keep baking and blogging.

And finally – don’t sweat the little stuff.
I don’t have a motto but if I did then it would be that. Life is too short to be hung up on the little things, the big things like keeping your health or spending your family and friends are much more important than forgetting the washing up.

Food Ramblings

Happy Christmas from The Happy Little Baker

I just wanted to wish each of you a very merry Christmas. 

Thank you to everyone who has been reading, following my blog, or liking my posts – it’s very much appreciated to know that people are enjoying what I’m writing and hopefully finding the recipes useful and easy to follow.

Hope you all have a great time however you celebrate the holidays.  For me, my husband and the little-ist baker, are off to my parents house as there will be lots of wonderful food that my parents cook as well plenty of family and friends dropping by.

Merry Christmas.
Love, Shel Xx