Triple Chocolate Fudge

I want to tell you how fabuliciouzly creamy & decadent my fudge is,

but instead,

this has turned into a post about how to survive a culinary disaster in your kitchen this Christmas to keep you calm & still triumph!

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NEVER has my fudge not set before! I am sure you can imagine my absolute horror this morning as I turned out my fudge to slice for photography to share with you all as my second offering in our Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen series, only to realise that it had not set overnight. Naturally, I felt the panic creep up inside of me as the first time this fails is NOW?!?!?! I had to take a deep breath & retrace my steps in my mind to know what had gone so dreadfully wrong. My mistake was made right at the very start yesterday when I was preparing this. If you learn nothing else from my embarrassment here today, know this ~

TEMPERATURE IS CRUCIAL!

We are having our hottest November in 155 years in Melbourne. I waited until after lunch to begin, which placed me into the hottest part of the day. I am in a new kitchen where I do not know my burners yet so discovered that my usual saucepan is going to be too small with the heat from this cooktop which resulted in my fudge overflowing only 2 degrees before reaching where it should of. I took it off the heat, immediately, as you would, thinking that it shouldn’t really matter that much – it did! I also couldn’t get the fudge to cool to the correct temperature either, the afternoon was just far too stifling!

All of this is going into my memory data file-o-fax for my next fudge making expedition. However, if this happens to you this Christmas, remember to take a deep breath & remain calm! You’ve invested a lot of your valuable time & love in creating something fabulous for people you care about. Don’t throw it all in the bin through heated tears of disappointment. Turn that disaster into a triumph! The easiest way is to always make sure you have a selection of pretty glasses on hand & make use of the popular Chef description of DECONSTRUCTED! HAHAHA you will appear ever so fancy & maintain that tiara firmly on top of your head, without any slippage.

So, here is my Triple Chocolate Fudge recipe, that when followed to the correct temperatures, will result in the most gloriously decadent confectionary worthy of your Festive Hamper!

Ensure you get the correct sized saucepan! Then into it goes 1.5 cups of caster sugar, 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar, 100g of dark chocolate buttons, 2 tablespoons of glucose syrup, 1/2 cup of thickened cream & 1/4 cup of milk.

Gently heat that lot over a low temperature until the sugars dissolve without letting it boil. Once the sugars have fully dissolved, then crank up your heat to bring it up to the boil. Do not stir from this point. Pop your thermometer in & watch it come up to 116c ~ as mentioned earlier this temperature is critical! Once that magic 116c is reached, immediately take the pan off the heat & drop in 40g of butter. Still, do not stir it!

Leave the fudge alone until the temperature drops to 40c. That’s when you can remove the thermometer & finally stir in the now melted butter. Use a wooden spoon. Continue to stir it for about 10 minutes, you’re looking for when a small amount dropped from the spoon can hold it’s shape. That is how you know it will set, unlike my double temperature mistake on this one.

During your wait time, you can prepare a bar cake pan by greasing & lining it with bakers paper so it’s ready for you to pour the fudge into then simply spread & smooth the surface before covering it with tin foil & leaving to stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Once again, my third temperature mistake with this one as it was like a sauna in my kitchen yesterday afternoon.

When the 2 hours is up, remove the tin foil to pour over 200g of melted white chocolate then drizzle over that 50g of melted milk chocolate & using a cake tester or a skewer, drag the two chocolates around to create pretty swirls for a marbled effect.

Replace the foil over the tin & pop into the fridge overnight to set.

The baking paper will allow you to easily lift the set fudge out of the tin & if you heat your very sharp knife, slicing the fudge will be a breeze. Cut the slab in half lengthways before slicing ever so thinly for decadent pieces of melt in your mouth luxury.

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Finding Me

Every storm in your life is followed by a Rainbow.

After a long absence, I am back! I would like to thank each of you for not giving up on my return & to the new people who’ve joined us on our journey here in this past month, seeing new followers during such a hard time was a beautiful ray of light which spurred me on.

In this past month, Hubby’s health has deteriorated. Thankfully his heart is fit, strong & undamaged. Unfortunately the same can not be said about his lungs.

He has suffered for many years with recurring pneumonia & frequent lung collapses. During all his recent testing, medical teams have discovered abnormalities inside his lungs. He struggles to breathe & is finding it increasingly difficult to do things that we formally took for granted. He is now undergoing testing for Lymphoma (Lung Cancer). Whilst neither of us have ever smoked, he was exposed to some pretty nasty chemicals during his aviation career. The doctor’s tell us we are at the start of something – we just need to figure out what.

With everything happening between Hubby & Mini Me, I was quite taken aback when one of the teams expressed concern for my well being. They were all in total agreeance that I am burnt out. After much encouragement I have been persuaded to start looking after me so that I can better look after them. A respite from my daily grind, as it were. So I am back with my passion for the kitchen in reinvigorating this blog & I have also enrolled in something I’ve been wanting to do since before Mini Me was born! I am about to begin Belly Dancing classes!

This coming year is going to be hard, we’ve no doubts about that. We have a battle to prepare for & we will fight! And we will be fine.

 

I’ve been interviewed!

I am so completely chuffed & humbled that another blogger would want to interview little old me about our life!!!!!

Check out the full article using the link below 🙂

http://wisdomandwonder.com.au/2017/08/30/real-australian-homeschools-tanya-the-dance-mum/#comment-96

 

Taking Mini-Me to the Extreme!

I’m back! Did you miss me?

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What a time we’ve had of it! I think Hubby & Mini-Me were tag teaming to see who could break me first!

Hubby is doing better after his heart attack but still a way to go on his recovery. The problem arose after an accident in our digger whilst at work. He sustained a broken rib & bruised kidney. Unfortunately, somehow, this led to an infection, Influenza A, pneumonia & all resulted in a heart attack. We choose to see the positive in this, however, for the heart attack has exposed a rather serious heart condition which we can now make appropriate lifestyle adjustments for.

Meanwhile, Mini-Me dropped weight rapidly into a critically low area, ringing alarm bells! Her Nutrition was good with adequate calorie intake for her ballet training so the hunt was on to solve this mystery ASAP!

Every parent fears the word Leukaemia. We were so incredibly relieved when her test results proved negative…..but then what was causing her weight to free fall where no matter what the doctors did, they could not stop it?!

Never underestimate having a bloody good Paediatrician on your side.

Several tests later & we have a break through – Coeliac Disease!

Thank goodness I am already all over this (like Hubby on a cupcake!) having it myself. I recall though, several years ago now, the almighty learning curve of the Gluten Free Diet! I am just so enormously grateful that I got to trial & error on myself instead of my precious child. It was actually such an incredible relief to hear the words Coeliac Disease over the alternative!

Now that they are both on the path back to good health & I’ve been medically ordered that I am NEVER allowed to EVER get sick myself with these two, I have finally had time to breathe. That is always a dangerous thing for me as then I have the time to think!

When Hubby had his heart attack, I became suddenly aware of how truly precarious my privileged life as a Homeschooling House Wife really is. This is the lifestyle that we worked so hard to place ourselves in a position to achieve & maintain before having Mini-Me. Yet it could all be snatched away from us in an instant.

I confided my feelings to my beautiful Ballet Mum tribe. They’re such an extremely supportive & truly empathetic group of ladies. Upon the realisation that reigniting my former career would be unsustainable, a suggestion was made for me to return to study. Train for something new, something that I love, something that is meaningful to me, something that will restore my financial confidence.

Searching for my great unknown, I stumbled across a piece of advice that said something like Find Your Purpose – we’ve all seen this cliche emblazoned everywhere, but what made this one different to grab my attention was that he went on in the video to actually say HOW to find your purpose! Pay attention to what you always think about, always watch, always read, always listen too. I don’t think I need to issue any prizes to anyone for guessing what my brain is obsessed with! FOOD!

But……as well as food, I am equally invested in my family’s health! So not so quick there on the old Culinary School route peeps 😉

I’m leaning towards finding something to do with Food, Nutrition, Health, Elite Performance & Optimum Clean Living. I just haven’t found it yet, but I will.

What If…….?

I wonder what would happen if I put down all of this toxic self doubt I have burdened myself to carry?

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Over the past year, you have been following me on a journey of self discovery as I stumble my way along this culinary pathway. It certainly has been a roller coaster!

I would dearly love to evolve & grow this blog into a wee web show, yet every time I begin, some of you may recall I came very close to it last Christmas, I end up sabotaging myself as the horrid seeds of self doubt sprout & spread their evil tendrils.

I get all excited & pumped up – I plan, I experiment, I practice what to say & then I let that little voice in my head take over!

  • You’re being ridiculous
  • Who on Earth would want to watch to you
  • Who do you think you are
  • You’re a nobody
  • You’re not a chef
  • You’re not pretty enough for telly
  • You don’t know anything
  • You can’t plate up
  • You’re food isn’t fancy enough
  • You’re not good enough

I’m sure you are now getting the picture. Food is my passion. It’s what I want to share. It’s all I want to do.

It’s true, my food is not fancy, it’s not fine dining & I’m certainly not good enough for MasterChef!

I’m just a stay at home mum living on my mountain top with a strong desire, a dream if you might, of sharing my simple food from my humble kitchen.

To learn the knowledge of our Grandparents generation of how to grow my own food, how to prepare it with great love & to enjoy a blissfully uncomplicated life.

Is there really anything wrong with that?

Am I alone in my desire for simplicity?

Would you watch me?

Mid-Life Crisis!

Is it just me or is everyone faking this whole life thing?

I mean, I never expected to reach the age of 42 & still be absolutely clueless about my direction in life!

Just when we’d made the decision to move to the Gold Coast to be near to our family & friends, life has thrown us, yet again, another plot twist.

Mini-Me has been selected to become a Classical Soloist Ballerina! Now that is EPICALLY huge for her to receive this wonderful opportunity & is a real achievement in reward for all her extra hard work she puts in towards her Professional Ballet career. I know, I know, she’s only 6 but she has known what she’s wanted to do practically since birth! This kid is Born to Ballet!

I simply can’t fathom how focussed & together she is as I’ve always been a total screw up mess my entire life. Yet from the moment she slipped her delicate toes into her first pair of ballet leathers at the ripe old age of 3, she has been destined for greatness.

Now, in Australia, if she was to be focussed on becoming an elite athlete in the sporting arena, nobody would bat an eyelid at us making serious family life choices based on our young child’s career, however, as her talent is in the Arts, people have been less understanding. As a Professional Ballerina, she will be an elite athlete of incredible abilities!

But, back to this whole Mid-Life Crisis thing……

I’ve been quite strongly guided lately to return to writing. I had another blog, a few years back, which was far more successful than this one, which I shut down for various reasons. I had thought about starting another whole new blog, in addition to Food Forage, in order to do this. The problem is that I already struggle with the high demands of my small fam-bam to get the time to even do this one properly! I’m sure you’ve noticed my sporadic posts which is what is to blame for my lack of success here. So, what shall I do in order to write again?

I’ve decided to do these random open diary entries to you, a glimpse into my madness if you like, as my Fam-Bam Files category & see where we go from there.

I’m desperately trying to rediscover who I am now as more than just a wife & mother. I’m sure a lot of you have been here before me! Who I was before Mini-Me came along simply is not who I am anymore. So who am I now?

This is why I believe I’m struggling to make real, deep friendships here in Melbourne. I’m very difficult to get to know as a person, not because of any ‘walls’ as I simply don’t have them, but because I am so extremely open about being so lost. People get confused by my being so very scattered. I’m always into something new every time they turn around & I’m an all or nothing sort of gal! I only have 2 speeds, either completely obsessed or completely uninterested. So yeah, I’m not the easiest of people to be friends with as you never know what I’m up to next! At least I’m never boring.

All I know for sure is that I am being guided to make a return to my writing & also my healing. I am a Seichim Healer but haven’t healed since before Mini-Me was born. I’d also like to reignite my passion for watercolour painting, even though I’ve never actually been any good at that. Plus my chocolate work is calling me louder & louder to create again.

But where, oh where, shall I ever find the time for me?!?!?!?!