Sunday, 24 April 2011

Baileys Fudge Birthday


There is nothing I love more than a good party. Birthdays are the best parties, they are a day specifically for you to be indulgent and celebrate. You get presents and a cake, all for surviving another year prancing about this planet. One day all about you. What a neat little system. This week was my friends Amanda's birthday and I love her to bits.  Least of all because she had a costume party.

From the left Me as Pikachu, Leigh as The Mad Hatter and Amanda the Birthday Girl as Alice in Wonderland.

Now when it comes to gift I'm a romantic (and a poor staving student) so where possible I make my friends personal gifts. Anyone can buy someone soap but it takes care and time to make a perfect gift to show your friend you love them. Amanda loves the drink Baileys, so I decided to make Baileys Fudge. I found this recipe on  which is really great website for finding easy to do home style recipes. I then tweaked it a little to suit my taste. This is really quite a simple recipe that isn't expensive, I've tried to explain it in as much detail I  could to make its easier to follow. 

  • 120ml evaporated milk or 100ml of condensed milk as I used.
  • 200g white sugar (caster or granulated it really doesn’t matter)
  • 200g brown sugar (I used light brown sugar for a flavor that isn’t too strong)
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract  (Strong)
  • 60ml baileys or Irish cream liquor
  • 250g icing sugar

Grease a baking tray, metal or silicone it doesn’t matter, I’m using a silicone one because its slightly easier to get the fudge out when its solidified. This time I forgot to do this as rushed to do it while i was in the last stage, hence the haphazard look to the photograph.

Take a heavy bottomed pan, this helps spread the heat more evenly, and add the evaporated/condensed milk. I find it easier to measure if instead of pouring straight from the tin into your measuring jug if you spoon it in so you have more control. Always check your measurements at counter high instead of lifting them as you could be tipping the jug and making it inaccurate. Which would be a silly way to ruin tasty treats. 

Once you’ve done that add the brown and white sugar, & salt. When it comes to measuring out the sugar, I don’t actually have a scale as I grew up estimating weights by sight so I used a tablespoon (the big ones not the type you eat with) and estimated that one is about 100g. It’s worked so far. Then add the vanilla, I use a great one that I bought in Costco for not that much money and its really quite good. I go through vanilla really quickly if its in one of those little bottles so it was really worth getting a large bottle. 

Then measure your butter, I find it easiest to do this if you use a butter that marks the weights on the foil but you can measure with a scale if you want. Then roughly cube the butter and place it evenly in the pan.  Now add the pan to a medium heat and stir constantly.  Use the same stirring technique that you would use for scrambled eggs as in scraping the edges and bottom of the pan so the mixture doesn’t stick and burn.

 Heat until the mixture is at 238oF on a sugar thermometer, as I don’t have one of these I test, you can drop small amounts of the mixture into a small bowl of cold water, and when it is able to be shaped into a ball but is still soft, then its right.  The bubbles should look sort of consistent

When you’ve reached this stage take the pan off the heat and pour in your baileys, be careful here as it will bubble up and hiss. There isn’t a picture of this stage because you have to stir quickly and I don’t have enough hands. The mixture should turn a slightly darker colour here. Then in small amounts at a time sift in the icing sugar, stirring each amount in vigorously until no white specks can be seen.

Then pour your mixture into your already greased tray and leave to set either over night or about an hour in the fridge. Then wait for the pan to cool to slightly warm and have a sneaky taste, then tidy up your mess :) 

When it's dried the fudge should be completely solid. If there is any excess butter around the edges wipe it away with some kitchen roll, so that it doesn't get onto the fudge when you remove it from the tray. I did this after the next step but it meant little bits of it dropped onto the fudge.

After you've done that take a flat edges knife and cut the fudge into squares, try to avoid scraping the bottom of tray as this could damage it. It doesn't matter if the pieces are irregular in size, you can also trim any edges that have be squished and destroy the evidence (nom nom nom)

To present it I washed out a tin that came with biscuits, it's a good idea to keep hold of pretty tins and jars so that you can give them as gifts without giving your cake tins and waiting on getting them back. To make it look prettier I put a doily at the bottom of the tin. I love doilies they aren't expensive yet they add a gorgeous detail. With retro being in fashion at the moment you can get them in most home stores. 

The last thing I did was fill the tin and tied a pretty little ribbon around it, I know that the  aqua and the red don't exactly go together. I kind of like things that clash though... Amanda loved her present and was really happy I'd remembered her favorite things :)  Want to show you love someone surprise them with delicious home made treats. 

Belinda Stepford

Thursday, 21 April 2011


Easter Treats

Rice crispy cakes are an Easter favorite, they are really simple to make and great for introducing kids to cookery as they are very quick to make. They are also goopy and messy to make but that is part of the fun and you don't create to much washing up.I don't know why but i was struck with the urge to make them the other day and have been dying to get some Rice Crispies ever since. I got ASDA( the English version of Walmart) own brand Crispy Rice Cereal because its way cheaper and it seems silly to pay extra for effectively the same product. The only faf is that its in a plastic bag which means i need to put it in a container.

Roughly 30g Rice Crispies ( I use the amount id have in a  bowl of cereal for breakfast )
160g Milk chocolate ( you can use dark chocolate and shavings of hazelnut to make them more grown up)
Mini eggs
4 square of spare chocolate
Golden syrup (optional)

Fill a fairy/cupcake tray with cases its easier if you get this out the way before you have you’re tasty chocolate tempting you. Then half fill a pan with boiling water and place a bowl over it. Make sure your bowl is not touching the water otherwise your chocolate will be ruined. Turn the heat on at medium. 

Break your chocolate into smallish pieces if the brand you have selected had large cubes chop them up a little. Then place this in the bowl and stir until the chocolate has completely melted.  Always use a wooden spoon as a metal one will conduct heat and you risk getting burnt.  Also keep an eye on the water in the pan to make sure there is always some in there. At this point you can add the Golden Syrup 

When your chocolate is all melted and lovely slowly add your Rice crispies to it and stir until they are completely covered.  Then take off the heat use oven gloves as the bowl can get quite hot. Place the bowl on a tea towel or plate to stop it burning your counter. Add the mixture to the fairy cake cases with a tea spoon, pat the center down with the back of the spoon to create a dip in the center to make the nest shape.  

Leave theses to cool slightly and tidy up any spilt crispies, I find it best to use a damp cloth and chase them onto the floor and sweep them up. Excuse the chipped nail varnish :S

Then using a different bowl heat over water about four squares of spare chocolate. When it  has melted take off the heat and use this to individually sweep the bottom of your mini eggs through. Then stick them to the crispy nests in pairs or threes so they look like Easter eggs in a nest. When you start to do this four cubes looks like a lot of chocolate but trust me you use it all.  Once you’ve done this leave to until cold. They taste phitt! Sometimes I wonder if I'm a proper grown up...

Belinda Stepford

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Number 1

Five Things All Ladies Should Have.

One: The skill and ingredients be able to make a perfect Gin and Tonic. A G&T is a drink for every occasion; The glorious reward after a long days cleaning, the sweet bed fellow to a bubble bath and of course the only true sun lounging drink. A Gin and Tonic should make your taste buds flutter with the longing for summer.

Two: An Idol. Whether a iconic movie starlet, a rising academic or simply your mother, finding someone you glamorize and aspire to emulate is important to anyone because it encourages you to improve. Self improvement is what makes us human.

Three: A pair of comfy heels, we all suffer for nights out and special occasions but some days a girl just needs to flaunt her pins. Enter your treasured comfy heels that you will wear until they all apart... To spend the entire day walking tall without pain is a big a confidence boost as a hair cut.

Four: A horrendous god awful poorly knitted Jumper or Cardigan. There is a very logical and reasonable point to this, the boy friend test. If you wear your abomination to taste and he still says you look beautiful then that my dears is a keeper. Bonus points if he'll be seen in public with you.

Five: Confidence. The most abstract of necessities on this list. It can not be quantified and it can not be explained. Everyone has an inner beauty that can shine even when wind swept and muddy on a camping trip a lady with a confident smile can take on anything.

Belinda Stepford

no copyright infringement intended, all pictures found randomly online.