I really enjoy pottering around in the kitchen. Whether its making dinner, whipping up a cake or making something special, I find the process of chopping, stirring and baking calming. Even if I’ve had a stressful day, I know I can make something tasty, and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t matter.
There is another side to my style which is a bit more … haphazard. I don’t really plan what I’m going to make very far in advance. Sometimes I get halfway through a recipe and realise I don’t have all the ingredients, or have forgotten to heat the oven or grease the cake tin.
And I pretty much always wing it at least a little bit, even with new recipes. This drives my partner mad. His attitude is to make it first by the book, and then adjust afterwards, which makes total sense. But I just can’t resist changing things a little bit, adding a bit more spice, substituting ingredients, combining two recipes and hoping for the best.
I know that caramel, fudge and toffee all need incredibly specific measurements and temperature to make it work just right. But I recently got carried away and made fudge on a whim, without being careful enough. And it just didn’t set. I think I took it off the heat just a few degrees too soon.
Not that it went to waste, The tasty, runny mess made an amazing sauce over ice cream.
But being defeated by fudge just made me more determined to conquer it in my own way. And this time it was a roaring success. I added cardamon, and a good amount of salt to cut through the sweetness. It turned out rich, crumbly and decadent – perfect to eat with a cup of tea.
If I can make it – so can you! Just make sure you get it up to the right temperature before you take it off the heat.
Salted Cardamon Fudge
397g tin condensed milk (not sweetened)
3tbsp runny honey
1.5 tsp ground cardamon (if you don’t have pre-ground, use a pestle and mortar to bash up the seeds from some pods)
2 tsp vanilla extract
60g butter, cut into small cubes
You’ll also need a sugar thermometer
1. Combine condensed milk, sugar and water in a pan over a low heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.
2. Add honey, cardamon and a pinch of salt and stir. At this point, taste the mixture (be careful, it will be really hot) to check you can taste the cardamon. If you want ti stronger mix some more in and taste again until you are happy.
3. Boil the mixture, stirring often, until mixture reaches 116C. Take off the heat and let it cool down for about 5 mins, stirring to help cool it down.
4. Meanwhile, get your tin ready. Either grease a metal cake tin VERY well, or use a silicone one (much easier!).
5. Stir the vanilla and butter through the mixture until fully combined. Using a whisk makes this easier. Pour into the prepared tin.
6. Sprinkle salt over the top, to taste, and leave the fudge to set at room temperature. This will take a few hours.
7. Cut into small squares and serve.