Recipe: Choc-Caramel Fudge Slice

This week at work we were preparing for our first ever Bake Off. Although, technically, we didn’t need to bake just had to make something ourselves rather than buying something from the local bakery. We had about 5 teams and each team needed to bring in at least one savoury and one sweet dish to be judged.

I decided to make something I’ve never tried making before (which is an excellent idea when 50 people have a chance of eating it and it’s a competition.. or maybe not) which was a Choc-Caramel Fudge slice. I’ve never made fudge before and I’m generally quite scared of cooking high sugar content foods because it usually ends up a burnt mess. Fortunately, they turned out well! Fudgey and slice like and delicious.

Choc-Caramel Fudge Slice

Choc-Caramel Fudge Slice

On the day I wasn’t sure how many people had brought in food and was concerned about how much there would be to go around. I didn’t need to worry as there was soo much food that it nearly didn’t all fit on the tables provided, I really cannot remember the last time I’ve seen this amount of assorted foods, it was kind of crazy.

All of the food!

All of the food!

One of the women in my team made a Pesto Plait, I’ve never heard of one before but she presented it wonderfully and it was so good! I voted for it as my favourite savoury food of the day. Thinking back though, as she was in my team, I probably shouldn’t have been allowed to do that.. oh well!

 

Pesto Plait - I want it all!

Pesto Plait – I want it all!

Initially I wasn’t too keen on the whole Bake Off thing, I’m not much for baking but as one of the team leaders I thought that I should at least show that I was participating and get my team into the spirit. It was actually quite fun though and it was interesting to see what everyone brought in and basically fill myself full of delicious foods. The fun didn’t end there though as we were allowed to take home some of it! I got pretty excited at this point and people were handing me all sorts of goodies so I wasn’t going to say no! It just means we get to have a second sweet food filled delicious day!

Bake Off Souvenirs!

Bake Off Souvenirs!

I ended up with four(!) cupcakes, these were amazing! I’m not even sure who made them but they tasted SO GOOD! 2 slices of cheesecake slice, which also, amazing! – My favourite sweet option of the day, a Greek custard tart.. thing (It has a name but I forget it) and lastly, the Heaviest Mudcake, I didn’t try any of this yesterday because apparently it was impossible to slice but when my team mate started slicing it up I was first in line.. she then gave me a massive slab so we will devour that later.

It was a fun afternoon (at work, so that’s a plus) and something that people really got interested in.

Now, onto my slice! I found this on YouTube and thought a video would be an easy way to make something. It turned about a bit more difficult than just reading instructions on a website or in a cookbook because the video goes so fast. As I mentioned, I was a bit scared of killing my fudge and the speed of the video didn’t help. As it’s a decent recipe I thought I’d get it written down for everyone to try and not be rushed ahead at each step.

Choc-Caramel Fudge Slice
Yields 25
Choc-Caramel fudge on top of a delicious biscuit slice base, delicious!
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Ingredients
  1. 200gm Butter
  2. 100gm Chocolate Biscuits (I used Chocolate Ripples)
  3. 100gm Shortbread Biscuits (I used Scotch Finger)
  4. 1 cup Brown Sugar
  5. 395gm tin of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  6. 3/4 cup milk chocolate buttons/melts
  7. 3/4 cup milk chocolate for drizzling
For the base
  1. 1. Bash 200gm of biscuits into fine crumbs, you can use a food processor if you like or just put them into a sealed plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin
  2. 2. Melt 80gm of butter in the microwave (add more if the mixture is a bit dry)
  3. 3. Add biscuit crumbs into a bowl and cover with the melted butter
  4. 4. Mix together until combined
  5. 5. Pour out into a greased and lined square cake tin
  6. 6. Put into the fridge to set
For the fudge
  1. 1. Chop 120gm butter into cubes
  2. 2. Pour Sweetened Condensed Milk into a saucepan
  3. 3. Add brown sugar and butter
  4. 4. Put saucepan on stovetop at medium heat
  5. 5. Mix together until combined and butter is melted
  6. 6. Keep stirring until the mixture comes to the boil
  7. 7. Once boiling, stir continuously for 4 - 5 minutes until mixture thickens
  8. 8. Take off the heat and add chocolate buttons/melts
  9. 9. Stir until melted and combined into caramel mixture
  10. 10. Pour onto prepared base and let set in the fridge
For the top
  1. 1. Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts, making sure not to burn it
  2. 2. Drizzle over the fudge mixture
  3. 3. Place back into the fridge to set
To slice
  1. It's easiest to use a long knife for this, I used a bread knife and that worked well, depending on how long you let it set for you may need to dip it into hot water first.
  2. Any biscuit base should be fine, the combination of light and dark biscuits though is delicious.
Adapted from Cooking with Karma
Oh So Lazily http://lazily.org/

Of food and events

It’s strange that the days chosen  for the A day in the life project I pretty much lounge around the house doing a whole lot of nothing and then there are days like a few I’ve had this week where I do cool things nearly every day.

On Wednesday of this week a few girls and I from work were tasked with organising a work lunch for us and 3 other people of our choice. We had to choose the day, time, destination and get our unlikely guests (we were told to choose people that aren’t well known in the company and don’t socialise much) to attend our event. As this is the guinea pig lunch we chose something easy for lunch – Teppanyaki – so that at least the food would be entertaining if we turned out to be awkward and uncomfortable. 

The chef was very good and entertaining, he obviously was very experienced because the food all tasted delicious, plus none of us got hit in the face with anything he was throwing around so there is that. We had fried omelette pieces thrown at us and also a bowl of fried egg which everyone did really well in catching and not much food ended up on the floor. I was a bit concerned by the fish and beef because I don’t really eat much of either but wow, it was cooked perfectly and I just wanted more! At the end the chef left us a ‘thank you’ written in salt which he did upside down and backwards. It was better than I can write normally.

A teppanyaki thank you

A teppanyaki thank you

My boss had been down all week and for the first time ever (I’ve been at work nearly 2 years) she took the team leaders out to dinner. Our newest team leader chose the restaurant, which was way to fancy for my liking. If it had been up to me I would never have chosen it. It was very much a high service, small serves kind of place. We shared  an entree that was quite nice and I sort of wish I’d had it as main, in the end I chose a Duck dish for main which looked nothing like how I expected, it has also been a long time since I’ve eaten duck. I could probably lived with not trying it again. The highlight for me (other than the vodka) was a chocolate torte that had some berries and icecream with it. So, good! Unfortunately, I have no photos as I devoured it too fast.

After dinner we convinced the boss to take us to a nearby bar – although based on all the complaining from everyone it wasn’t nearby enough, it was about 500m.. not a big deal really – for cocktails! The place was small and quirky and ONLY HAD ONE TOILET… I can’t imagine what it must be like late on a Friday or Saturday night. Apparently they sell churros too, I nearly bought some but was too full from dinner. In the end I went with a Chocolate Freckle and I liked it so much I bought another one. 

Chocolate Freckle Cocktail

Chocolate Freckle Cocktail

I’m not sure how much alcohol this had (I know it was creme de cacao and Kahlua though) but it basically just tasted like a delicious chocolate drink which isn’t surprising considering about 1/3 of it was chocolate syrup.

On Friday night many of my colleagues tried to convince me to attend a poker night but I really couldn’t be bothered doing anything else work related and well, it was Veronica Mars movie release day! I was one of the backers and have been waiting forever for it to happen and finally, on Friday morning I had the email saying I could get my digital download of the movie. I had to wait until I finished work but I really wanted to get it downloaded and be watching it on Friday night. If you are a part of any sort of social media you probably know how annoyed everyone is with Warner’s choice of using Flixster for the downloads and how it just doesn’t work. I had to download the desktop software twice before it was successful and even then it still wouldn’t let me log in. Not only that, but the 16mb file became 23mb and ended up as 38mb before deciding it was done.. it also took 20mins to download. Basically, it is a buggy piece of crap.

In the end, after trying for at least an hour to get the damn software to work, we found a torrent and downloaded it instead. It took about 30mins and I could watch it on whatever device I wanted (with flixster we were going to resort to hooking up my laptop with HDMI to the tv) and it was fast, easy and the quality is good. It’s disappointing that we had to do it and that it was so much easier than the legitimate way although I don’t feel like I did something dodgy considering it is something I have paid for.

Oh, did I mention that Jarrod went and bought surprise icecream to have with the movie, to make it just that little bit more worthwhile? It was delicious and the movie was better than I was expecting, I was pretty scared leading up to it that it was just going to be terrible and endlessly disappointing. Fortunately, I was wrong.

Today, we had a spontaneous lunch (at 3:30) at a local cafe we like. The owner does AMAZING chocolate thick shakes, I don’t know how she makes them (other than lots of icecream) but they’re so good every single time. Each time I usually try something different from the menu to eat, although initially I nearly gave up on the food because I didn’t have many successes. This time I went with a Chorizo and Mushroom Melt which was so big! I didn’t expect so much, it was also cheesy delicious.

Chorizo and Mushroom Melt

Chorizo and Mushroom Melt

Lastly, Jarrod and I decided to go to Skyfire, which is an annual event here that includes many, many fireworks going off on one of the lakes. It’s meant to be synced to the music but it never really seems to happen so well. Rather than sit with thousands of people on the lake we decided to go to the roof of a pretty tall building and watch from there. It’s much nicer with just the two of us, even if you can only see the fireworks that go higher into the sky. We sat, with hot chocolate, waiting for it to begin and just enjoyed the view and each others company.

The fireworks were quite nice this year and I wish I had some good photos but we were too far and I only had my phone camera so they didn’t turn out.

Basically, it’s been a few busy, delicious and decent days. The next Day in the life is in 3 days, I hope it can be at least half as interesting as some of these days for you.

An adventure to Eden

A few months ago Jarrod and I decided it was time to take a holiday (our first together) and get away from work and Canberra. After a bit of indecision we finally decided on going down to a little coastal town called Eden and that we were going to stay in a B&B for the first time. Whale Cove B&B had great reviews on Trip Advisor and we liked that they only had 2 rooms for guests so we wouldn’t have too many problems with other people, plus the reviews all said they did an amazing breakfast so there is that.

The drive took us through a lot of open land and tiny one street towns and then down Brown Mountain, which was dry and hot on one side and then lush and cooler on the other side. It was sort of amazing what change a mountain could make to the weather. Jarrod did an awesome job getting us there and I like to think I did a good job navigating.. we didn’t end up lost after all.

For much of the trip we’d seen nothing but land and cows and a few houses dotted here and there but finally as we drove into town, there was the coast. A few turns later and a wrong turn down the tiniest street ever we ended up at a nice little beach, which as it turns out was only a short walk to where we were staying.

Cocora Beach looking out into Snug Cove

Cocora Beach looking out into Snug Cove

Not a lot of waves but that was ok with me, I’m not much of a beach fan and it’s been about a decade since I’ve been to one so I was happy with a nice calm beach with soft sand. There also weren’t many people which was a plus. After 10 mins or so we decided to drive up to the B&B and check in, we were greeted by our very welcoming host who wouldn’t let us do anything until we’d tried the cake he had baked. So cake it was, with the other couple who happened to be staying for the same days as us. They were quite a bit older than us and appeared to mostly be country hopping and didn’t seem overly impressed with our choices of, well, pretty much anything. They were a bit to snobby and posh for our liking so needless to say we didn’t spend a whole lot of time with them.

The first night we didn’t really want to do much of anything so went and got some takeaway pizza and brought it back to the B&B, it was AMAZING! One of the best pizza’s I’ve eaten in a long time and we teamed it up with excellent Chocolate thick shakes from a different takeaway. We badgered the girl to make them for us nearly every day of our stay because they were so good. The other couple seemed somewhat shocked at our choice of pizza in a coastal town, why weren’t we eating seafood? *gasp* Mostly because we didn’t want to. In fact, we had the pizza again the night before we left, fresh seafood be damned! – we did actually go to the local Fish and Chips place too, which was also very good.

On our first full day we decided to go down to the Green Cape Lighthouse, there were good reviews for it but the road might have been a bit understated. We turned off onto Green Cape Rd and were presented with a sign that advised that we had 27km (16mi) of bumpy, dusty road ahead of us. I wondered whether our little hatchback could make it and if we’d ever get back from this trip. Jarrod did a good job of driving and avoiding obstacles (mostly 4WD drivers who sped around corners and didn’t seem to care less about anyone else sharing the road with them). After much bumping around we saw a sign for Disaster Bay Lookout which was meant to be beautiful so we turned into there for a break from the constant vibrations in the car.

Disaster Bay Lookout

Disaster Bay Lookout

Obviously, it was a beautiful bay, but apparently treacherous for ships and was named for all the shipwrecks that have occurred there. Unfortunately, there is no road access to the bay so we didn’t get to see any closer than this but it was beautiful to look out over.

Back in the car and off to the light house we went! I can’t imagine what it would have been like for the first people to get down there or explore the area, even now it’s covered in shrubs and trees that seem near impossible to get through. It must have been a long and arduous task to cut through it all on the first ventures down there. Apparently, the people who were stationed in the lighthouse also didn’t like this or the seclusion and it wasn’t a very popular place for a lighthouse.

Green Cape Lighthouse

Green Cape Lighthouse

A short walk down from the lighthouse was the end of the coast and then there was nothing but water and sky as far as you can see. It was quite windy and choppy and the waves were slamming up against the rocks with so much force. I was glad for our barrier and that we weren’t standing to close. Looking out into the ocean makes you feel a bit small in comparison to the world, Jarrod and I were trying to work out where the closest land was from us and how far that actually was. 

View from the Lighthouse

View from the Lighthouse

After a while of looking out into the nothing we decided to make our way back to town, but not before a toilet break. We followed the sign to the toilets and found the little green tin shack that was the toilet. It was my first experience using a drop/pit toilet and felt weird not flushing once I was finished. 

On our way back into town we saw a few hitch hikers and realised they were guys dressed up in singlets and with women’s wigs. I’d seen this stuff in TV and movies but didn’t think people actually did it! Granted, they weren’t doing a very good job because we could tell, even while driving at 100km/hr, that they were definitely guys. I wonder if they fooled anyone. There were actually quite a few hitch hikers, I haven’t seen people do that in a long time and didn’t think it was something people still did because of how dangerous it can be. When we were leaving we drove past some and then we saw them later on as well, they’d beaten us to the next town somehow.

While we were down in Eden we ended up with a routine of waking up, having breakfast (this was at 8:30, when the host told us she looked at me concerned and asked “Oh, is that too late?” which no, we had to set an alarm to make sure we didn’t miss it), going on an adventure, having lunch and then napping out the afternoon. It was a pretty decent way to spend the days.

On our second day we went down to a different beach – Aslings Beach, the main beach for Eden during summer and more popular for surfing (it actually had some waves, unlike Cocora beach). I somehow ended up with one sunburnt foot and patchy leg sunburn at this beach but that didn’t matter, it was nice to walk along. When we got to the end we noticed a concrete structure, which turned out to be an Ocean Bath or Rock Pool. Apparently these are common down the NSW coast (but no where else in Australia) and are used for safer swimming from rip tides and large sharks. I didn’t go in, at the time I had nothing to swim in.

Aslings Beach Ocean Bath

Aslings Beach Ocean Bath

After going to Aslings beach Jarrod and I decided we needed some clothes to swim in, we were to lazy to do this at home so ended up with nothing and just walked in the shallow parts of the beach with shorts on for much of the time. There aren’t many clothing stores in Eden but they do have a surf place. After seeing their prices and determining we’d have to spend about $100 each just to go swimming we decided against buying there. However, as we walked away I thought we should give the Op Shop a try and see if they had anything. So, we walked past the Discount store on the way and bought $3 pairs of thongs and went to the OpShop where we found some shorts that were, mostly, our size and cost $3 each. So, instead of spending around $200, we spent $12. Not a bad deal. That being said, my shorts were see through but I didn’t much care.

 

Sunset on Cocora Beach

Sunset on Cocora Beach

Later that night, once it wasn’t quite so sunny, we put on our shorts and thongs and walked down to the beach. The hill from the B&B to the beach was incredibly steep, which didn’t matter much until we were walking back up it. It took about 5 minutes but I don’t think my legs have recovered yet. Once at the beach we decided not to go in to deep but far enough that we could see what was in the water around us without being disturbed by sand or waves, there were a bunch of crabs in the water burying themselves in the sand. Fortunately, they were quite small and not interested in attacking our toes. The next morning our host informed us that there were a lot of sharks out at the moment and many people weren’t going out into the ocean.. so we’re lucky we decided not to go out to far and didn’t encounter any sharks.

After that we spent our last night there listening to the crickets and the waves hitting the shore and enjoyed how quiet it was in comparison to at home. 

View from the deck while eating breakfast

View from the deck while eating breakfast

On our last morning we went down stairs for yet another excellent breakfast, this one involved half a mango, a passionfruit, strawberries, kiwi fruit and some delicious yoghurt. Followed by Bacon and Eggs with Mushroom and Sausages. It was delicious and lovely to eat while looking out to this amazing view. We were told it was going to be another hot day at around 28° C (82°F) which we basically laughed at because when we got home it was going to be 38°C (100°F) which was actual hot and made us want to stay a bit longer.

It was a lovely little trip and pretty successful as far as holidays go. 

Health kick start Version ∞ + 1.2

Here I am again, at the beginning (ish) of another attempt to be fit and healthy. I took at look at my ‘Goalified’ category and found that the first time around I did this was back in January of 2009. That’s the first time in my archives anyway. It also had the same title as this except it was version ∞ + 1.

It was strange to read back the few posts I did mention it (there are probably more I didn’t categorise/tag right) and see that I basically still have the same problems:

  1. Snacks are to delicious
  2. I allow myself to get to a certain weight and then decide to do something, until I get lazy again
  3. I like all the ‘bad’ foods.

This time around they were all involved and I did hit that alarm bells ringing weight and decide ‘enough is enough!’, fortunately this time around Jarrod decided the same thing. We realised we couldn’t spend each night sitting on the couch watching TV shows eating massive bowls of icecream concoctions we made up ourselves anymore (it was a sad, sad day indeed). Even if that’s what we really wanted to be doing. But we wanted to be strong, fit and healthy a little bit more.. oh and no longer have to wear our ‘fat pants’.

This has probably been the reason I’ve been able to keep going with eating healthier and increasing exercise. I don’t have to sit on the couch watching Jarrod eat a block of chocolate while I have nothing and give in to it all. We’re in this together and sad about our lack of Carbonara together – I think that really is the worst; Cream, bacon, cheese and pasta all in a meal together? I can’t imagine not wanting it twice a week.  We’re learning to eat less and eat more nutritious and filling things.. even though I did just eat a row of Smarties chocolate, the difference is we now eat a row, not half a block.

One thing to I have to get used to is having less high sugar alcoholic drinks, I don’t think it’ll be hard but it’s just amazing how many calories they pack in and, how awful they really do make you feel. On Friday night I had a few cans of pear cider at after work drinks and not only did it total about 700 calories it also made my stomach feel queasy, bloated and overall not good. The last time I remember feeling that way was a few weeks ago when we had a Maccas splurge and just wanted to die afterwards. I haven’t gone back to Maccas since, which is probably a good thing because my lunch totalled more calories than I’m meant to have in a day.

One amazing thing I’ve found is that I don’t really crave snacks so much as I used to, we have a bunch of chocolatey goodness in our cupboard that has been there for weeks. If chocolate is open I usually can’t resist, now I can’t remember how long ago we bought it. 

I’m hoping to keep this updated, as a sort of accountability, so I can look back in 6 months and say I finally did it this time. I’ll also be posting any healthy or alternative recipes (like my potato and bacon pizza) I make to help other people out as well.

Week #9 – What Makes You Feel Wonderful

The weeks are all out of whack for the challenge but this was week #9 (and apparently I missed #8.. oops), even if it is technically week #13 or something. It’s probably not too important, right?

Bloggers Unite Challenges

This question, I’m not really sure how to answer.. do I say that every question? Maybe, however I don’t think I’ve ever stopped and thought “wow, I feel really wonderful right now”. There are things that make me feel good and happy and marvelous even! Just not wonderful.

I feel relaxed and relieved on a Friday afternoon, because it means there’s no more work for 2 days and I don’t have to wake up with an alarm or get out of bed before midday if I don’t want – I also don’t have to wash my hair if I can stand it.

I feel happiest on those weekend mornings, lying in bed, talking to Jarrod about all of the strange things we talk about and laughing with each other about our particular type of crazy and not feeling weird to be in bed, in pj’s at midday on a Saturday morning. Then starting to cook breakfast at lunch time which we’ll eat with whatever TV show we’re watching and maybe have Goodberry’s (if I can convince Jarrod that putting on jeans is worth it) for lunch at 4PM. Mmm, chocolate frozen custard delicious!

I feel intrigued when something gets delivered to me during the day at work, that I forgot I ordered. Like a little surprise present from myself. It actually happened last week. A package arrived for me that said “Printed Papers” and I thought “Huh? What is this? Printed Papers? What have I bought that contains printed papers?” It turned out to be a book… so that makes sense. I have to admit I felt a bit like an idiot for not realising that books are made from printed papers.

I feel excited when something new we decide to make turns out well (like these Cookies and Cream Smoothies – even if we used icecream instead of Frozen Yoghurt) and it becomes something we decide to make again some time.

Mostly, I’m just learning that life will probably never be exactly what I want it too be and maybe that’s just the way life is. If life is perfect, then what else do you have to live for? Inevitably, you’re going to feel happy (or even wonderful), sad and probably angry and to me, it’s more about how to deal with and work on how you feel (apparently positive thinking works wonders. I’m not quite there yet though) and getting the most out of life in general.