An Introduction to Fudge:
My mother really didn’t like cooking. She managed as an Army wife, but when we moved to a small seaside town, she was told by the local ladies that the Doctor’s Wife was Expected. Expected to entertain, to cook, to ensure that there were annual drinks parties for the important patients(!) and to cater for the local tennis tournament. Mum was rather competitive and she NEVER would have accepted that Mrs Munro, the previous Doctor’s Wife, could have done better.
At the start of the Christmas holiday we had the annual drinks party. We children were dressed in our best outfits. White socks, startright shoes (NOT patent, because they were vulgar) and a smocked liberty dress for me. Kilts and white shirts for my brothers until they got old enough to object. We were enlisted as mini waiters, to hand round food and drinks and to smile politely. We had canapes and sherry. Gin and tonic. Whisky for the traditionalists. And, my mother hated it.
After that Christmas proper started and we began what can only be described as a food fest. Fudge was something that we ONLY made at Christmas, along with truffles and turkish delight, florentines and various other experiments at sweet making. It was messy, delicious time of year and the home made sweets were always eaten in preference to the large tin of Quality Street (though we’d try our best to steal the chocolate liquers without being spotted). My mother’s favourite was coffee walnut fudge. But, I don’t have her recipe and I DO want to make some. I thought the best ‘first attempt’ would be to make a simple vanilla fudge. And I have some fabulous quality vanilla essence from a workshop with Nielsen Massey a few weeks ago. I know my mother didn’t use carnation milk, so I haven’t, though you will find a lot of recipes that do. This is my practise run and dip back into memories of childhood. I’m pleased to say I think I remember most of how to do it.
So here’s the basic fudge recipe. I don’t own a sugar thermometer and nor did my mother, so I learnt to make fudge by eye. I’ve included photos to give you an idea of what you should be looking for.
My next stage is to try adding more ingredients to make a flavoured fudge – or maybe two! I find home-made fudge quite addictive and I eat far too much. But, meanwhile I need to find someone who’d like this batch of vanilla fudge!