Saturday, February 23, 2008

A brief check in!

I have had a technology blip just recently and can't find the recharger for my beloved camera! Oh woe is me, I didn't think I was so attached to it until I couldn't take photos! Meal preparation hasn't been quite the same! It is probably timely though as I am sure my posts will slow up a little from here on in, as I am back to uni in Hamilton this week. Will aim for a couple of posts a week and if there are more than that you will know I am avoiding doing an assignment!!!!
I am looking forward to getting back to some different kind of reading and no doubt a few of the ideas I read about will make their way on here!
Hopefully the gremlins who took my recharger return it soon, they are probably the ones that leave me with odd socks! Failing that I will have to get out my husbands oldy mouldy camera!

Linda
xxx

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oranges are not the only fruit

But they are what I used plenty of today! I got the inspiration for today's post from a blog I regularly visit called "Tea for One" which you can find here. http://www.vonsachsen.blogspot.com/
I always love Eva's photos and very thoughtful and contemplative text and ideas. Recently she wrote about The Colour Orange campaign, where the athletes attending the Beijing Olympics have to sign a waiver that effectively stops them from commenting on China's political situation, namely their rather questionable human rights record. The full details of the campaign can be viewed here http://www.thecolororange.net/uk , basically it is about highlighting violations of human rights that occur in China, especially given so much attention is being given to the Beijing Olympics this year.

I decided I would join Eva in theming today's blog ORANGE as a way of expressing support for the campaign. It seems a little frivolous to sit here in the comfort of my own home and take photos of baking and yet having had my attention drawn to it, I have already spoken with a number of people about it. That is the way these things work I guess, if it generates discussion, then in my opinion it is worthwhile.
So I grabbed a bag of oranges from the supermarket and had no trouble sorting out what to make.

First up was orange flavoured cupcakes. I used Nigella's cupcake recipe (which you can find herehttp://wwwthinkingaboutfood.blogspot.com/2007/12/ken-woods-day-out.html ). I have made these quite a few times and it is an excellent recipe. I popped some orange zest in the mix this time. I always make triple and do them in mini muffin tins (with paper cases) and it yields 60 of the little suckers! Not bad I think! I bothered to work out how much they cost and it works out at 15c per cupcake for the ingredients, pretty good I think. I do them up in containers and freeze them for my daughters lunchboxes. She loves them.

Today, I was also interested in trying out how these would look for the tea party we are doing next month. I iced them with royal icing, flavoured with orange juice and (unfortunately) coloured with a little orange food colouring. I made small ones and larger ones which I popped a wee white chocolate melt and some orange rind on each......

I also made some Date and Orange scones, again to pop in the freezer for after school snacks for the kids, as well as Apricot, Almond and Orange Biscotti.

They both turned out very nice, here are the recipes......

Date and Orange Scones

3c standard flour

6 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

75g butter, chopped

1 cup chopped pitted dates

1 tbsp finely grated orange juice

1-11/2 c milk

extra milk to brush

Preheat oven to 220C. Line baking tray with baking paper. Sift flour baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in dates and zest. Add sufficient milk to mix quickly to a soft dough, using a knife. Knead lightly, then transfer dough to baking tray. Press into a rectangle about 3cm thick. Cut into 12 pieces. Leave a 2 cm space between scones. Brush tops with milk. (I sprinkled over some cinnamon sugar before baking). Bake for 10 mins until golden.



The biscotti are an adaptation of my Cranberry and Cashew biscotti, here is the recipe for the original, substitute the cranberries for sliced apricots, the cashews for almond slivers and the lemon zest for orange zest! These are a breeze to make and are great to give away in little bags as gifts. I love them for dunking in my coffee!

Cashew and cranberry biscotti

2 cups all purpose flour
1 c sugar
½ tsp baking powder
3 lge eggs beaten
1 tsp lemon zest
2/3 c roasted cashews coarsely chopped
½ c dried cranberries
Combine first 3 ingredients. Add eggs and mix until soft dough forms. Add last 3 ingredients and mix well. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 20 cm roll about 6cm wide and flatten slightly. Bake 175 c for 30 mins. Remove and let cool for at least an hour. Cut into 1cm wide slices, arrange in single layer cut side up and bake for 15 – 20 mins until browned and dry. Makes about 24 biscotti.

Baked as "loaves" first
Cut and bake again
The finished product


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tools of the trade

I have been meaning to post about my knives for a while, but cooking photos just keep getting in the way!
I had a visit to the dentist today so haven't been feeling like cooking or eating, so now is the perfect time to digress to this!
I have been enamoured with my Global knives for eons, I have had my chef's knife for approximately 8 years and it is still fabulous. (Although I gave my original one away and am on my second chef's knife!) My dear husband knows that a sure fire winner of present for me is to add another one to my collection, which currently sits at 3. I would love a decent kind of filleting/fruit knife and also a bread knife and would happily feel content with my lot! The numbers of the three I have (from the top down) are the G2, the GS5 and the GSF15
I got the middle knife last Christmas and am loving it, it makes the finer chopping, like julienne carrots etc so much easier!
As a cheap backup I have quite a few of the Victorinox vegetable knifes, both serrated and standard, these are also excellent little workhorses which keep their edges well and are ridiculously well priced! To sharpen my knives I was too scared to buy a stone as I have heard that if you do it wrong it can ruin the life of your knife! So I invested in a Minosharp, a nifty little sharpener which has two 'stones' in it and a guide to make sure you get the right angle. I also have a steel for using, which I would run my knives over every few days.

http://www.chefsresource.com/knife-sharpener-mino.html

I have given these knives as presents because I know others will become just as dependant on them as I have. I generally take it to friends places when staying there so that I at least don't mind jumping in and helping with the cooking! There is nothing I hate more than cooking when you don't have a decent knife. It is to me one of the true pleasures in life to be able to effortlessly glide through chopping veges or herbs or meat, when preparing a meal.
I know knives are very much a personal choice but I loved the feel of these the minute I first picked one up. They recently topped the test of Chef's knives in the NZ Consumer Magazine too, which I am not at all surprised by. Here is a small snippet from their feature on knives that you might find useful.....

Getting the best from your knife
  1. Cut only on a wooden or polycarbonate chopping board. Glass, ceramic or metal boards will quickly blunt your knife. Clean the board well with hot soapy water - nicks can harbour bacteria. Ideally, use a separate board for raw meat and poultry.
  2. Hand wash and dry the knife immediately after use, especially if the knife has been in contact with acidic foods such as citrus or tomatoes.
  3. Keep your chefs' knife out of the dishwasher, even if it is billed as "dishwasher safe". The edge is likely to get damaged, the blade may show detergent marks and other articles may be damaged.
  4. Don't store unsheathed sharp knives in a drawer. The edge will inevitably get damaged. You also increase the risk of cutting yourself as you rummage around. Some knives are sold with sleeves to cover the blade. A knife block or magnetic rack is a convenient storage option.
As a completely unrelated aside, I visited this blog lately http://www.newyorkerbyheart.blogspot.com/ (which I have just realised is completely in Danish, which is not much help to anyone who doesn't understand Danish!!!!) and found this rather cool quiz. You can find it here, http://www.blogthings.com/whatnumberareyouquiz/
have a go, it is good fun! I am apparently a 5, the investigator!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day - Spreading the Love!

I have had a ball baking for Valentines day. Our February cooking challenge on Violet's Pantry was on the theme of LOVE, so I have been busy hunting through recipe books for ideas on what to make. This is one of the things I love about cooking, trolling through all my books and magazines to get inspiration, planning what to make and then getting through it all. And then I go into overdrive thinking about how I will photograph the food for my blog!!!! I have to say I get quite engrossed in the whole process and get a great deal of satisfaction from the creative outlet that it has become.
I decided this year that I really wanted to spread the love and share what I had made, besides, there is no way in the world I wanted that amount of baking hanging around my house! So I made up little plates of goodies to give away and also had friends and my mother around for coffee in the evening for a proper sugar rush! This will end up being another photo essay I think as I took lots. There will be the odd recipe too though!
I made Hevz's trusty brownies, this time adding white chocolate chunks, cutting them into hearts and serving them with raspberry sauce
I also made some more lemon curd, the recipe is on this post -http://wwwthinkingaboutfood.blogspot.com/search/label/Lemon%20curd

The lemon curd was to fill tartlet cases, an idea I got from this months Taste magazine. Their idea was to put raspberry and lemon curd in the pastry case and marble the two, I decided that making wee hearts in the middle might work and I was pretty happy with the result. For the raspberry curd I just substituted raspberry puree (approx 300g yields enough puree) for the passionfruit pulp in the original recipe and it worked really well. This is the first time I have made raspberry curd, you just whizz up the raspberries in the food processor with a squeeze of lemon juice, then push it all through a sieve to get rid of the seeds. I use to hate this part of the process, fortunately my son has taken to it, so does it happily for me which is fabulous! Plus I bought a great new fine sieve that is much bigger than what I used to have, making it alot less laborious.

Next up was the Rosewater Meringues. These were simply a basic meringue recipe (2 egg whites, 1/2c caster sugar, 2 tsp rosewater. Beat egg whites to soft peaks then slowly add in caster sugar and beat until thick and glossy. Lastly add rosewater and mix through. At this point I halved the mix, adding red food colouring to one half for a lovely soft pink meringue. Rex got to lick the bowl after his hard work with the raspberries!

I popped the mix into a piping bag and piped the meringue in heart shapes onto a baking paper lined tray and then baked them for 1 1/2 hours at 115C. They came out lovely and crisp, but I was disappointed that the pink colour didn't quite hold as they got a little browning in my very temperamental oven! Not to worry, I planned on smothering them in cream, raspberry sauce and chocolate so they ended up looking (and tasting) fine. My husband has proclaimed that I am never to leave the rosewater out again, the addition of it gave them a gorgeous flavour!

My last item for the day was a Blackberry cake. I also found this in the latest Taste magazine. I bought some lovely heart shaped cake cases when I was in Wellington and this cake looked perfect for them. This is a lovely buttery cake that was very straightforward to make.
Blackberry Cake

Ingredients:

125g unsalted butter, cubed then softened
125g caster
tsp vanilla extract
3 medium eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten together
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp milk
2 punnets blackberries (I used frozen)
cinnamon sugar (mix 1 Tbsp caster sugar and ¼ tsp ground cinnamon)
icing sugar

Method:

Put butter in a bowl and beat with an electric beater until soft and loose, then beat in the sugar and continue beating until creamed.
Blend in vanilla extract, then beat in the egg a little at a time, adding 1-2 Tbsp of the measured flour about halfway through beating.
Sift the flour and baking powder together and mix it into the creamed mixture, a quarter at a time, adding the milk as you go to keep things light.
Transfer mixture to a 23cm round cake tin lined with baking paper, and smooth the top.
Press blackberries into the cake batter then sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.
Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C (use regular not fanbake) for 50 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Serve warmish dusted with icing sugar.

From Taste magazine, February 2007

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Healthy Fast Food

I was listening to an interview with Stephanie Alexander today where she said that a good home cooked meal need only take 20 minutes to prepare, that it is because people no longer know how to cook that they are not doing it. I am afraid I agree. A little thought and planning goes a long way to making sure proper meals go on the table and it really doesn't need to be hard work.

Tonights dinner came out of a last minute need to get my kids fed fast! I had been baking all day to prepare for Valentines day tomorrow (am making lots to give away and feed friends who are coming to visit!) and dinner time snuck up on me! Well actually it was Carys's rapidly deteriorating mood which reminded me that she needed feeding! I had cooked some chickpeas and had meant to make hummus, so quickly bunged that together in the food processor for her to quickly eat with some rice crackers while I got on with sorting dinner.

With the hummus as inspiration I decided to make a healthy home made kind of donner kebab. I had lamb steaks in the fridge so quickly tossed them in some olive oil, dried herbs and ground pepper. I made a yoghurt sauce with lemon, garlic and chopped mint and parsley all stirred through. Then I just chopped some cherry tomatoes, red onions and threw some pita breads in the oven to warm while I cooked the lamb. As soon as the lamb was done I rested it, then sliced it, threw it all together with a bowl of mesclun and dinner was served in about 15 mins!

It was delicious and I always feel ridiculously virtuous feeding my family nutritious tasty food, that really has taken no effort. So much better and cheaper than takeaways!
My son whinged that I was making lamb again and asked me if I am ever going to cook anything else, I have quite a thing for it at the moment! But apart from the fact that I love it, it is very well priced at the moment, an unfortunate side affect of the droughts the farmers are currently experiencing, whereby they are having to cull larger numbers of lambs than they usually would. I am stocking up while it is plentiful, my freezer will be at maximum capacity in no time!
As I have leftover hummus, yoghurt sauce and flatbreads, I am going to reprise this tomorrow night but with chicken! Hopefully Rex won't mind!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cooking, Baking, BBQing

I have a stack of photos to unload for this post, don't usually like to stack them all together like this but none of them really are enough for one post so this will be a conglomeration of what I have been doing recently!

First up, BBQing....

I received a lovely Barbeque book from the lovely George as part of my last swap parcel. I have been salivating over many of the recipes including the one I made the other night, Ginger Hoisin Chicken Skewers. Typically BBQ food, lovely and easy plus very tasty. I used my trusty soy chilli paste to give it a bit of extra kick and it was perfect. My son's friend who stayed for dinner wasn't quite prepared for it though and politely tried to eat it while guzzling glasses and glasses of water - poor young man. I did tell him he could leave it but he soldiered through it!!! I loved it though and will be making it again! I couldn't get the spring onions to bend onto the skewers well enough, so only a couple had them on it.

The recipe is to serve 4

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp Chinese hot chilli sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
4 tbsp hoisin sauce
8 spring onions, trimmed
8 25cm presoaked bamboo skewers

Cut thighs into 2.5cm cubes. Combine everything except spring onions and add chicken to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate 30 mins. Divide chicken cubes evenly onto skewers. Thread a spring onion over the end of each skewer, to form a bow shape round the chicken peices. Grill on a BBQ until chicken is opaque with no trace of pink, approx 5 mins each side.
To go with this I found a yummy soba noodle dish in the same book. I was pleased to be able to use the noodles I had bought at Moore Wilson's, they are so yummy! Again this serves 4 and I wish I had made more as they would have been lovely the next day for lunch. Alas they were all devoured!

Sesame Soba Noodle Salad
2 tbsp sesame seeds
250g soba noodles
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil

(I also added finely sliced spring onions and carrot matchsticks)

Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over a low heat until nutty and brown. Set aside. Cook noodles in a large pan of boiling water until tinder but firm, about 5 mins. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool completely. Drain again. Place in a bowl, add sesame seeds, soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix gently to coat noodles. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Now onto cooking.....

A couple of nights ago I did a cobble together of a few of my current favourites, including the moonblush tomatoes from Nigella Express. I had made some of these and also roasted aubergine, red pepper, zuchini, red onion and garlic. I roasted them with olive oil and some dried herbs my sister in law gave me, in a very hot oven. I then stirred through the tomatoes to make a kind of ratatouille and served it atop a huge plate of spaghetti, topped it with crumbled feta and some sliced lamb leg steaks. It was delicious and plentiful, more than enough leftover for the next day!
Another yummy and quick dinner was Tuna, Corn and Spring Onion Fritters.
The original idea for the recipe came fromDestitute Gourmet but I have since altered the recipe and now use Jamie Olivers pancake recipe from Happy Days with the Naked Chef, which I love as it makes them lovely and light. He suggest putting the corn on the top as you fry them but I just bung in the tuna, corn and spring onion, fold it through and then fry them in the pan.

3large eggs
1 cup flour (122 grams)
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk (110 milliliters)
Pinch salt
First, separate the eggs, putting the whites in 1 bowl and the egg yolks into another. Add the flour, baking powder and milk to the egg yolks and mix to a smooth thick batter. Whisk the whites with the salt until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the batter,
it is now ready to use. I stir through the corn etc here, (I use 1 tin tuna drained, 2 c corn, 3 spring onions finely sliced). Heat a non-stick pan on a medium heat. Pour a little oil onto some kitchen paper and spread onto the pan. Pour some of your batter into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes until it starts to look golden and firm. At this point, sprinkle your chosen flavoring onto the uncooked side before loosening with a spatula and flipping the pancake over. Continue frying until both sides are golden. You can make these pancakes large or small, to your liking. I served these with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce (although chutney would also work well) and a salad.


Baking....


Technically muesli isn't baking but it does require the oven! I love making my own muesli and no longer follow a recipe, just bung lots of things in really! Generally I use a rolled oat 'base' and always toast it with about 1/2 runny honey. When toasting I usually put in some coconut too. I seperately toast almonds, cashews and pumpkin or sunflower seeds then stir that through. I then put in an assortment of dried fruit, like cranberries, apricots, raisins, apple, chopped dates. I mix that through and then to make it attractive to the kids (and a little lighter) I pop in a couple of handfuls of cornflakes and ricies. This makes a ridiculous amount, lasts us about 2 weeks. I have a yoghurt maker which gets pulled out to make a great accompaniment to this lovely breakfast food!

Lastly, I decided I needed to make some biscuits for the kids lunchboxes and wanted to try something new. I found a recipe for Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and although these look kind of nice, I wasn't that impressed with them, they are the gooey kind of cookie and I can't get past wanting them to be crispy! The recipe was unusual so am not going to include it as I would have to type it out and I just don't think it is worth recommending!

What was unusual was the creaming of the peanut butter and butter, with the sugar and eggs and golden syrup, it just didnt look right.

When I added the flour, baking soda and choc chips it seemed to go very tough, in fact I broke my wooden spoon trying to mix it! The next part that didn't seem right was putting the dough on the tray without flattening it, I tried it first without flattening and then did the rest flattened before baking. To be honest, they looked alot better without flattening first!

The kids did enjoy them though and as I doubled the recipe it made plenty to go in the freezer for future lunchboxes and after school snacks!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Party time!

We went to a lovely party for my nephews 5th birthday at the weekend, my sister slaved to cater for the hoards and of course I felt that I really should offer to help to ease her load. So I offered to take care of desserts for the adults as she had plenty of yummy stuff organised for the kids.
I knew exactly what I was going to make when I offered of course. I have been thrashing Nigella's galette recipe from Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast and I have finally tried a brownie recipe that I am happy with, so the two got another outing for the party. I made a number of variations on the galettes, this time using apricot and blueberry, white flesh peach and raspberry, black dorris plum and cherry, and strawberry and blueberry. They were all done in next to no time, this time though I bought a pack of pastry and rolled it myself, saving about $4.00 in the process!!! (it all went on the fruit anyway!)

The brownie recipe is one from the foodie forum "Violet's Pantry", from the recipe exchange section. This is the most wonderful thing about belonging to a 'community' of foodies, sharing tried and tested recipes, which I really enjoy. Heather (Hevz) posted this recipe that she proclaimed to be the best brownie recipe she had ever made and I absolutely agree with her! I have tried to make brownies on a number of ocassions and they have never quite worked out, either they are too cakey, too fudgy or too dry! Countless amounts of melted butter, eggs and blocks of chocolate have been sacrificed at the altar of my attempts!

The last time my son tried he siezed the chocolate while melting it and ruined the whole mix, so I resigned myself to just not bothering!!!!
This recipe I think works as it has very little flour and that gives it a lovely fudgy texture but the outsides are almost crispy and the combination of the two makes it perfect! What also works about this recipe is the ease with which it can be made and the cost, it works at about $3.00 per tray which is less than a block of chocolate and so much more satisfying! Rex also helped me make them and I reckon he could go it alone next time they are that simple to make!

I quadrupled the recipe for the party and cut it into 36 generous sized pieces, dusted them with icing sugar and made a raspberry coulis to go with it. I was amazed and very pleased at how quickly they disappeared from the plate, with lots of comments on how yummy they were! So thanks Heather for the recipe, this is, as they say, a 'keeper' recipe!
Heather says she found the recipe in "Finger Food For Babies And Toddlers" by Jennie Maizels
(I have taken this recipe straight from Violet's Pantry with Heather's notes included)
Best ever Chocolate Brownies

100g/4oz butter
50g/2oz cocoa powder (I use Green and Blacks)
2 eggs
225g/8oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g/2oz self-raising flour
50g/2oz white chocolate chips (I usually use choc chunks, they're bigger)

1-Preheat oven to 180c/350f/gas 4

2-Take a shallow baking tin, approx 23cm/9inch square, and line the bottom with non-stick liner or baking parchment (very important you do this).

3-Melt the butter, then add the cocoa powder, stirring well to remove any lumps (I use my mini whisk)

4-Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the sugar and mix until smooth.
5-Stir in the cocoa mixture, white choc chunks and the vanilla extract and mix well.

6-Add the flour and mix gently with a spoon, be careful not to overmix.
7-Pour mixture into the lined baking tin and place in the middle of the oven for about 25mins. When done the brownies should be crisp on top and soft in the middle. Leave to cool for 10mins in the tin before turning out onto a board and then cutting into squares.

You can vary what you put in these brownies, I experiment with milk choc chunks, pecans, raisins, coconut etc. My favourite is pecans and white choc chunks together.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fudge and Coffee

My son has been taking a keen interest in cooking lately. Since cooking was included in his school syllabus his confidence in the kitchen has increased immensely. One day I came out to the kitchen to see him popping a chocolate coconut slice in the oven, having worked through the whole thing without me realising he was even doing it! The bonus of course was that it came out beautifully and he had achieved such great results without any input from me!

I have been a little impatient with him in his cooking efforts before now, despite the fact I have years of experience he always seemed to want to reinvent the wheel and not take advice on what was the best way to do things! He also used to lose interest half way through a recipe and leave me to pick up the pieces, when I usually wasn't in the mood!!!!
The last time he made today's recipe we had a long drawn out argument over how it should look as it wasn't working the way the recipe said it should. He abandoned it and I frustratingly tried to recover what I could from his efforts! When he asked if he could try it again, I was happy to let him knowing how much more capable he has become in the last little while.

The recipe in question is Microwave Russian Fudge which is from Jo Seagar's "Lip Smackin' Fast Cookin' Hunger Bustin' Gr8 Tastin' Cookbook"-a book designed for beginner cooks, which my son uses frequently and also made his chocolate coconut slice from. I use Jo Seagar's recipes alot, especially for baking. I think I have about 4 of her books which get good use. She has great ideas for gifty type goodies like cookies, fudges, chocolates and I find myself relying heavily on her ideas at Christmas!

This recipe in particular is great for kids as it relies on the microwave so it is very difficult to burn the fudge. I have thrown countless pots of Russian Fudge out as it has caught on the bottom and then ruined the whole batch, but this recipe handily avoids that! I am quietly very chuffed that Rex has mastered this recipe, as it means he'll now willingly whip it up again, and I adore Russian Fudge!!!!

Microwave Russian Fudge

100g butter
1 cup white sugar
1 can (400g) sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp vanilla essence
Spray a 20cm square cake tin with non stick baking spray (I also line it with baking paper!).

You will need a large pyrex jug or microwave proof bowl as the fudge reaches high temperatures.

Place all ingredients, except vanilla, in the bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir, then cook for 2 minutes, then stir again. Repeat this for a total of 10 minutes. (if you have a sugar thermometer it should read 120C). To test without a thermometer, fill a glass with cold water. The mixture is ready when the drips form into soft balls in the cold water, the mixture should also look a darker more caramel colour.

Remove carefully from the microwave and place the bowl on a wooden board to protect the bench. Add the vanilla. Beat the fudge for 4 minutes with a wooden spoon or electric beater. The mixture loses its shine and starts to become very thick and set.

Quickly pour into prepared tin. When cool, mark into squares, then allow to set and cool completely in the tin.
Variations:

Add nuts like macadamia or pecans or raisins (1/2c added just before pouring into tin)
Add 3 tbsp cocoa to sugar mix before cooking for a chocolate version
Add 3 tbsp coconut when adding vanilla
Add 2 tsp strawberry essence instead of vanilla

There is no better way to enjoy this intensely sweet treat than with a cup of coffee. They work together beautifully!!!!!