Christmas Fruit and Nut Fudge

Christmas Fruit and Nut Fudge Recipe
This post was promised last week…so I’m hoping that Sunday still counts because as per usual life has gotten in the way and what should have been easy to do took me forever.

I love making handmade gifts but am not a crafter or a DIYer so in place of glitter, mason jars and twine I go with good old chocolate for making gifts for those people who can be a little awkward or tricky to buy for. This fudge I came up with last year and then made recently for our #brunchclub goodie bags, and it seemed to go down a treat!

Christmas Chocolate Fudge Recipe

It uses my pretty standard chocolate fudge recipe and throws in some extra bits and pieces to bring in the festivity. Along with the rich dark chocolate and sweet condensed milk I add some nuts (what ever is handy but my current favourite combo is almonds and pistachios) as well as some dried cranberries and some dried ginger/candied peel stuff that I found and that looked mildly appropriate. The result are rich little morsels of smooth chocolate, crunchy nuts and chewy fruit. The overall objective: Christmas in every mouthful.

Ingredients for Christmas Fudge

Ingredients for Christmas Fudge

  • 375grams of dark chocolate (or thereabouts, use milk if dark chocolate isn’t your thing, although I totally recommend the dark variety, as in my humble chocolate loving opinion, it goes perfectly with the sweetness of the fruit)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (around about 250g)
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup slivered almonds that you have tried to hack into smaller pieces but in reality have just turned into a giant mess
  • 1 cup of crushed pistachios (not too crushed, just not whole? See above)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or some other form of delicious dried fruit pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of candied peel/ginger mix

Method for Christmas Fudge Recipe

  1. Put the butter, condensed milk, vanilla essence and chocolate all into a saucepan on a low heat. I put the chocolate in last and keep this pretty low in temperature as chocolate can be one fussy ingredient and the fear of it seizing on me makes me unusually cautious. Not cautious enough to use a double boiler, which you can totally do. Im cautious but also lazy I guess this indicates.
  2. Wait for this to all melt but stir it until your arm hates you. Or get someone who loves you to stir it. It needs pretty consistent stirring, again so that the chocolate doesn’t turn on you and ruin a perfectly delicious gift idea.
  3. Once everything is smooth and combined, take the mixture off the heat and throw in half of all your delicious extras (as in half a cup of each nut, 1/2 cup cranberries and 1/4 cup of the candied mix). Mix this all through then pour into a lined baking tray.
  4. Smooth the whole thing down with a spatula (not too smooth ’cause rustic is totally what we are going for) and then sprinkle the rest of your extras over the top, attempting to be even but in the end, this is an unrealistic expectation to set upon yourself so just go wild. Press this all down gently otherwise all this good stuff will go rampant when we cut it up and bag it.
  5. Set in the fridge for as long as you can, at least a few hours then take it out and slice it!Chocolate Fruit and Nut Christmas

Tips – If the mixture with the chocolate starts to get too thick or its not smooth enough add a little liquid. I use baileys (because I love to add this to everything) but you could just use a little cream.

Christmas Fruit and Nut Fudge RecipeToppings for Fruit and Nut Fudge

Being Lizzy, I forgot to take a shot of these all bagged up with Christmas ribbons, but a recipe post wouldn’t be complete without me forgetting a step. You can buy little resealable bags from places like Looksharp, which make life a lot easier. I then added some twine and ribbon to make them worthy of all the lovely bloggers but you could just eat it all with the purpose of saving all your friends and family the calories.

Christmas Fruit and Nut Fudge Recipe

The great thing about this fudge is that you can totally change it up as much as you want. You can go with white chocolate, macadamias and cranberries (this actually sounds like a good idea for my next fudge post…), chocolate and coffee liqueur with hazelnuts, peppermint chocolate (just add a small amount of peppermint essence and voila!). The opportunities are almost endless! Let me know if you end up making this or if you have any other amazing fudge recipes to share!Christmas Fruit and Nut Fudge RecipeChristmas Fruit and Nut Fudge Recipe

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#brunchclub’s Festive Feast with Chuffed

festive feast with chuffedSo on Sunday we wrapped up the year’s #brunchclub with a rather wonderful feast at Chuffed on High Street in Auckland. It was the perfect way to end the a year that has been full of surprises for #brunchclub, primarily in that it made the transition from being an excuse for me, Laura and Maddy to go eat delicious food and talk blogging to a huge group of incredible New Zealand bloggers. Each month I meet new people and we try new amazing spots in Auckland where we can chat over coffee and brunch.

 Chuffed Auckland Cafe  #brunchclubIts been amazing, and Laura and Maddy are two inspirational bloggers who have become my close friends through this whole thing (a side effect of #brunchclub for which I couldn’t be more grateful).

Maddy, Laura and Lizzy from #brunchclub

Finally a photo with all three of us!

To finish off the year we had 20 wonderful men and women (including ourselves) for a Christmas feast, featuring Turkey, Ham and all the wonderful vegetables you could imagine. Chuffed was a beautiful venue, a little haven in the middle of the city with a stunning outside area that was perfect for our group.

Decor for #brunchclubFood at Chuffed for #brunchclubFood at Chuffed for #brunchclubFood at Chuffed for #brunchclubFood at Chuffed for #brunchclubChuffed Cafe AucklandChuffed festive feast #brunchclubWe had a mixture of bloggers who regularly come to #brunchclub, and others for whom this was their first time, which was so cool (I still can’t believe how many great bloggers there are in Auckland!). We ate and talked the day away, and then rushed down for a quick look at the Auckland Fair (which looked incredible!).

#brunchclub festive feast at ChuffedI nearly forgot to talk about the desserts which were the most delicious part of the day in my dessert-loving opinion. There were two different options, a brioche and blackberry thing with marscapone (which looked delicious and was full of fresh berries), and my personal favourite, a lemon posset with berry coulis and crushed amaretto. Honestly, the lemon posset was delicious, like mind bogglingly delicious. I could have eaten them all, and nearly did. Everyone’s lucky they managed to obtain one to be honest.

Desert at #brunchclub

Drooling all over my key board. Someone help me make this.

Desertat #brunchclub at ChuffedThank you to everyone who joined us for our festive feast, and thanks also to every single person who has become a part of our little #brunchclub and has made this whole year incredible. Also go check out some wonderful posts about this Christmas #brunchclub over at The Confetti Room and Katerina Darling (two absolutely stunning blogs and equally stunning ladies who came along).

Christmas Chocolate FudgeAlso! I may have made some Christmas fudge for the giftbags to go along with some great little goodies from Lush! The post will be up in the next couple of days and would make a great gift for that one person who has everything (mostly shameless self plug trying to encourage you to check back later).

Festive decor with #brunchclubWe can’t wait to bring in the New Year and see what 2015 will bring for #brunchclub. To finish off a bit of a rambly post, below are 5 little things I have learnt from this year (’cause I love lists and you hopefully love lists too):

  1. I do not find socialising with new people easy and potentially never will (put me with cats and its a whole other story). Somehow in spite of this every single time I manage to meet some incredibly friendly and wonderful people who make the effort well worth it
  2. Anything is possible with two amazing friends who seem to be able to achieve a ridiculous amount of stuff in limited time.
  3. There seems to be a never ending supply of amazing cafe’s in Auckland and my goal in life is to try everyone’s pancakes.
  4. Glitter is really hard to get off your face after a hard night’s crafting. You may still look like a Christmas decoration the next day at work, regardless of showering.
  5. There is nothing better than spending a Sunday with like minded people, drinking coffee and eating delicious food.

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festive feast #brunchclub

Introducing: Auckland Food Tours

So my dream day is to be driven around to different delicious destinations where I can eat and buy as much food as possible and then nap the afternoon away. This came true last Saturday when I went along to one of the Auckland Food Tours with Edd and Mr 12. Dreams really do come true.Auckland Food Tours


I am a big fan of food. I am also a big fan of not having to put in a lot of effort in order to eat a lot of food. It’s a dangerous combination (just ask my waist line) but for those food-inclined, a food tour is like a mini miracle. Food tours obviously are a thing that have always existed outside of my imagination, yet somehow I have just never successfully encountered one until last weekend.

House of Dumplings 2

Needless to say, when asked if I would like to come along on one of the food tours I did not take a lot of persuading.

All the details on the tour set up are located over on the website for Auckland Food Tours so I’m just going to mention a couple of my favourite places and then show you a few delicious photos.

Monsoon Coffee

Our first stop, Monsoon Espresso, was one of my favourites although my love of coffee may make me biased. We were shown the coffee roasting process whilst we got to down the good stuff in their beautiful roastery showroom, and whats even better is that they have a cafe in the city! The rest of the tour included Lebanese, Russian, German, Italian and Middle Eastern style cuisines and the type of stops varied from the cafe to a cheese maker in Dairy Flat, with everything delicious that you could imagine in between. Monsoon Espresso 1

There were several places that I will definitely go back to again, one of which is Barakah Foods, the Lebanese supermarket in Wairau that was full of hidden treasures for a super reasonable price. The little unassuming store is packed full of the most delicious things like pomegranate molasses, rosewater, tinned charcoal roasted eggplant, relishes and jams, fresh olives and feta. I’ve only scraped the surface of this shops offerings and I will be back there before Christmas to spend all of my money.

Barakah Food

Along the way we met a variety of incredibly friendly foodies who talked us through their passions in food and let us eat many delicious samples (we definitely did not need lunch). At one point I had a delicious German pastry, warm and doughy and full of creamy poppyseed paste (which does not sound as good as it tasted). As it was thrust in to my hand, still warm from the oven, I think I had some form of delicious bread related epiphany (perhaps along the lines of “oh my god, bread! Delicious!). I also tried Russian dumplings for the first time and may have eaten far more than my share (not my fault). I also ate a lot of cheese, but what else is new?

Massimo Lubisco

Overall Thoughts

Would I do another food tour again? This seems like a silly question because I would happily do one every weekend if I could. These would make such a great gift (oh hey there Christmas!) or the perfect experience for someone visiting Auckland. It was such a fun way to get to know some of those secret places that people discover and with the amount of tastings we received it would be well worth the price. Anne-Marie, who hosted us, was amazing and did a wonderful job of sharing her obvious love for food with each of us. Even Mr 12 was totally obsessed with the day and could not stop raving about how much fun he had.

Auckland Food Tours

Me. Eating Cheese. Because that’s pretty much what I do in every photo

 

Napoleon Pastry

In case you haven’t eaten a Napoleon before, you definitely should.

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Christmas Gift Guide: For the Love of a Cookbook

So I may not be the best at buying gifts for other people but I am really good at shopping for myself. And I really love cook books. So logically I decided that my first Christmas gift guide should be a few of my favourite cook books, some which I own, most which I don’t.

Cook books are great and anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves. I read them when I’m sick, when I’m hungry, when I’m bored, when I’m curious, when I’m lacking inspiration or when I’m in a Whitcoulls trying to speed read a cook book so I don’t have to spend my dollars. The following 5 are a non-exhaustive but nonetheless excellent selection of choices, if I may say so myself.

Recipe Book Gift Guide

For the Baker: Bluebells Cakery and Little and Friday Celebrations.

Both of these are the works of great little cafe owners in Auckland which you should all go out and visit, and both feature a delectable selection of baked goods. Little and Friday Celebrations is their second cookbook and after falling in love with their first last year, I would love to get my sticky paws on this one. They also have an amazing range of gifts on their shop so if you have a foodie in the family, look no further. Bluebells Cakery do some damn fine cakes as I discovered from a recent cafe visit. This would be perfect for a cupcake fiend or just someone who wants to bring a little bit of delicious whimsy into their baker.

For the Family Cook: Everyday Delicious

Chelsea Winter’s recipes on Facebook always make me pause when furiously scrolling by and so I am 99% sure her cookbook would be full of great stuff. This is her second cookbook but either Everyday Delicious or At My Table would be the perfect choice for someone who loves making delicious, wholesome meals for the entire family. Or someone with 3 hungry flatmates who behave like a family. Chelsea won Masterchef for a deliciously valid reason.

For the Reader: Hungry and Frozen

I did not take any convincing when it came to buying the cookbook by one of my favourite blogs, Hungry and Frozen. I purchased this and then devoured every page (not literally) before bedtime. The recipes are creative and interesting and the fact that there is a whole section on making ridiculously wonderful toasted sandwiches should be enough to sell this on its own. Laura’s writing is amazing (go check it out) and this cook book is one I constantly find myself browsing. Also I made the chocolate red wine cake and it blew my socks off.

For the Vegetarian: The Revive Cafe Cookbook 4

I don’t know how Revive have managed to bring out 4 cookbooks and still come up with such incredible vegetarian recipes, but they do and any of their 4 books would make an excellent addition to a vegetarians cook book collecton (or anyone’s collection for that matter). The recipes are simple, fresh and healthy but still varied and tasty. The 3 revive cookbooks already in my possession are in constant use and are the more practical out of all my cook books. Someone has to buy me number 4 or else I will just have to keep buying food from their cafe everyday.

So there you go, 5 excellent gift possibilities, and what’s even better, they keep on giving. By that I mean to say, if you buy this for your loveable food maker friend they may just cook all the delicious things for you to eat. Sneaky, yup. Doesn’t take away from their excellent gifting quality. Are there any great cookbooks I should add to the list? Let me know down below, my cook book collection needs more friends.

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On how you can find out whether you have the Christmas gene too

So I’m just going to warn you all right now that me and Christmas have a pretty great thing going. I could apologise (I do this a lot) or just let you know so that if you want to avoid me around Christmas time, you can (and I will only be slightly offended, promise).

I know Christmas gets a bad rap sometimes, for being commercialised, for being all about the food, for being all about the presents, for being all about Santa etc etc. but I love it.

I love Christmas for its food, its presents, its santa and all that other crappy commercial stuff. But mostly I love it because it gives me an excuse to find ways to show people I appreciate them (and an excuse to sing the approximate lyrics to Christmas carols. All day long).

My Foxy Corner has always been about things I love, and being my favourite day of the year, Christmas is something that will most definitely feature here over the next month (just be thankful I don’t go on about it all year round). There will be recipes, gift guides, DIYs and lists, because at Christmas we make many many lists.

So to start off December here is my first list on how you know you have a Christmas gene (the science behind this is not yet peer reviewed or verified).

10 signs you have the Christmas gene

  1. You find yourself singing Christmas songs to yourself whilst in elevators with other people 
  2. You hate fruit mince pies (and fruit mince in general) but make a conscious effort to try and love mince pies because they are Christmas and you are Christmas and it just doesn’t make sense that the thought of them makes you gag.
  3. You find yourself covered in tinsel when there is no actual tinsel to be found.
  4. You rub pine needles on yourself so that you can smell like Christmas. Or when you realise you are allergic to Christmas trees you rub pine scented candle wax on yourself instead (its totally not as weird as it sounds…why do they not have a Christmas perfume?)
  5. You have automatically started replacing swear words with christmas related curses, ’cause swearing at Christmas just seems wrong 
  6. You find yourself doodling Christmas trees instead of love hearts, even though yours always turn out crooked no matter how hard you try
  7. You start watching Christmas movies on December 1 so that you can make your way through all your favourites
  8. You make your flatmates scared to come home when they know you have been decorating
  9. Everyone in the office comes to you with Christmas related queries
  10. Sometimes you dream that you are Santa but then the pressure becomes to much and its a relief to wake up in the morning and remember you don’t have to supply 7 billion people with presents.

I’m not saying I do all of these things. But I do.