c February 2012 | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

Fudge Failure

Cherry and Vanilla Fudge

I love fudge its one of my favourite sweets, whether it be crumbly or the soft smooth and creamy variety, I love them all. Then of course you have all the flavoured fudges to choose from chocolate, cherry and chocolate, fruit and nut, the choices are endless.     

I've tried making fudge four or five times now, and on each occasion its been a fudging failure. You name it I've tried it - Easy Fudge Recipe the one that did not set. Super Easy Fudge Recipe a crumbly burnt concoction. Very Easy Fudge Recipe semi edible but just not fudge. Even the Easy Peasy Fool Proof Chocolate Fudge Recipe another disaster.  I don't know which of the fudge making skills evade me. Could it be I'm using the wrong type of saucepan, well after all a bad workman blames their tools. Maybe the heat is too hot or what about a failure to stir rapidly enough or maybe even the simple fact that I'm just inept! 

A lesser person would let this constant failure defeat them, but not me this is now a challenge and failure is simply not an option. One day I will make fudge. One day it will be edible. One day it will be amazing. That one day may be far far away or maybe that one day will be one day soon.
Sadly it will not be today, this time around I attempted Cherry and Vanilla Fudge, a recipe using up some left over condensed milk. It kinda looks like fudge, but the consistency is far from fudge, more of a cross between toffee and fudge, toffudge even!  Whilst it did not taste like fudge it was still very sweet and edible.

Do you have any tips for making perfect fudge, please feel free to share them with me all help gratefully received.
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A Garden Mystery to Solve

Its been a lovely day for gardening and as I pottered around in the sunshine I came upon a couple of gardening mysteries. I'm hoping that someone, somewhere will don their deerstalker and with the help of the picture clues below solve this green fingered mystery.

Mystery One

Help solve mystery plant one
Last Autumn I discovered a young seedling in the garden which I thought was an Erysimum, one of many I have in the garden.  Having popped it into the corner of a pot its grown rather well considering be outside, and that's just the problem it no longer looks quite like an Erysimum.  Which begs the question what could it be?

Mystery Two

Help solve mystery plant two
Found in a patch of bluebells which was kindly donated from a friend last year.  I have potted it into its own pot until I can discover what it is. Do you know what it is?  

Please leave a comment below if you think you can help.

No such thing as a mystery when it comes to the rest of the plants in the garden, which are looking particularly pretty in the sunshine.


Dragonfly, not quite a plant I know
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Shrove Tuesday why wait?

I'm sure that lots of you can not wait for Pancake Day, but as far as I'm concerned any day can be Pancake Day.  

Like most people I like the traditional Lemon and Sugar filling, or in my case Orange, Lemon and Sugar. However, most recently I've been taken with hot Apple and Sultana filling in my pancakes. Mainly due to the fact that there is still a stock of apples stored in the garage, which is slowly being depleted. Simple but tasty! 

Apples from this... 

to this...
to this!

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Shropshire's Best

I thought long and hard in the New Year about deciding whether I should make a New Year's Resolution, one that I would stick to and not falter on after only a few weeks. I had decided I wanted to connect it to my blog in some way. So what could it be? Well apart from the big clue at the top of this post I guess its time I revealed it.   

Shropshire's Best Blog Badge

There you have it Shropshire's Best. Whether that be food, a country house or garden to visit or even a shop that takes my fancy. When I discover something I think the world should know about I will post it here on my blog. I will use the Shropshire's Best blog badge for each special blog post so you will all know when I'm shouting out about Shropshire. 

If you discover something that is Shropshire's Best and think I should know about it, then tweet me or leave me a blog comment. Or if you blog about something amazing in Shropshire add the badge to your post, using the grab code below.

So what do you think to my new blog badge, do you like it? Best not to answer that, I will only go and sulk in the corner if you say no. I have to thank Nickie over at I am Typecast blog for her amazing tutorials that make blogging so much easier. I'd also like to thank @TwitTottee and @KarenBurnsBooth over on Twitter for offering to help make my blog badge should I have needed it.  Although I'm sure both would of completed a more professional job than I. This is what I love about blogging you learn new skills and there is such a friendly group of people happy to help or point you in the right direction.


Grab my badge
and link to my blog

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Flower Seed Plan

Last month I posted my vegetable seed plan, its time now to think of the flowers I plan to grow this year. I have already planted some seeds in January, such as the Lobelia and Sweet Pea. In fact I have some Sweet Peas I planted back in October, these have so far survived the Winter in the greenhouse wrapped in a blanket of fleece. For those of you that maybe interested I soaked my Sweet Pea seeds in water overnight before planting.

Lobelia seeds planted in January

January - February
Sweet Pea - Beaujolais
Sweet Pea - Stylish
Sweet Pea - T&M Prize Strain
Sweet Pea - Dwarf Cupid Mix
Sweet Pea - Tall
Lobelia - Crystal Palace
Lobelia - Cascade mix
Pansy - Skyline Pink shades

Marigolds - French
Pot Marigold - Calendula Officinalis
Cosmos - Pied Piper

Balsam - Dwarf
Larkspur - Crown
Canterbury Bells - Calycanthema

Rose Champion

Wallflower - Fair Lady

I will of course post updates of how things are progressing in the garden, successes and the failures.
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Strawberry Valentine Tarts

As the nursery rhyme says 'The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a Summers day' well it may not be Summer and I'm not royalty but I can sure make a tart or two. I have a lovely jar of last years homemade strawberry jam open and what better way to enjoy it than in a simple jam tart.  As Valentines Day is upon us I thought I would add a little romance to my tarts, and put my new   heart shaped cutter to use. The cutter was included with the January issue of Love Baking Cupcakes & Sweet Treats Magazine, which I discovered whilst browsing my newsagents earlier this month.

I made my sweet pastry tarts using:-

  • butter 
  • plain flour 
  • caster sugar 
  • an egg
  • strawberry jam

Twelve minutes later in a hot oven and wonderful Strawberry Jam Tarts. Just perfect with a cup of tea in one of my favourite china cup and saucers, feet up and relax browsing my magazine. Most enjoyable!

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A Dream of a Flan

I just have to share this blast from the past with you all.  If you could choose any cake for your birthday what would it be?

a) Chocolate Fudge 
b) Victoria Sponge 
c) Coffee and Walnut 
d) or something else  

This was the question posed to my mum at the weekend, and she selected option d) something else.  That something else she wanted was a sponge flan with pineapple and dream topping filling. That's correct, has to be dream topping not fresh cream, otherwise it would not be the 1970's would it.  Something I fondly remember my mum making for us all when we were younger.  So my sister stepped up to the plate, literally, and took on the task.  I've noted down the ingredients for you as there are a lot - you've been warned.


  1. Homemade sponge flan
  2. Large tin of crushed pineapple
  3. Packet of Dream Topping
  4. Grated chocolate for decoration

Years ago when my mum made this she would use the shop bought sponge flans, so by doing so you could turn this into a real speedy treat.  Be sure to include some of the pineapple juice so that it soaks into the sponge.  
Happy Birthday Mum!
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