Friday, April 24, 2020

Lockdown activities

There aren’t all that many things to do during a lockdown, as so many people have found out. For me, it’s not that there aren’t things to do, it’s that there isn’t anything that I want to do. Still, I find things to do, and not all of them have something to do with cooking.

However, some of them do have something to do with cooking or food, and the photo above is an example of that. It’s of some chocolate fudge I made served with a cup of espresso coffee. As I said in Instagram:
“I made some chocolate fudge last night, and I thought it was time to have some, and a coffee. This was STRICTLY for medicinal purposes, of course, to restock my fuel after mowing the lawns. Oddly, I’m suddenly craving something salty now…”
I nicknamed the fudge “Nuclear Fudge” because it’s made in the microwave. The name is a relic of my 1990s (though I still nickname things…). The basic recipe (adjusted for what’s available in New Zealand): 250 grams each of milk chocolate and dark chocolate, around 200 grams of butter (maybe coconut oil could be a substitute? Dunno.), and one tin of sweetened condensed milk. All ingredients are put into a microwave-proof bowl and nuked around medium for around a couple minutes at most (this will vary depending on power of the microwave). Stir it, nuke it again, repeat as much as needed until everything’s melted and you have it mixed well (I used a whisk for the final mixing).

Pour into a well-greased square cake pan (I lined mine with baking paper instead). Cool a bit then pop into the fridge for a few hours (I chill it overnight). Slice and put into sealed containers and put it back in the fridge. That’s it. Simple.

The chocolate I used is by New Zealand company Whittaker’s, which I love. I used a 250g block of their Creamy Milk chocolate, and a 250g block of the their Dark Cacao, which is 62% cocoa. I made the fudge at Christmas, but used their Dark Ghana, which is 72% cocoa. I thought that was a little too heavy for fudge, which is why I used a different dark chocolate block this time. I much prefer it.

The original recipe called for half a bag of milk chocolate chips and half a back of semi-sweet chocolate chips, but the American-style of those isn’t readily available here, so I changed to real chocolate. It turns out that I prefer it with real chocolate. That’s not the first time I preferred the modified version of a recipe.

I made the fudge because I could, and because it was simple and quick to make. I was also starting to want some chocolate again, and didn’t want to eat up my milk chocolate. This fudge is really good, and rich enough that I don’t have very much in a single day. What I made will last some time.

I shared the photo on Instagram after I was done with a household chore, which I described on my personal Facebook:
Finished mowing the lawns a little while ago, and now the skies are clouding over—apparently I got the timing just right! This is the third time I've mowed the lawns (started the weekend before lockdown), something I haven't done since I was a teenager, I don't think. It's oddly therapeutic.
Today I used the line trimmer around all the edges, so the lawns are now done for a couple weeks—less if the weather permits, because I want to cut it shorter. This mow was a little later than I wanted due to rain.

Today I also did a little blog maintenance: Several photos in recent posts were being shown as missing for some reason. So, I replaced them, and all is well.

There were further food adventures, too. Last week I made bread in the breadmaker, using the basic white bread recipe.,It turned out okay. I needed more this week, so I made another loaf yesterday and it was, um, less successful. I added the “dust” from my All Bran cereal (which I usually throw away), and whizzed it together with some rolled oats. I also used high grade flour I had on hand (which is recommended for bread because it’s higher in protein). I also added a small extra amount of yeast. The result (photo below) was browner than normal, but not especially pleasant: Too dense and oddly flavourless. Back to the basic recipe.

So, I’m keeping myself busy during the lockdown, and that won’t change when we move to Alert Level 3 (which isn’t that much different than Alert Level 4, which is lockdown). I have plenty of stuff to do, and some of it I may even want to do. Some of them may even have something to do with cooking. Or not.

The names of products listed are all registered trademarks, and are used here for purposes of description and clarity. No company or entity provided any support or payment for this blog post, and all products were purchased by me at normal retail prices. So, the opinions I expressed are my own genuinely held opinions, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers, any retailer, or any known human being, alive or dead, real or corporate. Just so we’re clear.

The less successful breadmaker bread.

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