Easy Stewed Pears Recipe

“It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption.”
~ Edward Bunyard

After the excess of Easter it is a relief to be back to simple food again.

One of Autumn’s great pleasures for me is pears. This easy dish is low in sugar, and the cooked fruit can be eaten warm or cold.

They are wonderful on their own, spooned over cereal or porridge or made into a layered parfait with some fresh yoghurt and a sprinkling of chopped nuts or some crunchy granola.

I also like them with a drizzle of fresh cream or a dollop of coconut yoghurt.

Pears are a great source of fibre and are high in anti-oxidants. Plus they are delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 12 ripe pears, sliced and the cores removed. It’s fine to keep the skins on.
  • Enough water or unsweetened apple juice to just cover the fruit in a large saucepan. If you use apple juice you won’t need sweetener.
  • 1 to 2 cinnamon quills (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon for each quill)
  • 6 dried cloves
  • a peeled and sliced 1 inch piece of root ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of dried ground ginger
  • You can also use a little sweetener if you are using water to cook the pears. A few drops of stevia, or a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup or honey will work well.

Method:

  1. Slice the pears into halves or quarters.
  2. Place in a saucepan and barely cover with water or juice.
  3. Add the spices.
  4. Gently bring to the boil and then turn heat to low and cook for fifteen to twenty minutes or until pears are soft.

Stewed pears will keep for up to one week in the fridge.

Cadbury Creme Egg and Salted Caramel Cheesecake Recipe

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!” 
Mae West

Easter’s almost here. A while ago a friend and I were throwing around ideas for an Easter Dessert. We wanted something decadent but easy to make – one that was seasonal and delicious and a bit over-the-top.

Welcome to the Cadbury Creme Egg and Salted Caramel White Chocolate Cheesecake.

No. Really. It’s a thing.

A once-a-year thing, or perhaps even a once-a-decade.

This cheesecake has a few steps but it is completely easy to make. And yum. Oh, so yum! It’s a white chocolate no-bake cheesecake with a bottom layer of gooey salted caramel, with nuggets of Cadbury Creme Egg and pockets of more caramel strewn throughout, and topped with more large Cadbury Creme Eggs and drizzles of white and dark chocolate. Please, don’t ask me to make this one sugar-free, dairy-free etc. Sometimes you just have to face the fact that a treat is a treat. This one won’t work with healthy substitutions.

Cadbury Creme Eggs are chocolate eggs with gooey fondant filling made to look like the white and yolk of an egg. If you can’t get hold of any feel free to substitute any of your favourite soft chocolate bars. I’m going to make this next Easter with Turkish Delight. I reckon that would be crazily good as well. 🙂

Happy Easter!

Lots of love, Nicole  xx

PS – Excuse dodgy food styling. I am a psychic and metaphysical mentor, not a food blogger. Also, it was almost impossible to stop Ben attacking cheesecake before I had taken a pic. Yes, it’s that good. 😀

INGREDIENTS

You’ll need a greased 23cm springform pan with the base inverted so that the bottom is flat with no lip (or it’s too hard to get the cheesecake out).

Base

  • 250g plain chocolate biscuits, crushed
  • 125g of melted butter

Method – crush biscuit and add melted butter. Use the back of a spoon or a straight-sided glass to push the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the tin. Place in fridge for 30 minutes

Salted Caramel

  • 1 x 380g can of Nestle Caramel Top and Fill
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt flakes (or equivalent)

Method: Beat the caramel and salt together until smooth. Set aside. When base has chilled add 2/3 as a layer at the bottom of the shell and then return to fridge.

Cheesecake Layer

  • 500g full fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup of thickened cream
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 200g white chocolate, melted
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water

Method: beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together on low speed until soft and creamy. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat again. Finally add the cooled gelatin mix and cream then gradually increase to high speed. Whip for five minutes. Pour into shell.

Extra

  • 6 Cadbury Creme Eggs plus two more or 8 mini eggs.
  • White and dark melted chocolate to drizzle on the top (about 50g of each)

Method: Chop two large eggs or 8 small ones and sprinkle over cheesecake and then use a spoon to mix gently into the cheesecake layer. Dollop the remaining salted caramel around the top of the cheesecake and then use a knife or the handle of a spoon to swirl it into the cheesecake. Slice the remaining Creme Eggs and place them around the top of the cake. Drizzle the chocolate over the cake in decorative swirls. Return to fridge and chill for 8 hours or overnight.

To serve carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan and cut the cake into slices. This is a rich dessert so it will give 12 serves, or 8 colossal serves if you want to go straight into a  carb and sugar coma. If you must, I recommend serving this with unsweetened whipped cream or a good vanilla ice-cream.

 

Healthy Bounty Bar Easter Eggs!

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
Charles M. Schulz

Easter is only a few weeks away and it can be a real drag for chocolate lovers if you are on a restricted diet or a sugar-free diet.

Bounty Bars are one of my favourite chocolates. Ben’s too. They have a creamy coconut centre covered in chocolate. Who can resist that kind of flavour combo? But they are full of sugar, so I decided to have a play around in the kitchen and see what else I could come up with that might be a bit healthier.

This version is refined sugar-free, and can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free or vegan depending on what kind of chocolate you use.

It’s still a treat, but it’s a yummy one. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Yep, we ate them already! 🙂

You can halve this recipe to make just a few treats, or make enough for a crowd.

PS – Please forgive the sweaty pics. I made these little treats in the middle of a heatwave where a block of chocolate left on our kitchen bench turned to liquid from the heat! So as soon as I took these choccies out of the fridge it was condensation city. Which meant we needed to eat them faster – obviously!

 

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • Either 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, rice malt syrup or agave OR 4 tablespoons coconut cream and your favourite liquid sweetener (eg Stevia drops) or powdered sweetener to taste

Plus 200 to 400 grams of dark chocolate and 100 grams of white chocolate to cover. I also used a couple of drops of beetroot juice to give that pretty pink colour in the chocolate drizzle.

Method:

  • Place the coconut in a food processor and add the vanilla, salt coconut oil and sweetener. (Hint, if you are using a granular sweetener heat the coconut cream slightly and dissolve the sweetener before adding)
  • Blitz until the mixture is well combined and sticky, and the coconut is in small pieces.
  • Roll into balls and place on a silicone sheet or some baking paper. Or for a better Easter Egg shape use a mould OR use spoons from your kitchen that have an egg-shaped bowl and press a mounded ball of coconut firmly into the bowl of the spoon.
  • Place the coconut shapes into the fridge for fifteen minutes to firm.
  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (place a bowl over a simmering pot of water) or in a microwave on low heat.
  • Press your shapes out of the moulds or remove from the tray and dip into the chocolate. Replace in fridge.
  • For a thicker chocolate coating do a second coat of chocolate.
  • To finish drizzle some chocolate over the top of the dipped eggs. For a pretty effect use a little melted white chocolate. To colour the chocolate pink add a few drops of beetroot juice.
  • Store in the fridge if you live in a tropical environment. But they will keep well out of the fridge if your home environment is cool.
  • Share and enjoy!

I love these measuring cups that my Nana gave me!

Whizz away.

I am totally convinced this spoon is egg shaped!

Here are all my coconut spoons.

Unmoulded and ready for dipping.

Dip in melted chocolate.

Ad an extra drizzle for decoration.

Share with friends or give as gifts.

Eat and enjoy. Happy Easter!

 

 

 

Healthy Summer Fruits Rice Pudding

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” 
~  Charles Bowden

It’s summertime in Australia right now, one of my favourite times for fruits and simple foods. This rice dish is a firm favourite – it makes for great breakfast eating, but can also serve as a dessert. The one in the picture is dressed up with some extra flavours but the pudding is delicious on its own too. I use coconut cream or coconut yogurt so this is a sugar-free, soy free and dairy-free meal.

I make this pudding with brown rice and no cane sugar, but I’ll give a few variations in case that kind of eating is not your thing.

The pudding will keep in the fridge for one week, and can be eaten warm or cold. Not summer in your part of the world? Use good quality frozen or canned fruit instead!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of brown rice and quinoa mix (or use 3/4 cup brown rice and 1/4 cup quinoa)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 to 3 cups of stonefruit, berries or a mixture of both. Cut stonefruit in halves or quarters. If the stonefruit is a clingstone (ie won’t separate easily from the pit) score the fruit into halves or quarters but leave intact. The fruit will cook beautifully and you can just remove any pits later.
  • a few drops of stevia or your favourite non-sugar sweetener, or a couple of tablespoons of cane sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon or lime (optional but it really freshens up the flavour)

Substitutions – use white rice and cut cooking time by ten to fifteen minutes

To Serve:

I often throw on any or all of the following

  • Coconut cream
  • Yogurt or coconut yogurt
  • Maple syrup
  • Fresh berries
  • Pepitas, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, almonds, cashews or your choice of favourite seeds and nuts

Method:

  1. Place the rice in a large saucepan that has a close-fitting lid and then add the water. Add any sweetener you are using. If you are using stone fruit place the fruit on top of the rice.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil
  3. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until rice is soft and well cooked.
  4. If using berries, add these ten minutes before final cooking time.
  5. To finish add the lemon or lime juice and stir well.

Place into bowls and add your choice of topping. Eat and enjoy!

Top 5 Christmas Sweets Recipes For You!

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more! 
~  Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

 

Hello, Lovelies!

It’s me again Chelsi, Nicole’s VA!

As Nicole gets stormed in her farm with internet and electricity cut off, she sends her love by giving us a list of Top 5 Christmas Sweets recipes! We hope you enjoy making some of these!

1. Homemade Rocky Road for life’s bumpy bits

It’s so easy even non-cooks can make it, and it’s a wonderful treat to spoil yourself with, or to give as a gift. It’s a simple combination of chocolate, nuts, marshmallows and jubes/jellies.  You can create endless variations as your confidence grows, and to suit your own taste.

 

2.Easy Moist Boiled Fruit-Cake Recipe

“My easy Boiled Fruitcake is a wonderful treat to serve with a cup of tea, or heated as a dessert with fresh cream, custard or ice-cream. Even non-cooks can make this cake!

I love this recipe because I can whip it up with ingredients I have in the pantry. It keeps well, and freezes well too.”

 

3.Easy Christmas Fudge Recipe

“This recipe is simple to make, even for beginners in the kitchen, and it tastes creamy and wonderful. The colours look very festive too!

And the best thing is, it only takes five minutes to whip up.”

 

“This is a super recipe. It’s rich and buttery, and the lovely crispness of the shortbread goes perfectly with a cup of tea. I like their rustic style too. It speaks of kitchens and aprons and being made with love. 

This shortbread makes an easy and thoughtful home-made Christmas gift and is good to have on hand when friends pop by for a visit.

The recipe can also be made gluten-free or vegan very easily – simple substitutes are listed”

 

“This Christmas cake tastes just as good as the one that takes me a whole week to make, and the ingredients list is only a quarter of the length of my traditional one. But that doesn’t matter. No-one will know. They’ll just be impressed that you made this yourself. Santa will be happy with the slice you leave out for him (don’t forget some carrots for the reindeers – although Harry and Bert tell me reindeers adore dog treats!) and this cake makes a thoughtful gift for friends and family too.

You can also reheat slices to substitute for a traditional Christmas Pudding.

Yes – fast, versatile, simple and yummy. This recipe is a clear winner!”

 

If you get to make one of this, take a picture and share it with us on our Facebook page!.  

 

Chelsi (Nicole’s VA)   xx

Yummy Sweet Treats for You!

“Love is like a good cake; you never know when it’s coming, but you’d better eat it when it does!”
―  C. JoyBell C.

 

Hello Lovelies,

Nicole is in bed today feeling sick. So I made her take a break and prepared this blog post for you. I hope you enjoy our top 5 yummy treats from Cauldrons and Cupcakes!

 

1Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe

“This pudding is one of the first desserts I mastered on my own, ably taught by my Nana when I was a small girl.  It’s a very child-friendly dish for little hands eager to help out with dinner. This is easy and fast to make, and you can use whatever ingredients you have in the pantry. The lemon zest in this recipe gives the pudding a lovely citrus-y tang.”

 

2. No-Bake Yummy Slice Recipe

“It’s a delicious combination of apricots, nuts, oats, seeds and a dash of chocolate, and there’s no baking involved at all – just a little heating of a few wet ingredients.  This slice has been a stalwart at my workshops, and it’s a great standby recipe for school holidays, or as a lunchbox treat.  I also like to give it as a gift. It makes an ample batch, which is handy because it seems to get eaten very fast.”

 

3. Nana’s Passionfruit Slice Recipe

“Each time I make this I think of my Nana and her friends, sitting drinking cups of tea, eating slice and chatting during the long days of the War, with the rations and limitations and hardships.

There’s a lot of comfort to be had in a cup of tea and a slice.”

 

4. Walnut and Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites – Fit for a Prince!

“A variation of a macaroon, these Bites are gluten-free and can also be sugar-free, so they are great for diabetics and people with food intolerances or following a paleo diet.”

 

5. Five-Minute Fudge Recipe

“A few years ago a friend gave me a recipe she uses to make commercial quantities of fudge for a fudge house.  I couldn’t believe how simple it was, or how great it turned out. And it only takes five minutes.”

 

We hope you enjoy looking at this and most of all cooking and eating these yummy treats! Nicole sends her love!

 

 ❤ Chelsi

Green Goji Bliss Balls

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“Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.”
~ Joss Whedon

 

I often whip up a batch of these healthy, yummy snacks. Green Goji Bliss Balls are packed full of nutrition, and the lemon gives them a lovely fresh tang.

They are incredibly easy to make, especially if you have a good food processor or blender.

This recipe is high in good fats and protein, and in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. It is also vegan and gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy-free. A couple of these Bliss Balls and a fresh juice make a satisfying lunch if you’re on the go, and a great snack anytime. Don’t let the green colour put you off – they are absolutely delicious and lemony.

Note: Broccoli sprout powder is super-nutritious and helps to detox the body of heavy metals, as well as metabolising estrogen, normalising DNA methylation and working as a potent anti-oxidant and immune booster. But it’s fine to omit or to substitute for something else. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, 1/2 cup pepitas, 1/2 cup brazil nuts, zest of two lemons, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 cup of unsweetened coconut, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup goji berries, 2 heaped teaspoons spirulina, 1 heaped teaspoon broccoli sprout powder, 3 tablespoons of maple or rice malt syrup . Extra coconut for rolling.

Method:

Zest your lemon and then squeeze the juice.

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Use a food processor  or spice grinder to chop the almonds and brazil nuts until they are finely chopped. Do this in a couple of batches if you need to. It’s fine for there to be a few larger chunks. Don’t process until it is a paste – you are looking for a crumbly, chopped texture rather than goo!

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Add all the dry ingredients and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix well with a spoon.

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Add the lemon juice and mix the entire lot together with a clean hand. You could use a spoon but your hand will do a better job!

When the mixture is well combined, roll into balls about the size of a golf ball. Drop the balls into a small container of coconut and cover them well. Place into the refrigerator to set (about thirty minutes).

These bliss balls will keep for a week refrigerated, if they last that long. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Coconut Chia Pudding #dairyfree #glutenfree

strawbs

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” ~ Erma Bombeck

 

I could call this delicious pudding ‘dessert’.

But I have also been known to call it ‘breakfast’…

This creamy strawberry pudding is a versatile and healthy option as a snack, a meal or as a sweet treat at the end of a more substantial savoury offering.

I’ll show you how to make a ‘fancy’ offering with a choc-dipped strawberry garnish, good if you are entertaining or celebrating. Of course you can always just make the pudding without the garnish. It will still taste scrumptious – it just won’t look so ‘party’!

The pudding is grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy free. It’s high in protein, good fats, vitamin c, and antioxidants.

It’s also dead easy to make. So easy that #EvenBenCouldMakeThis

(I thought if I hashtagged my easy recipes, I may fare better during my recovery after surgery. It’s the best plan I’ve come up with in ages!)

 

Ingredients to serve 4:

500ml (2 cups) of warmed coconut milk. (I used a 270ml can of coconut cream and then added warm water to make up the rest of the volume), 250 grams (1 cup) of fresh ripe strawberries, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup maple syrup or up to 2 tablespoons of your favourite sweetener, 4 squares of dark Lindt chocolate 70% cocoa or higher, 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, coconut yoghurt or coconut cream or ice-cream to serve.

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Method:

Place the coconut milk into a jug or mixing bowl. Sprinkle the chia seeds over the top and then stir in well.

Keep 2 strawberries out. Hull and puree the rest. If you don’t have a blender, chop finely and then squash through a sieve (or just chop finely if you can’t be bothered!).

Add the pinch of salt, strawberry puree and maple syrup to the chia mix. Stir well and allow to stand for ten minutes, stirring every so often to distribute the chia seeds which will begin to swell and thicken.

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If you need your pudding to look fancy, divide into four serving glasses or place in one pretty serving bowl. Otherwise place mixture into a plastic storage container with a lid.

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Melt the chocolate and coconut oil on low until liquid but not hot. Allow to cool slightly. Have the remaining strawberries and dip the cut side into the chocolate. Place on baking paper to cool and pop into fridge. If you have any chocolate left over feel free to give them a second coating once the first one has set.

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chia pudding

Drizzle a little of the remaining chocolate onto the puddings and then place in fridge to thicken and set.

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To serve, add a dollop of coconut yoghurt/cream/ice-cream on top of parfait and add chocolate-coated strawberry. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon or cocoa if you feel inclined.

Or, simply spoon some into a bowl and demolish!

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Chocolate Easter Nests

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“Hedwig didn’t return until the end of the Easter holidays. Percy’s letter was enclosed in a package of Easter eggs that Mrs. Weasley had sent. Both Harry’s and Ron’s were the size of dragon eggs, and full of home-made toffee. Hermione’s, however, was smaller than a chicken’s egg. Her face fell when she saw it.
“Your mum doesn’t read Witch’s Weekly, by any chance, does she, Ron?” she asked quietly.
“Yeah,” said Ron, whose mouth was full of toffee. “Gets it for the recipes.”
Hermione looked sadly at her tiny egg.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

 

This is a super simple Easter Treat to make, and it’s very yum. The nests are made from chocolate and shredded coconut, and they make a perfect home for small candy or chocolate eggs, or other Easter novelties.

Let the kids help you, and you’ll have these whipped up in no time.

 

Ingredients to make six nests:

200g of your favourite milk, dark or white chocolate

60 grams of unsweetened shredded coconut* (Shredded coconut is longer than desiccated coconut and holds the nest shape better! – see pic below)

Small candy or chocolate eggs or chickens for your nests

*If you prefer, you could substitute the coconut for slivered almonds, cornflakes or crunchy chow mein noodles.

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Method:

Line a tray with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate by placing in a bowl over simmering water and stirring until melted (don’t let any steam or water get into your chocolate or it will go lumpy and hard!) or melt in a microwave (use medium heat only and melt in short bursts)

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Allow to cool slightly, dump in coconut and mix well to combine.

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Use a dessert spoon to scoop up a large spoonful of chocolate mix. Place on baking paper and shape into a small circle. Hollow out the centre slightly to make a nest shape.

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Before the chocolate cools completely, place your eggs or chickens in the nest so that they become attached to the nest and don’t roll out!

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Place in the fridge to finish setting hard.

Hint – If you are making several different chocolate batches, start with white chocolate, and then milk, and then make dark chocolate batches last. This way you can use the same mixing bowl without washing between batches.

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Festive Christmas Fudge Recipe

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“They always gives me bath salts,” complained Nobby. “And bath soap and bubble bath and herbal bath lumps and tons of bath stuff and I can’t think why, ‘cos it’s not as if I hardly ever has a bath. You’d think they’d take the hint, wouldn’t you?”
~ Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

 

I’ve had so many requests for this festive fudge recipe from last year that I thought I’d repost it today.

This recipe is simple to make, even for beginners in the kitchen, and it tastes creamy and wonderful. The colours look very festive too. Even better, it only takes five minutes to whip up. Perfect for end-of-year gifts, sweet Christmas presents or for a tasty treat when friends drop by.

I must say that I’ve also been super-impressed with all of the photos of homemade Christmas Cakes that you’ve been sending to me too. Keep up that baking spirit!

Fudge Ingredients:

400g white chocolate, 40g butter, 1 x 395g tin of sweetened condensed milk, 1/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1 cup macadamia nut pieces

*Note on chocolate – don’t use a super-cheap one as the fudge will turn out extra soft!

Method:

Use baking paper to line a 23cm (9 inch) square tin, which gives a thick slab of fudge, but don’t panic if you don’t have that sized tin – just use you whatever you have to hand.

Measure out your nuts and cranberries and mix them together in one bowl. Feel free to add a few more, or to eat a few. After all, it’s nearly Christmas!

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Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Then break in your chocolate.

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Tip the condensed milk into your saucepan and then allow it all to melt.  Stir with a strong wooden spoon. The mixture will come together quickly so watch it carefully. Keep that heat low!

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When it is pulling together in a shiny thick mixture add in the nuts and cranberries and stir through.

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Quickly spoon the fudge into the paper-lined tin. If the mixture isn’t spreading well wet your hand and then use your wet hand to carefully push the mixture to the edges of the tin and to smooth the top.

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Leave in fridge for a few hours to set. Can also be stored in the freezer. To serve, cut into small pieces.

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If you live in Australia or anywhere else tropical (or if your central healing is turned up!), keep this fudge in the fridge or freezer, as it will become quite soft in warm weather.

If you’d like to try this fudge in other flavours click here for more ideas:

Five-Minute Fudge Recipe

Enjoy!

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