Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ooh, Look... Best of 2012 and Cat of the Year

Another year over, a new one just begun...

To celebrate the close of a great year, I thought I'd put together a collation of some of the popular posts from this blog in 2012. So let's join hands and take a quick journey down memory lane - it's a very short lane because I can't totter very far in my high heels  =)

1. Spicy Fish Burgers - a lovely light meal of crusty bread filled with a fish fillet and veg
2. Raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake - a spectacular dessert topped with luscious berries
3. Red velvet cupcakes - celebrate Valentine's Day with your own bit of sweetness
4. Lemon lime tart - tart by name and tart by nature!

5. Lettuce, dill and mint cakes - I was a bit obsessed with 'fritters' this year...
6. No-bake chocolate cheesecake - as featured on the cover of delicious magazine
7.  Mushroom Carbonara - extra tasty, and NO CREAM! ftw!
8. White chocolate and macadamia cookies - where homemade is a trillion times better than bought

9. Chicken and broad bean casserole - full of colourful winter veg, and slow cooked
10. Little apple and pear pies - with crumbly soft pastry and cosy flavour
11. Chocolate snaps with sea salt - a pretty favourite that's super easy to make
12. Espresso granita - strong coffee and ice crystals - a match made in dessert heaven

13. Thai-style beef salad - I make this at least once a week, the salad dressing is especially sublime
14. Jamie's coconut buns - wow, this was a popular post. Bonus: the buns are fab
15. Japanese chicken meatballs - canape par excellence on a toothpick
16. Salted caramel fudge - salted caramel was the flavour of the year and these sweetmeats don't disappoint

Cat of the Year Awards 2012

Winner: Tabitha
The softest cat in the world.
Sweet-natured (when she feels like it), always hungry and meowing for food.

Winner: Henry
Henry is a neighbour's cat but has made himself at home (occasionally) at Chez Ooh, Look.
Shows up at mealtimes.
A real cool cat.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from Ooh, Look

Wishing you a peaceful and happy holiday season.

Thanks for supporting Ooh, Look... this year, it's been a wonderful time of cooking and eating and I'm glad to have shared it with you!

PS: Normally there would be a food or cat-related Christmas picture, but I found this old photo of me dressed for my tap dancing concert (in the days before digital cameras and when one computer took up an entire building at MIT) and thought it was festively appropriate.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Salted Caramel Fudge - or, Sugar Sugar

I was both astonished and delighted at finding this Salted Caramel Fudge.
Astonished that there could be so many variants of sugar in a single formula, and delighted at discovering a recipe for caramel that doesn’t involve a candy thermometer.

That’s not to say that you can completely avoid spitting, searing hot sugar (there was some lava-like ‘plopping’ involved), but this is a relatively easy way to come up with smooth, creamy, butterscotchy, SWEET lumps of candy.

Oh, and if you don’t have access to ingredients like golden syrup and glucose syrup, you could try and find a substitute here.

Or you could try my other salted caramel experiment from a couple of Christmases ago, here (warning: sugar thermometer involved).

And speaking of Christmas (smooth segue!), check out my cards this year on the Ooh, Look – Craft blog, here and below:

Salted Caramel Fudge
makes 60+ pieces

395g (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (reduced fat is fine)
1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
2 tblsp glucose syrup
¼ cup golden syrup
125g (4½ oz) butter, chopped
180g (6 oz) white chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp sea salt flakes

1. Grease a 20cm square cake pan with deep sides. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides

2. Place condensed milk, brown sugar, glucose syrup and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.

3. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring mixture to a simmer while stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until mixture thickens and comes away from the side of the pan.

4. Remove from heat and stir in white chocolate until combined and the chocolate has melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt flakes, pressing in the salt with the back of a spoon to make it stick. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm. Cut into small pieces to serve.

To store: Keep the fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It’s easier if you cut into pieces with a sharp knife before storing. This fudge softens quickly when out of the fridge and this gives a more chewy fudge if you prefer it that way.

recipe from

Even Tabitha cat is suspicious of the myriad sugary ingredients.
Also, notice how the packaging tries to make the sweet stuff sound less deadly:
'99% fat free' condensed milk, 'no artificial colours or flavours' (Milky Bar chocolate), 'gluten-free' glucose syrup, '100% natural' golden syrup, and, um... brown sugar.

And if all that sugar wasn't enough, you have to add half a block of butter, as well.
Mmm, cholesterol.
Don't forget a generous sprinkling of salt flakes for added artery-clogging goodness.

I'll tell you what, though... this is some seriously GOOD fudge!

Less sugar and fat? Let's leave that for a new year's resolution. Now, gimme more fudge!