Monday, 4 May 2009


I can't believe the bank holiday weekend is almost over. The past three days has flown past. In fact, to be honest the past week has disappeared in a haze of editing, crafting, cooking, eating, drinking and campaigning.

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about this weekend. In an unusual turn of form for us we'd decided to forgo a three day laze-fest in favour of a weekend of socialising and events. Now, don't get me wrong, we're pretty social people, and have a very lovely bunch of friends indeed. It's just, we also value some quiet time in the flat, with the cat, helping him guard the sofa, or in the garden generally pottering, or reading and crafting with a nice cup of tea. With this in mind our usual plan is to split the weekend into a day where we "do something" and a day where we don't. This weekend, all of that went out of the window as a variety of circumstances aligned to bring us a socially packed two and a half(ish) days. As a result I was a littel twitchy about losing the quiet time and starting the week already exhausted.Of course, there was no reason to worry. It was a delightful weekend, and I even managed to get some sewing done while N was in the pub catching up with a friend. This was followed by dinner with friends and a hilarious card game, then a Sunday full of dungeons and dragons, and a visit to see a friend's amazing band play, which is always a pleasure. Then, more chatting and a different friend crashing - much to Sniff's confusion, and yet another lazy communal breakfast.

All in all, a very random collection of events, but one that filled the weekend with grins and music, good food and good company.

And speaking of good food, I shall finally give you the recipe for the caramel shortbread slices that I hope lured you into this post. They look a little tempting don't they? I've been wanting to try them for months, especially given N's love of caramel, but wanted an occasion when the two of us wouldn't be left in the flat to finish them off ourselves, because believe me, I knew we would! I adapted the recipe from one in the Sainsbury's magazine and served them up with strong coffee during our DnD session. I think Kelly will be pleased to know they will definitely keep you going whilst fending off zombies.

Beware, these are very sweet, even after I used 78% chocolate on them. They are best in small doses, with a strong coffee, in my opinion. I made the full recipe because of having company, but I'm sure you could halve it or freeze them.

Caramel shortbread slices: makes between 12 and 18 slices, depending on how you cut them.

100g plain flour
75g soft unsalted butter
25g caster (superfine) sugar

150g unsalted butter
150g light muscovado sugar
400g light condensed milk

150G 78-85% dark chocolate
50g white chocolate
1 1/2 tbsp groundnut oil

Grease and line a 18cm square tin (mine was actually slightly larger, I don't think it mattered)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the base ingredients in a food processor, or rub the butter and sugar into the flour lightly by hand until the mixture is sandy, a bit like crumble. Push evenly into the base of the tin and bake for 20mins until golden. Cool.

Put the caramel ingredients into a large heavy-based pan on a low heat and stir gently until the butter has melted and sugar disolved. Increase the heat and simmer for about 10mins until the mixture is a medium dark caramel colour. Don't let it boil and stir constantly whilst doing this.

Pour this caramel over the cooled mixture, spread to even out if necessary and leave to cool for an hour.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water with 1 tbsp of the oil. At the same time melt the white chocolate in the same way in another bowl with the remaining 1/2 tbsp of oil. Pour the dark chocolate over the cooled caramel and spread evenly, then drizzle the white chocolate to great a swirl. Leave to cool, then set in the fridge for 4 hours, or overnight. Bring to room temperature, then cut with a sharp knife.


Stitch'nbitch with litch said...

Caramel AND chocolate - sounds wonderful - how do you manage to quilt AND cook - I can't seem to manage both ! Although gardening and quilt making have been a feature of this weekend the cooking went right out the window!

green ink said...

Oh my. I was nearly licking the computer screen, that caramel looked so sumptuous!

Glad you had a lovely bank holiday - I enjoyed mine too. TS and I are similar in trying to keep a balance between being social and having down time where we can veg out at home. There never seems to be enough of either for my liking. I also sometimes find that when I'm out socialising I find myself longing to be at home reading, and when I'm dagging around the flat, I wish I was out somewhere :P

I can't wait for the next long weekend in a few weeks time!

PS: My word verification was "booki"! Funny.

Sarah, The New Girl said...

any recipe that recommends a pairing with strong coffee is a winner in my book :)

I understand the weekend apprehension... I get nervous about whether or not extremely social weekends will tire me out, since I usually enjoy some rare but wonderful couch time on weekends, but sometimes the social things are just as energizing as an afternoon nap... and that's always nice. definitely couldn't do it on a regular basis, though :)

I'm jealous of your long weekend!! I think we have one coming up soon :) I'll use that to make these bars!!