Terry’s Chocolate Orange – shrunk!

There’s been a bit of a hoo-ha recently because the makers of Toblerone have changed the design of it as a cost cutting exercise. Now the triangles are gone and Toblerones resemble a toast rack as the gap between the chocolate is so large you could slot a piece of toast in between them. I’m not a big fan of Toblerone so I wasn’t too bothered by that change. You can see the differences here.

However I’ve always loved Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and last night I was settling down to watch the new Danish crime programme Modus when I decided it was time to have a wee bit of chocolate to go with the murders! My chocolate tin (old shortbread tin) was unusually bare, but I always put chocolate oranges into peoples’ Christmas stockings so I had a stash of them already bought. Well – needs must, and I broke into one of them.

After tapping and unwrapping I didn’t pay much attention to the segment as I put it into my mouth – well you have to concentrate on the screen when you’re reading subtitles. But my tongue discovered that there was something definitely different about it. I examined one of the segments and saw that the design has been changed completely. Previously each segment had always been completely flat and closely interconnecting with all the others in one complete sphere with just the word Terry’s inscribed in the chocolate.

Terry's Chocolate Orange Shrunk!

Now as you can see from the photo I took each segment is only flat on one side and the other side has a fancy design on it, meant to look like an orange segment no doubt, but the upshot is that it is concave which means a lot of chocolate is missing!

The weight on the packaging says 157 g. They used to be 175 g. This is just an absolute con as the package is the same size as normal but the contents are much less, making a bigger profit for the manufacturers. This is the sort of thing that happens when companies are sold on to multinationals. I’m disgruntled, but at least so far they seem to be using the original ingredients. I’ve just discovered a Telegraph article about it which you can read here.

Terry’s chocolate was one of the several manufacturers set up by various Quaker families who wanted to have businesses that did no harm to humans and were entirely peaceful. Cadbury’s are apparently no longer using Fairtrade chocolate but are still using the Fairtrade logo. These business folks obviously feel no shame, whatever makes a bigger profit is acceptable in their world. The Quaker families will be birlin’ in their graves! I just knew that when Mondelez International took over these businesses it wasn’t good news.

Cadbury’s – it gets worse and worse

I’ve always seen myself as being a bit of a chocolate connoisseur, I blame my dad as he enjoyed taking me to the local Italian cafe and it had a great stock of chocolate of the more luxurious type, such as Lindt and Suchard and I remember a Dutch variety similar to Aero which was much harder than Aero but still had the bubbles.

Anyway, for everyday chocolate I was happy to eat Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, so I (along with loads of other people I’m sure) was not at all happy when Kraft took over Cadbury. Although they assured everyone that they would be using the same recipe, I had my doubts. Sure enough it seems that although the actual recipe might be the same, Dairy Milk does not taste lovely and creamy as it did before. Apparently this is because they are now using American milk which is much sweeter but less creamy than UK milk. So I gave up eating Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and moved on to what had been my second favourite chocolate – Galaxy. Another favourite of mine is Terry’s Chocolate Orange and I dread the recipe for that changing. Terry’s was takne over by Kraft even earlier than Cadbury’s.

But recently I bought a big packet of fun size Fudge fingers, (do you think they are Fudge thumbs?) really I bought them just in case we had some fun size visitors at Halloween but no ‘guisers’/trick or treaters came to our door. Of course I opened the packet to eat one, well I couldn’t let them go to waste could I? I know they will go straight to my waist but such is life! Anyway, I realised immediately that the fudge fingers don’t taste anything like they did, in fact I’m not getting any creamy fudge flavour at all, just an overwhelming sweet taste they don’t even look similar inside. Too late I remembered that the fudge is made by Cadbury, so it isn’t only their chocolate which has been affected by the changes of ingredients.

Earlier today I noticed this article in the Guardian which is about Cadbury or I suppose I should say Kraft adding sultanas to the iconic Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut bar. It’s thought that they are replacing the classic ingredients with cheaper ones.

In some ways this is quite good for me as I used to really look forward to ‘Creme Egg’ season, but after they changed the ingredients in that I tried one and didn’t bother to have any more, you can read about it here. That article says that a company called Mondelez now owns what was Cadbury, I’m not sure if that is a Kraft offshoot or what.

But everyone needs a pick me up or treat every now and again and my treats of choice are disappearing. I also tried a bar of Green and Black a while ago, a type of chocolate which is supposed to be superior to others, but I only ate a small bit as it didn’t taste an awful lot different from that disgusting baking ‘chocolate’.

Cadbury was such a big part of British culture, that purple/blue wrapping copied by cheaper supermarket own brands because they knew that it would be more attractive to buyers. But the penny pinching and greed of the new owners has ruined it all for anyone who can remember the originals.

Of course over the years a lot of chocolate goodies have disappeared from the shelves. I loved Fry’s chocolate cream bars, occasionally you see the plain fondant ones, but the bar which had a variety of flavours was my favourite, the pineapple cream bit was luscious. (Jack says the bar was called a Five Centre and he thinks it was originally made by Fry’s which merged with Cadbury’s in 1919 but they still kept the Fry’s brand name for various chocolate bars.)

If you want a trip down memory lane you might like to have a look at the old Cadbury adverts from the good old days below. I must admit I don’t remember them all, although the Flake adverts are unforgettable.

Scottish Tablet/ Swiss Milk Tablet

By popular demand (Evee and Peggy) I’m posting this tablet recipe which I blogged about nearly three years ago now. Since then I’ve adapted the recipe a bit. My mother’s hand-written recipe just says – a tin of condensed milk and doesn’t specify the size and I have experimented and decided that it works just as well with half a large tin or 1 small tin of condensed milk. Also I recently bought a sugar thermometer which only cost £6 but makes sweetie making so much easier. If you have one then you should turn the heat off when the mixture reaches the soft ball mark on the thermometer. Then add a drop of vanilla extract and beat with a wooden spoon as usual. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer you can still make tablet following the instructions below.

Swiss Milk Tablet

The photo above is of the tablet I made a while ago, you might want to cut your pieces smaller, my mum made small bite sized cubes. I made two batches recently, one with ordinary white sugar and the other with 1 lb of white and 1 lb of dark muscavado sugar. This makes it quite black treacly in flavour. Next time I’m going to try demerara sugar. I’ll put a new photo on soon.

Scottish Tablet (originally posted in February 2010)

This recipe has been handed down in my family for at least four generations. It is unbelievably sweet but at the same time very more-ish. So, if you are keen to hold on to your teeth, keep this recipe for high days and holidays only.

2lb sugar
4 oz unsalted butter
1 cup milk
1 large (397g) tin of condensed milk (or half of it for the healthier option)!!
drop of vanilla extract

Put the sugar, butter and cup of milk into a large heavy-based pot and cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved and then bring the mixture to a good ‘rolling’ boil.

It is important that you use something like a large soup pot as you really don’t want this mixture boiling over on to your hob.

Pour the condensed milk into the pot and stir carefully. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and allow the mixture to come to the boil again. Don’t stir it.

Have a cup of cold water ready for testing the tablet. The amount of boiling time required before getting to the testing point is a bit of a guessing game, but with practice you will know just by looking at the mixture as it will have turned slightly darker and be thicker in consistency. It takes about 15 minutes to get to this stage on my hob, it’s called the soft ball stage, but as you can imagine it will vary greatly, depending on your hob and the type of pot used. I use an old aluminium soup pot.

Carefully scoop a teaspoonful of the mixture out of the pot and dip it into the cup of water. Leave for a few seconds and test for toffeeish consistency (not quite dripping off.) Repeat this if necessary until the mixture is at this stage.

Then turn off the heat and add the drop of vanilla extract. Beat the mixture with the wooden spoon. Be careful not to splash any of it on to you. Keep beating until you feel the consistency changing. It should feel heavier and thicker and you will feel the spoon ‘catching’ on the base.

Very carefully, pour the tablet into a non stick baking tray. Mine is 11 inches long and 7 inches wide and about 2 inches deep. This is really a two person job. One to hold the pot, while the other scrapes. Allow to cool and set slightly before marking into squares.

Watch how quickly it disappears. Be amazed by how fast you can put on weight. And fingers crossed that you don’t need any fillings when you next visit the dentist.

Chocolate, Banana And Toffee Pie

This one went down well with the whole family. It will serve 6.

For the base:
65 g/2½ oz unsalted butter
250 g/9 oz chocolate digestive biscuits

For the filling:
397 g/13 oz tin of condensed milk
150 g/5 oz plain chocolate
120 ml/4 fl oz creme fraiche or single cream
1 tbsp golden syrup

For the topping:
2 bananas
250 ml/8 fl oz creme fraiche
2 tbsp strong black coffee

Melt the butter in a pan. Crush the biscuits using a rolling pin if you don’t have a food processor. Put the crushed biscuits into a bowl and add the melted butter. Mix well and press onto the base and up the sides of a 23cm/9in loose-based flan tin. Leave to set.

To make the filling: Place the unopened can of condensed milk in a saucepan of boiling water and cover with a lid. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Do not allow the pan to boil dry. This caramelises the condensed milk and you can buy this ready made in tins if you don’t want the faff of doing it yourself.

Remove the pan from the heat after 2 hours and leave it until it has completely cooled. Do not open the can whilst it is still hot, it is very dangerous as the contents are under pressure due to the heat.

Melt the chocolate with the 120 ml creme fraiche or single cream and golden syrup in a heatproof glass bowl over simmering water. Stir in the caramelised condensed milk and mix well, then spread the mixture over the biscuit crust.

Slice the bananas and arrange them on top of the chocolate filling.

Mix together the 250 ml creme fraiche and coffee then spread the mixture over the bananas.

Decorate with grated chocolate or chocolate curls. The easiest way to make chocolate curls is to use a potato peeler on the edge of a bar of chocolate.

Scottish Tablet/Orkney Fudge

I had a bit of a culinary disaster the other day when I tried to make fudge using a recipe from one of those fund-raising booklets that the local kirks publish. I don’t know what happened but I ended up with a solid block of brown sugar which I couldn’t even get a knife into.

I hate the thought of waste so I added some likely ingredients and boiled the whole thing up again and came up with a real winner this time. It isn’t quite tablet as the consistency is denser and to me it tastes very like Orkney fudge which you used to be able to buy, but I haven’t seen it for years. This is actually easier to make than tablet.
I’m swithering about calling it Fablet or Tudge, but leaning towards Fablet as it does taste fab.

1 1/2 lbs demerara sugar
6oz unsalted butter
3 large tablespoons golden syrup
300 ml carton single cream

Put all the ingredients into a heavy bottomed pot and bring them to the boil. At this stage it is a lovely toffee sauce but if you continue to simmer it for between 20 and 30 minutes the mixture should darken and thicken. When it looks quite gloopy as it simmers it should have boiled enough.

Remove from the heat and using a wooden spoon stir well until you feel the mixture getting thicker and heavier as it cools.

Carefully tip the mixture into a metal tray. A Swiss roll tin is ideal. When it has set score the surface with a knife to whatever size suits you best.

I think that if you continued to boil the mixture for another 10 minutes or so it would turn into a lovely toffee, which would be great if you don’t have to worry about your fillings being pulled out by it. Unfortunately I do.

Sparkling Rosé Jellies

Rose jellies

We couldn’t stand the thought of a heavy pudding on Christmas day, especially since we had had the Girdlebuster Pie for my husband’s birthday the day before. Sparkling rose jellies seemed to fit the bill as they are light and refreshing after a big meal.

They are very quick and easy to make and obviously can be done the day before you need them.

6 oz sugar.
pork gelatine as directed on the packet.
1 bottle sparkling rosé wine.
1½ pints of water.

Make up the gelatine as directed on the packet, calculating how much you will need for the amount of fluid in the recipe. If you use powdered (beef) gelatine then you just sprinkle it into the sugared boiled water. However we haven’t eaten beef products since before the media got hold of the BSE story so I used pork gelatine, which comes in thin sheets which you have to dissolve in a bowl of water over a pan of hot water. Snip the sheets up first.

Pour the 1½ pints of water into a pan and add the 6 oz of sugar. Stir and bring up to boiling point, making sure that the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.

Now add the dissolved (or powdered) gelatine into the sugared water. Whisk well together and place the pan in a cold place to set the jelly. After about 1 to 1½ hours the jelly should be on the point of setting. Now carefully add the bottle of wine and stir it into the jelly mixture. Ladle the jelly into pretty serving glasses or dishes and leave to set again, which should take about 3 hours.

The bubbles from the wine should be trapped within the jelly, giving a lovely texture to the dessert.

This recipe can be made with something like Schloer or a similar sort of grape juice, if you are making it for people who need to avoid alcohol. It would be especially popular for young teenagers whom you don’t want to feed booze to, but who have grown beyond the jelly and ice-cream stage.

The quantities which I have given will feed about 10 people. As you can see from the photograph, I added raspberries to mine when the jelly was setting this time. In future I won’t bother doing this as the raspberries tasted very tart compared to the jelly. It might work if you soaked the fruit in some more booze beforehand, but that would make it quite alcoholic.

I have tried this recipe using a white sparkling wine but I much prefer a rosé one as the fruitiness of the wine really comes out when it is very cold.

I added some raspberry juice to whipping cream to top them off.

With raspberry cream topping

Chocolate Pudding

chocolate up and over pudding

chocolate up and over pudding

Everybody loves chocolate pudding, especially in the colder weather which I can feel coming already and this is a great recipe for those times when the whole family is asking – What’s for pudding? and you haven’t had time to think about it. All of the ingredients are what I would call ‘store cupboard essentials’, nothing fancy, but it tastes great.

Pudding

75g/3oz self-raising flour
1 rounded tablespoon of cocoa powder
125g/4oz soft margarine
125g/4oz granulated sugar
2 eggs

Topping and sauce

1 rounded tablespoon cocoa powder
125g/4oz demerara sugar
300 ml/ 1/2 pint hot, strong black coffee. Instant is fine – use 3 teaspoons added to the water.

Grease an oven proof dish of 2 pint capacity.

Put all of the pudding ingredients into a mixing bowl at the same time and with a wooden spoon or electric mixer, beat until smooth.

Tip the mixture into your greased dish and smooth flat.

Sprinkle 50g/2oz demerara sugar over the top.

Add the remaining 50g/2oz demerara sugar to the hot coffee and stir well. Carefully pour the coffee over the pudding mixture.

Bake at gas mark 4, 350 F, 180 C for about 50 minutes or an hour.

As if by magic the sponge rises over the coffee mixture during the cooking and a sauce is formed underneath.

It’s lovely served hot with ice-cream or cream.
It should serve 4 people.

Scottish (Swiss Milk) Tablet

Scottish Tablet

Scottish Tablet

This recipe has been handed down in my family for at least four generations. It is unbelievably sweet but at the same time very more-ish. So, if you are keen to hold on to your teeth, keep this recipe for high days and holidays only.

2lb / 907grams sugar
4 oz / 113 grams unsalted butter
1 cup / 150 ml milk
1 397grams tin of condensed milk
drop of vanilla extract

Put the sugar, butter and cup of milk into a large heavy-based pot and cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved and then bring the mixture to a good ‘rolling’ boil.

It is important that you use something like a large soup pot as you really don’t want this mixture boiling over on to your hob.

Pour the condensed milk into the pot and stir carefully. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and allow the mixture to come to the boil again, stirring now and then.

Have a cup of cold water ready for testing the tablet. The amount of boiling time required before getting to the testing point is a bit of a guessing game, but with practice you will know just by looking at the mixture as it will have turned darker and be thicker in consistency. It takes about 15 minutes to get to this stage on my hob, but as you can imagine it will vary greatly, depending on your hob and the type of pot used. I use an old aluminium soup pot.

Carefully scoop a teaspoonful of the mixture out of the pot and dip it into the cup of water. Leave for a few seconds and test for toffeeish consistency (not quite dripping off.) Repeat this if necessary until the mixture is at this stage.

Then turn off the heat and add the drop of vanilla extract. Beat the mixture with the wooden spoon. Be careful not to splash any of it on to you. Keep beating until you feel the consistency changing. It should feel heavier and thicker and you will feel the spoon ‘catching’ on the base.

Very carefully, pour the tablet into a non stick baking tray. Mine is 11 inches long and 7 inches wide and about 2 inches deep. This is really a two person job. One to hold the pot, while the other scrapes. Allow to cool and set slightly before marking into squares.

Watch how quickly it disappears. Be amazed by how fast you can put on weight. And fingers crossed that you don’t need any fillings when you next visit the dentist.