Gingham Chicken fudge – review

Sometimes, people surprise you with their loveliness.

Hazel Parsons is someone who I don’t really know, but have met though my housemate as they both work in the wedding industry in Cornwall.

A little while ago, she posted some photos on Twitter of some Gingham Chicken fudge which was being used for wedding favours. I commented saying that I’d heard their stuff was good but had never tried it, then the next thing I knew I had a tasty parcel waiting for me at the delivery office!

There was absolutely no reason for Hazel to send me the fudge – she doesn’t work for the company, wasn’t trying to promote it – she just did it to be nice. How lovely is that?!

I figured the best way of justifying the eating of an entire box of fudge was if I then reviewed it for the blog – so here goes.

Gingham Chicken is a Cornish fudge company, based in Liskeard. I first heard about them through Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog, but hadn’t seen the fudge on sale anywhere so never got around to trying any.

The flavour I was sent was sea salt and pecan nuts – a flavour combination I haven’t seen in fudge before but sounded like it could work well.

Regular fudge can be too sweet, but the salt balances it nicely, and Gingham Chicken have got the balance just right. Add pecan nuts, which I love and snack on all the time, and it becomes delicious fudge heaven!

Texture wise, it was perfect for me. I think fudge lovers can be divided into two camps – crumbly or soft and buttery. I’m in the crumbly camp, and that’s exactly what this was – although the one downside to this is that it didn’t fare brilliantly in the post and there wee quite a lot of crumbs left at the bottom of the box.

I would 100% recommend this fudge, and I can’t wait to try more Gingham Chicken flavours soon. And should anyone be in a generous mood, leave a comment and I’ll send you my address…

 

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Mushroom, cheese and potato pasties

First of all, let me be clear – these are NOT Cornish pasties.

Made in Cornwall, yes, but no true Cornishman would ever allow them to be known as a Cornish pasty, due to my complete disregard for the traditional contents.

They are however Cornish inspired, and are my entry for the Best of British Blogger Challenge, sponsored by New World Appliances and hosted this month by Choclette, who naturally chose the best county in England to kick off the challenge.

There is a fantastic range of local produce around at the minute, so there are any number of things I could have made using Cornish ingredients, but as pasties are what I would wager the majority of people think of when the words ‘Cornish’ and ‘food’ are mentioned, that was what I wanted to do.

Being a non-meat eater I obviously had to put my own spin on the traditional recipe, and while these are not in any way traditional, they are rather tasty and a worthy vegetarian offering.

The usual cheese and onion pasty fillings of potato, cheese and onion are given a bit of jazzing up by the combination of regular and sweet potatoes and the addition of mushrooms and fresh herbs.

I’m far from an expert when it comes to crimping pasties, but I’m actually quite proud of how these turned out – not quite bakery standard but maybe I’m on the way!

Mushroom, cheese and potato pasties

(makes 6 medium pasties)

For the pastry:

  • 200g butter, chilled in the freezer
  • 400g strong white flour
  • 1/2 beaten egg (keep the other half for glazing)
  • 50ml (ish) water

Take the block of butter out of the freezer, wrap foil around the end to hold it, and grate into the bowl of flour. Mix the butter in with a knife, then add the beaten egg and the water until it comes together as a dough – you may need a little more or less water so add it slowly. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 onion
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 100g cheese (any would be ok, but for Cornish-ness I used Davidstow Cheddar)
  • Handful fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp single cream

Peel and dice the potatoes into 1cm cubes, then spread out in a baking tray and sprinkle with the dried thyme. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until almost cooked through. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and slice the mushrooms, and fry over a medium heat until softened. Add to a bowl with the potatoes and leave to cool.

Chop the cheese into small cubes, then stir into the vegetables with the cream and fresh thyme leaves. You could use more dried herbs, but I have a crazy thyme plant that just won’t stop growing and needs to be used!

Take the pastry out of the fridge and divide into 6 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each out into a circle a little larger than a side plate, then use the plate to cut around for a perfect circle.

Add a dollop of the filling into the middle and spread out towards one side of the pastry, making sure to leave about an inch all the way around the edge.

Brush the edges with the remaining egg, and fold the pastry over to seal the sides around the filling.

To crimp the pasties, start with the flat edge towards you, then fold over the right hand corner of the edge to begin. Fold the edge over in a sort of rolling motion, working your way around from right to left until you get to the other side.

Transfer to a baking sheet, brush all over with the egg and add a few steam holes on top. Bake at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until golden, crisp and piping hot. Serve hot or cold – they’re also great for the pony to take to work and heat up for lunch!