Thursday 19 December 2013

Chocolate layered fudge and Christmas in Melbourne

So today is 40 C and I foolishly decided to photograph the fudge I made yesterday.  Despite coming out of the fridge, it was still melting as I handled it.  However, the hot weather was my excuse to make the fudge.  I had bought some bags of choc chips in the Christmas spirit and then lost my mojo for making presents with it.  Instead I turned it into fudge because, as we all know, fudge from the fridge tastes much better than chocolate from the fridge.

The other two reasons I wanted to make fudge were that it is quick and easy (and my throat was so sore yesterday but a bit better today) and I didn't need to turn on the oven to make it.  The hardest part about making it was trying not to eat the mixture.  (Well making neat layers was a bit challenging.) It was a fun activity to share with Sylvia.

We went to her kinder Christmas party last night but we got there late, we forgot to take the Christmas cards and it was hot, noisy and crowded.  It was a relief to leave.  (I did love the little tealight holders Sylvia had made us as presents and the kids singing Deck the Sheds with Bits of Wattle.)  Then on to another Christmas party at our local neighbourhood house.  This was far more relaxed.  We sat outside singing carols under the gaze of the majestic gum trees in the neighbouring park.  Much more my sort of celebration.

Yes Christmas in Australia is different to a European Christmas.  Last year we were in Edinburgh just prior to Christmas enjoying festive lights on dark nights, winter woollens, festooned pubs and cosy dinners.  It is not just the warm long nights that are different here.  It is the lack of decorations.  They are minimal in most places.

The shops in Melbourne have very little in the way of Christmas in their windows.  Some token modern stars or an apologetically stylised picture of a tree is often the way.  In one department store I found a nice Christmas tree but it had unwrapped gifts beneath with loud price tags on them.  A little bit of humour is always welcome.  I had a good laugh at the ocker nature of the above Christmas advertisement I found in one window.

To be fair the Melbourne City Council has a nice Christmas village in the City Square.  We went there earlier in the week after a wander through St Paul's Cathedral.  The City Square has a queue to see Santa but we didn't bother.  Much better was the little interactive activity where the kids had a piece of paper with empty reindeer stalls and had to stamp the paper at the right coloured reindeer.  For their efforts they were rewarded with a little certificate and a tattoo.  Good simple fun.

Above is the Christmas tree in the City Square.  I quite liked it.  It managed to be modern without being too devoid of fun and colour.  I prefer a traditional Christmas tree like the one below, which is in the Babushka Shop  in the Royal Arcade.

I think the Royal Arcade (off Bourke Street Mall) is probably my favourite place to go to see Christmas decorations in the city.  It is such a beautiful historic arcade and had Christmas decorations to match the vintage.  Quite a few of the shops are quite Christmassy.  You can buy beautiful decorations in the Babushka Shop, lovely gifts in Westminster and snowman chocolates at Koko Black.  Then marvel at the dolls house complete with Christmas tree in the window of Jasper Junior.

I loved this macaron Christmas tree at the The Little Royal in the Royal Aracade.

I am sending this foodie Christmas tree photo to Jacqueline for the Festive Photos edition of No Croutons Required (NCR).  NCR is a vegetarian soup and salad blog even but each year in December Jacqueline calls for festive photos and there are always lots of lovely photos to admire. 

I also really liked this little window display in the Royal Arcade.  If you are after visiting other Christmas displays in Melbourne, my mum tells me there are some really lovely decorations in banks on Collins Street between Elizabeth Street and Queen Street.  All I could find online was a picture of a tree at 333 Collins Street (which I don't think is a bank).  And there is also the Gingerbread Village and the Myer Christmas Windows.

So whether you want to have a little holiday treat in your fridge or some gifts to give out, these layers of chocolate fudge will be perfect.  They are particularly suited to the warm Australian Christmas as long as they don't spend too long out of the fridge under the tree.  But they would be welcome in any weather.  I warn you though, it is very hard to stop at one.

I am sending these layered chocolate to Tea Time Treats hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked and co-hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage. The theme this month is Festive Food.

The fudge also makes a nice wee bite so I am sending them to Treat Petite hosted by Stuart from Cakeyboi and co-hosted by Kat from the Baking Explorer. The theme for December is Happy Holidays.

Finally I am sending them for a Kids Christmas theme to Family Foodies hosted by Louisa from Eat Your Veg and Vanesther from Bangers and Mash.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago:
Edinburgh Larder and the National Museum
Two years ago: Buttermilk bread
Three years ago: Hotel Lincoln: genial gastropub
Four years ago: The Witchery - Scottish Fine Dining
Five years ago: Tree, Tarts and Punch
Six years ago: Nutroast for dinosaurs

Chocolate layered fudge
Peppermint layer from Taste of Home, Caramel layer adapted.

400g tin of condensed milk
250g dark choc chips

Peppermint layer:
250g white choc chips
3 tsp peppermint essence
few drops green food dye


Caramel layer:
250g caramel bits

Put about 3/4 of condensed milk and all dark choc chips in a small microwave-proof mixing bowl.  Heat until just melted.  It only took 1 minute in my microwave (not a very powerful one).  Mix well until glossy.  It should be fairly thick.

Line a 15cm square baking tin with baking paper.  Spread half the chocolate mixture in it.  Place in freezer while you prepare next layer.  Set remaining chocolate mixture aside.

Mix and melt remaining condensed milk with either white choc chips or caramel bits (depending on if you want a peppermint or caramel middle layer).  This only took about 45 seconds for me.  Mix well and if making peppermint layer, mix in peppermint essence and food dye.

Remove chocolate mixture from freezer and spread middle layer on it.  The bottom layer should have firmed up and the middle layer should be fairly thick and resist stirring.  Return to freezer to firm up for 5 to 10 minutes.  Now remove again and spread remaining chocolate mixture on top.  (I didn't have to warm up my chocolate mixture but it was quite thick to spread.)

Firm up in the fridge for 4 to 6 hours and then cut into small squares.  I found with the peppermint squares I had to clean the knife after each cut or it left brown marks on the green layer.  Keep in the fridge.

On the Stereo:
White Christmas: Bing Crosby


  1. That fudge looks delicious! I might have to try and whip up a batch for next week.

    I hope your throat feels better soon!

    1. Thanks Dayna - enjoy the fudge - my throat is getting better

  2. mmmmm fudge!!

    Although I'm still in shock that its Christmas next week! Where has the year gone?

    1. Thanks Lisa - yes I can't believe how close Christmas is either - and so much to do before it

  3. Thank you so much for entering Treat Petite! The fudge looks very good and it;s interesting reading about a different type of Christmas! Happy Holidays!

    1. Thanks Stuart - will look forward to the round up - am sure you would enjoy the fudge

  4. It's funny, knowing this is my last Australian Christmas has helped me embrace the Australian-specific aspects far more than usual and really draw a lot of pleasure from the laid back Australian festivities - and even a tiny bit from the warm weather!! I'm reminding myself how much we should try to live in the moment regardless of what we having coming up, because it makes the moments far more meaningful/enjoyable.

    Your fudge looks really impressive and Sylvia's candle holders are lovely :)

    1. Thanks Kari - hope it wont be your very last christmas (my sister living in Ireland is spending Christmas in Australia this year) but I know what you mean about appreciating this more when you can't take it for granted. There are definitely some perks to Australian Christmas - carols outside are so lovely (though I remember one carol singing in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh that I loved but we went into a nearby hotel soon after for mince pies to warm us up). Good luck with living in the moment.

  5. A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Loved those layered bars..they are surely festive and adorable :-)

    1. Thanks Kumars Kitchen - chocolate is always festive (and good) :-)

  6. Christmas in Melbourne is certainly different but I'm just happy to be with the family for a few days wherever they are and whatever the weather!
    A very Merry Christmas to you Johanna :D

    1. Thanks Emma - I think you are right - it about the people rather than just the weather - love being here with my family for Christmas.

  7. oooh peppermint fudge, yum! I love your Melbourne photos, I was in the city on the 40 degree day and couldn't bring myself to go tree hunting for photos (I just pigged out at Divine Realm/Chan House instead...)

    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - I had a swim on the 40 C day and had no thought of taking photos - a few of these photos were taken on different days but most at the start of the week.

  8. Replies
    1. Thanks Yummy C - I think the layers have a rustic charm if not as neat as the recipe I was following

  9. So impressive! And a lovely collection of photos. Thank you very much for entering TTT and Happy Christmas!

  10. It's lovely to hear all about what Melbourne's got to offer at Christmas, a little less than most parts of the UK that have been super-charged for Christmas for weeks now. Though I could really do with a bit of your 40 degree heat to warm me up!. Gorgeous fudge too, I used to make fudge with my Dad at Christmas every year when I was little. Though I can't say I've made it since and I do love it. Gorgeous post, thanks so much for sharing with Family Foodies, Louisa

    1. Thanks Louisa - I think Melbourne is less obsessed with Christmas partly because of mutliculturalism but also because it is summer and there is so much happening in summer - people are out and about rather than spending time indoors watching telly as is more likely in the cold. I was concerned about the 40 C day but honestly it wasn't so bad to have just one among the unusually mild days we have been having.. Making fudge with your dad sounds a great tradition - this one is an easy one - even easy enough for Sylvia to do it with her dad (who is not at all a cook) so I think it might be good for dads and kids :-)

  11. 40C - my, that sounds like my ideal weather! It’s freezing here in Paris! Interesting comparison on Xmas in Oz and Europe! Xmas in America & the UK are similiar (they love shopping and making their houses go crazy with lights)…but in Europe, you’re right, there are festive lights on dark nights, festooned pubs and mulled wine ;) I saw a macaron Xmas tree (but in chocolate) at Galeries Lafayette in Paris…it was pretty interesting, now I wish there are vegan macarons! Did you feel better already? Wishing you a happy New Year!


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