Harry had torn open the parcel to find a thick, hand-knitted sweater in emerald green and a large box of homemade fudge.
’Every year she makes us a jumper,’ said Ron, unwrapping his own, ‘and mine’s always maroon.’
’That’s really nice of her,’ said Harry, trying the fudge, which was very tasty.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
September has finally arrived and, with it, a tangible ‘back to school’ feeling. That bouquet of sharpened pencils, leaves imminently turning, “perhaps I’ll get my sweaters down for the evenings” kind of feeling. I am so pleased it’s here.
First, an apology: the past year has been an eventful one and, much to my dismay, this blog has fallen victim to there being simply too much else to do, too many other recipes to write, and too many other things to cook. But I am very pleased to let you know that I am back, for a month (at least), with a new recipe each week. They’re recipes directly from my second book which, in just four short weeks, you will be able to cook from in your very own kitchen. In the meantime, I have these little teaser recipes (with the first sight of some of Lean Timms’ gorgeous photos) to share with you from The Little Library Year, to celebrate the start of autumn.
I’m not going to be subtle here - I’d love it if you could pre-order my second book. Go into your local independent bookshop, or place your orders here (or at your equivalent if you’re outside the UK):
While you’re there, if you haven’t yet done so, do take a moment to review The Little Library Cookbook!
So, to the recipe. Last Sunday, I spent a brief moment, as I always do on 01 September, longing to be at King’s Cross Station, boarding the Hogwarts Express, trunk filled with spell books and dress robes, with an owl by my side. Part of the vast collection of books that made me long for a chance to attend boarding school (or, at the very least, sneak in for some midnight feasts), Harry Potter has remained close to my heart, in that way that only a series you grew up with really can.
I have never been much of a fan of fudge, and so this one caught me off guard. I made it for a friend, in the hopes that it wouldn’t be quite as tooth-achingly, cloyingly sweet as normal. It still is sweet, of course, but the buttermilk means it’s a bit more grown up - perfect for a tuck box, to wrap up as a gift, or to enjoy a little square of with a strong coffee.
430g caster sugar
1tbsp golden syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
A generous pinch of flaky salt
Small roasting dish, cake tin or tray (about 25 x 15cm)
Makes a generous box – about 24 pieces
1. Line a tin with parchment paper. Stir the caster sugar and buttermilk together in a saucepan. Add the butter and the golden syrup, and place over a moderate heat. Stir only once the sugar has melted, so that it does not crystallize.
2. Simmer the mixture until it reaches 116C/240F. Turn off the heat, leave for 5 minutes, then add the vanilla and the salt. Beat the fudge vigorously with a wooden spoon, until it is dull rather than shiny.
3. Pour into the tin, and leave for a couple of hours to harden. Slice into squares, and store in an airtight container.