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September 24, 2012 / mintcustard

Ndali vanilla gift swap

So , I’m on a train on my way to London with cupcakes, vanilla butter tablet and a jar of still warm butternut squash and vanilla marmalade. I shall be returning with home made goodies created by others. As fair trade fortnight begins I’m off to a gift swap. I only hope my offerings stand up to those everyone else is bringing. I’ll post photos and the recipes for my gifts on my return.

I’m back from the gift swap. In fact, I’ve been back almost a week, but as this week contains a teenagers 18th birthday, a party for said birthday and three days of work this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and think straight.

Firstly I really must say a huge ” THANK YOU” to those who made the day happen.  To Vanessa Kimbell, who runs a cookery school in Northampton,  for her drive and enthusiasm that led her to organise the event. To the Fairtrade Foundation for their hard work to make sure all farmers get the best price for the product they grow. To Fortnum and Mason for providing the most sumptuous rooms in which the event took place. To Kenwood for providing prizes for the winning gifts. To the judges, Lucas Hollweg, Chantal Coady and the buyers from Fortnums, who put themselves at risk of a diabetic coma as they tasted mouthful after mouthful of confectionery. Most of all I want to say thank you to the farmers at Ndali vanilla for producing the most magnificent vanilla I have ever used. Thank you!

Well then, what did I make and take?

I took three things, vanilla cupcakes, butternut squash and vanilla marmalade and a jar of vanilla tablet. My kitchen smelt wonderful after my baking and making frenzy. Here are the recipes, not good at remembering to take photos sorry!

I’m starting with the Tablet as I’m very proud to boast that it was a runner up in the sweets category. Chantal was very complimentary about the flavour and texture of the tablet and I’m still both astonished and very chuffed!

Vanilla tablet

150 ml whole milk

175g unsalted butter

800g fairtrade golden caster sugar (Sainsburys)

225g condensed milk

1 tsp ndali organic vanilla powder

(a jam thermometer is really useful)

A baking tin lined with parchment (17cm by 27 cm ish)

  • The key to making a really crumbly, melt in the mouth tablet is time, patience and a strong arm to beat the living daylights out of the fudge as it sets! Enlist suitable help if you can’t manage it yourself.
  • Put the sugar, milk, condensed milk and butter into a deep, heavy saucepan. Melt together over a low heat. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon all the time as you don’t want the mixture to catch and burn.
  • Still stirring, slowly bring to the boil; the mix will by now be turning the colour of damp sand. Keep heating until you reach the soft ball stage. (116c)
  • Remove the pan from the heat, place onto a heatproof surface and stir in a tsp of the vanilla powder. Now the hard work begins. Beat the fudge for between 5 and 10 minutes until the mixture becomes thicker, slightly grainy and lightens in colour. I put the timer on in 5 minute intervals so I don’t cheat!
  • Pour the fudge into the prepared tin and allow to set. After about half an hour mark it into squares. Divide up later when cool and fully set.
  • You can dip this in chocolate, add nuts or make a chocolate swirled version. I like to serve this as an alternative to petit fours with very strong espresso.

I would urge everyone to think as they shop. As your hand hovers to pick up an item just look left and right. If there is a  product bearing the Fairtrade logo then please pick it up. The difference you will make to a farmer and their family will be immense. fairtrade product, third world producers, fairtrade vanilla

I came back with the most wonderful swaps. My family are now demanding that I recreate them all asap. Looks like I will have to pop out and get some more vanilla. Now that is something I am very, very happy to do!

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4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Choclette / Oct 2 2012 6:30 am

    This is one of the nicest right-ups of the Vanilla Swap I’ve seen so far. having heard so much about Ndali, it’s good to see what their vanilla looks like. As for your tablet, it looks delicious. I haven’t had it in years, but do remember it as one of the highlights of visits to Scotland when I was a child.

    I was sorry not to have been able to make it to the swap, but it sounds as though everyone had a great time.

    • mintcustard / Oct 2 2012 6:58 am

      Thank you, I do think everyone seems to have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the swap. We all had our eyes opened a little too. Tablet does seem to be one of those memory packed treats!

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