Today we have been without an oven for two weeks. Correction: we’ve had an oven, just not a working one. This is quite unsettling for me, but I just keep reminding myself how lucky I am that it has happened now and not around anyone’s birthday or at Christmas, and that it’s summer. If it were winter or a kid’s birthday, I’m pretty sure I’d cry. I find baking and anything that cooks for a long time in the oven very comforting, and therefore by extension, I guess, I find having a working oven comforting. I was informed on Wednesday that the thermostat is broken. Unfortunately, because we rent, we’re at the mercy of the real estate agent, the owner and the repair person. So we can’t just get it done. We have to wait for all the relevant parties to talk to each other and hope that something happens soon.
So, we’re having to make alternative arrangements, like constantly reminding ourselves we can’t bake anything, using the barbecue to roast chicken, and wracking our brains for sweet treats that don’t involve an oven (that works). One of my favourite sweet treats to make even when our oven is working, is a no-bake fruit fudge slice (above). This is something Mum used to make quite a bit when we were kids. I’m not sure anyone loves it quite as much as me, but I think it’s safe to say it’s a family favourite. I copied the recipe into my little book when I left home to go to uni. I can’t remember the name of the book it came from but it was something published in the 70s or early 80s, I guess. And I suppose it’s an Australian book, given the reference to a lamington tin in the recipe. Here’s the original recipe (with my comments added):
Fruit fudge fingers(/slice)
125g margarine (I always use butter, though)
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I use extract)
250g milk arrowroot biscuits, finely crushed
nuts (optional) – I usually used crushed peanuts, but walnuts are good too
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons water
90g chocolate pieces
Place margarine, sultanas and sugar into a large saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Remove from heat, add egg and vanilla essence, blending well. Add biscuit crumbs and mix thoroughly together. Press mixture into a greased lamington tin and ice with chocolate icing while still warm. Sprinkle with nuts if desired. Cut into 2.5cm squares just before serving.
To make icing, combine in a saucepan, brown sugar, butter, water. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate pieces, blend well. Beat with wooden spoon until mixture is of spreading consistency.
Makes 22 to 24 fingers.
As much as I love these, I hope our oven comes back to us soon. There’s bread, Danish, pizza and muffins to make.