Some of you may know from twitter or facebook that my husband has recently gone into hospital. Bizarrely it's for something totally unexpected and sudden. One night he came home from work at about midnight as he was on a deadline. One of his elbows (his left one, not his mouse hand) was so swollen it looks like he had a tennis ball stuck on the end of it - an angry red tennis ball that is. He went to sleep and at 4am I was awoken by rustling. He was driving himself to the hospital. Immediately awake, I told him I would drive him but he said that it wasn't anything major. All morning I received scattered text messages on his progress. For that 8 hours I literally sat in front of my computer doing things on rote checking my phone hundreds of times for news and this cycle repeated itself over the next few days. As they always do, my parents swung into action and offered copious amounts of help and lifts to and from hospital although my dad's driving on the North Side of the Harbour Bridge seems to leave behind a wake of beeping car horns.
This week was also full of blogger events. I missed the two I was scheduled to go to on the day he went into hospital but he urged me to go the others despite my wanting to curl up next to him in the hospital bed and never leave. He was right though, I was hopeless at home. The cleaning hasn't been done, nor has the shopping and I hadn't cooked a single thing the whole time and all I can do it sit at my computer and worry. So I went out last night and night before and saw people and it was a wonderful distraction. And I learnt never to judge people in crisis or anyone that has had loved ones pass or fallen ill. Sometimes what people consider "partying" with pursed lip disapproval is just a way of coping with things. To be around other people is soothing and normalising.
Fast forward to 4 days after he first checked in and he is still in hospital after been operated on. They don't know exactly when he will be out but his condition has stabilised and in a sign that I am taking that he is improving, he has asked for his favourite ever dish, the Coronation Pasta Salad. He told me that I absolutely had to do my interview on the radio on Radio 89.7FM at 4pm on Natascha Moy's Food in Focus program. She mentioned that I might like to make something for them to eat. I was a little beside myself. I hadn't cooked in 4 days and in that time I should have knocked out 3 desserts and 2 mains for the blog. I was sipping on Violet Lemonade and it came to me and I decided to do a simple Chocolate and Violet fudge. Something that would take 30 minutes to make at the most. So I could go back to staring at my computer of course.
The fudge itself is smooth despite the slightly rough looking surface and the crystallised violets give it an intermittent, delicate crunch. I used a blend of milk and dark chocolate but I don't think using just Dark Chocolate would be a bad idea as the fudge is so sweet, any reservations about a bitter fudge are balanced by the sweetness.
I'd also like to say a big thankyou to my wonderful readers and friends who have supported me over the past few days by messaging me on twitter, facebook and email about my husband and a recent strange situation with a restaurant. It's lovely to know that you can get support and a virtual hug from so many people so this sweet is a tribute to you! A sweet that is a virtual hug in itself :)
So tell me Dear Reader, which food gives you a virtual hug? A chocolate cake? Your mum's soup? Your Nanna's pudding?
And you can listen to make today at 4pm on 98.7FM on the Food in Focus program on Eastside Radio!
Simple Chocolate & Violet Fudge
An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella
55grams of butter
2 cups of sugar
350g dark and milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons crystallised violets plus about 10 violets roughly crushed to sprinkle on top
Step 1 - Line a loaf tin with foil and using a pastry brush, lightly brush a flavourless oil (eg rice bran, grapeseed or a mild olive oil) on the base and sides of the foil. In a large heavy based saucepan on low heat, dissolve sugar with cream and butter. Clip the sugar thermometer to the pan Increase heat to just below medium. Whilst stirring wait until the mixture reaches 238F/118°C (soft ball stage). Be patient, it takes about 10 minutes and the thermometer will sit on 220-230 for what seems like forever. You may get little caramelised bits floating to the top. Knock back the heat a little if there are too many.
Step 2 - Remove from heat and immediately stir in chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons violets and marshmallows. Stir with wooden spoon to smooth out mixture. Immediately place in prepared tin (it sets relatively quickly) and sprinkle with extra crystallised violets.
Step 3 - Cut into squares when completely set using a lightly oiled, warm knife.