Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sweets Made Simple - Miss Hope

Over the last few years I've amassed a small collection if books about confectionary - some of them are specifically chocolate based but quite a few of them cover more general sweets. Of all of them my favourites, the ones I keep using, and the ones where I've learnt actual skills from, are the trio of Hope and Greenwood books I have. Because of this I was mildly excited to see they have a TV series (BBC2, Friday nights) now 2 episodes in. Hope and Greenwood started as the sort of shop you find in London or Brighton and not in Leicester (retro vibe and thoroughly thought out design in every detail) all that style charms me and makes me mildly suspicious in equal measure, but the acid test is the quality of the product - Hope and Greenwood are more than satisfactory on that score.

Eventually the books came along (I've posted about them all in the past) with the same mix of fun, design, and thoroughly reliable (as well as delicious) recipes. The instructions are clear, specific, and generally need to be followed to the letter - boiling sugar is not the thing to mess around with, and chocolate is temperamental. In short these are good books and making your own sweets is first if all very satisfying and secondly means you know exactly what you're eating. Nothing brings sugar and fat content to life like measuring it out, and this way there are no hidden or mysterious ingredients.

The BBC2 series is great, there's a charm about Miss Hope and Mr Greenwood that I'm finding genuinely irresistible (no suspicion this time, the dynamic between them really works on camera) and the recipes are fabulous. There is a book to accompany the series - 'Sweets Made Simple' - which looks to be a conglomeration of the first 2 ('Life Is Sweet' and 'Miss Hope's Chocolate Box') as such it is a bargain, in W H Smiths this weekend it was even more of a bargain at half price. Their vanilla fudge recipe is the best I've ever found (the book would be worth it for that alone) but this week I've been trying the pecan maple fudge. It took me 3 attempts to get it right. First time I used to dark a sugar which was okay but the flavour profile was all wrong (the maple was over powered), second time I inadvertently took the pan off one hot ring only to put it down on another, so the fudge burnt (entirely my fault) but the third time was the charm. The book calls for a chocolate covering which
was more than I wanted so I didn't bother with it, but the fudge itself is perfect (ostensibly destined for my boss who has been very accommodating about me waiting around for plumbers and electricians after my bathroom was flooded twice in a week by an upstairs neighbour who I cannot currently feel charitable towards) great flavour and nice crumbly texture.

I would include the recipe but think it would be much better if interested parties bought the book, recipes included in the series so far are on the BBC2 website.

(It turns out that even very good fudge is a poor choice for breakfast, no matter how early you've had to get up for an electrician and feel a treat is called for, or how small an amount you eat, so looks like my boss will get most of the it after all.)


  1. I think the juxtaposition of the word "fudge" and the picture of your Cornishware mug magically spells "comfort"! I'm hopeful that this is the sort of TV that will eventually reach cooking-show-mad Australia, so I'll keep an eye out.

  2. Oh I hope you do get it, it's been a lovely series (sadly last episode tonight) hopefully there will be more. It was very comforting!