Black Jack Randall’s Lavender Fudge for Tobias Menzies
The trembling did begin to ease within a minute or two, and Jamie opened his eyes with a sigh.
I’m all right,” he said. “Claire, I’m all right, now. But for God’s sake, get rid of that stink!”
It was only then that I consciously noticed the scent in the room – a light, spicy floral smell, so common a perfume that I had thought nothing of it. Lavender. A scent for soaps and toilet waters. I had last smelled it in the dungeons of Wentworth Prison, where it anointed the linen or the person of Captain Jonathon Randall.
Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (Chapter 38 – The Abbey)
It’s tough to match Black Jack Randall to food. His tasteless and despicable nature leave most of us without much of an appetite, am I right?
You may have noticed the excerpt I chose leaves BJR in the somewhat distant third person. I’ve been through every passage in Outlander that mention him and lavender together, and this is as close as I could get to the man himself without wanting to toss my cookies.
Of course, I could have gone with a Frank scene to welcome Tobias Menzies to his new roles in Outlander on Starz, but that felt a little like taking the easy way out.
Tobias has some tough scenes to get through in his first season; the least I can do is come up with a recipe worthy of all his future efforts.
Just looking through a list of his previous work should tell you he’s ready for both of his new roles. From Edmure Tully in Game of Thrones, to Brutus in Rome (both from HBO), and many, many roles in between, Tobias seems to be OK with being the bad guy on the screen.
I think we’re going to love every minute of hating him.
I came up with the idea for this fudge last year, and had intended to save it for the Outlander Kitchen cookbook – (there’s talk, but nothing definite yet) – but I couldn’t let the news of Tobias’s casting go by without giving him a recipe of his own.
After all, Our Sam got his own recipe when he was cast as Jamie, and fair is fair, even when you’re talking about Johnathan and Frank Randall.
I took a batch to my share with my local book club when we read Outlander in the summer of 2012. It was a big hit, especially paired with a wee nip. Chocolate and whisky go together like Young Ian and Rachel.
It’s what I like to call “cheater” fudge. The can of condensed milk makes the process a whole lot easier than traditional fudge, which involves boiling sugar, a candy thermometer, and paying very close attention to the pot, which can change from delicious to disaster faster than you can say “Jesus H Roosevelt Christ!”
If you’ve never cooked with lavender before, here’s a couple of tips: First, choose an English variety (Lavandula angustifolia) over a French one (Lavandula stoechas). While the latter is great for sachets, the former is the only choice for culinary projects. Second, ensure your buds come from an unsprayed bush. If you’re not harvesting your own, a specialty spice store is probably your best bet for purchase. Red Stick Spice Company in Baton Rouge is one of my favourite online sources for spices, and have lavender available here.
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
Easy dark chocolate (cheater) fudge lightly scented with lavender.
Yield: 2 lbs
- Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate, in chips or small bits – 1 lb (450 g)
- Baking Soda – ½ tsp (3 ml)
- Salt – pinch
- Sweetened Condensed Milk – 14 oz can (400 ml)
- Edible Lavender Blossoms – 1 Tble (15 ml)
Line an 8” or 9” pan with wax paper or parchment.
Toss the chocolate with the baking soda and salt. Pour into a heavy saucepan, add the sweetened condensed milk and melt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to start, then more frequently as it melts. When melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in the lavender, crushing the buds between your fingertips as you drop them into the pan. Stir to combine, then spread evenly in the prepared pan.
Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until firm. Remove from the fudge from the pan, peel off paper and cut into 1” squares.
To Serve: Garnish with additional lavender flowers. Perfect as an afternoon pick-me-up with coffee or tea.
To Store: Wrap well and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- The better the quality of chocolate you start with, the richer and tastier your finished fudge will be. I used free-trade, organic bittersweet baking chocolate from Cocoa Camino.