First of all, you’re probably wondering what the hell is sludge?! Well, I can’t really answer that as it seems to be the name my Granny gave to her infamous sweet treat. If you know me or know my Granny you’ll know about sludge. As we lost her at the beginning of lockdown, grieving has been a strange process which I don’t think has really hit me yet, to be honest. So I thought it would be a nice way to immortalise my beloved Granny May through her sludge recipe.
I’ve Googled her recipe in different variations and cannot find what this recipe is supposed to be called or what its official name is. I guess its closest cousin would be a tiffin or a fridge cake, and I found a few rogue recipes for “digestive fudge” – but Granny May always called it sludge as that is what is resembles when you do it right!
We can try, but even with her recipe it’ll probably never taste as good as hers; but it does, with just one bite, transport me to my family home where my Granny always lived and where we were always drawn back to. “Sludge” will forever be a fond memory for me. I’ve found myself doing little things that remind me of her in order to carry on her memory, be it having marmalade on my toast, crinkle cutting my chips or putting tomato ketchup on a cheese sandwich and I’ve realised just how much food associations bind me to my granny. Food is so evocative; the smell of hot milk will only ever make me think of coffee mornings she ran in the church, lasagne will never taste as good as hers, and just the mention of lovage reminds me of her love of brandy, fish and chip Friday will never be the same again without her.
She was a chicken boiling, prawn cracker snacker, secret chocolate drawer hoarder, mince and tattie loving, tea drinking, soup making, marmalade fiend force majeure and she was bloody fantastic.
10oz cooking (milk) chocolate
200-250g condensed milk
8oz digestive biscuits
Start by crushing the digestive biscuits to a fine crumb.
Fill a pan half full with boiling water, place a glass bowl over the top so that the hot water is touching the bottom of the bowl (Google a double boiler if you have no idea where I’m going with this) and melt the margarine. Add 4oz of the chocolate to melt this into the butter.
Once the two are melted together, take off the heat, add the condensed milk and mix well. When you have your mixture, add the digestive biscuits until it is well combined.
Take a baking tray and line with some cling film, firmly press the mixture into the tray. For best results, take another piece of cling film and use that laid over the top to use your fingers to press the mixture down – this saves trying to use a spoon or knife which the mixture just clings to. Put this in the fridge to chill, ideally for a minimum of two hours.
Once chilled, take the remaining 6oz of chocolate and melt in the cleaned glass bowl over some newly boiled water. When that has melted, pour over the mixture in the tray and spread so that there is an even layer.
Place back in the fridge and trust me when I say, the longer you leave it, the sweeter the first bite will be. Minimum two hours again, but ideally longer.
This is it after two hours 👇
This is it after 12 hours 👇
It’s one of my most favourite things to eat ever and is entirely responsible for my ability to drink condensed milk straight from the tin.
She was a good ‘un Granny May.