Dulce de leche ice cream with toasted, salted and buttered pecans. You’re welcome.


You guys all know Inner Pickle right? She’s basically living the life I want to live so you know, I stalk her in a completely creepy and inapropriate way. You’re welcome.


Apart from the fact she offers up a new slice recipe every Wednesday, she also cooks things I love to cook. Or make. And she does so without fanfare or fuss, just the way I like it.


So a few weeks back she posted a recipe for easy chocolate ice cream and even though I didn’t concentrate when making it and put in too much cream (as IF there’s such a thing) it was delicious. In the comments was a post from one of her neighbours who’d given her the recipe in the first place, mentioning dulce de leche and well, I had those jars of condensed milk boiling on the stove quicker than Black Caviar passes the winning post.




I didn’t mix the dulce de leche through completely, choosing to drop dollops in the last few minutes of churning with the nuts. Next time I would mix one tin through the cream/milk mix and then do the dollopy thing with another. Maybe not a whole tin, but you could just eat the left off the spoon. Because I know you want to.


Dulce de leche icecream with toasted buttered salted pecans

From Darren at Green-Change via Inner Pickle’s blogging of his chocolate ice cream.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 600ml cream
  • 1 tin dulce de leche*
  • 1 packet (180 g**) pecan halves, toasted with a few dabs of butter and a smattering of sea salt then chopped
  1. Combine the milk and cream and dulce de leche
  2. Churn in an ice-cream mixer for 30 minutes, adding the pecans for the final 2-3 minutes
  3. Scoop into a container and freeze.


* to make dulce de leche cover a can of sweetened condensed milk with water and boil for three hours, checking regularly to ensure it is still covered with water.  You could, at a pinch, use the ‘pie caramel’ you can get in the cake decorating/cooking chocolate section of the supermarket.

** this is because I am addicted to pecans – a 110g packet would probably be ample.


Chai chai chachacha

Firstly, did you see what I did up there, God I crack myself up.

So, Jasper and Grover’s pregnancies and subsequent bouts of insanity ended my love-affair with coffee. Or with a skim mocha more appropriately. Coffee now makes my tummy sad and my nerves very very edgy. I am officially a tea drinking through and through. I even make my own blend of loose leaf tea. Because tea aficionados can be just as pretentious as coffee ones.

I ‘discovered’ chai along with the rest of the western world and while I appreciate proper chai tea all that milk can make me feel pretty skeevy. When I saw Suse’s post (and far more lovely pictures than my own) about this chai mix I knew I had to give it a go.

This came from the lovely Suse but I have adjusted it, using skim condensed milk and doubling the spice mix – again I like it sweet but not too sweet and not too milky. I also ramped up the cinnamon content because my level of cinnamon adoration is probably bordering on creepy. Obviously if you like it sweet and milky just halve the spice quantities I outline below.

Seriously, this is the best. I keep it in a cute jar in the fridge and every morning have my fancy pants chai tea. It lasts me a week.


Chai mix

  • 1 can skim condensed milk
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • few good grinds of black pepper
  1. Mix it all together, pop it in a jar and store in the fridge for up to one week
  2. To use, stir a dessert spoon into a cup of strong black tea.



Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni cheese
So cheesy, so good.

Mrs Woog asked me what you cook a Chef for their birthday dinner. For the Chef in this house the answer to that is very simple: any pasta in a cream based sauce and preferably involving as many forms of dairy as possible and pecan pie.

I KNOW. No having to debone quails or slow roast anything or use pig guts or scour the city for bizarre produce essential for the dish. Make the man macaroni cheese and I almost get out of wifely bedroom duties. Sweet.

This recipe involved no bechamel and a shitload of cheese. Shut up, that is so the technical term for when there is half a kilo of cheese in one recipe that isn’t cheese fondue.

Naturally, this recipe gets doubled in this house (it is made very rarely, the only people who truly enjoy it being Chef and Oscar) even though it is not a winner for some. But for Chef, it forms pretty much all of his diet for the following few days and it cuts me some slack in getting my bits out and shakin’ them all about.

Macaroni Cheese
The start
Cheese for macaroni cheese
The motherload
Macaroni cheese ready for the oven
Ready for the oven
macaroni cheese, half way through baking
We're half way there
Macaroni Cheese done
two four six ate...

Macaroni Cheese
via Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (not low fat)
  • 2 cups milk (not skim)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g (1pd) sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 250g (1/2 pd) elbow pasta, uncooked.
  1. Heat oven to 180C
  2. Use one tablespoon butter to grease a baking dish
  3. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together.
  4. Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheese for topping.
  5. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta.
  6. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  7. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter.
  8. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, until browned.
  9. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Tonight I added about 4 spring onions to the blender and boy, did it add a beautiful subtle flavour to cut through the richness. Sometimes I use a variety of cheeses just to mix it up.



Indian Cottage Cheese – Paneer

So this is something I am very proud about. That I can make cheese. Sure, you’ll soon see just how easy it is so much of this pride is largely misplaced, but come on, it’s early in the new year, cut me some slack.

Besides, you’re getting three recipes in one here – the paneer recipe; the marinated baked paneer recipe (paneer tikka) and the paneer with spinach recipe (palak paneer) – because it.is.so.good.

Ajoy Joshi, Indian Home Cooking

  • 4 litres full cream milk
  • 1 2/3 cups (400ml) double cream
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  1. Line a large flat-bottomed colander with a double layer of cheesecloth (muslin) and place the sieve inside another large bowl
  2. Bring the milk to a boil over a medium heat
  3. When the milk is almost boiling, stir in the cream and bring just to the boil (just as it begins to bubble and froth – and you can actually feel vibrations of the boil through the handle of a metal spoon held in the milk) once more
  4. Add the vinegar, remove from the heat, set aside for two minutes and do not stir
  5. Using a large slotted spoon gently lift the curds from the whey and place in the lined sieve
  6. Then carefully tie the loose ends of the muslin together to form the curds into a thick, round disk
  7. Return the whey that’s collected in the bowl underneath back to the saucepan and place the saucepan on top of the curds as a weight
  8. Set aside for about 25 mintues
  9. Remove the saucepan from the paneer, untie the cheesecloth and remove the paneer.
  10. Use as directed in recipes or if not using immediately, place in an airtight container, cover with whey and store in the fridge. It will keep for about a week.

Paneer tikka
Ajoy Joshi, Indian Home Cooking

  • 1 cup plain whole milk yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 2 fresh green chilli peppers, finely chopped
  • large pinch saffron threads, soaked in 1 1/2 tbsp hot milk for 10 minutes
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 recipe paneer, cut into 2.5cmx7.5cm squares
  • pinch chat masala*
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander
  • juce of 1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 240C (475F)
  2. In a bowl combine the yoghurt, ginger, garlic, peppers, saffron milk mixture, oil and salt
  3. Add the paneer pieces and marinate for 10 minutes
  4. Brush a baking tray with oil and place paneer pieces on it in a single layer
  5. Bake without turning until it is golden around the edges, about 15 minutes
  6. Before serving sprinkle with coriander and chat masala and a squeeze of lemon juice.

* I didn’t have this.

Palak paneer
Ajoy Joshi, Indian Home Cooking
(no photo I’m afraid as I haven’t made this for a year or so… but man it’s good)

  • 2 bunches English spinach
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil and butter mix
  • 4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 brown onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 tomatoes, unpeeled and finely chopped
  • 1 recipe paneer, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  1. Place spinach in a large saucepan
  2. In a small bowl combine 1/2 tsp tumeric with the water and add to the pan
  3. Cook on a medium-high heat, covered, turning the spinach occasionally until spinach has wilted – about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, drain excess water and let the spinach cool.
  5. Place in a food processor or blender and puree
  6. Heat the butter/oil and add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds
  7. Add onions and salt and cook uncovered until onions are translucent – about 5 minutes
  8. Add the coriander seeds, ginger, chilli pepper, chilli powder and remaining tumeric and cook, stirring until fragrant – about 2-3 minutes
  9. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until soft – about 5 minutes
  10. Stir in the spinach and then add the paneer and cook until it’s warmed through – about 2-3 minutes
  11. Sprinkle over the fenugreek leaves and serve.

Pancakes with maple butter

My favourite meal of the day is breakfast. And get this, I enjoy it even if it’s Weetbix. It is a meal with so much promise. It’s the start of the day, there are infinite possibilities – smoothies, cereals, oaty goodness in its many forms – muesli, bircher muesli, granola, porridge, pancakes, eggs, bacon, roasted tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms – see, it’s endless!

I’ve been kicking around the idea of making my own crumpets ever since Bill put them in his first book. But you know, it’s on the list with making my own bouillabaisse, paella, and beef bourgignon, a nice idea.

Anyways. In the latest Gourmet Traveller there was a recipe for crumpets with maple butter. I bypassed the crumpet for the heart bypass with the maple syrup. The pancakes are the recipe I’ve been making since 1988. I’m sorry the photos are out of focus, I was kinda excited to get eating.

Pancakes with maple butter
The pancakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 2 cups SR flour
  1. Whisk the eggs with the milk and sugar
  2. Fold in the flour
  3. Heat a frypan over medium heat and melt some butter in the pan.
  4. Add a few tablespoons of batter and cook until bubbles form, turn and cook for a few more minutes.

Now we have a hundred children I double this and make pikelets with any batter left over.

The maple butter

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Whip the butter using a Kitchen-Aid or whatever that utensil is called generically
  2. Add the maple syrup and the cinnamon
  3. Try to only eat a little bit
As you can see, I made the corn fritters as well.
The roasted tomatoes were just out of shot.

Great to eat with: bacon