Six to try: Recipes for peanut butter lovers

Peanut butter and I took a while to get off on the right foot. A few years ago we tried to get acquainted but I simply couldn’t warm to it. Too gloopy, too heavy and not my thing. Or so I thought!

Times change, and so does your palate it seems, because recently I’m guzzling peanut butter and have made my way through jar after jar of it. I love the super-healthy version from the health food shop with no nasty additives, but it’s a lot more expensive than a reasonably healthy version from my regular supermarket. which adds some sugar and salt but not too much. So, most of the time reasonably healthy suffices.

Beyond simply slathering peanut butter on toast, here are five really tasty ways to use it.

1. The smoothie: This smoothie recipe from Deliciously Ella actually suggests almond butter but I had a try with peanut butter and it was very tasty and rather more-ish.

2. The cookie: Oats, apple and peanut butter in a cookie. What’s not to love? Gooey, sweet and tasty…it’s very easy to over-indulge!

3. The breakfast: If you like breakfast that doubles as dessert, then this overnight oats recipe with peanut butter and banana is worth a try. Be warned though, a little goes a long way as it is very heavy. But also incredibly tasty!

4. The snack: Apple rings with a little peanut butter spread on top. SImple, quick and tasty.

5. The main meal: Satay chicken is a personal favourite of mine, and something I’d order a lot if I’m treating myself to a meal out or a takeaway. But creating a version yourself with peanut butter and a few other cupboard staples is pretty easy too, as this straightforward BBC recipe shows.

6. The treat with a twist: I love brownies, and probably eat them far too frequently. This semi healthy option uses oats and yogurt instead of flour and butter. And it also has a peanut butter twist.

 

 

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Sláinte

A few busy weeks have finally caught up with me, so this evening you’ll find me snuffling on my couch.

The whole juicing craze has so far passed me by, but a recent post by Jack Monroe, of A Girl Called Jack fame, caught my eye. In it, she talks about making green juice without a super-swanky juicer. Instead, with her trademark practicality, she used a regular blender and a sieve. Intrigued, and thinking a vitamin boost would do me no harm, I had a go.

Jack’s recipe requires 1 apple, half a lemon, a slice of ginger, a handful of spinach, a stalk of celery and about 200ml of water. Dice it up small, fire it all in the blender, blitz it, strain it and then, sláinte, and down the hatch.

(Sláinte is the Irish equivalent of cheers, but also translates as health – hopefully a name this little green juice post deserves)

Green juice

I’ll admit, the finished product didn’t look like something I wanted to drink, but it was surprisingly tasty. I actually quite liked the flavour. A nice addition to breakfast, or a refreshing drink at any time, and especially if you need a vitamin hit.

Jammin’

As a kid, I used to pick loganberries in my grandparents’ garden and help my gran to turn them into jam. To this day, toast with oozing melted butter and sweet sticky jam is the ultimate comfort food for me.

Jam is a handy thing to have in the fridge: a dollop in porridge when you run out of berries, a quick filling for a cake, a lazy sandwich.

I’ve been intrigued recently by a variety of recipes I’ve come across for chia seed jam. I wasn’t convinced that it could measure up to the real thing but I decided to have a go.

Making chia seed jam is really easy. All you have to do is boil up the berries of your choice with a tiny splash of water (enough so the berries don’t stick to your pot), mash it all up, and then add about a tablespoon of chia seeds for every cup of berries. Stir it, and watch it thicken up.

Some of the recipes I read suggested adding maple syrup or honey to sweeten it. I thought that defeated the purpose of attempting to make a healthy jam. However, after just eating some of my first batch on my porridge this morning, I think a bit of something sweet might be required, as there’s a slight bitterness to the seeds. Even with some maple syrup it would still be a lot less sugary than regular jam though.

The verdict? A nice experiment and definitely a good topping for porridge, but not sure it’s a match for real jam!