Introducing PPB: Peanut Butter You Can Eat on A Diet

When I asked Tom what he would choose if he only had one meal left on earth, he asked for a peanut butter sandwich and ready salted crisps. My boy likes simple pleasures, and he loves his peanut butter! But when you’re on a diet, peanut butter is not your friend; or is it…?

Introducing PPB: Powdered Peanut Butter. With 70% less fat than other nut butters, no trans fat, and no added oils, it means you can enjoy peanut butter but without the calorie guilt! I thought this sounded too good to be true before I tried it and I wondered whether the taste would be as good as full-on peanut butter. Well, let me tell you, it tastes just like it! I mixed up a small amount to try with some bread and it was so tasty.

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With the peanut butter in powdered form, it means there are so many ways you can add the flavour to recipes. Add the powder to your curry sauce for a take on satay; mix it with bananas and yoghurt for a sweet, nutty smoothie; add some PPB to batter for biscuits and cookies; or pimp up your vanilla ice cream with a sprinkling of peanut powder!

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I finally have a working oven and now that I do, I wanted to satisfy my baking craving and my cookie craving! My first foray into baking with PPB comes in the form of these delicious, chewy, slightly crunchy-edged peanut and choc chip cookies.

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Sweet, nutty and crunchy, these biscuits went down a storm with the girls at work. I think next time I would increase the amount of PPB to amp up the flavour, but I was really happy with this first attempt. Next time I’m going to try a peanuty, satay dish and I also fancy trying my hand at peanut butter whoopie pies!

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What to do when you find yourself with a collapsing bundt cake…

….turn it into pudding!

I couldn’t have been more excited today, because guess what readers, our oven is fixed! Annnnd, I’ve had this oh-so-gorgeous bundt cake mould just waiting to be used, so it seemed like the perfect time to try it out.

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I don’t know if anyone has ever found this when cooking a bundt cake, but I did the clean knife test, and let it cool before attempting to turn it out; and that is when disaster struck! As I eased the cake out of the mould the bottom half came away perfectly, sadly the top half did not!

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Tom came and tried the sponge and declared that it was delicious and I wasn’t to waste it, so with a sudden burst of inspiration, I found a can of condensed milk in the cupboard which I thickened into a sauce. I layered up chocolate sponge with sticky sweet caramel sauce to make a tasty pudding. It’s not what I set out to make today but it tastes pretty darn good, and that’s the main thing!

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Winter salad

On Thursday, Tom and I went to see the legend that is David Gray at a small, intimate gig at The Emmanual Centre in Pimlico. Before the gig we stopped off at one of the pubs on Tom’s list of must-visit drinking establishments. Along with our drinks, we succumbed to their awesome looking burgers.

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I had no regrets, it was delicious, but Friday came and I felt the need for a healthy dinner. And yet, I still wanted a meal that was filling and full of flavour. I decided to make a warming winter salad of spinach leaves, crispy bacon, roasted butternut squash, crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts.

I love this salad and I’m definitely going to be making it again – you get the saltiness of the bacon, the crunch from the pine nuts, the freshness of the spinach leaves and the creaminess of the squash and feta. It also looks wonderful, with the bright rich orange against the deep green of the spinach: wonderfully inviting on a miserable, rainy night.

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Italian Beef Stew

From BBC GoodFood, this Italian beef stew is perfect for a quick hearty dinner when the weather is still so miserable. I probably could have cooked it for longer but Tom and I were getting too hungry!

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Braising steak, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs come together to make a rich flavoursome stew that can be served with rice, bread, broccoli or, as we had it, with couscous. I topped our dinner with some half fat creme fraiche to add a touch of creaminess to the dish – yum! Also, this dish comes in at 328 calories including the couscous and creme fraiche, so it’s perfect for all you healthy eaters out there!

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Malteser Fridge Cake

Whatever your preference when it comes to tea, whether you like it black, with a splash of milk, with three spoonfuls of sugar, or, as pale and weak as my mum used to have hers: “just wave the tea bag in the general area of the mug, that’ll be fine”; and whatever your preference when it comes to your choice of biscuit, be it a ginger nut, custard cream, Jammy dodger, or a choccy bourbon, there’s nothing nicer than a cup of tea with a biscuit ready for the dunking.

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Over the years there have been debates and experiments about which biscuit is best for dunking. What is the biscuit’s durability? How many dunks can it survive before it gives way and collapses into your cup of tea? You know, those all important life questions. I seem to recall that the hobnob is often nominated for the Best Dunker Award when these biscuit debates come about. But, for me, it’s always the humble digestive that I reach for when I get that tea and biscuit craving.

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As early as 1851, if not earlier, there are records of recipes for digestive biscuits, recipes about how to make that semi-sweet, malty biscuit that we’ve all come to know and love. Now, the digestive might not be the best dunker in the world, but it’s got many hidden talents. I’m aware that the title of this post is Malteser Fridge Cake, and I promise I haven’t forgotten about it, but I wanted to pay a quick homage to the digestive, it may be plain and simple in the biscuit world, but its comforting taste, and its multi-purpose makes it a firm favourite for me. Not only is it a great biscuit for tea time, but whizz it up and you’ve got a perfect cheesecake base, serve it with your Stilton and cheddar and you’ve got a great cracker for the cheeseboard, and mix it with melted butter and chocolate and you’ve got today’s fridge cake.

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The recipe for today’s blog entry is one of Nigella’s, and can be found here. This is another speedy recipe for a tasty treat that will always go down well and is great for me while I wait for the oven to get fixed!

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Blitz your digestive biscuits and add slightly bashed maltesers. In a bowl melt butter, chocolate and golden syrup together and then add this to the dry ingredients. Combine until everything is coated in the chocolate mix. Squish into a lined baking tray and pop in the fridge to start setting. Melt more chocolate and pour this over the tray bake. To make the white chocolate pattern, simply space out dollops of melted white chocolate in a row on top of the melted milk chocolate and drag a knife through the dollops. Pop the tray back in the fridge to set, a few hours should do and then cut into squares to serve.

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