2 July 2015

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Tiffin

A 'blonde' take on a classic - no baking required!

To most people, tiffin is a British grandmother's favourite. Tiffin is typically made by mish-mashing biscuits and dried fruit with butter and chocolate, before pressing into a tray and setting it in the fridge. Tiffin requires NO baking, so there's very little room for it to go tits-up! Infantile cooking at it's best. Despite how easy it is to make, tiffin always tastes superb; it's dense, crunchy and oh-so rich. I needed to fit it into my life somehow

I adapted a basic chocolate tiffin recipe to make a delicious 21st-century-ready contender that blows away your granny's cobwebs. My 'blonde' tiffin, using peanut butter and white chocolate, tastes spectacular. It reminds me of white chocolate Reese's cups, which I adore. I personally reckon white chocolate is a much better dancing partner than milk chocolate when it comes to peanut butter. As you probably know, peanut butter an incredibly intense - almost traumatic - experience in your mouth. It's so claggy, rich and nutty. White chocolate works so well with that, by giving you a milky, dreamy, harmonious break from all that thick, nutty fiasco.

I actually made these tiffin slices for my workday breakfasts. As taboo as it is these days, I like to eat my breakfast on my way to work. A 'Grab'n'Go' approach means I'm not watching the clock while I mindlessly wolf down an invisible breakfast. What's more, I like to eat a breakfast that has more than plenty of fat and protein, to guarantee that I make it to lunchtime. So, a white chocolate and peanut butter tiffin just made perfect sense. They are bursting with nutty fats and protein, and by using HobNob biscuits instead of digestives, they have a longer-lasting wholegrain punch. Overall, they are indeed calorific, but you want those calories early in the morning.

You could mix this up by using different nuts and nut butters. Try switching peanut butter for almond or cashew butter. These will work just as nicely, so feel free to play around!
What You'll Need:
for 8 slices of dense, nutty goodness
100g Butter
100g Peanut Butter
150g HobNob biscuits (or Digestive/Grahams)
125g Salted Peanuts

25g Butter
200g White Chocolate

1. Start out by taking a large, heatproof mixing bowl.

Add in your 100g of butter, cut into pieces...

...followed by your gloopy 100g of Peanut Butter...

2. No we need to gently melt these two together, and the best way to do that is with a double boiler:

Fill a small pan with some water. Make sure the water in the pan is about 1-inch deep and doesn't touch the bottom of your mixing bowl. Bring this water to the boil, and then turn the heat down to low. Sit your mixing bowl on top of the pan, and allow the steam to heat the bowl and melt your butters...

...until you have something runny and luscious, like this!

Dismount your bowl from it's bath, and set it aside while we obliterate some biscuits!

3. Empty your 150g of HobNob biscuits into a bag, and crack them with a rolling pin (or any heavy object really!) until you have a rough rubble - not like sand - like crumble!

4. Tip your biscuit crumbs into your hot, buttery swamp.

Give everything a good mix until your biscuits are completely sodden with butter.

5. Now simply add in your 125g of Salted Peanuts, and stir until well-distributed throughout your buttery mulch.

6. Tip all of this sticky mixture into a dish; anything smaller than an A4 piece of paper is ideal for this tiffin. Make sure your dish is buttered/oiled or lined with greaseproof paper - it just makes life easier!

Press it all out flat with a spoon and set aside while we tend to chocolatey matters...

7. Snap your 200g of White Chocolate into a microwavable bowl or jug, and add in your 25g lump of butter.

Microwave all of this in 10 second bursts, until everything is melted and thick.

Don't worry if the chocolate looks slightly grainy, it will set glossy while it is chilled, creating a soft, chocolatey topping.

In the meantime, have a dip of a HobNob. It would be stupid not to!

8. Once you've treated yourself, slather this creamy white chocolate all over the top of your tiffin, making sure to smooth it about evenly.

Pop this in the fridge for 2-3 hours...

...and you're done!

Pop it out, slip it out of it's dish, and cut into pieces.

I cut mine into triangles.

I like triangles. :3

Hope you enjoy this gorgeous treat!

Thanks for reading,


22 June 2015

Balsamic Strawberry & Almond Crumble

Your will power for pudding is about to crumble!

I've been making crumbles since FOREVER. They're a total life hack. Fruity crumbles can use incredibly cheap ingredients, yet the small amount of preparation involved is still enough to give you that buzz of making something tasty from scratch, and therefore feel quite proud of yourself! I rarely make crumbles with fresh fruit - I actually use frozen or canned fruit most of the time. I'm not ashamed of that in the slightest.

Frozen/canned fruit have suffered from such a bad rep' lately. In a world where unprocessed eating is making a comeback, it's very easy to assume the dusty tins and frosty punnets should be given a miss. Although canned or frozen fruit may not physically feel the same, all the nutrition is still there. Most frozen and canned fruits are packaged as soon as they're picked, meaning they're instantly shielded from the destructive effects of light, air and temperature - unlike fresh fruit. Plus, they're so much cheaper and will really last you, so don't cast them aside!

Desperate pleading aside, on this occasion I'm actually using fresh fruit - strawberries! Now, strawberries are usually pretty underwhelming, sadly. Pound-for-pound, they don't yield much natural flavour and you need an awful lot of them to afford them any presence. If you pair strawberries with anything sharp like lemon or raspberries, the strawberries are effectively silenced - it's actually pathetic. However, there's one treatment for strawberries that makes their flavour erupt like a phoenix from the ashes. Pairing strawberries with balsamic vinegar will make strawberries burst, almost flamboyantly, into life and gives you a fabulously bold flavour, rather like Strawberry Ribena!

This particular crumble is a fantastic way to make something dazzling out of any strawberries you may have hanging around. What's more, when they're topped with this light, buttery almond rubble, it summons the sunshine. It's a summertime star that completely blows away the wintery, comfort-eating stigma of your Gran's plain, old apple crumble!

What You'll Need:
For 4 delicious servings of summer comfort.
500g/2 Small Punnet of Fresh Strawberries
2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons of White Sugar
100g Plain Flour
90g Butter
50g Ground Almonds
50g Flaked Almonds
75g White Sugar

1. First of all, heat an oven to 200C/390F. While the oven gets underway, let's take on the fruit.

Remove the leafy tops from your strawberries, and chop your scalped strawberries into heart-shaped halves. Place these into a fairly deep, oven-safe dish.

I'm making a personal-size crumble here, just for me, so don't be alarmed if my measures are smaller than yours!

2. Scatter over your 2 tablespoons of sugar and mix around until your strawberries are sugar-coated and slushy.

3. Spoon over your balsamic vinegar and mix until everything is evenly soaked. You'll notice your strawberries instantly pop through the dark stain of the vinegar - blood red almost!

Place your dish of menacing strawberries aside to soak while we tackle the next task: the almond crumble topping!

4. A crumble topping is the only bit of dirty work really - and it's not even that dirty. There are no floury countertops, no dough-packed nails, just lightly buttered fingertips. Nothing too daunting right?

Anyways, measure out your 100g of flour...

...tip in your white sugar...

...and tip in your ground almonds. Mix these all together well.

5. Add your butter to your dry mixture. It's best if the butter is fridge cold and cut into little pieces; it makes the job so much quicker.

Rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips, making sure everything is butter-slicked and dreamy.

6. Once everything is buttery, scatter over most of your flaked almonds and roughly mix them through the crumble. Keep a handful back. They'll be handy to shower over the top of your crumble before it gets the oven treatment!

7. Retrieve your dish of strawberries. They'll be nicely soaked by now.

Crumble over your almondy rubble, making sure to keep the centre well-covered. You can press your topping down a little if you prefer more a dense crust. Alternately, if you like a loose and nubbly crumble, simply let the pieces sit as they've fallen.

8. Place your crumble on the middle shelf of your oven, and bake for 25-35 minutes until gold and toasty.

9. Rescue your crumble from the oven and allow it to calm down for 10 minutes. Don't worry if the thick, fruity syrup has bubbled over a little. It adds to the charm I reckon!

You can enjoy it with custard, but I think a dollop of thick, Greek yoghurt is best-appointed for this summery treat!


Anthony :)

2 June 2015

Playful Banoffee Breakfast Granola

A perky, fun breakfast, served all hours!

There's a special spirit that is so cheerful and child-like in Banoffee - banana & toffee. You really cannot smarten it up, and nor should it be. You probably wouldn't find Banoffee Pie on a dessert menu at any posh, high-brow restaurant joint. Banoffee is jolly, sloppy and completely unphotogenic - it's meant for friends, family and chilled-out picnics. It's such a relaxed dessert, I don't even plate it up most of the time - I just eat it right out of the pie-dish!

Now why wouldn't you want to begin the day with that kind of playful, comforted spirit? You certainly can now! Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you should eat banoffee pie for breakfast, but I am suggesting you to try this wonderfully indulgent Banoffee Granola!

I totally ship home-made granola. Shop-bought granola can hide enormous amounts of unnecessary sugar and refined carbs - not so great to start the day with. There are healthy, low-GI varieties of granola on the market, which are fab, but they can cost about £6 a pouch; that's right - not even a box - a pouch!

For that reason, I make my own granola now. I use whole oats, grains, seeds, fruits and healthy oils - so I can trust what I'm eating. It might seem like you have to buy lots of ingredients to make granola, but once you have those ingredients in the house, you can make boxfuls of the stuff again and again. It's a gift that keeps on giving. You can also flavour it in an overwhelming number of ways, using different fruits, spices and chocolate, so you won't get bored of the idea. However, banoffee flavour granola is THE one to start with.

I make this granola a banoffee granola through a number of ways. I use very ripe bananas, so the granola is rich in banana flavour and aroma. I add a sweet, toffee hymn by using both brown & dark (Muscavado) sugars. I also add dried banana chips for extra crunch. It's a fantastically indulgent creation to greet you in the morning!

Here's how you do it...
What You'll Need:
- for a tray of 6 delicious servings -

2 cups of Rolled Oats (NOT instant oats)
1 Large, Very Ripe Banana
50g of Mixed Seeds (any of: Pumpkin/Sesame/Sunflower/Linseed/Chia)
2 tablespoons of Soft Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons of Dark Muscavado Sugar
3 tablespoons of oil (Vegetable/Sunflower/Coconut
50g (a big handful) of Dried Banana Chips

1. Firstly, preheat an oven to 180C/350F.

Now that's done, weigh out the oats that you need and add them to a large, roomy bowl.

2. Add in your seeds. You can use a mixture of any seeds: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, linseed or chia seeds.

I tend to use these handy little snacking seed mixes you can get from most supermarkets or health suppliers. It saves having to buy huge packets of seeds which can be ultimately expensive!

3. Peel your banana, and mash it in a separate bowl until it's a fairly smooth, goopy paste.

4. Add your three tablespoons of oil - any unflavoured oil - to your mashed banana and mix well.

The oil will help your granola clump and stick together.

5. Now add in your two tablespoons of soft brown sugar...

... followed by your two tablespoons of dark brown sugar.

Don't be alarmed by the amount of sugar here. Because you will get 6-8 generous servings out of this entire pan of granola, it won't seem like that much sugar in the end.

Mix your sugars and banana until you have a sweet, brown elixir. This is your banoffee 'flavour base'!

6. Simply pour your banoffee 'flavour base' over your oats and seeds.

Take a large, sturdy spoon and work it all together until everything is coated and sticky.

7. Once everything is sticky and banoffee-slicked, tip the entire contents of the bowl into a large baking tray.

It's important to make sure your granola has enough space to spread out so that the heat can reach everything.

I use my special roasting tin that I only ever use for making granola! It's large, wide and so reflective to ensure the heat bounces around and toasts everything.

8. Place your granola tray into the oven, on a middle shelf, and bake it for 15 minutes. Remove your granola from the oven 10 minutes into cooking, give it a stir and shuffle, and return it to the oven for the last 5 minutes.

9. Once baked, your granola should be golden and incredibly aromatic. Your house will smell pretty incredible!

Don't worry if it is still quite damp. Leave your granola to rest on a counter for 10-15 minutes while it continues to cook and firm up.

10. Once it's cool and crisp, sprinkle over a big handful of banana chips, and it is ready to eat!

This banoffee granola will keep for up to a week in a dark, dry place. You can store it in a sealed food container or in a jar, whichever you prefer!

Don't even bother waiting until breakfast to give it a go...

Thanks for reading!

Anthony :)