LEAF ARBUTHNOT raids her cupboard for spreads and cooks up some tasty treats.
O the glory of the spread. She seduces me daily, luring my teaspoon to her jarred form, tempting me with waking dreams of toast and doughy crunch and happiness. Nutella! Peanut butter! Jam! Marmite, if I’m feeling wistful!
It is buffoonery to presume that spread belongs on bread alone. Such is her versatility that she can be recruited for the improvement – indeed the making – of many a snack. Once you have opened your mind to the endless opportunities that cooking with spreads provides, you will find yourself existing on an experiential plane superior to that of your sepia contemporaries. Basically, using spreads in (gyp) cooking is an extremely effective shortcut to gastronomic recognition.
Here are some recipes to get you going.
1. Nutella and Tabasco Hot Chocolate
Pour half a cup of milk and half a cup of single cream into a pan. Heat slowly till nearly boiled. Add a tablespoon of Nutella and a teaspoon of hot chocolate powder. Stir till smooth. Add Tabasco to taste (or almond essence).
Big mug-full of avant-garde
2. Marmite and Sweetcorn Melt
Pour a drained can of sweetcorn into a pan. Add a teaspoon of Marmite, a knob of butter and some salt. Stir like a maniac. Heat till very hot, then put it all into a bowl. Chop up some cheddar. Put it on top. Microwave for 30 seconds.
Love it or hate it: Marmite corn
3. Nutella Truffles
These are absurdly good. I shall be making them en masse this Christmas to give to relatives. I suggest you do the same.
Thick, glossy yumminess
Bring a cup of double cream to simmering point in a pan. When ready, pour on top of 150g chopped dark chocolate and 200g of Nutella (about half of a medium jar). Stir for five minutes until it looks thick and glossy. Refrigerate for two hours, then remove from the fridge and form into little balls with a teaspoon. Dip these in cocoa powder or melted chocolate. Refrigerate overnight.
Boxed up and ready to eat
4. Peanut Satay Sauce
Place two tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter and half a cup of coconut cream/milk into a pan. Add two teaspoons of curry powder, Tabasco, one teaspoon of sugar and two teaspoons of soy sauce. Heat through.
Dip and go
And these are just the beginning. Now that the doors to spread nirvana have been opened to you, start exploring! Jam apple? Lemon curd jelly? Who knows! Go wild!