Lorraine's Peanut Butter SquaresMonday, January 21, 2013
I really enjoy watching TV chefs. I like the mystery of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's home grown gourmet (what will he make today with his "here's one I grew earlier in my garden"?), and I particularly enjoy the way that Ramond Blanc shows his appreciation for food by smacking his lips with an emphatic oo-la-la. I would try anything that Ramond Blanc oo-la-la'd over.
But then, there are those other TV chefs. The whizz-kids. The 15-minute wonders. The "every-day-cooking-made-easy" bunch. I don't like those very much, and I rarely watch them on TV. I can cook just fine, thank you very much, and as Miranda would say, kind regards.
So, one Saturday morning, while the rain was pouring down outside and the temperatures were whittling down into the negatives, I flipped on the TV and there was Lorraine Pascale. A model-turned-chef-turned-model making food. For real.
An hour later, I'd ordered her books from Amazon for an impulsive £8.00 for both Baking Made Easy and Fast, Fresh and Easy Food. I wasn't sure whether I was sceptical, or pleased - but she had a wonderfully warm and friendly approach to friend, and her Caribbean burgers with halloumi fingers looked like the perfect summer lunch and that was exactly what I felt like eating.
It took me a few months, but I eventually got around to making something out of my impulsively-purchased recipe books: peanut butter squares. I'm a sucker for all things peanut-butter-and-chocolate (but not on toast) and these quick and easy squares seemed like just the treat for tea time.
They're essentially no-bake biscuits, with a melted peanut butter and digestive base and a melted chocolate topping. I found an online copy of the recipe here.
They went down particularly well with our visitors, and were eaten up really quickly. I found that they were far too sweet (you add brown sugar to balance the peanut butter, but I would definitely add less if I made them again!), and I should have cut them a bit smaller for bite-sized peanut butter chunks. I went back and cut each square into two afterwards.
I didn't once say oo-la-la. Still, they were very decadent and quite easy to whip up. They were done in a matter of minutes and used fairly ordinary ingredients (everything I already had in my cupboard) so it was definitely a fast, no-fuss recipe. It does what it says on the cover.
I like to think of these recipe books as a mid-week cheat sheet. I don't think I'll be using them much, but they offer good food styling photographs and plenty of inspiration for that price. They make a good addition to my growing bookshelf and are ideal for those frequently lazy I-don't-feel-like-cooking nights.