Posts Tagged With: peanut butter

Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Gratin (Vegan)

Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Gratin

Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Gratin

A vegan gratin to die for. Quite a dramatic statement, but not far off the mark I can assure you. Peanuts offer some much more than just a satay sauce.  With vegan food like this, you’d never miss cheese or cream in your cooking, its just so rich and YUM.

Peanut butter, in moderation, is a wonder ingredient and adds so much flavour and richness to all that it graces. A hearty bake is perfect peanut territory and a pinch of smoked paprika, chilli and garlic and you’re well on your way to a very special oven dish of happiness.

It’s been a gorgeous day in Wales, a little chilly, but the sun has shone brightly.  We’ve been walking all day on the Llyn Peninsula, a spectacular area just south of the Beach House.  After a long day rambling around the hills, cliffs and stone age forts, we were ready for some hearty bites.  We also needed some energy (those hills are steep you know!) so reaching for the jar of peanut butter sprang to mind.

Peanuts are used all over the world in cooking and my favourite use of them has to be a Thai Papaya Salad (with roasted peanuts sprinkled on), however, many others also spring to mind.

I saw Hugh Fearnley doing something like this a while ago and felt it worth a try, I have veganised the dish though. Hugh used sweet potatoes and double cream.  I’m not a huge fan of adding lashings of cream to dishes, its a little heavy going and I find it best reserved for strawberries.

I love adding paprika to dishes and we came back from Spain heavy laden with many different varieties. Smoked paprika is so powerful and works well with the chilli and peanut here, it also turns the sauce a funky pink colour.

THE MIGHTY PEA(NUT)

It took me a while to figure this out, but a peanut is not actually a nut, it’s a pea or legume or even herb to some. Makes perfect sense really.  Although strangely, and nature can be strange, peanuts have most of the properties a nut has.

Peanut butter is one of those things that just cannot be replicated, when a spoonful is added to dishes it tends to transform and can dominate proceedings. It is packed full of energy and perfect when we are out on the hills having a wee ramble. Have you ever tried making your own Peanut Butter? Its very easy and normally much more cost efficient. Grab some organic nuts and a blender and you’re off.

On a ramble yesterday, up the Rivals - Llyn Peninsula, Wales

On a ramble yesterday, up the Rivals – Llyn Peninsula, Wales

Some peanut butter you can buy have sugar and other things added, we would steer away from these, the dish will be better with 100% peanut goodness and no added bits.

We didn’t have crunchy peanut butter, so you will see a few sunflower seeds making an appearance on our version.  Just to crunch things up a little.

You can substitute lime for lemon here, that sounds like a tasty change.

The Bits

The Bits

THE BITS

1 medium butternut squash, 1 courgette, 1 parsnip, 1 red onion (all sliced in 1/2 cm slices), 3 tbs crunchy peanut butter, 1 lemon (juice and zest), 3 cups almond milk (or milk of your choice), 1 teas smoked paprika, 4 cloves garlic (crushed), 1 chilli (finely sliced) or 1 teas chilli flakes), sea salt (to taste), 2 teas cooking oil (sunflower ideal)

Getting layered up

Getting layered up

DO IT

Chop up your veggies and gather a heavy oven dish (approx 8inch by 10inch).

Pre-heat your oven to 180oC

In a blender or using a whisk, combing the peanut butter, paprika, milk, garlic and lemon into a thick, double cream-like consistency.  The thicker, the richer, you decide!?

Oil your over dish using your mitts/ hands and begin the layering.  It goes like this:

Butternut-parsnip-courgette-add half your mix-courgette-onion-butternut-pour over the rest of your sauce.  Add a few more spoonfuls of peanut butter on top and smooth them over the squash.

Try and keep the layers neat and well-packed.  It looks and slices better.

Cover the dish and pop in the oven for 20 minutes, then take foil off and cook for a further 30 minutes or until its looking nice and crispy golden.

Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Gratin (Vegan)

Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Gratin (Vegan)

SERVE

Sprinkle a little more paprika over the gratin and allow to rest and cool for 5 minutes.  Then serve up with some steamed vegetables or a full flavoured salad.

WE LOVE IT!

Creamy and rich with the lovely sweetness of peanuts and the veggies.  This is full of mouthfuls to savour and bags of YUM!  We suggest a full day walking over stone age forts prior to dinner.

FOODIE FACT

Peanuts are said to originate in Central America, but are now grown and enjoyed all over the world, thanks mainly to the Spanish conquistadors (I wonder what the world’s diet would have been like without those Spanish mercenary types setting sail in search of El Dorado and all?)

Peanuts are famously rich in energy and high in protein and vitamin B.  They are also an excellent source of antioxidants (which are increased in the nut when boiled).  So a handful of peanuts a day, keeps oxidisation away!  Good to know.

Categories: Dinner, gluten-free, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Pear and Peanut Smoothie

Rampant Azaleas

This one was made to top the Sunbeam Fruit Salad but is delicious served straight up.

We needed something creamy, so I was dragged away from the juicer for a day.  It was time for a smoothie.

The peanut butter adds a lovely creaminess and bags of energy and the kiwi has a nice sharpness to it.  Pears are always buttery and bitty.

It is vegan and supercharged to get you buzzing come the morn.

This is enough for 2 glasses (and one left for later).  Just peel the kiwi, the rest is best with skins and seeds in we think.

The Bits

2 pears (chopped), 1 large apple (chopped), 1 handful of spinach leaves, 2 kiwi fruits, 1 large tbs of chunky peanut butter (organic, with not too much salt), 2 cups of soya milk (or the milk of something that you prefer).

Do It

Pop all in a blender and blitz up until smooth.

Pear and Peanut Smoothie

Serve

Over a fruit salad or in your finest wine glass.

We Love It!

I love peanuts, so the more the merrier!  Spinach adds a great deep green.  We have missed the chunks (far too much juicing recently).

Foodie Fact

Pears are actually a member of the rose family and are full of good fibre.

Patterns in the sand near the Beach House

 

Categories: Breakfast, photography, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Homemade Peanut Butter

I’ve been buying expensive organic peanut butter for years.  It’s well worth having in the cupboard, it adds great flavour and nutrients to a whole host of dishes and snacks.

Recently it struck me, why not make my own?

So I peeled a bag of monkey nuts and realised peanut butter can be made by anyone with a blender (or pestle and mortar and lots of time) and some nuts.

It’s this simple:

The Bits

2 cups of roasted peanuts (unsalted)

A pinch of salt

Do It

Get your blender with a blade on, add peanuts (I warm and colour them slightly in a frying pan beforehand, not necessary).  Pinch of salt or spoonful of honey (if you’re a sweetie).  Blend until creamy.  Takes around 5 minutes.

If you’re feeling like getting really in touch with your P.B., you can mash them up in a pestle and mortar.  This takes a while and is much messier.

We Love It

Mix in into curries to give a new dimension of flavour and glowing finish, especially Thai style coconut curries.  Cor!

Foodie Fact

Peanuts are actually a legume!  They are often called earth nuts and are high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.  They contain good amounts of dietary protein, essential for growth and development and resveratrol, which is a super antioxidant.  A handful of peanuts per day will provide you with a large amount of your required minerals, proteins and vitamins.  Wonder nut!

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Living, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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