I feel like the older you get, the younger you actually become. Having had the privilege of experiencing new things you keep coming back to what is most familiar and when it comes to food, the tastes you grew up with.
Now I didn’t grow up incredibly rich, and at the big weekly shop at the local supermarket I was only ever allowed 1 treat, which usually was a Mars bar. And If I braved the monthly drive out to the farmers markets, I’d get lucky and be offered a Dagwood dog (aka Pluto pup/corndog). So these 2 simple food items will forever be associated with those childhood memories.
Being an adult now means I get to do my own grocery shopping. So often I come to these items which had populated my childhood, Space food sticks, roll-ups, Le Snacks, Chomp, Party Pies, icey poles etc and I’d often stop to play out this internal dialogue.
Weird Part of Brain: Go on, you’re alone, no one’s going to judge you if you by that. They’ll just think you have kids
Me: That’s not a very good reason is it? And oh…ewww, I’m old enough to have kids?
Brain: Well there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Me: Yeah but…they’re not really healthy are they?
Brain: Hey…hey…everything in moderation. And guess what??? YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO ASK YOUR PARENTS IF YOU CAN!!!
Me: So does that mean you’re giving me the permission Brain?
Me: Okay, cool…in the trolley she goes…
It’s weird that the act of asking for permission is so ingrained from childhood. I guess we still have to ask for permission at work all the time, but in other facets of life I still find it hard to accept that, oh wait, I don’t actually have to ask for permission or justify things to other people. It’s a massive step into adulthood I guess…and back to childhood tastes.
Getting back to childhood tastes actually, Nutella, gee whizz, that shit was the bomb right? (and still is!) On bread, on fruit, on anything…by itself. It was like eating childhood itself; sweet, nutty and full of sunshine. I remember I used to swap my Nutella sandwiches in 3rd grade with this kid called Jeff. To the envy of the rest of us, he was lucky enough to have a lunch order every day, be it a sausage rolls, a pie or canteen pizza etc. But he LOVED Nutella, and to my downfall I could never say no to a sausage roll and tomato sauce. So I would swap half my Nutella sandwich with half his sausage roll. I always thought I had the better end of the bargain, I mean what is the cost of half a Nutella Sandwich with white bread? Significantly less than a school canteen sausage roll I gather but then again for someone who doesn’t have access to Nutella, maybe it means more?
So without any real adults saying No, as you get older a Jar of Nutella goes straight to the waistline…because you don’t have to justify it with bread anymore… just a spoon. But occasionally the cloying sweetness can get a bit too much…or really a bit too dangerous actually.
So here’s a darker, richer, healthier and a bit more adult version of a childhood favourite. You know all that dark chocolate you bought to convince yourself that should you consume chocolate it’s better to eat the dark version…but since then it’s just been sitting in the pantry whilst you and everyone around you consume every other type of chocolate? (Yeah even the Turkish delight in a box of Cadbury Favourites)…well you finally have a use for it.
(Makes about 450ml)
100g Dark 70% cocoa chocolate
2 tablespoon cocoa
3 tablespoon milk powder dissolved in 125ml hot water
50ml whole milk
Roast the hazelnuts in the oven till brown. Using a tea towel peel whilst still warm.
Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Once well incorporated, mix in the cocoa, sugar, milk powder mixture and milk.
In a food processor, blitz the hazelnuts until it becomes a paste. Depending on your processor and how smooth you want the paste, this can take between 5-15min. Always stop and start, allowing the motor to rest. Add in the liquid mixture into the food processor with the hazelnut paste and blitz until well mixed and smooth.
Pour into sterilised jars and keep in the fridge. The Spread will set harder once in the fridge, and can be kept up to 3 weeks. (Ha but try and make it last that long)