Seriously adult PBJ (Peanut Butter Jam) Sandwich


Peanut Butter Jelly/ Jam Sandwich. Childhood favourite. American Classic. PBJ. Hunger satiate-r . Things childhood was made of. I still remember the 5 PM hunger pangs that were sometimes only demanding a PBJ sandwich and a glass of milk.

My travels to America brings me to hotel morning breakfast buffets and quintessentially they always have these grape jelly and peanut butter blister packs and I do indulge in the rare slathering of the peanut butter on warm toast and the grape jelly.

Same is the case when am home, just that the peanut butter needs to be gourmet (not off the rack, pasty kind) and the jam or jelly, self made, washed down with a well brewed cup of darjeeling tea. But on a good day, when I am feeling really indulgent and I have some guests at home I re-interpret PBJ sandwich to an ice cream sandwich, where the meringue in the ice-cream stands out with a hint of chilli in the jam and salt in the peanuts, it sends the senses into a cold frenzy and just steals the show every single time.  I am going to try to flambé it one day.


for the Ice cream:
750 ml whipping cream
250 gms meringues
1-2 tbsp icing sugar
1tbsp vanilla extract

for the berry jam
500 gms strawberry, hulled and cut in chunks
1 red chilli, deseeded if you cannot take the punch
150 gms brown sugar
1tbsp lemon juice

for the peanut brittle
100 gms roasted salted peanuts, off the packet and toast them a little
75 gms brown sugar

  1. Whip the cream. Use a very cold vessel to whip the cream to soft peaks. add the vanilla extract and sugar and whisk again.
  2. Add Meringue. Break the meringue into bits and fold into the cream. Line a loaf tin or similar tray with cling film. Pour the mixture and freezer for a day.
  3. Macerate the strawberries with the sugar. Add the chillies and simmer over gentle heat. Cook till the strawberries are soft and the liquid attains a syrupy state. Do a tasting at this stage to ensure that the strawberries are not too tart. If they are, add more sugar till it reaches a sweet and slight sour state. Add the lemon juice to finish.
  4. Caramelise the sugar. For the brittle take a heavy bottomed pan and heat the sugar through. Do not stir. Once the sugar starts to melt, shake the pan slightly to evenly spread the heat. Since we are using brown sugar, further caramelisation  is not needed.
  5. Add the peanuts. Once the sugar has melted add the roasted peanuts. If the peanuts are not salted, add a pinch of sea salt now.
  6. Pour the mixture on a greased plate. Once cool, pound it with a rolling pin to break in into crumbs. Don’t worry if they are not even. its better that way if you have some chunky pieces.
  7. Assemble the sandwich. Take the ice cream and cut a thin slice. Place it on a plate. Top it with the strawberry and chilli jam/ compote. Place another slice of ice cream on top of the compote. Sprinkle the peanut brittle crumbs on top. Dig in and watch the plates being licked

Tip 1 – you can cheat on the ice cream. I made mine from scratch. But you could just buy a brick of your favourite one and use that. Tubs are not recommended as we need the slabs to cut into bread like slices.

Tip 2 – works best in prime berry season. Use red berries for the drama. Strawberries/ raspberries/red currents. All three are great and they provide a different dimension/ texture to the jam/ jelly element of the ice cream sandwich

Tip 3 – you could buy your favourite Peanut Brittle and crumb it. I made mine from scratch again.


P.S. Since we are celebrating childhood, some more things to remind us of those days.

Watch: I would recommend two movies which were shown in school when I was bidding adieu to my all girls catholic convent in the last month of standard X and being oriented to tackle the big bad world.
Dead Poets Society – Robbie Williams remarkable work. The film is an inspiration for every generation and a must watch specially for every growing up child. “Make your lives extraordinary’ .
Beaches  – a moving tale of two best friends and their lives.

Listen: Not straight from childhood, but lovely and reflective.
Thats how I got to Memphis – by Bobby Bare where Memphis signifies life.
Jolene – This song was the was all over the 59th Grammy and you can pick any version. Do give Miley Cyrus cover The Backyard Sessions a listen.
Come back from San Fransisco – The Magnetic Fields. A very soulful song that can make you want to sit with a cup of tea.
La Vie en Rose –  we have heard this song on runways and a multitude of films. Edith Piaf at her best. Various other artists have rendered this song including the great Louis Armstrong.

Read:Take a moment and then some more.
Nigel Slater, he is not the cook who writes but a writer who cooks. He does write a lot with reference to memory and as an avid gardener myself, I look forward to his garden writing and photographs.
Walt Whitman : O me! O Life! is like a chapter from my school poetry class, Dead Poets Society and also life itself. “that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.”
Book: To Kill a Mocking Bird. In 2006 this book was regarded as “ a book which every adult must read before they die”.

That Bottle of Bubbly


It lies there in your fridge, as if it were an asset you were holding a long position on, or waiting in the chiller for that one deal that you will crack, for that day when you will propose to him, tell him that you are all I ever wanted and more. Its waiting for your 35th birthday and that birthday is long gone but that bottle is still there, waiting for its opportune moment; to be popped or sabered. An anniversary of the parents that might become special simply by popping the cork. That bottle of bubbly which represents desire to celebrate and make eternally memorable a day or a moment in our life.

Its the month of February and the multitude of mush tends to get onto the nerves. But ever wondered why did they choose this month, February. Probably because it is the shortest month in the year, it is a reminder of how life is short and fragile, how we have a finite amount of time and probably that is the reason why February is the chosen one, the chosen month for everything remotely celebrated about love.

So why not use this bottle of bubbly; not to make special days count but to make mundane special, for that is true celebration of life, of living and a way to make the shortest month in the year the longest. Raise your glasses to love (requited or not), to the ability to love and to life that throws on us an opportunity to love.

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying.”


I too have had a bottle of bubbly lying with me, but I still did not have the heart to open that specific bottle, but since Roses and Strawberries are both abound, I thought of putting them together for a great cocktail with another bottle of Prosecco; light and bright for an afternoon, and dark and mysterious for an evening. Muddled and sieved pulp of ruby red strawberries, with a splash of rose water lends to this cocktail a hint of The Mediterranean.

Ruby Red Bubbles
250gms strawberries
3tbsp rose water
1bottle bubbly (champagne, prosecco, brut)

      1. Puree the strawberries. Hull and chop the strawberries. Blitz them through a blender. Pass them through a very fine sieve.
      2. Add the rose water. Add rose water to the strawberry puree and stir.
      3. Portion the puree into 6 champagne flutes or saucers
      4. Pour over the bubbly just before serving.
      5. Clink glasses.


P.S. –

Watch: Take a moment to sit through a great movie and sip this cocktail for some me time and me love
500 days of summer – if you want to believe that love is meant to be for everyone
Before sunrise – sweet cakes and milk shakes.
Reader – if you want to see how love can affect and afflict and affect again
Newsroom – I highly recommend this series known for this viral video but also for its heart warming portrayal of passion for a cause and of undying love and I will be binge watching MacKenzie McHale and Will MacAvoy, Sloan Sabbath and Don Keefer and Jim Harper and Maggie Jordan

Listen: I  am currently listening to (on loop)
The Smiths (inspired by 500 days of Summer) Please please please –
La La Land Soundtrack – The theme of this movie is what dreams are made of and my favourite is City of Stars –

Read –
Blog: I am a big fan of this blog
The Rosie Project
Jane Eyre