You know how Audrey Hepburn likes to stand outside Tiffany’s having a croissant when she has the ‘mean reds’ because nothing could ever go wrong there? I have a similar thing with health food shops. I find just being inside them makes me feel better about myself. All that organic, non-processed, vitamin-stuffed, vegan-friendly goodness works its hypothetical magic in my brain and I inevitably spend tons of money in gratitude at the escape from psychological embattlement by aisles of Tesco junk.

So last time I went into Uhuru, my Cowley Road sanctuary, I picked up a jar of a sort of raw cacao and nut spread which seemed to me like an inherently great idea, because I love nutella and yet know that despite what the adverts claim (“10 hazelnuts in every jar!” Erm, yeah, and what’s in the rest of it?) it’s sadly not really very good for you. And then I forced myself to put the jar down, because the little voice that pops up in my head on such occasions murmured, “You could make that yourself! And save money!”

So I did.

Chocolate-nut spread

Makes 1 very large jar

I used almonds, because that’s what I had most of, but obviously for a more Nutella-ish vibe hazelnuts would be appropriate. The one in the shop used a mix of nuts, of which Brazil is the only one I can remember. It occurred to me later that maybe toasting the nuts would be nice, too. Agave nectar is a low-GI sweetener obtained from the Mexican plant which tequila comes from, but you could of course use a different sweetener.

160g 100% pure cacao e.g. Willie’s, available in Waitrose
300g almonds or nuts of your choice
3 tbsp or more agave nectar, to taste
water or oil to blend

Chop the cacao roughly and blend in food processor with the nuts (skins on is OK). Keep blending until the mixture forms a paste. This will take quite a while, so you may prefer to do it in batches (or reduce the quantities) to avoid stressing out your food processor. Add agave nectar until it’s as sweet as you want it, and water/oil to thin out the texture if needed.

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