Friday, February 29, 2008

Pecan Squares

1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.
For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jamaican Coconut Candy

2 fresh coconuts, whole coconut, not shredded
2 cups chopped fresh ginger root
4 cups raw brown sugar (recommended: Natural Sugar)
1 cup chopped pecans (or nut of choice) optional Melted chocolate, for dipping

Crack open 2 coconuts. (Putting the coconuts in a 250 degree F oven for several minutes will make them easier to crack open). Scoop out the coconut meat using a paring knife. Clean the coconut and cut up into bite-sized pieces.
Put the coconut pieces and chopped ginger root into a large pot (cast iron works best). Cover with water and boil for 3 to 4 hours to soften and bring out the flavors. Be sure to continue to add water as it boils down. Once the water has reduced, add brown sugar and boil for another 30 to 40 minutes or until there is no liquid left. It should be in a syrup state. Fold in chopped pecans. Drop pieces onto nonstick foil and let set for about 15 minutes. Dip in melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pine Nut and Pumpkin Seed Brittle

3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) pine nuts
3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) hulled pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup water
6 tablespoons corn syrup
4 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Place the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan and place in the oven. Roast the nuts until golden, shaking the pan periodically to ensure even browning, about 10 minutes.Line a large sheet pan with a silpat cover, or, with aluminum foil. Smooth out any wrinkles that form on the sheet pan, grease with the vegetable oil and set aside. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, without stirring. Add the corn syrup and continue to boil the sugar, brushing down the sides of the saucepan with a brush that's been dipped in water to force down into the pan any crystallized sugar that forms on the walls of the pan.When the sugar reaches 250 degrees F, gradually add the butter, but do not stir. Continue to cook the sugar until it starts to turn a light caramel color. Remove from the heat and add the salt and baking soda, stirring to distribute. Pour the sugar over the silpat and cover evenly, making a thin sheet over the silpat. While the sugar is still warm, sprinkle the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds over the candy. Allow to cool completely before breaking and serving.

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Star-Anise Spiced Peanuts

Ingredients: (serves 8)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups whole raw unsalted peanuts
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs white sugar
1/2 inch-piece orange rind
2 small fresh red chillies, halved lengthways
1 tsp ground star anise

Heat oil in a wok over medium-low heat to 350 F (when oil is ready, a cube of bread turns golden brown in 15 seconds). Add half the peanuts and deep-fry for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Reheat oil and repeat with remaining peanuts.
Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, orange rind, chilli and star anise in a non-stick frying pan over low heat. Bring to the boil. Add nuts and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until coated. Transfer to a bowl and set aside for 1 hour to cool. Use tongs to remove orange rind and chilli.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cinnamon Sugar-Crusted Macadamias

2 eggwhites
pinch sea salt
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup demerara sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 cups macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a large roasting pan with baking paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites and salt in a bowl until mixture is frothy with large air bubbles. Add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly until well combined.
Stir demerara sugar and cinnamon into eggwhites. Add macadamia nuts and mix well to coat.
Spread mixture over base of prepared pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring with a metal spoon to break up mixture every 10 minutes, or until cinnamon sugar crust feels dry.
Cool completely in pan. Break up and place in an airtight container.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Banana Cupcakes with Toffee Pecans

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup mashed ripe banana

Toffee pecans:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
7 oz pecan halves, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease 10 x 3/4 cup capacity cupcake pans.
Beat oil, sugar, eggs, flour, bicarbonate of soda and banana with electric mixer for about 4 minutes or until pale in colour.
Pour evenly among prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn onto wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, combine sugar and water in medium pan, cook over low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, simmer about 5 minutes or until a golden brown colour. Arrange pecans on cakes and drizzle with toffee. Leave to cool.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hazelnut Cakes with Frosted Cherries

Ingredients: (serves 6)
Melted butter, to grease
1 cup icing sugar mixture
1/2 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups ground hazelnuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 egg whites
6 oz unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1/2 cup caster sugar
24 cherries, stems attached
3/4 cup mascarpone

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a 12 inch cake pan with melted butter. Line base with non-stick baking paper.
Sift icing sugar and flour into a bowl. Add hazelnuts and cinnamon, and mix until well combined. Use a balloon whisk to whisk 5 egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Use a large metal spoon to fold egg whites into hazelnut mixture. Add melted butter and fold in until just combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Use a fork to whisk remaining egg white in a bowl until frothy. Place caster sugar in a separate small bowl. Hold a cherry by the stem and brush with a little egg white to evenly coat. Dip into the sugar and turn to coat. Place, upright, on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining cherries. Set aside for 15 minutes or until dry.
To serve, use a round 1 1/4 inch cutter to cut 24 discs from hazelnut cake. Top each with a small dollop of mascarpone and then with a frosted cherry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cinnamon & Walnut Baked Apples

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 large apples
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup almond meal
1 egg white, lightly whisked
1/2 oz butter, cubed
Custard, to serve

Preheat oven to 375 F. Using an apple corer, core the apples to make a 1-1 1/2 inch opening at the top. Place the apples in a small baking dish.
Combine walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and almonds in a bowl. Stir in egg white. Spoon mixture evenly among centre of the apples. Place butter over the top of the apples. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the apple is just tender.
Place the apples in serving bowls and serve with the custard.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Palm Sugar Peanut Brittle

You'll need an 7 x 11 inch (base measurement) non-stick slab pan for this recipe.

Ingredients: (serves 8)
Vegetable oil, to grease
1 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup palm sugar, finely shaved
2 1/2 tbs butter, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 F . Brush an 7 x 11 inch (base measurement) non-stick slab pan with oil to grease. Spread the peanuts in the pan and bake in preheated oven, stirring once during cooking, for 3 minutes or until warmed through.Combine the caster sugar and palm sugar in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and becomes golden brown. Stir in peanuts and butter, and cook for a further 2 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is well combined. Pour into prepared pan and set aside for 30 minutes to set and cool completely. Break into large pieces to serve.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Brazil Nut & Almond Brittle

Ingredients (serves 8)
Vegetable oil, to grease
1 cup Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 oz butter
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush a 7 x 11 inch (base measurement) slice pan with oil to lightly grease. Spread the Brazil nuts and almonds over separate baking trays. Bake in oven for 5 minutes or until toasted. Set aside to cool slightly.
Cook the sugar in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture is golden brown. Remove from heat. Add the Brazil nuts, almonds and butter and stir to coat. Pour into the prepared pan and set aside for 20 minutes to set. Break into large shards to serve.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Soy Nuts

Ingredients (serves 8)
1 tbs caster sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
2 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
4 cups mixed raw nuts
2 tbs peanut oil
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Place sugar, soy, star anise, cinnamon, pepper and 1 tsp salt in a pan with 2 cups water. Bring to the boil, add nuts and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Drain, then pat dry well on paper towel. Heat oils in a large pan over mediumhigh heat. When hot, add nuts and fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve the nuts with beer.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fruit & Nut Chocolate Drops

1/4 cup unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, halved
1/3 cup rasin
1/3 cup slivered almonds
2 tbs chopped candied orange peel
5 oz good-quality milk or dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Mix the pistachio nuts, rasins, almonds and candied orange peel in a bowl. Set aside.
Get an adult to help melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, making sure bowl does not touch water. Stir until smooth. Lay a sheet of baking paper on a flat tray and use a teaspoon to spread 1.5 inch -wide circles of chocolate on the paper. Quickly decorate with a mixture of the toppings, then allow to cool and harden. You can refrigerate the drops, if desired.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Watermelon with Pistachio Dukkah

1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 cup pistachio kernels
5 pounds piece seedless watermelon, peeled, chilled

Cook sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, pistachios, and salt and pepper in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until aromatic. Set aside to cool.
Place into a food processor. Process until a coarse powder forms. Transfer to a bowl.
Cut watermelon into cubes. Dip the topof each cube into dukkah. Arrange on a serving plate. Serve with remaining dukkah.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Caramelised Camembert with Macadamia Nuts

2 x 8 inch rounds camembert cheese
4 oz roasted, salted macadamia nuts
1 cup white sugar
crackers, grapes and dried fruit, to serve

Place cheese on a large heatproof platter. Roughly chop macadamia nuts.
Place sugar in a small non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook, gently tilting pan back and forth, for 15 to 20 minutes or until sugar has dissolved and turned a rich caramel colour. Add nuts. Tilt pan to coat in toffee. Pour toffee over cheese. Set aside to cool, uncovered, at room temperature. Serve with crackers and fruit.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pecan Banana Bread

1/2 cup extra light olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup maple-flavoured syrup
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1.5 cup fresh ricotta cheese, to serve

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line a 2 1/3 inch deep, 8 x 4 inch (base) loaf pan.
Place oil, eggs, half the maple syrup, buttermilk and sugar into a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add bananas. Mix well.
Sift flour and baking powder over banana mixture. Stir gently to combine. Fold through pecans.
Pour mixture into loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan.
To serve, preheat grill on medium. Slice bread. Toast under grill. Spread with ricotta. Drizzle with remaining syrup.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Quick Pecan, Olive & Buttermilk Bread

11.5 oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp mustard powder
2.5 oz freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup grated good-quality tasty cheese or gruyere
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped, plus extra pecans, sliced, for topping
3 oz pitted black olives, slivered
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves, plus extra sprigs for topping
2 1/2 tbs olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 extra yolk mixed with 2 tsp water
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a large loaf pan and line with greased baking paper.
Sift flour, baking powder, soda, mustard, and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add cheeses, nuts, olives and rosemary, and mix well with a wooden spoon.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, 2 eggs and buttermilk. Make a well in flour mixture, add oil mixture and stir to form a thick batter. Scrape into pan and smooth top. Brush top with egg-yolk mixture, then scatter with extra nuts, rosemary and sea salt. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean (cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly).
Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a rack. (It's tempting to eat this bread straight away, but it tastes better after it has cooled.) Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days - once refrigerated, it's best to warm it gently in a 325° F oven or toast it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Apricot and Walnut Loaf

1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
2 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup orange juice
2 oz butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 340° F. Grease a 6cm deep, loaf pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 3/4 inch overhang on both long ends.
Combine apricots and 1 cup cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until apricots are soft. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid.
Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Add sugar and walnuts. Stir to combine. Make a well in the centre. Combine egg, orange juice, butter or margarine and reserved liquid. Pour into well. Add apricots. Mix well.
Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fruit, Nut and Seed Trail Mix

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

Place pecans, almonds and peanuts in a bowl with pumpkin seeds, dried apricots and dried figs. Drizzle with maple syrup, toss to coat and spread onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake at 350° F for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool, then store in an airtight container for up to one week. Half a cup with some yoghurt makes this a nutritious snack.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chocolate Walnut Treats

2 oz icing sugar, plus extra to dust
4 oz walnuts, plus 15 walnut halves to decorate
1/2 eggwhite
7 oz good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Grease and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place icing sugar in a food processor and whiz to remove any lumps, add the walnuts and process to form a fine mixture. Add eggwhite and process until mixture forms a paste.
Dust your hands with icing sugar and roll mixture into small walnut-sized balls, then flatten slightly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
Get an adult to help you melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, making sure bowl does not touch water. Stir until smooth, then cool slightly. Use a wooden skewer to pierce each walnut round, dip into the chocolate to coat completely, then place on the prepared tray. Before the chocolate sets, place a walnut half on each chocolate. Cool in the fridge for 1/2 hour or until set.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Chocolate, Nut and Caramel Shortbread Tart

14 oz shortbread biscuits, halved
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 oz dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pouring cream
3 1/2 oz butter, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 oz slivered pistachios
3 oz slivered almonds
3 oz chopped walnuts, lightly roasted
7 oz dark chocolate (60 percent cocoa solids), finely chopped
Dutch-process cocoa, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 F. Process biscuits in a food processor until fine crimbs form. With mortor running, add egg and process until mixture is evenly damp. Using your hands and the base of a glass, press crumb mixture evenly and firmly over base and sides of a greased 10 inch round loose-based fluted tart tin. Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes or until tart case is dry. Set aside to cool.
Place sugar, 1/2 cup of cream, butter and banilla ina saucepan. Stir over medium heat until combined, then simmer for 8 minutes. Stir in nuts, then spoon into tart case. Set aside to cool.
Place remaining cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to the boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, add chocolate, and stir until chocolate melts and mixture us smooth abd cimbined. Spoon over caramel layer in tart case, level with a spatula, then refrigerate for 2 hours until set. Dust tart with cocoa and cut into then slices to serve. This tart will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

No-Bake Golden Nut Bars

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups Rice Bubbles
3.5 oz dark chocolate, chopped

Line a 12 x 8 inches slab pan with non-stick baking paper.
Stir sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth.
Place Rice Bubbles into a large bowl. Stir in syrup mixture. Press into the lined pan.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted. Transfer the melted chocolate into a sealable plastic bag. Snip the corner and pipe over the slice. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or until set. Cut into bars to serve.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Walnut Pillows

1 1/2 cups plain flour
4 oz unsalted butter, cubed
6 egg yolks
Vegetable oil, to grease
Plain flour, extra, to dust
Icing sugar mixture, to dust

Walnut filling
3/4 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 oz unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice

Sift flour into a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub butter into the flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolks and stir until a soft, sticky dough forms. Divide dough into 16 equal portions and roll into balls. Place on a baking tray and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
To make the walnut filling, place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Place in a bowl. Add the sugar, milk, butter and mixed spice, and stir to combine.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush a baking tray with oil to lightly grease.
Roll out a dough portion on a lightly floured surface to an 3 x 4 inch rectangle. Repeat with remaining dough portions. Place a heaped teaspoonful of walnut mixture in the centre of each rectangle. Fold over edges to enclose filling. Press edges together to seal. Place pillows, seam-side down, on the prepared tray.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve with hot chocolate.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fruit and Nut Logs

9 oz shortbread biscuits
1/2 cup NESTLE White CHOC BITS
1 cup fruit medley
3/4 cup shelled pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
14 oz can NESTLE Sweetened Condensed Milk
6.5 oz NESTLE White Melts, roughly chopped
2 oz butter

Crush biscuits to fine crumbs in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl. Add choc bits, fruit, 1/4 cup of pistachios and 1/4 cup of walnuts. Stir to combine.
Combine condensed milk, melts and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. Stir into biscuit mixture. Form biscuit mixture into 4* 10 inch-long logs
Finely chop remaining nuts. Spread over a sheet of baking paper. Roll logs in nuts. Cover and refrigerate until set. Wrap in cellophane and tie with ribbons.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pecan Cakes

3/4 cup pure icing sugar
1/2 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
1/4 cup plain flour, sifted
2 oz butter, melted
4 egg whites
1/2 cup pecan nuts
pure icing sugar, to serve

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease six 1/3 cup capacity muffin pan holes.
Combine icing sugar, almond meal, flour and butter in a bowl.
Using a fork, lightly whisk egg whites. Fold eggwhites, in 2 batches, into almond mixture.
Three-quarter fill each muffin hole with mixture. Top each cake with 2 to 3 pecans. Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand cakes in pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with extra icing sugar and serve.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chocolate Macadamia Tarts

7 oz milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup thickened cream
2 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur
12 frozen shortcrust tartlet cases
3.5 oz roasted macadamia nuts, chopped
cocoa powder, to serve

Place chocolate, cream and liqueur into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring with a metal spoon, for 5 minutes or until smooth. Remove from heat. Refrigerate for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, or until thick.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place frozen tartlet cases (in their foil) onto a baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden and cooked through.
Stir nuts into chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until firm. Spoon into pastry cases. Dust with cocoa powder.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Indian-Spiced Nut Mix

1 cup Brazil nuts
1 cup almond kernels
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup cashew nuts
1 x 3.5 oz Chang's fried noodles
1 egg white
2 tsp peanut oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground turmeric
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Sunbeam flame raisins
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine the Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, noodles, egg white, oil, cumin, coriander, garam masala, paprika, fennel and turmeric in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a large roasting pan.
Bake in oven, stirring every 5 minutes, for 15 minutes or until nuts are toasted and mixture is aromatic. Add raisins and gently toss to combine. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool to room temperature.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chocolate Walnut Pie with Chocolate Fudge Sauce

9 oz plain flour
1 oz icing sugar, plus extra to dust
6 oz cold butter
3 large eggs
5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
5 ozwalnuts, lightly toasted
6 oz caster sugar
1 egg yolk
Chocolate fudge sauce and cream, to serve
Chocolate fudge sauce
3 1/2 cups sugar
6 oz Dutch cocoa powder
2.5 oz unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a medium bowl, add the butter and a pinch of salt. Use your fingers to rub together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (or use a food processor). Add 1 whole egg and mix together until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Whizz the chocolate and walnuts in a food processor until they are a medium fineness, place in a bowl and add the caster sugar and remaining whole eggs. Stir to combine.
Bring the pastry to room temperature and reserve one third for the lid. Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured surface to 1/5 inch thick and use to line a 4 x 14 inches lightly greased loose-bottomed tart pan (check for leaks).
Roll out the reserved pastry to 1/5 inch thick. Pour the filling onto the pastry base, moisten the edges with a little water and carefully place the pastry on top. Gently press edges together to seal, and trim any excess pastry. Make 3 small slits in the lid to allow steam to escape.
Beat the egg yolk with a little water and brush over top of tart. Bake for 35 minutes until golden.Set aside in the pan to cool then transfer to a serving plate and dust with icing sugar. Serve sliced with chocolate fudge sauce and cream.
Chocolate fudge sauce: Place sugar in a pan with 3 1/2 cups of water. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 15 minutes then whisk in sifted cocoa powder. Simmer for 10 minutes, add butter and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Sunflower Family

Compositae is the genus
there are 110 kinds of sunflower, all of them American. Sunflower is a phenomenon of North America.

This crop has become popular worldwide. It started in America about 400 years ago. it probably was first grown on the wild plains in California. Settlers carried the seeds with them and they were commonly scattered along the wagon trails going west.By the 1700's the seed had reached Spain and then France where it was popular.
The crop is a dry land crop and readily grows in the hot, dry Midwestern states. All summer the stalks reach the heavens and it takes a frost to set the plant and get it ready for harvest. Once a frost has occurred, the farmers us combines to gather and cut the head which are taken to drying sheds until the moisture decreases. The seeds are shelled using a centrifugal air machine. The seeds are dropped into an air stream and propelled towards a hard metal plate. They hit the plate with great force and crack open. As the residue drops the husk is lighter and is blown by air to the side and the finished kernels drop into a bin where they are moved on to packaging.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Juglandaceae species Includes the hickories, walnuts, and pecans
The pecan grows in the rich bottomlands in drier climates. It is found in the 18 southern states ranging from Georgia to California. Mexico has a huge crop also. It is the most important native nut crop of North America.

The nut is grown in the southern United States, usually below Missouri in latitude. It took four centuries for this nut to become a cultivated crop. For many decades it was a wild nut and used by American Indians. Pecans are produced in seven countries - Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Mexico, and West Africa. They are consumed around the world, wherever domestic nuts are traded.

The pecan tree was first introduced into Israel around 1930. The crop has grown and is now a commercial crop, grown in orchards along the Meditterranean Ocean seashore. Varieties grown include Wichita, Choctaw, Apache, Cammanchee, Texhan, Hastings, Mohawk, Caddo, Sioux, Shawnee, Clark, Cheyenne, Royal, Ideal, and Bradley.
Pecans in Africa
The Republic of South Africa has a small but florishing pecan nut industry that has existed for many years.
The Hican The HICAN is a cross between the pecan and the Hickories. Hicans have the long shape of the pecan, but in many ways resemble the hickory tree. The largest Hican is the McAlister, which is about 2-1/2" long and more than 1/2" thick. The McAlister, however, has not been productive so there is no commercial crop. The Bixby variety is nearly as la
rge as the McAlister.Many natural crosses between the pecan and other nut crops have been found. In 1541 Hernando DeSoto came upon a tree in what is present day Arkansas. The tree was growing abundant nuts on all branches and was described and a "thin shelled walnut". This could only be the pecan.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pecan Maple Palmiers

2/3 cup pecan nuts
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 sheets frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, partially-thawed
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Place pecans in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add maple syrup and process until well combined.
Place 1 pastry sheet on a workbench. Spread with half the pecan mixture. Starting from the side closest to you, tightly roll pastry until you reach the centre. Repeat with the other side. Using a sharp knife, cut roll into 1cm-thick slices (see note). Place palmiers on trays, allowing room for spreading. Repeat with remaining pastry and pecan mixture.
Bake palmiers for 10 minutes. Swap trays over in oven. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm or cold

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Indian Spiced Nut Mix

1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut & almonds korma curry paste (Patak's brand)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup almond kernels
1 cup salted peanuts
1 cup unsalted cashew nuts
1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup flaked coconut
Combine the honey, curry paste and garlic in a large bowl. Add the almonds, peanuts, cashews and macadamias and stir until well combined. Place the nut mixture in a large oven bag and twist the opening to close.
Place oven bag on the microwave turntable, adjusting until the nuts are in a single layer and the twisted opening of the bag is underneath (this will prevent the bag opening during cooking).
Cook on High/800watts/100%, shaking the bag every 2 minutes, for 8-12 minutes or until toasted. Remove from microwave. Spread the nuts in a single layer over a baking tray and set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
Coarsely break up the nut mixture and place in a large bowl. Add the raisins and coconut, and stir until well combined.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More than 1,000 Pounds of Pecans Stolen From Factory

ALBANY — More than $1,000 worth of pecans were stolen from a local distributor during the New Year Holiday period, authorities said.
According to reports filed with the Albany Police Department, the owners of B&L Pecan Company on the 1300 block of West Oakridge Avenue reported that 20, 75- pound bags of pecans were stolen sometime between Sunday and Wednesday.
The bags of pecans, which are valued at 75 cents per pound, were stolen off a pallet in the storage area of the business, reports show.
Manager Vernon Gage told police that he and several workers were at the business Sunday doing inventory and that the bags were there when he left. But when he came in Wednesday, they were missing, according to the report.
A window in a bathroom in the west side of the storage building was busted out and was the probable point of entry, the report shows.
The owner, Manon Luckey, told police that he had recently fired two employees for stealing pecans and then trying to resale them back to the company, according to the report.
The report says that the names of those employees were turned over to the police and fingerprints from the area were lifted.
In total, the bags were estimated to weigh 1,381 pounds.

Posted on the Albany Herald

Friday, January 11, 2008

Different types of Nuts

A nut in cuisine is a much less restrictive (but vital) category than a nut in botany, as the term is applied (or misapplied, depending upon the viewpoint) to many seeds that are not true nuts. Any large, oily kernel found within a shell and used in food may be regarded as a nut. Because nuts generally have a high oil content, they are a highly prized food and energy source. A large number of seeds are edible by humans and used in cooking, eaten raw, sprouted, or roasted as a snack food, or pressed for oil that is used in cookery and cosmetics. Nuts (or seeds generally) are also a significant source of nutrition for wildlife. This is particularly true in temperate climates where animals such as jays and squirrels store acorns and other nuts during the autumn to keep them from starving during the late autumn, all of winter, and early spring.
Nuts, including both tree nuts and peanuts, are among the most common food allergens.

Some fruits and seeds that are nuts in the culinary sense but not in the botanical sense:
Almond is the edible seed of a drupe — the leathery "flesh" is removed at harvest.
Brazil nut is the seed from a capsule.
Candlenut (used for oil) is a seed.
Cashew nut is a seed.
Coconut is a dry, fibrous drupe.
Horse-chestnut is an inedible capsule.
Macadamia nut is a creamy white kernel (Macadamia integrifolia).
Mongongo Peanut is a legume and a seed.
Pine nut is the seed of several species of pine (coniferous trees).
Pistachio nut is the seed of a thin-shelled drupe.
Lychee is a member of the soapberry family, in which its berrylike fruits can be eaten fresh or sundried as nuts.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Macadamia Nut Brittle

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water, to dissolve
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and cooled

In a saucepan boil the sugar and water together to make a caramel. Test the color of the caramel on a white plate. It should be amber-brown. Stir in the butter with a wooden spoon then stir in the nuts. Pour onto a silpat and let cool. Break up into chunks (for brittle, just chop or crush with the bottom of a bottle). Store in an airtight container.

Recipe courtesy Gale Gand

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Nut Knowledge

Dr. George Washington Carver found over 300 uses for the peanut plant in the early 1900’s. He has been called the “peanut wizard” and the “father of the modern peanut industry.”
Nuts offer a nutrient-dense, convenient snack alternative for families on the go.
Nuts are a wholesome snack option.
One ounce of peanuts contains many of the vitamins and minerals necessary for the body’s growth and maintenance.
The beneficial fats in peanuts, which are about 81% unsaturated, can help lower cholesterol levels when they replace saturated fats in the diet.
Nuts may be heart healthy. Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. Claim does not apply to Brazil Nuts, Macadamias, Cashews, and Pine Nuts. See nutrition page for fat content.”
Did you know that peanuts aren’t even nuts? They are legumes and a member of the pea family!
Peanuts are naturally 100% cholesterol-free!
Peanuts have been to space! Astronaut Allen B. Shepard took the tasty treat on his Apollo mission to the moon!
George Washington Carver discovered hundreds of uses for the peanut in products such as soap, cheese and paint, earning him the name “Father of the Peanut Industry.”

Monday, January 7, 2008

Glazed Nuts

1 1/2 cups whole almonds, blanched (or cashews, peanuts, pecan halves, etc.)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons butter or margarine

In a heavy 8 inch skillet combine nuts, sugar and butter.
Cook over med heat, stirring constantly until sugar is melted and golden in color and nuts are toasted (about 7 minutes)
Spread nuts on a butter cookie sheet or aluminum foil, separating nuts.
Sprinkle lightly with salt.