That’s it! It’s December, we have erected the tree (it’s a real tree, so No.1 Daughter has agreed to come home) and all the focus is on Christmasy stuff (which I love by the way, and I shall love far more once I have a small child to indulge again).
And I am sure it was the same for you too, but it was at Christmas that we would suddenly have vast quantities of nuts in the house, in a way that was totally out of the ordinary to all the other times, events and seasons. When I was a child they were novel, I can remember my sister, some friends (Adrian and Kerry) and I trying to eat embryonic sweet chestnuts (hairy and yuck) and I am sure that most Christmas’ I attempted to eat my own body weight in Chocolate Brazils, but mostly I felt pretty ‘meh’ about them (apart from the Hazelnut biscotti incident, more about that another day). But now I am older I can appreciate and enjoy nuts in a way that feels very grown up, after all they are very good for you too.
So, much of what I cook now has additions of fruit, seeds, herbs, spices and nuts. I love their aromatic quality and their texture and the flavours too and I wanted to make something new to me that was savoury and nutty (lots of sweet, nutty stuff around and I just didn’t want plain old salted or dry roasted). Well, I was a-leafing through some old cook books and I came across an Egyptian snack food of roasted seeds and nuts, eaten by dipping bread into oil and then the said roasted mix. Well, I was away, I had it!
Of course it is offering itself to be crusted onto the side of pork or lamb, or topping a fish or vegetable dish (just for those last 5 minutes in the oven) but I have to say that I think it is perfect for just spooning into the palm of your hand and knocking back, preferably with a small glass of something suitably strong (your choice here) but I love a Marsala.
This is super easy to make, just needs a little patience and focus whilst they are in the oven, no distractions allowed, you have been warned.
And, of course, if you feel like adding some of your favourite flavours then give it a go, most herbs and spices go well and if you like you could even add a little sugar for a ‘Sweet & Salt’ vibe.
Scarlet Rosita’s Dukkah
120 g/4 oz Hazelnuts
120 g/4 oz Peanuts
120 g/4 oz Cashews
120 g/4 oz Almonds
60 g/2 oz Pinenuts
60 g/2 oz Pistachios (shelled)
60 g/2 oz Sunflower Seeds
60 g/2 oz Pumpkin Seeds
15g/0.5 oz Coloured Peppercorns
30g/1 oz Coriander Seeds
30g/1 oz Caraway
15g/0.5 oz Fennel
15g/0.5 oz Aniseed
1/2 tsp Cloves
60 g/2 oz Sesame seeds
1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric
1 heaped tsp Ground Cumin
1 heaped tsp Thyme
1 heaped tsp Mint
1 heaped tsp Sea salt
Preheat the oven to Gas 4 150ºC.
Shell any nuts that need to be and then spread them onto a baking sheet.
Keep similar sized items together, so the Pine nuts and Pistachios’ can go on the same tray and the Hazelnuts and Almonds can be roasted together,
as can the Sunflower seeds and Pumpkins seeds
Allow each item to become toasty and fragrant
that will be the best indicator of their readiness …
…when you can smell them
Repeat with each of the seeds and the peppercorns.
Allow each of them to cool completely. Pulse in a food processor to a coarse consistency.
Place into a bowl and add the final herbs, spices and salt and mix well (with a spoon is sufficient).
That’s it … bag it up and give it as a gift for Christmas but make sure to keep some for yourself so you can sprinkle it on the Spiced Parsnip Soup
Well as it is fairly chilly here in Blighty I needed to make something warm and comforting but not anything too heavy today. And the parsnips looked beautiful … and Spiced Parsnip Soups is one of my favourites … and it is really easy to do … and I could top it with the Dukkah … it was all looking like it was meant to be.
The Spiced Parsnip Soup now has a post in its own right. (Just discovered how to add categories and tags so finding recipes is easier – just an editors amendment)
PS I’m the editor too 🙂
If you are in London then why not come and see me Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.