A sprinkling over any dish lends a bit of the exotic to it, a handful of toasted nuts will always have you wanting for more; adding them to your savory dishes, or your cakes, cookies, bread doughs and desserts will always bring a delightful and flavourful crunch. And, what’s even better, they’re loaded with protein, and healthy oils.
Different types of nuts bring different flavours but if you’ve got a favourite nut then you can almost always use it in any way that you please. The secret to great tasting nuts is toasting your nuts before adding them to batters, doughs, or savoury dishes. Simply place your nuts on a cookie tray and into a preheated 250F oven for about 10 minutes. Some nuts need to be peeled before using, for example almonds; place your almonds into a bowl, cover them with boiling water, leave for about five minutes and then the skins should just slip off.
Remember to try different types of nuts, almonds and pine nuts are especially delightful in savoury dishes such as rice, salads and lamb casseroles. Walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans and almonds are great in sweets, desserts and doughs. With all this in mind, have a nutty day!
DENSE, DELICIOUS DATE AND NUT BREAD
1 lb seeded chopped dates
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
1 cup chopped nuts, pecans, walnuts, or almonds
Preheat oven to 350F, grease and flour two, 8inch loaf tins.
Pour boiling water onto dates, stir in sugar, butter and baking soda. Let cool.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt.
Whisk in date mixture. Beat egg and add vanilla and orange zest.
Add to mixture, fold in nuts.
Spoon mixture into baking pans.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until few crumbs stick to a wooden pick when tested.
Cool well before slicing.
Makes 2 loaves.
SPICED RICE PILAF WITH CHICKPEAS, PINE NUTS
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
3 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 14 oz tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
1/2 cup currants or raisins
Rinse basmati rice in lots of cool water until the water becomes clear, soak rice in more water for 20 minutes then place in a strainer and drain there for another 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a saucepan; add onions, and garlic, sauté until tender, about 4 minutes.
Add cinnamon, turmeric and paprika, stir, now add the chickpeas.
Add pine nuts and combine.
Add rice and sauté with spices so that all the rice grains are coated.
Add chicken stock, stir well.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add raisins or currants, bring to a boil and cover and simmer until rice grains are tender, about 40 minutes.
Fluff with a fork.
Serves 4 to 6