Sunday, 2 January 2011

Nutty nibbles

You may not think it's necessary to write a recipe for nuts but (and forgive me for being forward) you'd be wrong. These are so ridiculously tasty and easy to make that it's no bother at all to bang out a bowl for a party as something to nibble with drinks.

These slipped down all too well with an indecent amount of prosecco and champagne on NYE. The aromatic fennel goes well with a bit of bubbly, and we ended up gobbling the last few for a salty fix after toasting marshmallows over the bonfire.

Roasted nuts with smoked chilli, fennel and rosemary

400g mixed shelled nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans)
1½ tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp finely ground sea salt
1 tsp smoked chilli flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried rosemary

1) Roast the nuts for 5-10 minutes at 400f/200c/gas mark 6, or until browned. Keep a close eye on them, there's nothing more depressing than having to throw away burnt nuts, the waste!

2) Place the sugar in a very large, heavy bottomed saucepan and melt over a medium heat until translucent, then add the chilli, salt and herbs. Continue to cook for another minute before adding the toasted nuts, then stir the pan vigorously until all the nuts have been lightly coated in the sugary mixture, cooking on the heat for a further minute. Turn out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray and leave to cool.

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