I promise that you are going to go nuts for these nuts.
They used to make a version of these nuts in Clarkes, the restaurant I cooked in after I got back from Ballymaloe and I was just starting out. People absolutely loved them, and they had to be on the menu daily or there would be some very unhappy customers. As a result, I had to cook the most enormous batches at least twice a week and by the end of my time there I have to admit that I never wanted to see another spicy nut.
When enough time had passed, I made my own version at home, and I discovered that they were such a breeze to make when you don’t have to use about 900 kilos of nuts and you don’t have to make them whilst prepping for a busy evening service where you are multi-tasking like a talented octopus.
They are such a crowd pleaser, and they are such a great thing to have around when you’re having a drinks party or as a nibble before a dinner party. But, let’s be honest though, they are also absolutely perfect for settling down with on the sofa to watch Strictly Come Dancing.
The other reason I used to dread making them in the restaurant was the long list of ingredients which all had to be meticulously weighed out and I had to hand grind all the spices. Just thinking about it now sends a shiver down my spine! So please don’t worry about being meticulous when you make these and please don’t worry about using shop bought spices, they are more than adequate for this! This is one of those beautiful recipes where the quantities really do not need to be exact, and you can swap some ingredients out and substitute some for others completely as you wish.
As long as you have a mixture of nuts, honey, garlic, chilli and seeds you are on to a winner.
Here is a recipe, but please look at it more as a guide and don’t worry too much about getting out the weighing scales! If the recipe calls for 90g of sunflower seeds but the packet is 110g -please just bung in the packet! Fuss-free cooking. At least once, I have only managed to find a seed mix, and I’ve just thrown that in instead of the sunflower, pumpkin and onion seeds and it’s worked beautifully. So honestly, there is no right and wrong here!
This makes quite a large quantity of nuts, but if you keep them in a airtight container they last for ages, and they make a perfect present to give to friends. Christmas is (um, cough cough) just around the corner and these are a great thing to pop in a home-made hamper, if you are that way inclined.
- 800g cashew nuts
- 250g runny honey
- 35g onion seeds
- 90g sunflower seeds
- 90g pumpkin seeds
- 25g cumin
- 25g fennel
- 2 x small red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 gloves garlic, crushed
- 50g Maldon salt
- good glug of olive oil
- First, preheat the oven to 220C and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Fry the chilli and garlic in a good glug of olive oil for just a minute until they smell amazing. Make sure you use a good sized pan.
- Add the nuts and fry for a few minutes, giving it a good stir so that all the nuts are coated in the gorgeous oil.
- Now add the honey. This is what binds it all together and makes it sticky and wonderful
- Take off the heat, and add the rest of the ingredients.
- Tip it all out onto the baking tray and pop it in the oven.
- Now, it should take about 20 mins, BUT you must stir about every 5 minutes. This is the only slightly annoying thing. Take your eyes off them and the honey will make them burn, and no one wants burnt nuts.
- Once they are a gorgeously golden hue, you can take them from the oven and leave to cool in the pan. Every ten minus or so, give them a bit of a shake and use your hands to break them up a little, so they don't cool in one big giant lump.
- Store in an airtight container until you are ready to use them.
- People will be amazed that you made these yourself! Give them a go and let me know what you think! Don't forget to sign up to the blog so you never miss another post xx