Recipes: Go a little nutty


Laurie Steer dish, redecker cloth and wreck jars from Everyday Needs. Photo / Babiche Martens.

If you are peckish, a handful of nuts is an excellent way to tide you over. They have amazing health attributes but more importantly, they are delicious. I like to soak nuts overnight and add them to my bircher muesli or simply roast them in the oven or over an open fire (the aroma is truly special) and sprinkle with a bit of salt to serve with drinks.

There are, of course, many uses for nuts - from the walnut on top of an Afghan biscuit to everything from cakes to salads.

While I write this the peanuts are whizzing around in the food processor - outside. It is a noisy process but well worth the hum.

Home-made nut butters are not only ridiculously easy to make, but delicious to eat straight from the bowl on a piece of celery or toast, added to pancakes or in baking. Don't restrict your nut butter to the two types I have made here, any nuts will make a perfectly smooth spread.

Back in the 80s when my parents visited me in England they travelled throughout the country visiting relatives.

It became a bit of a joke that everywhere they went they were served coronation chicken - obviously the dish of the era.

This week's chicken and walnut salad is a mix of coronation chicken take on the traditional Waldorf from New York. Here I add plenty of crunchy apple and peppery watercress. A simple dressing is added to toss through a fresh and spring flavour.

Next, to Italy where you'll find Florentine biscuits served in most homes. The Italian mamma I lived with for a while always had a tempting jar on hand.

This slice is a quick and easy interpretation of the biscuits, which will impress your guests. Let them break into it themselves. Just put it on the table with a strong coffee or cuppa for afternoon tea so they can nibble away.


Recipes:

• Peanut butter and almond butter

• Florentine slice

• Walnut, barbecue chicken, apple and watercress salad

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