Nuts over the holidays..

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Macadamia Nuts.

I found these in a vacant lot near my work the other day. It got me to thinking of me and my brothers raiding the trees in the neighbourhood where we grew up and spending ages during school hols and after school crouched on a concrete slab at the back of the house smashing macadamias (and sometimes fingers) with bricks to get to the sweet white kernels.

I didn’t do that this time, these were a bit old for eating. Shame because I really wanted to share that with kid.

Instead I thought we’d try a few different things with a bag we bought from a wholesaler.

Roasted with lemon, sea salt and honey

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Like most nuts macadamias are full of natural oils so you don’t need to use much (if any) when roasting them. I used a little here to help adhere the lemon zest whilst cooking.
1 cup of nuts, zest of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon each of honey and olive oil, a good pinch of sea salt.
Mix everything and bake on 150*c (convection) for about 15mins.

Roasted w/ chocolate and chilli

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I used drinking chocolate here with some success. Good flavour. The chilli was only for me really.
1 cup of nuts, 1 sliced long red chilli, 1 tablespoon of drinking chocolate powder, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of salt, a little olive oil. Mix and bake as above.
Because of the high oil content, nuts will continue to go darker after you stop cooking. Take them out of the oven three shades less then you’d like them to be.

Macadamia butter
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Much the same as peanut butter. But macadamia flavoured.
Dry roast some macadamia with a little salt until golden. Whilst they’re still warm blend them in a food processor until smooth.
We had it smeared on toast for breakfast.

Macadamia butter w/ chocolate -I couldn’t think of a good name here. It’s a lot like a very popular spreadable product available in supermarkets.
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Do as per the butter and add some drinking chocolate or cocoa and a little honey is good. It’s important to blend the nuts whilst still warm for a smoother paste. Conversely, if you want to chop them in your processor, wait till they have completely cooled, other wise they’ll smoosh.

Macadamia pesto
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I only toasted the nuts very lightly here. Pesto is named after the pestle and mortar with which it is traditionally ground. It’s not my tradition so I used a stick blender w/ attachment.
I bunch basil, 2 cloves garlic, 100gm macadamias, 125 ml olive oil, half a cup of grated parmesan, juice of 1/2 a lemon. Blend nuts and garlic to a paste, add basil and oil, then cheese and finish w/ a little lemon.
The one I made was super garlicky and we loved it. Adjust to your own taste. Start minimal and add more if you like.
We cooked spaghetti and tossed it w/ pesto, peas and broccoli for dinner.
Extra parmesan on top of course.

Macadamia satay sauce

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This is a tasty sauce to eat with just about anything. Vegetables, any type of bbq meat, tofu and rice of course (check the coconut rice tag for a good recipe). It’s usually made with peanuts and paired w/ South East Asian cuisine. Use it as an accompaniment or as a sauce to cook in.
1 chopped onion, 100gm nuts, 1 400ml tin of coconut cream, 1 tablespoon panang curry paste ( use a good Asian brand, not a supermarket brand please, red curry paste is a fair substitute),1 small nib of fresh turmeric -grated) juice of 1 lime, 1 teaspoon light soy, 1 teaspoon fish sauce.
Sauté the onions and garlic until soft, add the nuts and stir until they get a little colour. Add the turmeric (yes, dried is fine okay but it ain’t the same) and curry paste, sauté until aromatic. Add the liquids and simmer gently for 10 – 15 minutes and then puree. This would also benefit from the addition of any or all of these – lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, mint, basil, star anise…I could go on.

Macadamia dukkah

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Dukkah is a blend of nuts and spices used as a condiment or coating for foods. Egyptian in origin, hazelnuts or pistachios are the middle eastern nuts of choice. But we are not there, we are here. Or maybe you are there? Hello! Bloody crazy internet huh!?
Macadamia nuts, whole coriander seed, whole cumin seed, white sesame seed – 3 parts nuts to one part each of the spices. Basically if you have a cup of nuts you should have a cup of combined spices. This is normally done with a mortar and pestle too. I used the blender again.
Roast the nuts on one tray and the spices on another on 150*c until the nuts are golden and spices toasty.
Blend the spices while they’re hot to help break them down. Blend the nuts whilst cold to avoid making Egyptian macadamia butter. Combine with a little salt. I’m serving mine at family dinner next week with toasted Turkish bread and good olive oil over pre-dinner drinks.

What Kid Did

Kid made the pesto. She washed and picked the basil, loaded the blender and put it all together ( under instruction of course) and there was heaps of other blending to do this week. I’ve showed kid how to use a plastic spatula to make sure we get all the food out of the blender bowl.
We also made a fresh batch of hot sauce whilst all this was going, kid helped chop the onions and chilli w/ a small serrated knife (little steps), measured the other ingredients, toasted the spices in a small pan over the stove and loaded the spice strainer  to go in the pot.

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I asked Kid before we started if she likes macadamias. Her response was non-committal “I like them IN things anyway”. Her favourite if you didn’t guess was the chocolate spread followed closely by the butter and pesto. The satay is for another night.

Queenslander!

Also known as the Queensland nut, macadamias are native to Queensland, parts of New South Wales and there are some similar species in South East Asia (hence the satay aspect). The nuts that we eat are the seed pod of the tree and are perfectly okay to eat raw. Macadamias were prominent in the diet of the Aboriginal population. Maybe they cooked them on a fire?

Macadamias are cholesterol free, high in vitamins E, A1, B1, B2 and anti-oxidants.

The oil from macadamias has a higher smoking point than olive oil ( around 210*c) so as well as making a delicious salad dressing it makes  for healthy cooking too.

All of these recipes are vegetarian and gluten free and with the exclusion of chocolate powder and fish sauce, Vegan. Melanie Simpson.

There you go, I think I’ve said enough.
Let me know which recipe you like best.
🙂

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