Friday night nuts

By Clarissa Hyman, March 11, 2011
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I suspect the tradition of Friday night nash* is pretty widespread. Sometime after dinner, out of the sideboard come all the mini-munchies: choccy bars, sucky sweets and fondant fancies. My tastes in post-bensching relaxation, aka slobbing, have moved on to the likes of halva and bittermints (so much more grown-up), although I still confess a weakness for The Purple One in Quality Street.

Sweet 'n' spicy nuts are a bit more interesting than your usual tooth-breaking pretzel, and something to nash on both before and after dinner. They are also an easy-to-make Purim gift. It is all too easy to go into a trance as they roast in the oven, so keep a watchful eye or you really will go Friday night nuts.

*To nash or nosh, that is the question. It's a north-south thing, but I'm not changing now. In the style of the patron saint of nashing, Ogden Nash (so, who else?), all I can say is: "Nuts to munch, make a crunch, Nuts to nash, have panache."

Ingredients
● 600g whole unsalted nuts such as cashews, blanched almonds, pecans, macadamias or a mixture
● 2 tsp sea salt
● 1 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
● 1 level tsp paprika powder
● 2 level tsp ground cumin
● 3 tbsp clear honey

Method
● Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper and set aside.
● Pre-heat the oven to 100°C.
● Heat a large non-stick frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add the nuts and salt and cook for a few minutes, tossing the nuts around the pan.
● Drizzle in the oil and cook the nuts until they take on a golden colour, stirring constantly.
● Sprinkle in the spices and cook for another minute until you can smell the aroma.
● Stir in the honey and toss well to coat.
● Cook for a few minutes until the honey starts to caramelise.
● Spread the nuts over the baking tray and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring a couple of times and making sure they do not burn.
● Cool completely before breaking up any clumps and storing in an airtight container.
● They should keep in a cool, dry place for up to a month.
● You can use other nuts and spices such as chilli and garam masala – experiment to find the combination you prefer.

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    Last updated: 11:08am, March 11 2011