One of my favourite Christmas moments is walking past St Paul’s Cathedral as the smell of toasted chestnuts entices you onto the Millennium Bridge. One little punnet of chestnuts is only £1 or so, and we cup them in our hands to warm up as we take in the view.
Who doesn’t love a little munch on a good walnut or Brazil nut at Christmas with a glass of Prosecco? Or delving into a bowl of mixed unshelled walnuts and brazil nuts in the early evening, cracking them with the old-school nutcracker and combining with a strong Stilton, crunchy celery stick or sweet grape?
This year, instead of buying a whole load of expensive packets of roasted spiced nuts or honey-roasted ones, make your own! I love this recipe – it is so much more satisfying to serve up nuts that you have roasted yourself, but it’s also super simple. You can even keep them in an airtight jar for a week, so make them ahead or give them to someone as a little gift.
Festive honey-roasted nuts
Makes 1kg (2 large jars, 4 medium jars or 6 mini ones)
- 50g of unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp of runny honey
- 2 tsps of sweet smoked paprika
- 1kg mixed unsalted nuts (cashews, pecans, peanuts, macadamia almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and Brazil nuts)
- 2 tsps quality sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Place a medium pan on a medium heat, add the butter and honey and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the butter has melted.
If using Brazil nuts, roughly chop some of them up into halves and quarters to make them more bite size. Place all the nuts onto two large roasting trays, then carefully divide the melted butter and honey mix between the two, then scatter over the paprika. Toss to coat all the nuts, then cook for 20-30 minutes, or until golden all over, carefully shaking the tray every 10-15 minutes to make sure they cook evenly.
Season with a little salt and leave to cool. Serve up in a big jar for people to get stuck into, or decant into bowls and serve alongside a glass (or two) of Prosecco.
Photos by Simon Mackenzie