Results tagged “walnuts”

Waldorf salad with Stilton

Waldorf salad was invented at the very end of the 19th century in New York’s Waldorf Hotel.  Originally it was just celery and apple, dressed well.  Over time other ingredients have been added - walnuts (or pecans), grapes, blue cheese, leaves such as watercress and sometimes chicken breast.  To be quick, you could use shop-bought mayonnaise, or plain yoghurt flavoured with mustard and lemon juice. 


Nocino (green walnut liqueur)

This delicious liqueur is traditionally made on 24th June, the day of St John the Baptist, when (at least in warm parts of Italy) walnuts are at the perfect point of (im)maturity.  This is my version of the recipe, based on that I learnt from the lovely Giulia Savini at her organic agriturismo, Valle Nuova.

IMG_0005.JPGWe actually first made it in France, using Italian ‘pure’ alcohol and French walnuts picked in July.  In England I’m guessing the nuts definitely won’t be ready as early as 24th June.

smnocinoItaly0005.JPGThe walnuts should still be just soft enough to cut through the whole thing (unpeeled) with a big heavy chef’s knife - cut notch then lift knife with walnut attached and whack down on board.  The nut revealed inside should be jelly or semi-jelly, with nuttiness just beginning to form.  They stain your hands and board like anti-theft capsules stain clothes.  Be warned.

If you can’t get pure alcohol (I don’t think it’s sold in the UK), use the strongest vodka you can find and reduce the amount of water in the sugar syrup by 500ml.

Note that your liqueur will taste horrible at first, good after a year, and delicious after two.  I’m yet to discover just how wonderful it gets after three years in the bottle…

It's all fıstık to me

Smfindik0001.jpgWe have found that sugar is often accompanied by nuts in Turkey, and they are as important as each other in the cuisine.  Everyone knows which region grows the best of each kind of nut, and the nuts are often named after these places.  We managed to visit several of them.

Kalbura bastı (aka Hedgehogs)

I named these Turkish syrup-drenched cakelets ‘hedgehogs’ due to their spiky appearance and potential appeal to kids.  Making them is great fun, involving an unusual use for a colander (a ‘kalbur’ in Turkish).  I helped make them in Erhan Şeker’s restaurant kitchen, under the watchful eye of his assistant Nesrin.  Impossible to find in restaurants, kalbura bastı are commonly made in Turkish homes.  So for a true taste of Turkish home-baking, get out your colander...

Smhedgehogs0001.jpgThe ingredient quantities in this recipe probably need some refining, so please let me know how it goes if you make it.

Beetroot and blood orange salad with goat's cheese panna cotta

One day recently at culinary school we were given the chance to develop some recipes of our choice.   I worked on this one, trying to recreate a similar dish I had had at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant Postrio in San Francisco.  (Apart from this dish, the restaurant’s food was sadly otherwise very disappointing - an array of overly ‘creative’ and entirely unsuccessful attempts to revive faded glory.) 

I will admit this recipe is a real faff, but the result is both beautiful and delicious.  All the flavours go so well together.  If you can’t be bothered to make the panna cotta, just place some lovely fresh goat’s cheese in the centre of the plate instead.  If you can't find baby beetroots you can use large ones, just cook them longer and cut them into appropriately sized pieces.  And of course regular oranges will suffice in place of blood oranges.



Culinary Anthropologist