Monday, June 14, 2010

Cold weather dipping

The promised birthday fondue happened this week, with a minimum of traditional style fondue eating guests in attendance. The quandary I had was what to serve as appetisers and desserts. My old fondue book, published in 1970 (in Australia) recommends cherries ‘a la kirsch,’ and various other fruits in combination with other types of alcohol. No mention of appetisers but it is recommended that you drink a glass of kirsch halfway through the meal. Only in the 70’s could you get away with thinking that bread cheese and alcohol was a balanced meal! Knowing Amita would heartily endorse this philosophy, I quickly hid the cookbook.

Poking around in the pantry, I pondered that as fondue was a cold weather meal, it would make sense to pair it with seasonal produce. Pecans, olives and Granny Smith apples are abundant at the moment. Warming food seemed to be the order of the day so I started with olives baked in red wine - a recipe I posted here this time last year. With the pecans I tried a recipe I had been told about by my friend Tova. It was one of those that had been enjoyed by her family for years. It didn’t really have quantities or times but sounded easy.
Here is what I did:

Roasted pecans in their shells

Pecans in shells
Sea salt

In a mortar and pestle or with a rolling pin, gently crack a split in the shell of each nut while preheating the oven to 180C.
Dissolve about 2 tsp of sea salt in a litre of warm water. You need enough brine to cover the nuts.
Soak the nuts, in their shells, in the brine for 5-10 minutes.
Place the nuts on a baking tray.
Bake until the nuts have begun to toast, they will give off a nice toasty smell. Shake them once or twice during cooking.
Serve warm and let people shell their own.

These are really delicious as the nuts are soft, sweet and warm. Next time I would add a little more salt but you could have some on the side for serving.
For dessert, I stuffed some of the apples with some more pecans, processed with butter, home dried figs and brown sugar with cinnamon, baked and served with double cream for those too weak to refuse it!
It was a lovely meal and quick to prepare, the longest job was washing the greens for my salad which I had to make to reassure myself that everyone had eaten wisely as well as generously. I am happy to report there were no fondue fork injuries suffered!

Eat well,


1 comment:

  1. Just to let everybody know that I am still alive didnt die of duelling wounds or indigestion...
    I survived another fabulous bithday dinner and sorry for and to all my friends who didnt share in this one hehehehe
    thanks Nirala I hope you enjoyed your greenbits
    love Amita


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