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Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 7
a cracker of a nut
alnuts are one of the
oldest sources of food
known to man. The so-
called European walnut is
one of half a dozen species
and is indigenous to Persia. The Phoenicians
traded walnuts. The Romans sanctified
them naming them julgas regia in honour of
Jupiter their king.
The nut trees were introduced to Britain
in the 16th century where they were called
walnuts because, in the language of the day,
wal meant foreign.
Walnut trees flourish in temperate climates
and start bearing nuts six to eight years after
being planted and continue to produce for
about a century. In New Zealand, small
green fruits arrive about January and before
the inner shell is formed, they are often
gathered to turn into ketchup or to pickle.
The walnuts turn black and these vinegary
morsels are excellent ser ved with roasted
pork or on antipasto platters with cheese.
We enjoy walnuts as nibbles, in salads,
baking and desserts but in many European
countries they are simmered with poultry,
used as a stuffing for meat or ground and
turned into soups or sauces.
Walnuts contain 52% to 70% oil and more
than 90% of this is as unsaturated fatty acids
— the good oil that helps to lower levels
of cholesterol in the blood. They are great
brain food — if you look at a walnut in its
shell it looks like a brain! They are also high
in omega-3, protein, minerals and fibre and
have been found to help reduce the risk of
Walnuts will keep fresh in their shells in a
cool place for many months. When shelled,
I believe they are best refrigerated or frozen
to keep their fabulous nutty flavour and,
in warmer climes, to prevent them from
becoming rancid. It is not necessary to rub
off the papery skin as this is where many of
the antioxidants are stored.
Take care when toasting walnuts. Excessive
can damage the heart-friendly fats so keep
the toasting temperature to 180degC or
under and bake them for no more than 10
Ser vings of this delicious cake can be
warmed in the microwave.
21⁄2 cups wholemeal flour
11⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
3⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup low-fat milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g butter, melted
2 tablespoons canola oil
3⁄4cup walnut pieces, chopped
2 cups frozen or fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180degC. Lightly
grease a 20cm square baking tin and line
with baking paper.
Place the wholemeal flour, cinnamon,
baking powder and brown sugar in a large
bowl and mix well.
Combine the milk, egg, butter and canola
oil. Stir into the dry ingredients. Fold in the
walnuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared
pan. Scatter the top with the raspberries.
Sprinkle with the caster sugar.
Bake for about one hour or until a skewer
inserted into the centre of the cake comes
out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then lift out
onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Great ser ved warm cut into squares and
topped with whipped cream. Makes 16
This is a healthy option to fried chicken.
Make it gluten-free by using
8 large chicken drum sticks
1 cup buttermilk
1⁄2 cup each: finely chopped walnuts, dried
breadcrumbs, cornmeal (or fine polenta)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon each: dried thyme, oregano,
pinch chilli powder
salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken in a plastic bag and
add the buttermilk. Move it around so the
chicken is well coated. Refrigerate for 10
Preheat the oven to 170degC. Lightly oil a
large baking pan.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk,
shaking off any excess. Dip one piece at a
time into the walnut mixture and place in
the roasting pan. Ensure there is plenty of
space between each piece so the chicken
Bake for about 50 minutes, turning
each piece over carefully halfway through
cooking. Ser ves 4.
Blue cheese walnut balls
Green peppercorns in brine can be
purchase from selected supermarkets,
delicatessens and Asian food stores.
2 teaspoon sbutter
3⁄4 cup walnut pieces
125g blue cheese eg Kikorangi
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon each: sherry, drained green
peppercorns, finely chopped parsley
Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Add
the walnuts and stir-fry gently, until just
toasted. Cool. Finely chop.
Ensure the cheeses are at room
temperature. Mash them together in a bowl.
Add the sherry and peppercorns. Cover and
refrigerate for several hours.
Combine the chopped walnuts and
parsley in a bowl. Roll teaspoons of the
cheese mixture into balls. Roll in the walnut
mixture. Place on a baking paper-lined plate
and refrigerate until ready to ser ve with
drinks. Makes about 20.
Rosemar y walnuts
Store these tasty nuts in an airtight
container in the refrigerator.
2 cups walnut halves
3 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cayenne
Place the walnuts in a saucepan and cover
with cold water. Bring to the boil. Simmer
for two minutes, then drain well. Place on
paper towels to dry completely.
Preheat the oven to 180degC.
Place the butter and seasonings in a frying
pan. Keep warm for a few minutes to allow
the flavours to infuse. Add the walnuts,
stirring until well-coated with the seasoned
Spread on a baking tray in a single layer.
Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Cool.
Ser ve at room temperature. Serves about 8.
Harringtons Ngahere Gold
— Light golden colour hides a
powerful beer with rich caramel
malt flavours and heady Nelson
hop resins. Ideal match for
curries or stews. 500ml. 7 .5%, $6.
Esk Valley Merlot Cabernet
Malbec 2012 — A good
example of a big bold red with
a nice tannic grip on your gums
that increases the dryness and
makes a match for tasty food.
Tannins bind to the fats from the
food in your mouth and heighten
the flavour. Drink now till 2016.
Dry $15 to $21.
Villa Maria Sauvignon
Blanc 2014 — Here it is, the
first wine of the 2014 har vest.
There should be a festival to
welcome the first savvies into
the world of New Zealand wine
like the exciting release of the
Nouveau Beaujolais, in France, in
November. It is so young it has
no colour like water, but the taste
is there, vibrant, sharp and full of
fruit and herbaciousness and last
summer’s sun. Dry, $18.
ou need power in your wine
when the weather is cold; rich
ripe fruit flavours and the
warming heat of alcohol.
You need bold, full-bodied
red wine to match the strong flavoursome
casseroles, hotpots and similar that rekindle
your energy for another cold day out there.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz were the
standards in the past but it is all changing,
with Merlot replacing Cabernet as it will
ripen fully in our climate whereas Cabernet
does not. Pinot Noir has emerged as the
popular soft, gentle red for many people
but it doe not get into the big bold category
until you pay more than $28 a bottle.
Aussie Shiraz is up there with some
old regulars like Wolf Blass Gold Label,
Pepperjack, Wyndham Estate Bin 555,
Taylors, Tim Adams and Penfolds. The Kiwi
version Syrah from Hawke’s Bay or Waiheke
Island is a sauve spicy red and there are
many examples available.
Have you tried some other varieties that
are made here, like Tempranillo, Sangiovese,
Malbec, Zinfandel, Montepulciano,
Dolcetto,Pinotage and Grenache? New
Zealand winemakers and grape growers are
always looking for new grapes to try among
the 10,000 varieties available, and that
number does not include those hybrids that
have been developed in the past 150 years
like Pinotage, made from crossing Pinot
Noir with Cinsault.
The ones that have been doing well are
Tempranillo, Malbec, Montepulciano and
Pinotage, and you might find them on the
shelves. Blends often give you more flavour
complexity — Merlot Cabernet, Merlot
Malbec, Grenache Shiraz.
Eat strong food and drink big red wine and
you will power your way through winter.
Whisky Toddy — Into a short glass put
a spoon of runny honey, a clove and 90ml
boiling water and infuse. Add 45ml (3 nips)
whisky, stir and remove clove. Garnish with
clove studded lemon.
Beer vana is the beer-lovers yearly highlight
so plan and book now for the 13th annual
event on Friday and Saturday, August
22-23 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
Admission is $45 for a five-hour session and
there are other options — Home Brewing
Masterclass $95, Beer and Cheese Seminar
$75, The Right Glass Seminar $135 includes
a set of Spieglau glasses and admission.
“ We often speak of moral wrongs as
being ‘offensive’, and likewise we call some
aesthetic qualities ‘offensive’. I don’t mean
to suggest that if you drink a bad cup
of coffee that you have done something
morally wrong, but to suggest, there is a
much closer tie between these two areas
than you might originally have thought.
At the very least, we may find that we
have the same feelings of approval or
disapproval when we think of a particular
action as those that we have when we hear
some musical piece or taste some coffee.”
— from The Unexamined Cup is Not
Worth Drinking, by Kristopher Phillips,
Big bold reds
Big bold reds
Raspberry-topped walnut cake.
Deep Spring Naturals
Blackcurrant — Low key
label aimed at the mature adult
market as a lightly sparkling
New Zealand spring water with
‘All Nature’ ingredients and low
sugar with only 75 calories per
ser ve. ‘Being good shouldn’t
mean you can’t have a good time’
says the back label. Surprise,
surprise, it is made by Coca Cola.
Covering the market, you might
say. 275ml. $1.80.
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