Walnuts for breakfast
1 juicy pear or red apple
A small handful of walnut kernels
2 tablespoons plain unsweetened whole milk yoghurt
Optional: 1 teaspoon honey; a sliced ripe fig; 2 tablespoons raspberries.
Cut the unpeeled pear or apple into a bowl, add yogurt, sprinkle with walnuts, figs, raspberries and/or honey and enjoy.
This toasted seed and nut mix is traditionally served in Egypt with olive oil and grilled bread or crusty bread cubes. It can also be served with spring vegetables or used to season fish.
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted for 10 minutes at 150 deg.
1/4 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon sumac, ground
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or chili powder)
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse on and off until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Will keep in the fridge for several weeks.
To serve, lightly grill bread then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Walnut Dukkah. Spring vegetables may also be drizzled with olive oil and dipped in walnut dukkah.
Mushroom and walnut soup - serves 6
350g button mushrooms
1 small onion, finely chopped
50g walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
Freshly ground pepper
450ml chicken stock
Chop the mushrooms, keeping a few finely sliced ones for garnish.
In a saucepan, soften onion in the melted butter, add mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in the flour, stock, milk, walnuts and seasoning. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Puree the soup, add finely sliced mushrooms and cream, return to pan and cook slowly for 5 mins, adjusting seasoning. Don't let it boil.
Fesenjan – Persian chicken and walnut stew
Fesenjan is a rich Iranian dish for special occasions. Its flavour is even better when it is served the next day. It makes 4 to 6 serves.
¼ cup butter or oil
1.2 – 1.5 kg chicken or duck (see note below), cut into pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
2 cups walnuts ground in a food processor
1.5 - 2 cups stock or water
2/3 cup pomegranate syrup or pomegranate molasses, available in Middle Eastern or health food shops
1 -3 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Walnut pieces, pomegranate seeds
Heat the butter or oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over a medium heat. Brown chicken pieces all over, a few at a time. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the onions and cardamom or cinnamon to the pot and sauté until onions are translucent.
Stir in the ground walnuts and stock or water and return the chicken to the pot. Bring to the boil and simmer 20-30 minutes.
Stir in the pomegranate juice, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes till the chicken is tender, the sauce thickened and the walnuts beginning to give off their oil.
Sprinkle with walnuts, pomegranate seeds and parsley, and serve with plain rice.
125g butter at room temperature
60g icing sugar
3/4 cup walnut flour
1 cup plain flour
Heat oven to 150 degrees C.
Cream butter and icing sugar. Add flours till the mixture is crumbly and knead it into a square about 1cm thick.
place on a baking tray lined with baking paper or foil, cut into finger shapes and prick each with a fork.
Bake for 20 minutes till golden. Separate gently while still warm.
Armenian Nutmeg Cake
This was my Aunt’s recipe, probably from the 50s. Therefore ingredients are measured in teacups! You need:
2 cups brown sugar (I like to use dark brown as it’s richer)
2 cups self-raising flour
4 ounces cold butter (112g)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 level teaspoon soda bicarbonate
About ¾ cup walnut kernels
Mix sugar and flour together; rub in the cold butter with a knife till the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
Spread half of this in a buttered and paper lined 25cm cake tin (I use a springform pan).
Mix the rest of the crumb mixture with the beaten egg. Add the nutmeg and soda bicarb to the milk and stir all into egg mixture. Pour the lot over the crumb mixture in the tin. Sprinkle walnuts over the top.
Bake it in a moderate oven, about 170 degrees C. for around 40 minutes (but check after 35 mins). When it’s cool remove from the tin. It should have a crunchy base.