Chefs Go Nuts for Nuts!
Nuts are good for you. Fact. Loaded with antioxidants and heart positive monounsaturated fats, they are key to a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Under the government’s ‘Better Health’ initiative the emphasis is now on weight-loss to reduce the strain on the NHS, paving the way for diets such as Keto which are low on carbohydrates and high on the healthy fats from, yes, you’ve guessed it, nuts.
To celebrate National Macadamia Nut Day on the 4th September, we’re launching the ‘go nuts for nuts’ campaign to encourage more chefs to incorporate nuts into their menus.
We’ve kicked-off proceedings with a fantastic recipe from Andrew Sheridan, Executive Chef at Craft Dining Rooms in Birmingham.
We visited him in his kitchen and filmed him assembling a delicious Macadamia Apple Rice Pudding recipe, a twist on the same dish that bagged him four perfect tens on BBC’s Great British Menu.
“It’s great to be able to give a little nod to Macadamia nuts to celebrate National Macadamia Nut Day with this delicious recipe inspired by my childhood. I would encourage you to have a go at making it and let me know what you think. Macadamia nuts are very versatile. I find they behave in a similar way to hazelnuts when working with them – A lot of natural oils come out of them when toasted in a pan.”
With National Nut Day also fast approaching on October 22nd we’re asking you to #gonutsfornuts and in particular, as the great Mark Morrison sang, The Return of The Macadamia. Nutcellars’ Macadamias are sourced from smallholder farmers in Malawi, providing a sustainable yield as opposed to climate-change vulnerable crops traditionally grown. As a bonus the growing of the nut has aided local communities by adding a nutritious good fat to the predominantly maize based diet.
Macadamia is a versatile nut, with its rich, buttery notes lending to both sweet and savoury dishes.
Jamie Desogus, Chef Patron of Harborne Kitchen, also in Birmingham, has long been using macadamia in his chicken liver parfait dish which kick starts his tasting menu, he said
“My chicken liver and white chocolate dish has become something of a cult classic to Harborne Kitchen. During the development I needed more texture and the macadamia adds that, while also complimenting the silkiness of the dish and adds depth with the natural butter notes of the nut”.
Elsewhere chefs are understanding its potential in working with certain allergens given that the by-products of nut milk and nut cheese are both gluten free. The paste from the initial stages of making these products can be used as the base for many desserts.
The potential health benefits of the nut must also be addressed. For the first time in a generation we have urgent dietary recommendations via the National Food Strategy. The strategy looks to an imminent EU exit whilst keeping a firm eye on the big issue of obesity in a COVID world. The main topic of the document focuses on ensuring children receive a diet rich with nourishment for the development of their physical and mental wellbeing. Given that research has shown that tree nuts lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels whilst improving metabolism rates they must be an integral part of the diet in meals or as a healthy snack. This is without the added bonus of being rich in tocotrienols – a form of Vitamin E – which may help protect from brain disease and certain cancers.
It’s not just Nutcellars’ Macadamia; there are smallholders and gatherers all over the world who would benefit from us using nuts more frequently as a balanced diet. Cashews from Kerala and Mozambique, Amazon nuts from the forests of Bolivia, Peru and Brazil, peanuts from Malawi and Nicaragua: each with their own wonderful characteristics that deserve to be a regular part of everyday life. We’d love to hear from you about how you are using these in your kitchen. It’s time we all went nuts for nuts.