XMAS SPICED NUTS
These nuts are a great stand-by when you need a little nibble with drinks for pop-in guests – and they last well in jars.
They also make great gifts with a pretty little tag and ribbon.
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 4 cups mixed whole nuts – brazils, cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc
1 Preheat the oven to 170oC. In a large bowl, whisk egg white until foamy and white, then add salt, caster sugar and spice. Whisk again until combined, then add all the nuts and toss.
2 Spread out the nuts over two lined trays in a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, tossing once or twice until toasted and caramelised. Leave to cool and harden in the trays, then store in airtight jars.
MARINATED BRANDY FRUITS
Perfect with cheese, but these work just as well as a dessert served warm over ice cream, or pile onto a store-bought steamed pudding for instant wow factor.
- ¼ cup brandy or sherry
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2-3 star anise
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 strip of orange peel
- 1½ cups dried fruits – apricots, prunes, cranberries, papaya, pears, figs, etc
1 In a medium saucepan, combine brandy, water, brown sugar, spices and orange peel and bring to a simmer. Add the dried fruits and simmer a further 5-10 minutes until fruits are soft. Remove from the heat and pour into a jar.
2 Cover, chill and let marinate. You can use them straight away, or keep in the fridge for up to a month.
About Jo Wilcox
"I have had a love of food my whole life. Lucky for me my mum allowed me to play in the kitchen from the very beginning – from sitting up on the bench watch her peeling peaches for preserving or planning dinner parties from her many Womans Weekly Cookbooks. Starting in my local beach café, I went onto professional cookery training and my big foodie OE working as a professional chef and nanny. At 21 I launched my first restaurant. The following years saw me owning a gourmet cake and dessert shop and then a pasta deli before I discovered the world of food styling. Today I work in food styling making food look beautiful and tasty in packaging and advertising shoots, as well as my most important role yet – Food Editor of New Zealand Woman’s Weekly. I aim to provide great meal solutions that are interesting and approachable, and of course gorgeous foodie photos that make you want to cook them! I love the feedback and the knowledge that people actually cook them and have great results. If I can give someone a love of cooking and enjoying family meal times and gatherings then my job is done!" See www.jowilcox.co.nzmore of this author