Jane McMorland Hunter & Sally Hughes
Nuts – Growing & Cooking
Nuts – Growing and Cooking includes over seventy recipes from a spiced pecan and pumpkin salad, Christmas nut loaf to a walnut cake. Also included are storage and handling tips, and ways to make your own nut products such as nut milks and nut butters.
Traditionally, nut trees are planted for future generations, but this book shows how you can have a harvest within a season, even in a small space.
Health wise, nuts are not so much a super as a wonder food, easy to store, and one of the most concentrated foods available; a tiny, but delectable package.
A strict botanical definition of nuts is tricky excluding as it does peanuts and pistachios. However, the authors feel that if cooks and gardeners think of something as a nut so will they, so the book includes the full range you would find in your local health food store or park, from Brazil Nuts to Pecans, Hazelnuts to Acorns. Where it tastes good, they have included recipes and if you can grow it or forage for it in Britain or the temperate United States or Europe, the authors have provided planting and cultivation advice.
A lovely Autumnal recipe from the book can be found below:
Venison and chestnut stew with chestnut dumplings
This is a lovely winter warmer and makes a great Christmas Eve supper. Although chestnut flour is gluten-free and there is no reason why you could not use this to dust the meat as well as in the dumplings, do be careful as suet is often coated with wheat flour to prevent sticking, making the recipe unsuitable for coeliacs. You can peel your own chestnuts here but we find tins or vacuum packs of pre-cooked ones work well and save valuable time and effort.
500 g / 1 lb diced venison
15 g / ½ oz / 2 tablespoons plain (all purpose) flour
2 tablespoons oil
2 onions, sliced
100g / 3 ½ oz mushrooms, quartered
1 clove garlic, chopped
250 ml / 8 fl oz / 1 cup red wine
250 ml / 8 fl oz / 1 cup beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
60 g / 2 oz / ½ cup chestnut flour
60 g / 2 oz / ½ cup suet
Pinch baking powder
30 g / 1 oz cooked chestnuts finely chopped
Toss the venison cubes in seasoned flour. Heat one tablespoon of oil in heavy bottomed casserole dish and fry (sauté) the venison cubes until brown. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and stewing the meat. Set the meat aside.
Add the other tablespoon of oil and fry (sauté) the onion until softened (5-10 minutes). Add the mushrooms and fry (sauté) another few minutes. Add the garlic and fry (sauté) one more minute until fragrant.
Return the meat to the pan. Add the red wine and bubble up for a few minutes. Add enough beef stock to just cover the meat, you may not need it all. Bring to a gentle simmer and put on the lid. Simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. You can do this on the stove top on very low heat or in the oven at 150 C / 300 F / Gas 2.
Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas 4.
To make the dumplings put all the ingredients into a bowl and rub in the suet with you fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add just enough cold water to bind. Dust your hands with flour and roll tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into small balls.
Dot the dumplings over the surface of the stew and put into the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Serve with a smooth and creamy mash (a mix of potato and celeriac is lovely) to soak up the gravy.