Pistachio gelato

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In the matter of ice cream flavours I am not, never have been a strawberry-vanilla-chocolate kind of person but a faithful pistachio lover. Ever since the day I could make my own gelato choice from the sleek, shiny case behind the espresso machine and food elevator at the end of the central bar in the restaurant. The prospect of the delicious after-dinner treat made me forget my toddler timidity and march alone through the dining room to choose amongst the flavours (classic Italian gelato varieties and special ones like Stracciatella and Pistacchio– we are talking 1970s!) and always choosing the one. Continue reading

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Chipotle-lime mix

Chipotle-lime mix by the james kitchen
Chipotle-lime mix, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.

We have got friends coming for New Year’s Eve and we are planning a great feast. No need to say that for a proper party one needs nibbles to go with the cocktails and drinks and since we are all spice-lovers and the food is sort of American/Mexican (write a blog and your husband only needs to point), logically the nuts should match the theme, too. Originally I had planned to make Lisa Fain’s recipe for Chipotle lime Texas trash but in the end used it as a pattern and fiddled to get a hot and spicy chile chipotle-lime nibble with more chiles, lime and no cinnamon. And let me say, this is quite something: it is smoky, spicy and hot, has a depth in flavour from the garlic, Worcestershire sauce and several layers of lime taste and is quickly becoming a real favourite in our house. I am just hoping there will be something left for our guests.

You may use it as a blueprint (as long as you stay within the 8 cups-formula), too and change the ingredients or quantities of nuts, pretzel & cracker around.

Ups, I just wanted to make those again and couldn’t find the recipe… I am not sure where the text had gone, if I had published it correctly in the first place or there were just too many tests to remember, so here it is. You live and learn, sorry to keep this from you.

Chipotle-lime nut mix
yields 8 cups, inspired by and adapted from The Homesick Texan

3 cups mini cracker & pretzel (Salzbrezel) mix (I used something called a Knabbermischung in Germany with little poppy seed crackers, alphabet pretzel pieces etc.)
1 cup unsalted cashew nuts
1 cup unsalted pecans
1 cup walnuts & hazelnuts
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1 cup unsalted almonds
1 stick (114g) butter
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon (75ml) lime juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika (Pimentón de La Vera)
1½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile
2 teaspoons ground chiles (I use our mix of ancho, pasilla, chipotle & mulato chiles, make your own or use any other ground Mexican chiles)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ heaped teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lime (roughly 1 tablespoon)

To finish:
1 tablespoon lime juice
zest of 1 lime

Preheat the oven to 120°C (250° F), 110°C for fan oven is what I used and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.

If the crackers and little pretzel pieces (like the Knabbermischung I used) are hardly salted mix them together with the nuts in a large bowl and set aside.
If your cracker & pretzel mix is already quite salty, place it in a separate bowl from the nuts so that a part of the seasoned butter can be added without the salt while the nuts are salted & seasoned in the other bowl.

Melt the butter over a low heat, add the lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and all the spices (see if you need to salt parts separately), reserve the lime zest. Stir to combine and pour it over the nut-cracker-pretzel mix. Mix well until everything is coated with the seasoned butter, add the lime zest and stir again. This should happen swiftly otherwise the crackers will get a bit too soggy.

Spread your spicy nut mix immediately out on the baking sheets and bake them in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Rotate your sheets after half an hour and stir the mix from time to time. When everything seems lightly browned & toasted dry take the mix out of the oven, sprinkle with the lime juice & zest and toss to spread the final lime flavour evenly. Leave to cool if you can.