The smell of roasting chestnuts has filled the streets as the weather starts to get cooler. Except, that it isn’t. Here in Hong Kong, December is this glorious month that is cooler than usual, but still warm enough for t-shirts, and sunny enough for sunglasses. Until this year. It’ll be cold (and by cold, I mean 13°C), and down to 60% humidity. But within a few days, it’s back up to 25°C and 80% humidity. Yesterday it rained. All day.
Luckily I spent the whole day at my friend’s house baking. Which means today’s recipe, and the next two to come are not from my tiny kitchen. But from a friend’s much larger kitchen (which is still small compared to non-Hong Kong standards). But for me, it’s bliss. Counter space everywhere. Built-in oven. Large sink. More counter space. The only glitch is that I have to take all of my kit with me, as she is not a baker.
But that’s fine by me, especially when I get to use the kitchen while she’s away. It’s like house sitting, but kitchen-sitting instead. I knew I’d get a good solid few hours baking while I was at hers, and I was really happy with what I did manage to get done in the 5 hours that I was there (which included a 40-minute break for lunch).
I’m headed up to another friend’s house for Christmas (well, technically it’s her parents’ house), which will be really nice. She has a three year old. I’ve not done Christmas with a child since I was a child myself. It’ll be a fun three day mini-break.
Anyhow, on with the roasted nuts. I love almonds. I eat them a lot. In granola, in chocolate, as milk. They’re delicious. But, you know what makes almonds more delicious? Rosemary, olive oil and salt. Yep. You know it. Now, go, hurry to the kitchen and make these to snack on while you drink mulled wine (or champagne/prosecco) and pretend that you’re ready for Christmas tomorrow.
230 grams raw almonds, whole
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
1 1/2 teaspoon hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Mix the water and salt in a large bowl, until the salt has dissolved.
- Add the almonds and rosemary leaves, and mix until almonds are coated.
- Place almonds in an oven-safe dish, in a single layer, and roast for 15 – 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove an almond and cut it open. If it’s golden brown on the inside, then the nuts can be taken out of the oven. Make sure they don’t burn.
- While the nuts are still warm, place them in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil. Add more salt if necessary.