In the course of the diet, another obsession has come to my attention. Judging by my previous posts, I am an addictive personality. If I find something I like, I can’t get enough of it. Zero point pancakes? I’ll eat them every day! Lunch time wraps? Every day. Tall, dark, handsome Brit actor? No escape – only Richard.
Ok, obligatory RA reference out of the way, let’s get to the nuts
and bolts of this post. The latest obsession are… cashew nuts. I have always liked them, whether roasted and salted on their own, or unsalted in a mixed bag with dried cranberries, or as the best bits in a big bag of Bombay Mix. I love the crunchy yet soft nuttiness of them. Looking a bit more at nutrition since the start of my diet, I had become concerned about my cholesterol levels (due to my pancake penchant, see above). I was thrilled to find out that cashews are not only cholesterol-free, but also actively help fight cardiovascular diseases because they contain acids that strengthen the lining of the arteries. Nuts like cashews contain “good” fats and proteins that are perfect for battling the snacking reflex.
Thus, when the afternoon snack attack occurs, I have been grabbing a handful of cashews. 20 cashews equal about 2 SmartPoints – I always make sure to allocate 2 points per day for my snacking needs. Nevertheless, I go through a bag of salted cashews quite quickly (helped by my family), and it occurred to me to roast them myself. That has the added advantage of controlling the amount of salt that they are seasoned with, too. After incinerating a couple of batches of cashews, I have now found the perfect recipe for roasting your own. It’s simple and easy, and it is cheaper than buying the roasted, overly salty variety in the shop.
The secret to roasting the perfect cashew, is two-fold: First of all it is down to slow roasting at a low temperature. And secondly, best results are achieved when you soak them first! But other than that it can be done in your own, conventional oven at home. Here is my tried and tested recipe:
- In a bowl, mix 3 cups of lukewarm water with ½ tbsp of salt.
- Add 2 cups of cashews and let soak for 2 hours.
- Drain the cashews for at least 15 minutes. Then dry the bowl and put the cashews back in and mix with another ½ tbsp of salt. Let the salt/cashew mix sit for another 15 minutes.
- Spread the cashews on greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Roast in the oven at 150°C/300°F/gas mark 4 for 1 hour. Set a timer to stir the cashews every 20 minutes. By the end of the roasting session the nuts should be evenly brown and not wet anymore. Let them cool, and they will develop the typical crunch.
Home-roasted cashews are absolutely delicious. You may have to experiment with the right degree of saltiness – and possibly adjust the temperature to your own oven. Generally, it is better to roast them slowly at a lower temperature, than faster at higher temperatures. Believe me – I’ve tried rushing them, and they reacted by burning to crisps. But when you get it right, they are better than any shop-bought nut mix.