Chestnuts, in season and delicious…

November 19th 2014
By: Melanie Hollidge
Chestnuts, in season and delicious…

Chestnuts are very are shiny brown nuts that are encased in outer cone with sharp, needle-like burrs. At this time of year they are abundant in our trees across Surrey, so why not venture out this weekend, and pick them with your family. The best way to get the four nuts out of their casing is by gently rolling them underfoot, this ensures that they pop out without having to touch any nasty prickles.
Chestnuts are not only good fun to pick but are also a very versatile winter ingredient. They are also very healthy, unlike other nuts and seeds they are relatively low in calories, as they contain less fat, however they are rich in minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients. One of the best way to cook chestnuts is over an open fire, by slicing off one end of the nut you will ensure it doesn’t pop whilst cooking, then place your chestnuts in an old frying pan with holes, or a chestnut pan and place directly onto the fire and cook for around 20 minutes, turning frequently so they don’t burn, peel and then add some salted butter – delicious.
Chestnuts can be used in baking, stuffings, soups, as a side dish, the list is endless. We checked out a couple of the recipes from the BBC Good food website, we think you will enjoy cooking this autumn:
Chestnuts stuffed mushrooms by Nigel Slater:
You will need:
6 large mushrooms
80g/2oz butter
3 tbsp olive oil
6 sprigs thyme, picked
3 tbsp madeira
2 medium onions
6 Lincolnshire sausages
2 sprigs rosemary, picked
200g/7oz breadcrumbs
200g/7oz can of chestnuts, chopped
For the method please follow this link
Caramelised fig and chestnut honey tart by Ainsley Harriott
For the pastry or you can buy it ready made
250g/9oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
125g/4oz cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
2 free-range eggs, beaten
For the filling
6 fresh figs
50g/2oz ground almonds
3 tbsp chestnut honey
25g/1oz unsalted butter
1 tbsp orange juice
50ml/2fl oz orange liqueur
crème fraîche, to serve
grated orangezest, to decorate (optional)
For the method please follow this link