Posts Tagged ‘gathering walnuts’


I went walnutting this morning after the rain.

Beautiful heavy drops plomping straight down into the cats’ drinking bowls with a splash.

The sort of rain that can topple a walnut from the tree before it is quite ready to fall–thus making an early expedition to walnut alley worthwhile.

A big wind blew last night as we went to bed–violently shaking the trees.

Then rain this morning–a perfect scenario for a seasoned walnutter.


Came back with two sacks (five pounds!) of walnuts–freed them from their outer cases–and a good feeling.


Hosed them down and decanted them into a filigreed steel basket to sit in the sun.


Now for lunch.

I made the walnut pasta two days ago for Meredith to photograph for the next book–Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics–due out in the Spring.

We didn’t feel like eating it just then–but I had a plan… (see below)


Here is the original recipe which is beautifully simple.


Spaghettini with Walnut, Garlic and Parmesan Sauce

 serves 4
  • 100g/4oz shelled walnuts – be careful, if you shell them yourself, to avoid any teeth-cracking bits being left in
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped, plus a little extra parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • 425g/14oz wholewheat spaghettini or spaghetti
  • 100g/4oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

Put the walnuts, garlic and parsley in a food processor, season with salt and pepper, add the oils and pulse to a sauce of this texture:


Add the grated cheese and mix.


Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water.

Drain it– keeping a little of the cooking liquid– and put the pasta back in the hot pan.

Add the sauce and a tablespoon of the cooking liquid (i.e. hot, salted water) and turn it over thoroughly.

Turn it into a warmed bowl and sprinkle with extra parsley.

Serve immediately with more olive oil and Parmesan to hand.


It’s a favorite pasta for us!

Two days later and…

I’m lightly sautéing half the spaghettini in walnut sauce (half because there are only two of us) to go with a small salad of sliced tomatoes gathered from our garden–another harvest this morning.


Panfried Walnut Pasta (for leftovers!)

(This pasta lends itself to re-use, crisping up nicely for a crunchy bite.)

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sauté pan.

When the oil is hot, slip in the pasta.

Cook this over a medium heat for about 5 or 6 minutes. The bottom should be crispy brown.


Turn this over carefully with a spatula and cook the other side to a similar effect.

Halve the pancake (I find scissors work well!) and divide between two plates.


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From the mid-September to the middle of November I combine my walks with a quest for walnuts.

I call it walnutting, and I’m nutty about it. It has become a little obsessional.

I know every walnut tree within 5 kilometres, and roughly when the nuts will mature and drop.

A night of high winds and torrential rain during this period can bring unexpected blessings, because there could be rich pickin’s, as they say in Cornwall, in the morning. You have to tread carefully or you’ll crush them, but a slight roll under your foot can mean treasure beneath!

When they fall on public paths or on the  roadside verges, anyone can harvest them.

Walnuts are a super food— even the two little critters pictured below, painted over four hundred years ago, knew they were worth fighting for.


Dormouse & Mole with walnut

(By Jacopo Ligozzi in the Uffizzi Gallery, Florence)

Walnuts are full of omega 3’s–the good fats–and rich in proteins, potassium (good for the heart), zinc and iron.

They are delicious in salads and in sauces.

Dry roast them in a small pan and they taste even better.

I crack five of them every morning onto my oats as part of the fresh breakfast mix pictured below, which consists of:

Three tablespoons of large oat flakes, an untreated dried apricot–chopped, a teaspoon of linseeds, an Agen prune, half a tub of no- fat organic yoghurt, a sprinkling of cinnamon and unsweetened oat milk.

Breakfast with walnuts and oat flakes

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