Nigella’s Spiced Nuts

Twelve years ago I found myself living back in Florida in a small apartment complex located behind a delicious Italian restaurant called Ivarone’s.  The fantastic smells coming from that place along with a quick jaunt from La Pelota for a mug of steamy Cuban coffee brings back some good comforting food memories.  I happened to find myself home sick one day, curled up on the couch, and flipping through channels.  The BBC channel popped up and I came upon Nigella Bites.  That was back in the days when Food Network was just starting out and Rachel Ray was IT.  I remember Nigella having this ultra-cool vibe; cooking seemed so easy for her.  Nigella Bites was based in London and filmed in her apartment.  I was a major rebel back in those days and loved the fact that she was an atheist, wore fur, and   never went to a culinary school.  A New York Times commentator once wrote of her, “Lawson’s sexy roundness mixed with her speed-demon technique makes cooking dinner with Nigella look like a prelude to an orgy.”  I wouldn’t take it that far, but then again I’m not a man.

However, she did make you feel like you could come over to her house at anytime and enjoy a great meal that took her little effort and little time to make.  It was that show back in 2000 that Nigella made two recipes that are still staples that I  make twelve years later.   One is her chicken/sage/onion recipe.  So incredibly easy.. put all the ingredients in a Ziplock bag, marinate over night and dump into a pan to bake the next day.  Onion, chicken, sage, lemon, sausage…heaven on a cold winter’s night.

The second recipe that I make is her Spiced Nuts.  Whenever I have put these out for a party, I can honestly say they are always, always eaten up.  Two weeks ago a friend asked if she could take some home with her before she left. People make a point not to share their own personal stash of these nuts. Over the years I have used a variety of nuts, but always seem to enjoy the mixture of almonds, peanuts, and cashews.  You want to look for the unsalted, skin-less nuts, no mater what ones you end up using.  One major lesson that I have learned is to not walk away from the nuts when they are toasting in the oven….because once you smell then, they are usually burnt by then.

Nigella’s Spiced Nuts


2 1/4 cup skinless, unsalted nuts

2 tsp. brown sugar

2 tbs. rosemary; finally minced

1/2 tsp. cayenne

1 tbs. melted butter.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Place nuts on a cookie sheet. Toast until slightly brown, approximately 10 minutes.

3. Toss nut with melted butter and spice mixture.

4.  Let cool. Be sure to hide a small bowl for yourself to enjoy later.


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