When Peter Gordon opened The Sugar Club restaurant in Notting Hill in the late 1990s, Blighty didn’t know what had hit it. New Zealand-born Gordon had made his way to the Old Country via a stint in Melbourne, where he shopped at Vietnamese supermarkets and Greek delis while honing his professional cooking skills. He followed that with a year-long immersion tour of Thailand before opening his own restaurant in Wellington and eventually, taking London by storm.
His ease and familiarity with Pacific and south-east Asian flavours came as a revelation to British palates more tuned to French or Italian ingredients and techniques. The Sugar Club quickly picked up a string of awards from English critics.
In the early 2000s, TMix+’s Yolaine Corbin also found herself in England, working as a live-in carer to a 95-year-old Alzheimers sufferer while she saved up to come to Australia. Spending money and spare time were both scarce, but cooking gave Yolaine’s life some brightness and balance (“it was my little escape”). An occasional secondhand cookbook was within her budget and at a library stall in Stroud, Gloucestershire, she found a copy of Gordon’s second book, Cook At Home With Peter Gordon (Hodder and Stoughton, 1999).
This recipe for these spicy mixed nuts is adapted from the Nibbles section of the book. It showcases Gordon’s knack for combining sweet, salty and herbal flavours and the Thermomix’s talents when it comes to milling spices.
The nuts are perfect with your favourite aperitif or fancy cocktail; if you can bear to give them away, they also make an excellent festive-season gift.
- Place rosemary and raw sugar in the bowl and mill 15 seconds/speed 10. Add honey, paprika, cumin, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, sesame seeds, olive oil and sea salt and process 10 seconds/speed 6. Scrape sides and repeat. Cook for 3 minutes/90 degrees/speed 1.
- Add the nuts to the bowl and toss to coat with the spice mix 20 seconds/Reverse/speed 1.
- Lay the spiced nuts flat over a large baking tray lined with baking paper and roast in an oven pre-heated at 160C for about 15 minutes until golden and fragrant.
- Allow to cool completely on the tray before storing in an airtight jar.