I have to admit any Breakfast Cereal Challenge recipe at the moment has to go on top of toast – I have a current obsession with sourdough. But this toast topping has been a favourite for a few weeks now.
Macadamia nuts are in right in season and they are super healthy. If you live too far south to get fresh macas, almonds are also in season and can’t think why they wouldn’t work in this recipe too. Macadamias have quite some calories but their fats are the “good” kind – monounsaturated – like olive oil. There is good evidence that they lower cholesterol much more effectively (and cheaply, and tastily) than the new, very slickly advertised “clinically proven to lower cholesterol” margarines (that are based on hydrogenated sterols, primarily sitostanol derived from pine tree wood pulp). They also have good quality protein, lots of fibre, B vitamins and, like many tree crops, a big range of minerals and and antioxidant micronutrients.
This is the tool that has made macadamia nuts in shell a reasonable breakfast ingredient in our house, on a workday, when I have half an hour to be out of here, preferably with keys, purse, bills to pay, report for work and mail. Fresh, in season, nuts in their shell are another one of those things that you never truly appreciate if you’ve been put off by stale old nuts at Christmas time, (when they would be in season in the northern hemisphere) or stale old shelled nuts in packets in the supermarket.
Pears are also in season, and though I can’t grow them (not enough chill factor) pear growers from the colder area up on the Tablelands are now bringing them to our local Farmer’s Market.
(The Breakfast Cereal Challenge is my 2011 challenge – a year’s worth of breakfast recipes that are quick and easy enough to be a real option for weekdays, and that are preferable, in nutrition, ethics, and taste, to the overpackaged, overpriced, mostly empty packets of junk food marketed as “cereal” .)
Dry roast a good handful of macadamia kernels in a heavy frypan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan, till they just start to colour.
Add a chopped pear and a spoonful of water, just enough to stop the pears burning.
Cook for a couple of minutes till the pear softens and start to caramelise.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and quarter of a teaspoon of vanilla essence.
Blend the mixture with a stick blender or food processor till smooth.
Slather onto your favourite bread, toasted, and eat.