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The Breakfast Challenge – Turmeric and Mandarin Nut Butter

Kids may not like this one (though it is surprising, sometimes, what kids like).  This is a recipe for people who like their chocolate dark, who like expresso coffee and olives and beer and marmelaide.  If you do like bitter flavours though, it is addictive and it’s my current favourite breakfast.

What led to this – a friend mentioned turmeric nut butter to me, and having fresh turmeric in the garden and a good macadamia season this year, and now the first of the season’s mandarins – I had to experiment.  I like sweet nut butters like the Macadamia and Pear Butter a couple of weeks ago, and the turmeric adds a lovely interesting spiciness to it.

Besides being an addictive taste, this is a real super-foods health breakfast.  Fresh turmeric is a really good source of anti-inflamatory anti-oxidants with some solid science behind it being a cancer preventative.  Macadamias are rich in the kind of oils that actually lower cholesterol, like the “clinically proven to lower cholesterol” margarines that are being so aggressively marketed these days (which are actually based on hydrogenated sterols from pine tree wood pulp).  And mandarins are a good source of “bioflavanoids” that, among other things, strengthen blood vessels (helping to prevent things like kidney disease and varicose veins).

(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” ).

The Recipe:

This recipe makes enough for two slices of toast – one adult for breakfast.  It will store though, covered in the fridge, so if you decide you like it, you can make it in batches for a few days.  I actually think it is at its best on day two, though it is probably at its healthiest when fresh made.

First crack your macadamias.  This tool makes buying or harvesting macadamias in season in their shells a realistic option. (The recipe might also work with almonds, which are also in season now – I’d love to hear if someone tries it).

In a small pan, dry roast together 10 chopped macadamia nuts with a knob of fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped, about the equivalent to 5 macadamias – ie about half as much. Roast for just a couple of minutes, shaking, till the nuts start to colour.

Add the juice from one large-ish mandarin and a couple of dessertspoons of olive or macadamia oil and a good pinch of salt.

Blend this mixture in a food processor or with a stick blender till it is smooth and pale coloured, adding more juice or water if necessary to get it to the right texture.

Meanwhile  make some toast, and just warm some mandarin segments in the same pan.

Slather the turmeric and mandarin nut butter on toast, top with the warmed mandarin segments, and eat.

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