Let's go nuts... Cashews

I think it's time to go a bit nuts.... what do you think?

Over the next months I will do a few features on some of my favourite nuts and give you some recipes and ideas on what to do with them (apart from munching them directly from a nice bowl of course)...

First up is cashews - not because they are any better than other nuts, but because I made two new recipes this week using them and both were so tasty that I want to share them!

If there is one word I would give to cashews it is VERSATILITY! They are amazing little things and can be whizzed up into a wonderful cream that is a base to many possible delights.

I never really knew what they looked like on a tree until I looked today - check this out - they hang on the bottom of a cashew apple like the clapper inside a bell... cool! The fruit is hard to export so generally gets eaten by the Brazilians, Vietnamese or Indians who are cultivating the trees these days. The nuts get exported. But careful... I always buy organic cashews from a trusted source as there has been a lot of controversy over working conditions in the industry.

Good news on the heart front (like most nuts I will add) is that they are rich in “heart-friendly” monounsaturated-fatty acids like oleic, and palmitoleic acids. These essential fatty acids help lower harmful LDL-cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol in the blood.

Cashew nuts are abundant sources of essential minerals. Minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium are concentrated in these nuts.

OK - so what should we do with them?

This week I altered an old chocolate mousse recipe to use 100% cacao chocolate in it in place of powered cacao (as I can't find one I like at the moment)... the result was a success!

I also ventured into faux-mage- a cream cheese made with cashew nuts

... so treat yourself to some tasty cashews this week and let me know your favourite recipes!