Fragrances spark my imagination and create a feel-good atmosphere that I can’t live without. At home, for example, I keep a collection of little brown bottles, each containing a concentrated essential oil. If I put just a couple of drops of lemon oil on my hands in the morning and rub it in, then I immediately feel refreshed, invigorated and ready for the day ahead. Smells wafting from the oven have a very similar effect on me, whether I’m cooking a butter-rich cake, a light and crispy focaccia or something with fine spices: when the aroma drifts gently around my flat it creates a really special sense of well-being. A good way of conjuring up such a feel-good aroma is to oven-roast some nuts and spices. I always do the same thing: take 200 g of almonds, macadamia or cashew nuts, roast them at 160 °C in a convection oven for 5 to 7 minutes and then marinate them. For the marinade you will need 2 tablespoons of liquid – for example green tea, lemon juice, beer or sherry vinegar – two or three pinches of salt, half a teaspoon of cornflour and some spices: ground pepper, ginger, smoked paprika or ground cardamom. Then roast the nuts again for three hours at 70 °C. If you’re doing this in the evening and your oven has an automatic switch off function, you can set that and then go to bed breathing in the delicious aroma of nuts and spices. The nuts will dry out slowly overnight, allowing the aromas to fuse together perfectly. When you’re creating the marinade, just go with how you feel. You can use whatever aromas and flavours spark your imagination; the only thing to remember is not to put any sugar or oil in the marinade so that the nuts stay crunchy for longer.
Tanja by Night