On a whim, we purchased a whole bag of whole walnuts from a little stall by the road. We gave little thought to how we were going to how we were going to crack the walnuts open (if cute little furry squirrels can do it, so can we - or so we thought). After (much) trial and error, in which cupboard doors were slammed shut repeatedly, forks were bent out of shape, crushed walnut bits cleaned off the floor again and again, we found the most efficient way to crack open a walnut without hurting anyone, without having the walnuts just get crushed completely and without sounding like construction work was going on in the apartment.
Early in the method discovery process.
"I have to get just the right amount of pressure...oops! Too much!"
-Hanad, one of those rare few who can completely crush a walnut just by clenching it in his fist-
After all the commotion, we found that all we needed to do was position the nut near the hinge of the door and gently pull the door close. It's a wonder how we thought that Hanad crushing walnuts with his bare hands was a better idea to begin with.
Pretty soon, we had a little assembly line going - crack, peel, remove, crack, peel, remove, pop into mouth... As always, we couldn't just enjoy the nuts as they were and after much talk of honey-roasted walnuts, we decided to see what we could come up with, with what we could find in the kitchen. That's the thing about having gone to a college in the middle of nowhere and with limited resources, learning to make do becomes second nature.
Ingredients: Nuts (we used walnuts, naturally), sugar, salt, water
Heat the saucepan slightly before putting the nuts in. Once the nuts are in, add a pinch of salt, and a few teaspoons of sugar (depending on how sweet you want the nuts to be). Add a small amount of water (think just enough to melt the sugar and salt) and watch everything sizzle as the sugar and salt melt to coat the nuts. We repeated this until we got just the right balance of sweet and salty (all the while making sure we weren't taking too long - burnt was not a taste we were aiming for).
For a little extra something, add to the sugar and salt, a little Baileys Irish Cream (we had some special edition Irish Cream with a hint of Creme Caramel lying around that really complemented the nuts) or for that cinema-popcorn flavour, a bit of butter. Mix well so that every bit of nutty surface is well coated with everything. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to whip up a batch of very addictive nuts. After the first round, one should be able to get the proportions of everything just right.
A big bowl of nuts, four of us curled up in various positions on the couch, bad Italian variety shows and a map spread out on the floor with places of interest circled on it - that's how we spent our very first night in Malta.
The bunch of us busying ourselves in the kitchen at supper time. I guess being in a different country really doesn't change much sometimes.