Ingredients of the week: clementines and hazelnuts

Good for you, flexible in flavour and perhaps a little bit under-appreciated, these two are all set to shine in the kitchen

CLEMENTINES

Happy accident

The clementine belongs to the larger mandarin family. Rumour has it that the fruit was born at the start of the 20th century, an accidental creation discovered in the garden of Father Clement Rodier’s Algerian orphanage. Because of the fruit’s small size, easy-to-peel skin and seedless flesh, it can be considered a gift from nature for times when portable fruit is called for.

Calendar gear

The peak growing season for clementines falls late in the year, which for us here in the UAE means we have the opportunity to enjoy the versatility of the fruit: it is superb right now in cooling drinks for warm days, and in the new year for breezy salads when the last thing you want is a meal that sits heavy on your tummy. And in the time between, it bounces off warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, meaning you’re all set for dishes that give you a cuddle and make you feel all festive and Christmassy.

Festive friends

Speaking of the season, clementines offer lots of potential for gifts. The zest is great in energising body products like bath salts and sugar scrubs, while clementine’s high pectin level – which determines how well a preserve sets – makes it a natural choice for jars of jam and marmalade.

Browse our collection of clementine recipes here.

HAZELNUTS

Defined tastes

Maybe cherished less than pistachios, almonds and peanuts, hazelnuts are still a brilliantly multipurpose nut. Like many nuts, they can be used in recipes sweet and savoury or simply enjoyed as a snack. Great stirred through batches of homemade granola and breakfast bar mixes, roasted hazelnuts have an intensified flavour which means they can stand up to strong partners.

Take advantage

But what really gives hazelnuts an edge over other nuts is how many different guises they appear under in our kitchens: ground down into a gluten-free flour replacement or pressed into an oil that has great flavour presence for salad dressings. The nut’s distinctive taste is rarely more in evidence than in homemade hazelnut milk, a dairy-free alternative to regular milk.

Nut crackers

Hazelnuts share many nutritional benefits with other nuts – they are rich in protein, fibre, vitamins and potassium. And when it comes to healthy fat content, hazelnuts are right at the top. A handful at once stimulates our metabolism, burns calories and leaves us feeling fuller for longer. Because of this fat content, the nuts don’t keep for very long – once you’ve opened a pack, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Or better yet, if a kitchen project tickles your fancy, try your hand at making fresh hazelnut butter. You just need a food processor and a little bit of patience.

Browse our collection of hazelnut recipes here.