After a summer of enjoying the work that I love, a little music and plenty of cooking, last week, before popping to do a repair job for a friend I stopped off to pick some walnuts, a real love of mine and something I remember dearly hoping I would get to do last autumn.  I don’t think that, even in my imagination, I truly thought I would do it both last autumn and this so, at the moment I feel like I’m winning the battle.  My most recent scan results show that the cancer is stable, my medical team may have showed optimism for the first time and so I will continue with hope, living life and enjoying good food. 

As I’ve made it to walnut season for a second time since my diagnosis, it seems appropriate to celebrate them in some recipe ideas. 

Walnuts - a calorie filled snack

Simple - Six English Walnuts (picked within walking distance from my home), drizzled with walnut oil and sprinkling of salt.  Shake to coat and then enjoy.

Orange, samphire & green leaf salad with walnuts .

  • One juicy sweet orange – peeled, de pithed and de skinned (as much as possible) cut into small pieces. A handful of washed Samphire - I’m using English
  • A handful of fennel ribbons finely chopped
  • 1 small little gem lettuce finely shredded and chopped
  • 10 olives finely chopped
  • A spoonful of good olive oil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a little salt and black pepper
  • Dress with a handful of chopped walnuts  - salad done 

Notes on eating this lovely salad.  Small mouthfuls, everything chewed well, make sure to have some fizzy wine or water available.  This may seem like a lot of work but to me it’s worth it.  It’s healthy, non synthetic and most importantly, flavoursome.

 A bowl of English WalnutsPasta with walnuts, olives & runner beans served with fresh langoustine

  1. Cook the pasta al dente in boiled salted water with a little olive oil, strain and set aside.
  2. Par boil some green beans to get them started then strain and finely slice.
  3. Add a little olive oil to a frying pan followed by the pasta, green beans a few cherry tomatoes and olives, some crushed walnuts and a little balsamic vinegar.
  4. Season and cook on a medium heat until heated through. 
  5. Once everything is hot add six fresh uncooked langoustines cut in half.  Make a nest in the middle of the pasta, add the langoustines and cover with the hot pasta.  Put the lid on and immediately turn off hob.  Leave the Langoustines to cook in the residue heat for four to five minutes, no longer or they will become too hard to swallow, then plate up.  The langoustines will prove soft, succulent and a delight to eat.

Eating notes are as usual  - small mouthfuls, make sure to chew everything well, a bottle of fizzy water and in my particular case, I find it easier to eat standing up.  It is trial and error – have a go and work out what works best for you!

Most importantly – Enjoy.