Each year around Easter we enjoy the walnut harvest. The passion for picking up walnuts off the ground started when Kim and I did an Easter drive to Dargo in the High Plains country around 1999. Little did we know that Dargo had a Walnut festival every Easter, and we arrived just in time to pick up a haul of nuts from the 100+ year old Walnut trees that litter the quint little country town in the hills. Since then I get all sorts of excited when I hear a whisper of a new old tree in a secret location. This year wasn’t too bad, although we left it a bit late and didn’t get as many as last year, but nonetheless we have nuts.
So I cleaned them a set them atop of our mantle piece above the fire. After a few weeks they where nice and dry and ready to be cracked and sorted. I took the time to pick out the crook ones and keep the good ones. They needed a clean in hot water to remove dust, dirt and organic beasties. Then back to the mantle piece to dry out.
So what to do with these nuts? Last year I made a few pestos and a rocket and wall nut dip. This year I thought I’d do something that I don’t normally do. Baking. I researched a recipe and decided to go with an old CWA Walnut and Date loaf. Creaming the butter was something new to me, as was the slow alternate mixing in of the milk and the sieved flour. I placed the mix in the buttered trays as directed, pre-heated the oven, as directed and patiently waited.
When it was time to remove them, the smell was intoxicating. A little burnt on the top, but still looking in good shape. But the bugger wouldn’t come out of the trays. And in with the absence of the house baker, I proceeded to tap, tap, TAP! the trays with excessive vigour. The result was a ‘pile’ of cake on the table. Then the epiphany hot me. I suck at baking.
Kim is super happy with the result. She’s delighted that she has something I suck at and that she is really good at.
Tomorrow I might make a walnut pesto. Fucking baking.