How brazil nuts can change your life


Brazil nuts in both their forms. Picture: From 50 Foods That Will Change Your Life

 

THEY’RE the option most of us avoid when we’re offered a bowl of mixed nuts, but after reading this extract from 50 Foods That Will Change Your Life, you’ll never want to pass over them again.

Meaty and uniquely flavoured, Brazil nuts offer more than just an interesting addition to a bowl of mixed nuts. Recently, they have become much more revered as a healthy addition to your diet, so it is well worth getting past that tough, hard shell to discover the Brazil nut’s wonderful attributes.

Composition-wise, Brazil nuts are 18 per cent protein, 13 per cent carbohydrates and 69 per cent fat, with their fat breakdown being roughly 25 per cent saturated, 41 per cent monounsaturated and 34 per cent polyunsaturated.

Brazil nuts are probably the richest dietary source of the mineral selenium, something most of us, particularly women, do not get enough of. Various studies suggest that proper selenium intake is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer as well as prostate cancer. Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for calcium absorption as well as aiding relaxation, and is found in good levels in Brazil nuts.

A study of obese adolescents found that eating eight Brazil nuts per day not only increased levels of the anti- oxidant selenium, but also reduced LDL cholesterol.

Brazil nuts are often sold in their shells, but you can also find them packaged with and without their skins. Once exposed to the air, they tend to go rancid quite quickly so it’s a good idea to keep them refrigerated or even frozen if you won’t be consuming them quickly.

SIX EASY WAYS TO GET BRAZIL NUTS INTO YOUR DIET

1. Throw a handful of Brazil nuts into a couscous dish.
2. Brazil nuts work wonderfully in all types of baking, from cakes to brownies. They go particularly well with chocolate.
3. Brazil nuts and bananas is a classic combination.
4. Try combining as a filling for pancakes or serving over ice-cream with a warm caramel sauce.
5. They are a great addition to cereals and smoothies at breakfast time.
6. Combine with rice cakes or vegetable sticks for a perfect snack.

 

Delicious mushroom and brazil nut pies. Picture: From 50 Foods That Will Change Your Life

Delicious mushroom and brazil nut pies. Picture: From 50 Foods That Will Change Your Life

MUSHROOM & BRAZIL NUT PIES
DINNER • SERVES 4 • PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINUTES PLUS 30 MINUTES CHILLING • COOKING TIME: 30 MINUTES SERVING SIZE 177.8 G • ENERGY 2840 KJ • FAT 51.3 G • CARBOHYDRATE 34.4 G • SODIUM 2190 MG

The mushrooms give these pies a wonderfully dense flavour and texture. And they are very low in calories! Those who are coeliac or gluten intolerant can use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs.

INGREDIENTS

PASTRY
100 g plain wholemeal flour
50 g butter, chopped milk, for glazing

FILLING
20 g butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
125 g baby button mushrooms
1 tablespoon wholemeal plain flour
150 ml vegetable stock
175 g Brazil nuts, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
75 g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
¼ cup finely chopped continental parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

METHOD

• Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan-forced).

• To make the pastry, place the flour and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the processor running, slowly add 1−2 tablespoons of water to form a dough. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and lightly bring together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

• To make the filling, heat the butter and oil in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted. Add the onion and garlic and saute until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Gradually add the stock and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens (about 1 minute). Add the remaining filling ingredients, stir well and cook for 1−2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

• On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to about ½ cm thickness and cut out four 10 cm discs.

• Divide the filling between four 10 cm round ramekin dishes and top each with a pastry disc. Brush with milk.

• Place the ramekins on a baking tray and bake for 15−20 minutes until the filling is heated through and the pastry is cooked and golden brown.

TIPS

• These pies can be made vegan by using vegan butter and soy milk.

• Try making one family pie using a family-size pie dish. Roll out two large pastry rounds to fit your pie dish for a base and top.

• Serve the pies with a tomato condiment.

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