Monday, December 19, 2005
One of my favourite restaurants back home is Olde Hansa, the Medieval Restaurant of Tallinn. The name highlights that Tallinn used to be a member of the Hanseatic League, a medieval network of trade towns in the Northern Europe. Olde Hansa is a fun and wonderful restaurant in a huge medieval warehouse, just off the Town Hall Square in Tallinn's Old Town. I like the candlelight medieval atmosphere, I like the music, I like the food (their thick mushroom soup is divine!), their slightly OTT medieval pub style service. I simply love the place and it's one of the restaurants I always try to visit when at home.
Few years ago they started selling spicy sugared almonds outside the restaurant (above), and public events around the town. These have become a huge success both among the numerous tourists as well as locals. The almonds come in small paper cones, and cost just over £1. Not bad at all for something so delicious. I've been thinking of recreating these at home - not because I wanted to save the money, but simply out of culinary curiosity. And then you can't get Olde Hansa sugared almonds in Edinburgh anyway..
I spotted a recipe for spicy sugared almonds on a Finnish website a while ago, and tried them earlier this week. I'm very pleased with the result. The Olde Hansa sweet masters may use a slightly different amount of various spices, but I confidently say that my spicy sugared almonds were at least as good as theirs!
Spicy sugared almonds to accompany your cup of mulled wine on a cold snowstormy night when you are sitting in front of fireplace
100 ml sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
0.25 tsp ground cloves
0.25 tsp ground ginger
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
a tiny pinch of Cayenne (optional)
0.5 tsp fine salt
1 egg white
1.5 Tbsp water
300 grams whole almonds (blanched or not)
Mix sugar, spices and salt in a bowl. Whisk the egg white with the water, add to the spice mixture together with almonds. Mix thoroughtly, then spread the mixture on a cooking tray that has been covered with parchment paper.
Roast at 150˚C for about 30 minutes, shaking the almonds every now and then, so they wouldn't stick too much to the paper and would cook evenly.
The almonds are ready when they are slightly golden brown - do not burn them! Let them cool a little and then start nibbling!
PS I tried the recipe with blanched almonds as well, as suggested in the original recipe, but I must admit I prefer using non-blanched almonds - they seem to have more taste and bite to them!