Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bunya Spaghetti Napolitana

1 kg ripe tomatoes (skinned, chopped)
1 onion or leek
2 carrots
4 celery sticks
2 cloves minced garlic
1 bay leaf
a dash of agave nectar
black Pepper corns
some olive oil

30 Bunya nuts, (optional)

A cup full of roasted pine nuts

500 g organic durum wheat semolina pasta (spaghetti)

All organic & filtered water

Fry finely chopped onion/whites of leek. Add finely chopped carrots and celery cubes. Stir. After all is translucent, add chopped tomatoes, garlic, agave, bay and peppercorns. Stir for a while simmer gently with covered lid. Add some boiling water if need be to cover the vegetables. Add peeled bunya nuts, cook for 30 minutes or more. Cook covered over a low heat till there is a thick sauce.
Roast pine nuts gently in dry pan. Do not burn. Set aside

Cook pasta "al dente"

Serve separate or mix in large decorative bowl and serve very hot with sprinkled pine nuts.

See also
Tomato sauce with noodles

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bunya Pine Nuts: How to Prepare for Cooking

When bunyas are ready to harvest they fall to the ground. Forget about climbing up the tree to get them. The leaves are very sharp and the nuts are right at the top of the pine. When they start falling they continue for a couple of weeks in late summer. Before that you can see if a tree has many nuts by observing its crown.
Depending on the softness of the ground under the bunya tree the large cones may be intact after they drop down. If this is the case, take the whole cone home where you can get the nuts out cleanly. But usually the nuts are scattered when they hit the ground which makes it easy to get them out but they may be dirty and need washing when you get them home. They are also among sharp leaves so be careful with your hands.If your bunyas are in a cone still, break the cone open and separate the individual nuts into a container. Be careful of sharp edges.The nuts have a tough shell which is quite leathery. It needs to be cut and will not break like a walnut or almond as it is not woody. I cut them with secateurs, slicing a thin piece of the skin on the edge lengthwise. Then you can get the secateurs to grip and cut more until the kernel comes out.I have also had success with a serrated knife, but it is hard to keep the nut still while cutting.Other people use a cleaver to cut the whole nut into two pieces and then extract the two kernel halves. This may be a faster method but may also require practice and a good method for keeping the nut in place before you chop it.When you have extracted some nuts place them in water to remove the thin brown skin. This comes off easily after just a short dip in water leaving a white and brown kernel.
Bunya nuts come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some are small, round and white, others are pointy and usually they are a little brownish. A little brown gives them more character. They should taste waxy and the little white ones tend to be a bit powdery.
You will need to cook the nuts for 30 to 45 minutes. If they are undercooked they are dry. When cooked in a sauce they adopt the flavour so be careful what you cook them with. They have a unique flavour which can be overwhelmed by other foods. Given the extensive preparation it is important to be able to taste them.
An alternative approach is to roast the nuts in their shells in hot coals as recommended by a friend. We have not tried this but are advised that the nuts are very tasty and the shell is easy to remove after being in the fire. This has been a traditional Aboriginal cooking method for millennia. The trees/forests have been cultured by Australian indigenous people in their management of abundant landscapes.
Bunyas are best eaten fresh. However, when you have found a lot of bunyas you can freeze the nuts in their shells. You need to prevent the nuts from sprouting if you want to eat them. If you keep intact cones, the nuts tend to sprout inside the cones so break them up and put the nuts in the fridge.
If your fridge is not big enough for all the nuts, store the remaining nuts in a well-aired, dry place out of the sun, for example in a string bag, to prevent fungus. A short blast of direct sunlight helps to prevent fungus growth beofre you put them in a cool place or in the fridge.

Bunya Pine Nuts with Aubergine
Bunya Spaghetti Napolitana
Kumera Bunya Soup
Bunya Pine Nuts in Coconut Milk 
Bunya pine nuts in green tomato sauce 
Bunya Mushroom Ragout with Buckwheat noodles
Bunya Lima Bean Soup 
Bunya Nut and Macadamia Burgers
Bunya Pine Nuts with Sauerkraut and Pasta

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bunya Pine Nuts with Aubergine

20 peeled Bunya Pine nuts, Araucaria bidwillii
2-3 large aubergines (eggplants)
3 leeks, the white parts only
2-3 skinned tomatoes
2 small carrots
olive oil
black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
All organic & filtered water if possible

Peal the aubergine partially
Cut into large pieces, salt and toss
Chop the leek finely, fry in olive oil.
Pour boiling water on the tomatoes. Stir, add chopped carrot
Skin the tomatoes, chop finely and add to pot
Cover let simmer, then add pepper & bay and a little boiling water to cover all.
Let simmer with closed lid. Add the bunya nuts, cover, let cook for approx. 30 min. After the aubergines have been drained of their dark and bitter juice a few times, wash them in filtered water and press the pieces with your hands thoroughly. Place on dry clean towel. Heat oil in frying pan and fry pieces golden.After the vegetables are nearly done add the fried aubergine pieces to the pot and simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes. The aubergine chunks should not disintegrate. The bunya should be waxy and soft. Serve hot with a green crispy salad.

Bunya Pine Nuts: How to Prepare for Cooking