Karen Martini's peanut recipes

Karen Martini
Peanut and cashew brittle.
Peanut and cashew brittle. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Peanut and cashew brittle with Sichuan pepper and chilli

The Sichuan pepper adds such fragrant spicy floral notes to this and, along with the pleasant flush of heat from the chilli, balances the sweet and richly nutty brittle.

1 egg white

1/2 tsp salt flakes

1 tsp ground chilli flakes

1/2 tsp finely crushed Sichuan peppercorns

150g salted cashews

250g salted peanuts

1/3 tsp baking soda

30g unsalted butter, softened


265g castor sugar

120g honey

1. Preheat your oven to 180C fan-forced or 200C conventional.

2. Lightly whisk the egg white in a large bowl until foamy. Mix in the salt, chilli and Sichuan pepper. Add the cashews and peanuts and mix to thoroughly coat the nuts. Spread in a thin layer on a large tray lined with baking paper and roast for five minutes, then stir through and roast for a couple more minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

3. Crush a large handful of the nuts to a rough powder in a mortar. Mix the crushed nuts and the baking soda through the whole nuts in a large bowl. Add the softened butter and set aside.

4. Bring the sugar, honey and 100 millilitres of water to a simmer in a medium pot. Cook until it forms a caramel and reaches 145C on a candy thermometer. Tip in the nut mix, stirring through until the foaming subsides and the butter is completely incorporated. Immediately pour the mix on to a tray lined with baking paper and, working quickly, spread flat with an oiled spatula. Lay a piece of parchment on top of the brittle and press down with a second tray until as flat as possible.

5. Set aside to cool completely before breaking into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 800g

Drink Rutherglen topaque

Peanut butter cookies

Peanut butter cookies with oats and dark chocolate

These crunchy, nutty cookies are really quite delicious, plus they're really fast and easy to make. You can have these on the table in about an hour, though watch them as they're cooling down - I always tend to lose a few to nimble fingers.

150g castor sugar

175g brown sugar

80g unsalted butter

250g crunchy peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs (60g each)

150g plain flour

1 tsp salt flakes

1 tsp bicarb soda

125g rolled oats, half finely processed, half left whole

60 good quality dark chocolate buttons

1. Beat the castor sugar, brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, vanilla and eggs until creamy. Beat in the flour, salt and bicarb until amalgamated. Fold in the oats and chill for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat your oven to 150C fan-forced or 170C conventional.

3. Once the mix has chilled, pick off golf ball-sized balls (40 to 50 grams), push two chocolate buttons into the top of each and place on a lined baking tray (making sure to space them out, as they will spread into flat rounds) and bake for about 20 minutes or until aromatic and coloured on top - they will be soft when warm but will firm up once cooled. Leave to cool on the tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 30

Drink Milk

Satay pork

Grilled pork fillet, wombok, satay sauce and crispy fried egg

This satay sauce is a bit lighter than ones made with coconut milk, which makes it perfect for salads and dishes with a focus on bright, fresh flavours. Buy free-range pork, preferably organic, if it fits the budget - the flavour difference is really worth the expense. And don't be scared to leave a blush of pink in the fillet, this will ensure tender and flavoursome meat.

1/2 wombok or 1 small one

4 kaffir lime leaves

salt flakes

2 organic free-range pork fillets

light oil for frying (such as rice bran oil)

6 organic eggs, room temperature

kecap manis (Indonesian soy sauce)

2 handfuls coriander leaves


250g raw peanuts

3 small red chillies, chopped, seeds in

2 cloves garlic, chopped

40g galangal or ginger, chopped

1 stalk lemongrass (white part), chopped

30g palm sugar

1/2 tsp salt flakes

40ml coconut oil

200ml water

1 lime, juiced

1½ tbsp kecap manis

1 tbsp fish sauce

beer nuts to garnish

1. Preheat your oven to 150C fan-forced or 170C conventional.

2. For the satay sauce, spread the peanuts on a baking tray and roast for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool before rubbing off the skins.

3. Grind the chillies, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, palm sugar and salt in a mortar (or whizz in a food processor) to a smooth paste. Add the peanuts and continue to grind. Slowly add the oil and 200 millilitres of water until you have a sauce-like mix. Add the lime juice, kecap manis and fish sauce and mix through (this makes about 2.5 cups and should keep in the fridge for up to seven days, but bring it back to room temperature and check and adjust the seasoning before serving with the beer nuts to garnish).

4. Cut the cabbage into wedges.

5. Finely julienne the lime leaves.

6. Preheat a griddle pan until very hot. Season and lightly oil the pork.

7. In a medium pot, heat six centimetres of oil to 180C. Crack one egg into a cup, keeping the yolk intact, then carefully pour it into the oil. Repeat, frying both eggs for about two minutes. Remove the eggs, drain them on paper towel and repeat for the remaining four eggs.

8. While the eggs cook, grill the pork on three sides (the fillet will have a rounded, roughly triangular shape) in the hot griddle pan for about three minutes each side - the size of the fillet and the heat of the pan will naturally influence the cooking time; I'm looking for medium, but cook to your preference. Remove from the pan, brush with kecap manis and rest for five minutes before slicing thinly.

9. Serve a wedge of wombok with an egg, sliced pork, shredded lime leaves, satay sauce and coriander leaves.

Serves 6

Drink Icy cold pilsner