Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nut Roasters

When I was pregnant with our second child, my partner and I looked around as our 16 month old wrought havoc on the midfloor, two bedroom flat we had purchased scarcely more than16 months before and realised our days of living there were numbered. That Marrickville flat was our first foray into home ownership (ie, major debt), precipitated by my first pregnancy and a desire to stay geographically accessible to our circle of friends. We crunched the numbers and realised that we could (just) afford to buy a modestly-priced house if we (sharp intake of breath) doubled our mortgage and looked further afield. A few months and several house viewings later, we found ourselves buying a 3-4 bedroom, free-standing home on a tidy block on a quiet, cul-de-sac street in an unfamiliar suburb about a 10 minute drive from where we used to live: Belmore.

Not long after we moved in, one of our lovely new neighbours (an elderly Greek lady) told us about a shop a short walk away where she buys her olives and cheese. Keen to explore, I went to investigate. That it was love at first sight seems inadequate to the experience; it was more of a spiritual awakening. Nut Roasters in Roselands was the first food-related discovery that made me feel excited about our new neighbourhood. This family-owned business has been hand-roasting nuts in copper barrels for over thirty years. Apart from the wide range of delicious nuts, Nut Roasters sells a vast array of foods including olives, dried fruits, cheeses, legumes, grains, seeds, spices and Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and other specialty foods.

A mere glance at my kitchen reveals my reliance on Nut Roasters as purveyor of my family's dietary staples. In my pantry are numerous bags of their lentils (red, brown and French), beans (glossy, deep red kidney; shiny, purple-black turtle; pretty, speckled borlotti; pristine white and plump, blonde chickpeas), dried fruit (raisins, apricots, apples and currants), cous cous and pearl barley. There is a large flagon of extra virgin olive oil that has served us well for months, as well as tins of Italian tomatoes, Spanish artichokes and Lebanese dips, a bottle of pomegranate molasses and generous bags of various fresh spices. My refrigerator boasts a Nut Roasters bounty of nuts (pine nuts - they have several varieties, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds and walnuts), seeds (chia, sesame, pepitas, sunflower and nigella), quinoa (white and tri-colour), haloumi, feta and free-range eggs. I also have jars of tahini, mustard, relishes (including the novel and delicious Bomb Serres and a fiery brand of harissa, both pictured), sundried tomato and the plumpest, juiciest Kalmatta olives I have ever encountered. My family had a long-standing obsession with Susu's Bircher Muesli (pictured; they also make natural and toasted varieties); now I make my own blend using their dried apricots, golden raisins, dried apples, pepitas and sunflower kernels. Other less frequent purchases I make at Nut Roasters include Belgian chocolate, fruit and nut squares and various snack foods to help cater for parties and festive occasions.

Clearly, I could go on. Shopping at Nut Roasters remains one of my favourite domestic activities. I highly recommend you go there and, like the locals, get right into it!

Nut Roasters is open 8am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4:30pm on Saturdays and 8am to 1pm on Sundays.

79-81 Chapel Street  Roselands NSW 2196,  (02) 9759 1206.

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