HOW NOT TO ROAST
were at the Rubble and Riches weekend flea market at Laverton one fine wintery
Sunday, just walking around being totally amazed at what some people had for
sale there... Just sauntering along sticky-beaking, when what should greet my
eyes and nostrils but the sight and aroma of roasting chestnuts.
Of course they brought back memories of night markets/bazaars in Singapore
where hawkers tempted the milling throng of night shoppers with freshly roasted
chestnuts on site. Thus I was filled with an incredible desire to get me some
so I joined the long queue and patiently waited to be served. $2 for a
polystyrene cupful, the wee cup that you get when you order coffee 'to go'. Not
counting a couple of rancid ones that I unfortunately got, the chestnuts were
"Fancy paying $2 for a handful of roasted chestnuts!" I indignantly commented
to my MOTH. That's when a flash of brilliance hit me! If I roast my own
chestnuts, I could really pig out. Mmmm... So after the market, off we went to
the supermarket to pick some plump looking chestnuts (they were cheap, too!)
When we got home, I did the following:
Cranked up the oven, got it nice and hot.
Placed the chestnuts on a baking tray.
Placed the tray full of chestnuts in hot oven.
There! What could be simpler?
Now how long should I roast them for? Hmmm... not to worry, just check on them
at regular intervals.
Some 20 - 25 minutes later, strange popping noises could be heard coming from
Aha! I thought gleefully, wouldn't be long now.... better turn the oven off I
Might be a good idea to take them out of the oven, methinks.
Opened oven door, got the tray out (using oven mitts, of course).
Hey! What's happening here? The blooming chestnuts were continuing to pop all
over the place!
Yes, they were cooked alright - and the kernels had exploded right out of their
shells --- onto the ceiling, back of stove, onto the kitchen benchtop, under
chairs... heck, there were even bits on top of the fridge that I found some
time later whilst joyfully doing some house cleaning!
Oh no! As they exploded, each would go flying across the kitchen, hit a hard
surface (window, ceiling, walls...) and ricochetted all over the place.
The end result? No lovely roasted chestnuts for me, just a LOT of cleaning up
Well, it eventually dawned on me that I should have looked on the Internet for
chestnut roasting instructions in the first place! This was what I found:
HOW TO ROAST CHESTNUTS:
Preparation time: less than 30 mins.
Cooking time: 30mins to 1 hour.
1 kg chestnuts (2.2lbs)
1. Heat oven to 200C (400F)
2. Cut a cross into the top of each nut into the top of the flesh. Put in a
roasting tin and bake until the skins open and the kernels are tender (about 30
3. Serve in paper bags so you can eat them without dropping them. Peel away the
skin and the pithy white bits inside to get to the sweet kernels.
Wouldn't you know it? You've
gotta cut a cross through the shell of each chestnut on one side before roasting!
I had thought all along that the crosses happened naturally as the chestnuts
were roasting! Sheeeesh!!!! Still have a lot to learn, haven't I?
No wonder they charge $2 for a cupful!
[About a year later, during kitchen renovations, unidentifed foreign matter
were discovered behind my kitchen cabinets. Laboratory tests proved these to be
pieces of very old chestnut kernels!]
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