Growing up. Yup, those dirty little words that spell the end of 4pm lie-ins, foam parties and nipping to the shops in your PJs, are becoming an all too frequent utterance in my life. From the day I realised I knew more about the bin-collection schedule than the line-up of the local club, to the sudden interest in the National Trust, and a certain penchant for floral crockery; it seems to have crept up on me. And I am afraid it might just be entirely unavoidable Yes, no matter how tightly you grip on to Teen Vogue; certain teeny-weeny changes add up, and suddenly you own 5 pairs of reading glasses (of which you can find none), have bought a 3 bedroom house, drive a Volvo estate and are a fully fledged adult.
Ok, ok; maybe it’s not quite that drastic, but as suddenly dawned on me as I helped my Mum delicately slice bitesize morsels of smoked salmon and fill miniature Yorkshires with blushing roast beef, I might be nearing one of those seemingly insignificant milestones myself. No, I have not quite traded in my oyster card for a family car, but as the vast majority of my friends settle into the 9-5 and are forced to get to grips with the hoover after several glorious years spent living in student houses that saw less of the broom and more of the bottle; I have realised that it is only a matter of time before the big one. Yup, I am ready for it- waiting with baited breath for the day a good night out becomes less dancing on the tables and more restocking the Kettle Chips and circulating the hummus...
Now, despite becoming a dab-hand at hosting dinner parties before I had even tied my first upper school tie (well, someone’s got to eat the ridiculous amount of food I churn out), I know that the time when it is unacceptable to turn up to an event with only a tube of lipgloss and a bottle of cheap wine is not entirely imminent. And yet, I am ready. And to be honest, despite desperately trying to cling on to the idea that I could still work a scrunchie or rock dungarees- I am not entirely afraid of this crudité wielding, bilini grabbing era to burst into my life and banish the Jaagerbombs forever. Well, maybe not forever, let’s not be too hasty now...
But I am suitably prepared. I already know that when the first drinks and nibbles invitation arrives, these out of this world, Honey and Spice nuts will be top of the list of party-food offerings. Crunchy, spicy, bursting with rosemary and red chilli and the perfect balance of both salty and sweet; these will guarantee your invite to the next civilised affair. Perfectly nibble-able (it is still OK to make up words when you are a grown up, right?) they are as easy as mixing, throwing onto a baking tray and bunging into the oven; perfect if you need as much time as I do to make yourself presentable for a night of champagne quaffing and canapé nibbling.
And they will be equally quick to disappear. Particularly when accompanied by a nice glass of something cold and fizzy. And I am not talking about a Cheeky Vimto, we are grown ups remember...
400g mixed nuts (cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, etc. etc...)
3 tbsp honey
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp mixed spice
A grating of nutmeg
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (or more if you like them hot!)
A good pinch of sea salt.
Preheat the oven to 180oc. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
In a large bowl, mix the lemon, spices, honey, salt and herbs. Add the nuts and mix everything up until evenly coated.
Spread onto a baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking, until golden.
Serve with a tipple of your choice...