Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…Jack Frost nipping at your toes…we’re waxing  lyrical here at Good Food Ireland this Christmas!  Who can resist the smell of chestnuts roasting though? One of the aromas of the season. It just shouts a welcome. Christmas shopping in the city is made all the better with the discovery of a street trader serving these nuts warm from the brazier. A little bag of them to clutch in your cold mitts and nibble while shopping. Mmmmm…  Eating chestnuts are often known as ‘sweet’ chestnuts. Needless to say they are an autumn and winter harvest, gathered after the trees have fully formed their ‘burrs’ – the spiky nut cases in which the sweet kernels are contained. Chestnuts can be foraged in the wild but they are not to be confused with Horse Chestnuts – an inedible variety which children often use for an old fashioned game of ‘Conkers’.  Roasting chestnuts at home couldn’t be easier. Simply cut a small cross in the skins and oven roast at gas 6 400F 200C for about 30 minutes or until the skins open and the kernels are tender. Serve them warm as a snack at Christmas time. Or add them to stuffings, and of course mix them with Brussels sprouts and bacon to go with the turkey. Save the peeled outer  skins – you can use them to light the fire in the absence of firelighters!