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Mmmm: making macadamia nut satay

Today’s post is a wee departure from the norm. It comes with 2 recipes for using fresh macadamia nuts that I learned from Gaia Retreat‘s head chef, Todd Cameron…

I’d spent an afternoon at Olivia Newton-John’s luxurious retreat near Byron Bay in Australia’s NSW (and had a sublime spa treatment which you can read about here if you wish). After lunch on Saturdays there is a cooking class for anyone keen to learn how to make healthy and tasty dishes, so about 10 of us pulled up seats. Gaia is all about organic, fresh and flavoursome. Todd is an expert at making healthy things taste brilliant. He says “very delicious” a lot and this is true.

You can read my story at the NZ Herald about the Gaia Retreat, but to jump straight to the recipes so you can impress your friends, read on.

Here’s how to make macadamia nut satay from the plentiful supply of locally grown nuts and a macadamia nut French cream sauce (sans cream).

Macadamia Nut Satay Sauce

Head chef Todd Cameron picks tonight's dinner

Chef Todd Cameron


Dice half a brown onion and saute in 300ml of water until soft. As it simmers, add a good sized dessert spoon (tablespoons went out with our grandmothers, notes Todd) of Thai green curry paste and a heaped dessert spoon of palm sugar. Then stir in approximately 100g of macadamia nut paste. (You can buy that over here.) Alternatively put fresh mac nuts into a blender with a little water to make your own or, as I did at home, add a good dollop of any nut butter. I used a jar of almond, cashew and Brazil nut spread.

Satay. Done. Serve with prawns or chicken on rice.

Now for a creamy sauce made without cream so, as Todd explained, we are left with the feeling that the night is still young rather than, I’m buggered, I’ll watch TV.

Macadamia Nut French Cream Sauce

Dice half a brown onion and sauté in 300ml of water or vegetable stock. Add 100g of macadamia nut paste (or substitute as in recipe above) stir until sauce thickens, add a pinch of white pepper, a glug of white wine and simmer for one minute to evaporate the alcohol. Continue to add paste/stock until desired consistency.

And that’s it! Serve with seafood and fresh pasta.

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!