|courtesy of Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via wikipedia|
The Tuscan mountain top village of GavinanaH loves wandering through the forests at that time of year when the chestnuts are thick on the ground. He is a great one for gathering things from the wild and sets about collecting chestnuts for us to bring back home. We usually return home with a small rucksack full of the brown shinny gems, which we turn into wonderful soup, and stuffing at Christmas time. You can make a dessert from chestnut puree, and they make a delicious combination with pork or sausage dishes.
On our last visit we discovered that you can buy a special shallow pan with holes in the bottom to cook chestnuts over hot coals, but knowing that I had something similar at home, we did not get one. When we returned home we set up the BBQ, but for some reason the charcoal was playing up, or perhaps it was me. It looked as if it was going to rain, and I ended up bringing the nuts inside and putting them in the oven. After a short while there was suddenly an almighty explosion, followed quickly by another and another. I shouted for H to come to my rescue, where upon he grabbed the tray and ran across the kitchen to exit through the patio doors. As he ran the nuts carried on exploding all over the kitchen, I later found them on top of the cupboards and shelves, under the furniture and all over the floor. The glass window in the oven was completely obscured by exploded nuts, it was such a mess. Once outside, I could still hear and see them firing off for several minutes, showering the patio and garden. Yes, we had forgotten to make a slit in the skins - it took me about 8 hours to clear up the debris, and I vowed never again do I want to see a chestnut.
Why is it that whenever you buy a poke of roasted chestnuts from a street vendor, you squeeze them, the insides pop out, warm, whole, and ready to eat. Roast them yourself, and they will not crack open, and come out in little bits or with the husk still attached?