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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Land of the Liquid Amber

I live on the outer edge of what are known as Melbourne's leafy eastern suburbs (or as I prefer to call it the Land of the Liquid Amber) and let me tell you autumn is a pretty special time of year out here. I wish my camera could accurately capture what Harriet Keeler described in 1900 as 'not simply a flame, it is a conflagration; in reds and yellows it equals the maples, and in addition it has the dark purples and smoky browns of the ash'.

Although not native to Australia the Liquid Amber is very popular in the Melbourne and many houses along our street have enormous trees in their front yards. Councils have also planted them in avenues along major roads and along smaller side streets so as you drive around the neighbourhood you are constantly assailed by a blaze of colour with each display more spectacular than the last.

Winter is certainly on its way with temperatures falling sharply especially at night. The hot water bottles and extra blankets have been resurrected and for some reason we have all been craving little nibbles. Popcorn either plain or with cinnamon and dried apple has been popular as have these spiced almonds using new season Australian almonds.

Spiced Almonds


2 cups blanched almonds
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chilli (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil


Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix through with your hands until all almonds are covered in spice mixture. Spread nuts on a prepared tray and bake for 10 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Eat while still warm or cool completely before storing in an airtight container for snacking later (I've also used this spice mix on one of our many batches of popcorn).


  1. Love the idea of spiced popcorn. The sweet variety is not doing it for me at the moment.

  2. The spiced popcorn is really great Katie. You can use any sort of spices you like! Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Lovely images and post. I want sash windows too...oh and that view!