Feta hazelnut and rosemary crunch spread in a bowl

Feta, rosemary and hazelnut crunch

Gavin Wren Recipes, Spreads & Dips, Vegetarian

Two weeks ago, Guardian Witness asked for people to submit recipes on the theme of ‘poached’, with the best entries to be published in the Saturday edition of the newspaper’s ‘Cook’ food supplement. I looked at my nearly-brand-new blog, knowing that my third recipe featured a poached egg, and, somewhat scared, submitted the recipe. I was completely shocked when a few days later, I got an e-mail informing me that they were posting my recipe on their facebook page! Surely the glory of seeing my own recipe in print was within grasp!

Broken hazelnuts on a chopping board

So, on the Saturday of reckoning, I rushed home from the shops with the newspaper, clawed my way past the Sport, Family and Money supplements (but had a quick look at the magazine) and then got to Cook. But alas, my moment in the spotlight was short lived and I had managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as the recipe hadn’t made print.

Feta hazelnut and rosemary crunch spread in a bowl

However, through my gushing tears of despair I managed to read that the chosen topic for the next submission was ‘Spread’. Fortuitously, just a few days earlier I had written an idea for a recipe in my food notes “Feta, maple syrup, nuts cracker topping”. Despite the bitter loss I had experienced, it seemed the Gods were smiling at me, so I set to work, attempting to create the glorious ambrosia of the spread world!

Feta hazelnut and rosemary crunch spread in a bowl with bread

Feta, rosemary and hazelnut crunch


Serves 4 as a starter

PDF recipe card to download or print


25g maple syrup
12g butter
50g hazelnuts, lightly broken
200g feta
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves plucked and chopped
6 tablespoons natural yoghurt
Olive oil for serving


Pre heat your oven to gas mark 4, 180ºC, 350ºF.

Put the butter and syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally until the butter has melted and it’s all started to sizzle. Remove from the heat, add the hazelnuts and mix thoroughly until well coated.

Put a piece of greaseproof paper on a baking sheet and spread the nut mixture out as widely as possible on here. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, mixing them all up after 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end as they will burn easily, they should be slightly darkened. Once out of the oven, leave the nuts to cool, then break up any clumps.

In a bowl, mix the feta, yoghurt and rosemary with a fork, adding more yoghurt if you feel it’s too thick, or not spreadable. When the nuts are cool, mix them in as well. Drizzle with olive oil to serve with bread.

The maple syrup coated nuts from this recipe are fantastic just on their own. Perhaps a bit naughty, but perfect if you’re going to watch a movie or have some friends over. They’re very easy to prepare a batch and you can use any nuts – walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds – they’ll all work superbly, see what you’ve got hiding in the cupboard.

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