Sunday, November 30, 2008

Really fabulous pesto

Hello everyone, I am very excited to reveal that I have been published twice this month! One contribution appears in a book called "One Thing In Common" which is published by Cansupport, a support service for cancer patients and their carers at Royal North Shore. Until earlier this year I volunteered with Cansupport, and as part of that wrote a piece about my experience of both my darling Dad's cancer and that of my youngest sister. The book was a VERY long time in production so they are quite old stories now and certainly experiences I am glad to have behind me.

My second contribution (funny how both have been published at the same time) is in a book by the ABC called "Homecooked Feasts". It is a recipe for my Nana's afghan biscuits, which most of you who know me have sampled. I have to say that I feel quite disappointed with the book - there clearly wasn't much of a budget for production and it's very ordinary looking. They have also cleverly but annoyingly packaged it up with a similar book and you have to buy both, which put me off buying multiple copies for everyone for Christmas! I decided to just buy a copy for Mum instead. If you see the book and just want my recipe, let me know and I'll email it to you.

This week's recipe is inspired by the life saving pesto I found in my freezer on Friday night when I arrived home late and wanted something soothing for an easy supper. I had forgotten that I had this pesto made by my middle sister using her own home grown basil! I am convinced that you can't buy a decent commercial pesto and have to make your own, so this is the recipe I use which is from Matthew Evan's book "Kitchen Basics" - it's easily the most delicious pesto I have ever made.

Have a lovely week, Jane xx

Really fabulous pesto

Makes three mustard jars

What you need:
  • 80g pinenuts (even better if you toast first in a 180 oven for about 8-10 minutes)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 70g (about 1 1/2 cups gently pressed) basil leaves
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (use your judgement, I never use this much)
  • 80g really good Parmigiano-Reggiano parmesan, finely grated (Matthew uses 40g plus 40g mature pecorino - if you don't mind having that much cheese hanging around in the fridge you can do so too)
  • Salt and pepper

What you do:
  1. In a sharp bladed food processor, blend the nuts and garlic until paste like.
  2. Add the washed and carefully dried basil leaves, then pulse, scraping down the sides regularly to make a paste.
  3. Add half the oil, then continue pulsing.
  4. Add the cheese and as much more of the oil as you please to just combine. You want the pesto to remain bright green.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Scrape into sterilised jars and store in the fridge. You should make sure that the surface of the pesto is always covered with oil. Best eaten within a few days.