I wrote this blog post in my head almost 2 years ago now whilst exploring the Margaret River area. We adored that holiday. Delicious wine, tasty food (although there was some terrible food including a breakfast Alex practically spat back on his plate. He was tired and sick and we laugh about it now), dreamy countryside and stunning beaches. It was when we first seriously talked about leaving Wollongong and if we could call a place like this home, the answer – most definitely!
I love how holidays give you the space to think a little more about your dreams and bigger life goals. I was so driven during this time to finally get started with blogging. I’m not even going to tell you how long I’ve been wanting to blog for, it’s too embarrassing. But here we are and nothing has happened. There’s also nothing like a baby on the way to make you stop and assess what you’re doing and why. I’ve spent a long time thinking about what I’d like my work to look like both now and after baby’s arrival. I really want to take my work in a different direction and blogging is going to be a part of that so here I am, finally starting my blog.
I often get asked about how I make my pesto so here I am sharing my recipe for my favourite kitchen staple. Given we’re no longer in Wollongong and it’s not exactly basil season it feels a bit out of date posting this now. But it’s how I wanted to start my blog and a trip down memory lane is always fun.
Let’s admire this grand basil bush for a moment. I’ve never seen a bush get so big, not that these photos really do it justice. It’s not your common variety of basil and I can’t remember it’s name. The leaves have a much stronger anise flavour. We took some cuttings from the garden when we left Wollongong but they perished in the frost and my lack of care. Thankfully my sister in law also took some cuttings and passed some along recently so I am going to do a much better job of taking care of them. Summer is coming and I’d love to have an abundance of basil again.
So pesto… what’s not to love? I use it in breakfast, lunch and meals, even with snacks sometimes. I could eat it by the spoon from the jar. It is much more than a pasta sauce. I love it with spinach and poached eggs on toast, mixed with grilled vegetables, stirred into soups like minestrone, heck I’ll even spread it on sourdough for a snack. Of course I love to have it with pasta, a favourite is stirring a generous scoop through pasta with spinach, grilled asparagus and zucchini with a little sprinkling of feta (or goats cheese) and a good grinding of black pepper. Greens are delicious, trust me on this one.
Pesto is also very adaptable. You can mix different greens (spinach leaves, kale, carrot tops, rocket, even broccoli) with different nuts (almond, cashew, walnut, even sunflower seeds) and you can take or leave the parmesan depending on your dietary preferences. Traditional is my favourite and I dream of spending time standing in a little kitchen in Italy, making pesto the very traditional way, grinding away with a mortar and pestle and using Genovese basil. Take note Mr Visser!
End ode to pesto.
So here is my recipe for one of my favourite kitchen staples:
1 bunch basil, pick off the leaves (you should have 2-3 cups of leaves)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 lemon, zest and juiced
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted for extra flavour if you like
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup or so of very good quality extra virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor. Whiz for a minute or so, or until everything is finely chopped. You might need to stop and scrap the bowl once or twice. Now with the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and continuing whizzing until well combined. Add a little more olive oil, lemon juice or water if you’d like your pesto to be a little runnier. Transfer to a jar and cover with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent it from going brown. It will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. This recipe yields about a cup of pesto.
Once you’ve made your own pesto I doubt you’ll ever go back to a jar from the supermarket. Recently I did, with my lack of basil bush I haven’t made pesto for a long time, it was very disappointing. Fresh and homemade is the best my friends! Enjoy! Pesto is truly the besto!