The autumn garden. Already the summer is over, autumn has rushed by and in 2 weeks it will be winter. It’s time to clear out the remains of the pumpkin vines, which have spread their sprawling limbs all across the lawn, and reveal the leggy, uncut grass and weeds beneath, to cull the bolted lettuce and pick the ripening chillies. Oh so many chillies! My aubergines have been chugging away steadily, providing us with grilled, pickled, baked and fried dishes, mousaka, baba ganoush and sandwich fillers. I plagued everyone with my aubergine photos and recipes last year, so this year I have only one image, just because I can’t help myself.
The Black Knight chillies have ripened into redness, and their fruit is the sweeter for it.
What I have lots of this time of year, is basil. Already well into it’s flowering season, I guess it’s not the ideal time to crop them – probably that would be before the flower spikes shot up – but pesto is flavoursome and can take it.
Almond & Basil Pesto
This uses lemon basil, but any variety will do. You can adjust the quantities up or down, depending on what you have available, but the quantity below makes enough to fill a 500g jar.
- 2.5 cups basil leaves
- 120g good quality parmesan
- 1 cup whole almonds or good half cup almond meal
- 175ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic
- salt and pepper
Toast the whole almonds on a baking tray in a moderate oven for 5 – 10 minutes until golden and they smell fragrant. I only had almond meal in the house and I was too lazy to haul out to the shops just for this, so I toasted mine in a pan, agitating constantly. It burns terribly easily so I recommend using whole almonds.
It’s worth using good quality parmesan (and definitely not that awful pre grated stuff) as what you put in determines what you get out.
Using a food processor, whizz all the ingredients except the oil together until well combined: