Almond and Basil Pesto

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. Continue reading

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Basil Pesto – no yucky pinenuts!

I know we can’t all be the same but I just don’t get the pinenuts thing. Horrid, greasy, rancid-y things. But; I do love pesto, and that classically contains them.

So my crop of rapidly running to seed basil was…rapidly running to seed, and it was time to crop and chop at the weekend. A stare at the interweb revealed a few recipes without any nuts, but not a whole lot with different nuts. I decided to have a go.

I used a big handful of mixed basil (regular, thai, lemon varieties), including some of the flowers:IMG_2356

…..and about half as much parmesan, roughly grated, plus 3 or 4 anchovies, and about a half cup of roasty toasty almonds.

I stuck the blanched almonds on the BBQ griddle plate to toast (too hot to put on the oven indoors):IMG_2355

 Apart from the odd overdone one, this worked pretty well. Next I blitzed the almonds and basil together:

IMG_2357

Added the anchovies, salt & pepper, parmesan and whizzed briefly, before drizzling in extra virgin olive oil until it all came together in a slick gloop. In a nice way.

Spoon into sterilised jar and top with a nice clean lid.IMG_2359

There was enough for immediate use in the dish I needed it for, plus a whole jar for the fridge. The results were robust and smoky from the nuts, rich from the quality parmesan and stronger than a shop bought version. Nice!