A morning making Basil Pesto

It’s wet and soggy over at the allotment so I took a morning off yesterday to visit ‘Lottie’ friends Peter and Maria who have a sweet basil bush that thinks its a tree.

Maria and Pete's sweet basil bush

Maria and Pete’s sweet basil bush.Β 

Thanks for the pic Pete.

So I was invited to go over there and make basil pesto. We cut down branches of the lovely fragrant leaves, stripped the leaves into a big bowl and set about making our pesto.

I have found that making pesto relies very much upon your taste buds, and how smooth you like it blended, but this is the recipe we used.

  • two cups of leaves (pressed down)
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts (or chopped walnuts)
  • a clove or two of garlic
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • a good slug of olive oil.
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese (if you plan to freeze the pesto leave the cheese out and add it when you are ready to use the pesto.)

We put the first batch through the food processor, in which case you need to just zap it a few times or you end up with a puree. (Guess how I learned that!)

With the second batch Maria used her large pestle and mortar and that gave us a much more rustic mix which we both agreed was really good.

Pesto crunchy with chopped walnuts

Pesto crunchy with chopped walnuts

I made another batch using the food processor but I was not so heavy handed with the it. Just a few pulses until I had a nice crunchy mix.

I should add here that some folk would prefer more of a smooth puree-like mix, but we also wanted to eat it on the top of a slice of crusty bread, as well as mixed with pasta. That’s the wonderful thing about making your own pesto. You’re in control – just as long as you know how to control your food processor!

We only stirred the parmesan cheese gently through at the end of the process – leaving cheese out completely of the batch we were going to freeze.

It was lovely working with the basil and before I left Peter and Maria presented me with a nice big bunch to take home so that I can ‘strike’ a few plants for my allotment.

It’s sitting on my window sill.

Sweet Basil cuttings

Sweet Basil cuttings

Thank you for a lovely morning.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. zabreana
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 23:26:26

    That certainly is some mighty fine looking basil. Such a great fresh herb added to anything, but in moderation.

    Reply

  2. narf77
    Mar 07, 2013 @ 03:17:45

    What amazing basil! I see something like that and instantly think “MAN the possums would adore that!” ;). It is getting to the end of the dry season here in Tassie and Steve headed out with the torch the other night for a look-see at what Earl was barking about and saw 3 small wallabies on the front lawn, a wallaby and a possum sharing what was left of the chook grain that I scatter for the 3 feral chooks we haven’t been able to catch, a possum trampolining on the chook netting, 2 more in the trees above the chook yard and he could hear some having a free for all brawl over my veggie garden out the back so goodness only KNOWS how many more are on the property. When the sun goes down, the wildlife comes to Fran’s bar apparently! They even ate a globe artichoke in the side garden right down to the large purple flower that they left untouched on the ground…I guess thems the breaks but it is a bit heartbreaking that both the hot dry weather and the natives are all working together to deforest Serendipity Farm…oh well…next season they won’t find it so tasty! πŸ˜‰ I bet that pesto tasted like heaven πŸ™‚

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Mar 07, 2013 @ 05:23:49

      Pesto is delicious Fran and I’m adding a tiny dollop to everything! You paint a good word picture describing the wild life at Serendipity. It must be heartbreaking sometimes after all your hard work. I know the modern word is ‘challenging’ but sometimes that doesn’t cover it, does it?

      Reply

      • narf77
        Mar 07, 2013 @ 05:33:00

        Just a warning to the animals around here…should I ever stop being a vegan I will be starting with possum and wallaby meat! Just sayin’… πŸ˜‰

  3. notjustgreenfingers
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 06:20:28

    Wow a basil plant that just keeps growing, how I would love that over here in the Uk. Great pesto jean!

    Reply

  4. MrsYub
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 18:06:19

    HAHAHAHA!! I had to reread your recipe! I saw ‘slug oil’ and I thought ‘euww!!’
    LOLOLOLL!!

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 07:28:11

      Ha ha. I had to go back to the post Mrs Yub just to check I hadn’t literally said ‘slug oil’ because you know what a computer can do sometimes and ‘correct’ what you are typing. I hate that, when your computer thinks it knows better than you do.

      Reply

      • MrsYub
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 10:12:40

        Oh boy. Tell me about it. I do not have auto correct on on my computer, so all me spelling mistakes are my own (haha) but I had seen some corkers!

  5. Anna B
    Mar 17, 2013 @ 18:29:41

    That is an awesome basil ‘tree’ !! I wish I had one of those. Pesto is amazing, sounds like you had a great day πŸ™‚

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Mar 18, 2013 @ 13:05:09

      Thank you for visiting Anna. We did have a lovely morning working together in the kitchen and turning that ‘tree’ into lots of jars of pesto. I had to laugh because even though we were hacking away at the basil plant we didn’t seem to make much of a dent in it.

      Reply

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