Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Winter's coming, the happy times are over...

...well, that's what it seems like anyway.  We've had an extraordinarily warm, dry and enjoyable summer (for Tassie), the weather was great for my first summer in a 'plantable' house (albeit a bit dry), and it was a good reward for our record-breaking wet and snowy winter.

But last weekend - the last two days of summer - Tassie got back to its old tricks and was cold, wet and windy.

It's a good reminder to start planting autumn/winter crops (while the soil is still warm enough to germinate).  Plus, I know I have to start really using up the basil because once the frost comes it'll shrivel up and die.  This is only a portion of my active plants, but it made a bumper batch of pesto:

As this is the second time I've posted about making pesto, I thought I'd share my recipe (and bear in mind that this is all very approximate):
one bunch of basil
3 or 4 cloves of garlic (I like it quite garlicy)
handful of pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
a quarter of a cup of parmesan, grated.
I have a mini blender that I wizz it all up in, but I've heard of people using a mortar and pestle to blend the pesto.  I usually mix the garlic and pinenuts and olive oil up first, adding salt and pepper to taste (remember however that the parmesan can often be quite salty).  Then I add the basil (washed and dried - little green caterpillars like to hitchhike on the basil).  I add more olive oil as I wizz so that I can get a smoothish mixture.  Then I stir in the parmesan.  I taste it and add more salt or pepper if necessary at this stage.

Eat on pasta, pizza, toast, whatever.

Pesto also lasts quite well in the fridge as long as you cover it with a layer of olive oil to keep out the air.  It's quite normal for the top of the pesto to go dark brown while the underneath stays bright green.

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