Monday, April 25, 2011

Tales of Gardens & Basil Pesto

The rather unseasonal rainfall in the usually dry-by-now Autumn Highveld of South Africa has had a lovely effect on the garden. Rare bits of sunshine and a proliferation of public holidays have added to the garden magic which has transpired.

A previously unused corner of the garden was transformed into a circular winter vegetable patch, with radish and turnip seeds germinating in a record four days from planting.

Our roses are looking ever-so-pretty.

As are the azaleas.

The basil plants, grown from seed last summer, have blossomed into deliciously useful plants, regularly culled for salads and pastas. Knowing, however, that the frost is approaching and with a few regular snail visitors (that I am loathe to kill) leaving their mark, I decided that the time had come to harvest the lot and enjoy the benefits of homemade pesto (of which I am a committed fan - think Adam Sandler as Zohan with his hummus...'nuff said).

  • a colander full of basil
  • 100g raw cashews
  • 1 very, very large tub of grated parmesan
  • about 500ml of olive oil (not too peppery)
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice to cut the oiliness

  1. Strip the leaves off the basil and add to a food processor or blender. Take a moment to lament the fact that fresh basil season is now over, and that a whole lot of basil + hard work is about to = a few tiny containers of pesto.
  2. Add the raw cashews, and enough oil to get the "zhoeshing" started. A fruity olive oil is, in my opinion, going to serve you better than one with a peppery bite which clings to the back of your throat.
  3. Pour more oil in a thin stream through the lid of the blender/food processor while it's running till the desired consistency is reached.
  4. Stir through the parmesan and seasoning with a spatula, and then add sufficient lemon juice to supply the necessary "Nya!" know, the point that the tongue hits the top of your palate as your cheeks suck-in and your salivary glands do their thing...that's when it's ready.
  5. Glass jars or stainless steel tubs work well as storage containers so that plastic doesn't become permanently infused with pesto green.
  6. Proudly stand back and enjoy the fact that all the basil didn't go to waste by being frosted to death, or eaten by greedy snails, and then promptly make some pasta to eat your new stash with.
P.S. I've added a small write-up on Tina Fey's Bossypants to the Bookshelf tab if you're interested in buying the book.

P.P.S. Thank you for the comments I've been getting. I thoroughly enjoy reading them. Please don't hesitate, as every one is appreciated :-)


Koek! said...

Pesto made from home-grown basil is one of the great joys of life. I wish mine were as prolific as yours!

Linda Harding said...

You have such a pretty garden! I have 3 basil bushes that have grown to giant proportions...methinks it's time to harvest and pesto!

Ms. Veronica's said...

My basil plants are just catching back. Hope I have enough by mid summer to enjoy my own pesto.

Melanie said...

Your garden is gorgeous! I've never had pesto with cashews before. This recipe will be a must-try when my basil gets bigger.

Dreams of cakes said...

Delicious pesto! Very nice garden you have here.

Kristina said...

Your garden looks gorgeous Juanita! The pesto looks sooo yummy :)

Loren said...

Great post, love the pesto. Up here in Oregon our Basil is just getting started, but we were able pinch back enough tops to make a batch of gnocci with pesto for dinner tonight.