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Posts Tagged ‘Basil’

Pistachio pesto

Our fabulous friends have a weekender in the country with loads of space for growing herbs and veg. We are the very happy recipients when there’s more produce than one family can eat and we put it to good use. So if you have a prolific bed/windowsill with parsley and basil growing you should make this delicious variation on classic pesto. It’s especially good with roast chicken (drumsticks for us) but would also be nice with fish or vegetables.

Pistachio Pesto – serves 4

  • 50g pistachios
  • 25g flatleaf parsley leaves
  • 25g basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 100ml olive oil

Put the nuts in a bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Leave for a few minutes then drain and tip onto a clean tea towel. Give the nuts a good rub with the tea towel and skins should slip off. Throw the skins away and save the bright green nuts.

Put the nuts in a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat until lightly coloured all over and smelling fab. Keep a watchful eye as they can turn from toasty to burnt in an instant. Put the nuts on a plate to cool.

Put the herbs and pistachios in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped (you could pound in a pestle and mortar but parsley is much more difficult to pound than basil so we recommend the processor if you have one). Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse briefly – you want to leave a bit of texture. Taste and season. Cover with oil and put in the fridge until needed.

(Original recipe from ‘The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure’ by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

 

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Lemon & basil linguine

Sometimes the simplest of ideas turn out the best.

Wine Suggestion: we had a glass of the Adi Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc which he’s now experimenting with a little bit of skin contact. We don’t disagree, it adds a touch of extra texture and complexity to such a great value wine.

Lemon & basil linguine – serves 2

  • 200g linguine
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 75ml good olive oil
  • 75g Parmesan
  • a large handful of basil leaves

Put a large pan of water on to boil, add loads of salt and cook the pasta according to the time suggested on the packet.

Put the lemon juice, olive oil and Parmesan into a large warmed bowl and beat with a small whisk to combine and thicken. Tear the basil leaves into the bowl and add plenty of black pepper.

Drain the pasta and toss with the mixture in the bowl.

(Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries  by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2005.)

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Smoky Chorizo Salmon

It’s still cold but there’s a bit of sunshine and promise of warm spring days to come. We can’t wait for the spring veg to start but this bright dish is not a bad compromise.

Wine Suggestion: in the mood for Spring we chose the Chateau Vignelaure, La Source Rosé which we often find a good match for salmon and it came through yet again. Vibrant, fresh fruit and a long dry finish.

Smoky Chorizo Salmon – serves 2

  • 2 x 150g salmon fillets, skin on
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 sprigs fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 8 black olives, remove stones and finely chop
  • 30g chorizo, finely sliced

Put the salmon in a large cold non-stick frying pan with the flesh side down. Put over a medium-high heat and cook for about 3 minutes or until it is sizzling underneath. Flip the salmon over on to the skin side and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the skin is very crispy and the fish is just cooked through.

Meanwhile, tear up most of the basil leaves and mix with the cherry tomatoes, the red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the chopped olives with 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of water.

Add the chorizo to the pan with the salmon for the last 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes for 30 seconds. Divide the tomatoes between two plates and top with the salmon, then spoon over the olive dressing and the rest of the basil leaves.

(Original recipe from 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2017.)

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Thrill of grill couscous

This is an old favourite that we make every summer. The chopped up mushrooms give it a fantastic earthy flavour and it works really well with barbecues and on picnics.

Tasty Couscous Salad – serves 4

  • 200g couscous
  • 400ml boiling vegetable stock (we still use Swiss Marigold Bouillon Powder)
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 175g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • half a bunch of scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp pesto
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts, almonds or rough chopped hazelnuts
  • a generous handful of basil

Put the couscous into a bowl and pour over the hot stock. Cover with cling film and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

When the 5 minutes is up, fork the couscous through to break up any lumps, then stir in the oil and pesto, then tip in all the veg and nuts and tear in the basil. Taste and season.

Simple as that!

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, August, 2002.)

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Griddled courgettes with parmesan & basil

We have used some fancy yellow courgettes for this dish but the usual green variety will be just as good. An excellent side dish for barbecues… of which we are having many at the moment. If you don’t want to light the barbecue you can also griddle the courgettes with good results.

Griddled courgettes with Parmesan & basil – serves 4 as a side dish

  • 5 medium courgettes
  • 2 tbsp salt flakes
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated
  • a handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
  • a few mint leaves, roughly torn

Preheat the barbecue (or griddle pan). Cut the ends of the courgettes and cut a long thin slice off two opposite sides and discard. Cut each courgette into 4 long strips. Mix the courgettes with the salt and place in a colander to drain with some plates on top. Let them drip over the sink or a bowl or an hour or so.

Shake off any excess salt from the slices, then rub each side with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Cook the courgettes on the barbecue/griddle for about 5 minutes per side or until softened and well charred. Transfer to a serving dish and squeeze over a little more lemon juice.

Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes or until golden.

Scatter the pine nuts, parmesan, basil & mint over the courgettes. Trickle over the rest of the olive oil and serve warm.

(Original recipe from by Valentine Warner in BBC Olive Magazine, July 2009.)

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Pesto Lasagne

A really quick and easy lasagne full of Spring flavours. You don’t have to buy fresh pesto from the fridge as this tends to be more oily and makes this dish very rich; we successfully used a jar from a shelf instead.

Wine suggestion: A grassy European styled Sauvignon Blanc which tends to have a longer, if cooler, growing season is a good match. Avoid the big flavoured Sauvignon’s with the kiwi / tinned asparagus flavours that you might typically find from NZ and Chile as these flavours clash a bit. Exceptions to this always exist like the Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon, but a good Touraine or Sancerre would be our match.

Pesto Lasagne – serves 4 to 6

  • 190g jar of pesto
  • 500g tub mascarpone
  • 200g bag spinach, roughly chopped
  • 250g frozen peas
  • small pack of basil
  • small pack of mint
  • 12 fresh lasagne sheets
  • 85g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 50g pine nuts
  • Green salad & garlic bread to serve

Heat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4.

Put the pesto, half the mascarpone and 250ml vegetable stock in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until smooth and bubbling. Add the spinach and peas and cook for another few minutes until the spinach has wilted and the peas have defrosted. Add the herbs and season but go easy with the salt.

Put a third of this pesto mixture into the base of a baking dish (approx. 18 x 25cm). Top with 4 lasagne sheets, then repeat with 2 more layers of sauce and lasagne sheets, finishing with a layer of pasta. Mix some milk into the remaining mascarpone to make a sauce consistency, season then pour over the top of the dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and pine nuts, then bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown on the top and bubbling. Scatter over a few basil leaves before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2014.)

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Pizza baked potato

The vast majority of our weeknight dinners are based on whatever happens to be left in the fridge after the weekend.  It turns out that leftover pizza toppings taste pretty good on top of a baked potato too. Also suitable for those who don’t eat pizza dough.

Wine Suggestion: If you happen to have something open already, that will do nicely.

Pizza Jacket Potatoes – serves 4

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 60g sliced pepperoni, torn (the thin sliced stuff from a packet will do fine)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • small handful of basil leaves, shredded
  • 100g grated mozzarella/cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/gas 6.

Prick the potatoes all over with a fork. Bake directly on the oven shelf for 1-1½ hrs, or until soft.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan and sauté the onion for 5 mins to soften. Stir in the garlic and pepperoni, and cook for a minute or two,  then add the chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins. Season and stir in half the basil. Spoon over the split potatoes and top each one with a good handful of cheese and the rest of the basil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

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