Friday, 6 August 2010

Homemade Basil Pesto

The thing about living on your own, or only with one other person is that a lot of things in the shops are designed for families. Which is great when you can make big portions and freeze the rest for a day when you cannot be bothered, and when it will sit in the fridge quite happily for a month, but when something is perishable and in a huge quantity these items can be a bit annoying.

These items include fresh herbs, salad leaves, fruit, veg and certain condiments.

I am trying to get over my hatred of packet herbs and I’m starting to grow my own. I have a pot of basil and some parsley (which died whilst we were away on holiday) but I would like to have a whole table full of them - including thyme, mint and a little bay tree. These plants need to be picked in order to keep producing more leaves so I decided to put them to good use and make another thing that winds me up whenever I buy it – pesto.

I buy pesto and it sits in my cupboard for a while until I decide I want to use it. I take out a couple of spoonfuls and look at the back of the jar – “once opened keep refrigerated and use within 5 days”. It’s been in my cupboard for weeks and now I have to eat it all in 5 days?? There are only 2 of us! I don’t want pesto every night this week just so that this doesn’t go to waste and I find myself feeling a little bit disgruntled that couples and those who live on their own get cheated on by food designed to feed a whole army.

So last night I decided to go for it and just make my own. Jamie Oliver to the rescue again with his recipe for homemade pesto and my macbook sat happily on the worktop as I followed the instructions bit by bit. I love Jamie’s use of measurements in this recipe - a good handful of this and a pinch of that and the other, chuck it together and add what you want. Brilliant.

He does suggest using a pestle and mortar and I think I will go out and invest in one. As much as you can use a food processor, there just isn’t enough stuff in there to really get it chopped up properly and I had to get out the hand blender too to get it to a consistency that I liked. Never the less, it tasted good and that was what mattered.

Because I’d spent a fair while getting the pesto smooth, I needed something quick to eat it with so took some gnocchi out of the freezer and within 5 minutes it was done.

It made enough for 3, I’d say. So maybe next time I’ll reduce the quantities a little bit. But for a sauce that leaves hardly any waste and a tasty dinner, I think it’s a winner! Let’s hope the basil plant gets more leaves on it now for next time!


  1. Oh, that does sound nice!!! I love chewy gnocchi.....

    Do you know...pesto can be put into ice cube trays and frozen. Once it's frozen, pop the cubes out and put them into an airtight bag or container...then, when you want pesto, pull out a few cubes and thaw them. Voila!

  2. Jenni! Thank you for the kind comments on my new blogging adventure. I love your site. I finally had the time to look through it today. Besides anyone with a site named for an Alice quote is a girl after my own heart. I hope to grow my site into one as wonderful as yours.


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