Sunday, February 6, 2011

Back to normal

School went back yesterday, yes on a Friday (don't ask), which was something of a relief as the last week can really drag on.  Despite all the rain in the rest of the country we have had a few hot days.  The kids had some fun in the dam last week:

 I spent the better part of the afternoon up a ladder pulling a rampant potato vine out of the pomegranate tree.  I had to be so careful to not damage the beautiful flowers:

There are lots of flowers on the tree, in fact there is lots of fruit on all the trees this year which made me realise that they need really good winter and spring rains to set the flowers and fruit. So it wasn't just my inadequate summer watering that caused disappointing harvests.  Here is the nashi tree, which has barely had a fruit on it for four years:

The tomatoes are so late as it has been cool but at last there is enough basil to make some pesto.

In all the years of making pesto I always found my brew to taste great but it was a bit dull and grey and never the stunning bright green of shop-bought pesto.  Until now.  I have discovered the secret of green pesto and it is worth the extra effort.


This makes about a cup.

1 large bunch of basil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup of olive oil (maybe a little less, depends on how much basil you have.  Just add enough to make the consistency you like)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (best to use Grana or reggiano)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper

Pick the basil leaves off the stems and discard the stems.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil.  Put a big bowl in the sink and half fill it with water.  Add a cup of ice cubes to the water and put a strainer in the cold water .
Add the garlic to the boiling water.  Boil for a minute or so then add the basil leaves and cook for about 20 seconds.  Quickly drain into the strainer and plunge into the iced water.  

Cool for about a minute.  Drain well and squeeze out excess water.
Place basil and garlic in food processor and whizz until chopped.  Add pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan and process until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Bit messy.....

The last photo doesn't really do it justice, terrible light.  
Use on practically anything.

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