Tag Archives: basil

Homemade Pesto

 

This fits into the category of ‘if it tastes THAT good and is THAT easy’, why buy ready-prepared! This is gorgeous and just shouts ‘fresh’ – it’s tangy and really, really flavoursome. It literally took about 2 minutes to make, including getting the ingredients from the fridge! As well as stirring through pasta (which is what it was made for) I can also use it with gnocchi, as a topping for Italian toasted bread, to top pizza or popped on a nice bit of steak……the list goes on. Give it a go – it’s really lovely!

Makes enough for pasta for 4 – 6

What you need…

Large handful of basil

Large handful of flat-leaved parsley

40g roughly grated Parmesan

15g pine nuts

2 anchovy fillets

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

80ml olive oil

½ teaspoon sugar

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Juice ½ lemon (optional)

What to do…

With the exception of the lemon juice, put the lot in your food processor. Whizz until a rough paste is created. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Whizz. Taste again. Add lemon juice, if liked. Whizz. Serve. Enjoy and feel jolly smug that something tasting this great requires next to no effort!

Tip…

Keep your pesto sauce in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Ridiculously. You could almost do it in your sleep!

Two-Ways Salmon Pasta with Basil and Lemon

This is a lovely pasta dish that is simultaneously light but comforting, zesty and fresh but soothing on the stomach. It comes from a book published in the early 1990s by the wonderful Keith Floyd called ‘Floyd on Hangovers’ – a witty little tome that contains advice on detoxing and a selection of recipes for the day after the night before! Having never suffered a hangover (I know, I’m sorry!) I’m not sure why I was bought the book and have since mislaid it, but I’ve been doing this version of one of his recipes for years. It seems a fitting one for New Year’s Day, I thought, although we enjoy it throughout the year.

As delicious as it is, I feel that on this occasion that I should share some of the nutritional benefits (and the reasons why the recipe was in the book, I guess). Both salmon and basil have anti-oxidant qualities, with the former offering omega 3 and vitamins D and B12 and the latter providing vitamins A, K, C, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium (who knew?!!!!) and from lemon of course, vitamin c. So there’s a real ‘feel-good’ aspect to this one – great kick off for the New Year!

Serves 2

What you need…

A splash olive oil

2 salmon fillets

2 lemons

120g smoked salmon

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

2 good handfuls of basil, torn

Pasta of your choice (I prefer gluten-free)

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Rub olive oil all over a piece of foil and pop the salmon fillets in it. Squeeze half a lemon over the fish, season and then make the foil into a loose parcel. Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked al dente.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and pop in your pasta according to the packaging instructions – mine normally takes about 12 minutes.

In another large saucepan, squeeze into it the juice of 1½ lemon plus some sea salt and loads of roughly ground black pepper. Roughly tear up the smoked salmon into bite-sized pieces and arrange around the top edges of the saucepan – some will drop into the lemon juice – no worries. Using a fork, remove the skin from the oven-baked salmon and flake the fish into chunks, tipping them into the saucepan as you do. Throw the basil in over the top.

When your pasta is cooked, turn on the heat under the saucepan with all the ingredients in to moderate. Drain the pasta and tip into the salmon, basil, lemon juice mixture. Splash in a little olive oil and then mix everything together, incorporating the salmon from the edges of the saucepan evenly throughout.

Then, simply serve and enjoy your lovely, fresh, enlivening and gentle two-ways salmon pasta with basil and lemon!

Inspired by…

Keith Floyd, Floyd on Hangovers

How easy…

Very, very easy. A good one for a mid- eek supper

 

 

 

 

Cod with Pesto Mash, Tomatoes and Basil

This is an easy, healthy dish that makes a lovely light supper or lunch. I was a bit perturbed preparing the slightly green mash but it tastes absolutely delicious and is a splendid alternative to the butter-laden ‘heart-attack’ mash that my family usually enjoys!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray, lightly buttered/oiled

300g potatoes, peeled

A good knob of butter

A splosh of milk

4 teaspoons pesto (I use Sacla)

Sea salt and black pepper

4 chunky fillets of cod

4 large tomatoes, halved and then sliced

A few basil leaves, torn

4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

A little paprika

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7.

Bring the potatoes to the boil in salted water. Cover and simmer for15-20 minutes, until soft. Drain, then mash or whisk, adding the butter, milk, the pesto and some seasoning. Check the texture and taste, then add more butter, milk, pesto or seasoning according to your taste.

Place your cod fillets on the baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Spread a goodly portion of the pesto mash over the top of each fish fillet, piling it quite high. Mix the sliced tomato and basil together, season and arrange on top of the mash. Sprinkle with Parmesan – 1 teaspoon per person should be perfect – and dust with paprika.

Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the fish has turned white. Serve your baked cod with pesto mash, tomatoes and basil immediately – enjoy this lovely, light dish that certainly perks up the rather plain but healthy cod fillet! Goes beautifully with a selection of green veg.

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Very – perfect weekday lunch or supper. Very little mess and dead easy to do.