Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Summer's on its way out here in the Southern Hemi. It's not's cool yet, but Autumn is on the horizon.
One of the loveliest things about eating seasonally is the cycle of foods. How just as you are grieving the last of the summer stone fruits, you are also getting excited about the lovely Autumn pears. The BBQ pan and the salad bowls slowly make way for tart dishes and slow cookers.
There are a couple of things that set off, in my mind, that Summer is ending. My birthday (being the last day of Summer) and also my Pesto Frenzy.
It seems that about mid way throught Feb, I suddenly realise that basil will soon be out of my reach, and I get all thingy about it. I buy up scadulous quantities of it (because it steadfastly refuses to grow for me, no matter where I've lived. I have a basil black thumb). I make up an enormous batch of pesto and freeze it, or jar it, to get me through the long, lonely days until it reappears magically filling the air with its peppery tang, somewhere around October next year.
Frozen and jarred pesto is lovely, but there is really nothing like the fresh original.
As per most really REALLY good things, it's simple, easy and takes no time.
Take as much basil as you can get your hands on, whack it in a container that you can get a stick blender into. Add a whole shitload of garlic ( I used 8 bunches of basil and 8 big cloves of garlic). Also add a handful of roasted pine nuts or (as I did here) roasted cashews and about 1/2 a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Blend the whole lot with the stick blender until pureed, adding a goodly amount of excellent quality olive oil ( I use Narbali olive oil). Don't scrimp. You will be suprised at how much oil you will need.
Whazz the whole lot up, until it has the thickness of beaten cream, season to taste and plate up. Add some crushed cashews/pinenuts and drizzle some more oil over the top. Most excellent on really REALLY good pasta (Don't bother wasting it on crap pasta. Spend the money on some good stuff, so you can showcase the pesto). It's also orsum stuffed under the skin of an organic chook and baked.. whack a nice organic orange in the cavity. Spread it on crusty pasta dura and top with sliced tomatoes and baby bocs.
It's best freshly made, just like this. It will keep in the freezer, or in a jar in the 'fridge for about 3 months. But that first, luscious spoonful, mixed through warm pasta is my idea of end-of-Summer heaven.