Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Basil & walnut pesto

Turns out, contrary to what I thought earlier this evening, that I have made pesto before - both in the conventional sense and slightly less so, but I have absolutely no recollection of doing either. I really thought I'd never made it before.

I think that this memory lapse arises because I never have pine nuts in the cupboard -  both my kids, Pink in particular, are slightly addicted to pine nuts. At one point, they were Blue's craving of choice during steroid treatment, Imagine how utterly middle class I felt (well, I am, so I can't make any apologies for that, but I really FELT it) sitting in the consultant's office as Blue tucked into a tupperware of dried cranberries, pine nuts and pumpkin seeds, while all around me his similarly steroid-crazed peers were devouring beef Monster Munch and packets of sliced ham... It was one of Blue's more expensive cravings, although I felt slightly better when I overheard a significantly more middle class mother (perhaps she was upper-middle?) than I explaining how her own son was craving lobster... Something for 'Overheard in Waitrose' I feel (if you're on Facebook, look this account out - it's pretty funny!)

Off steroids, he didn't crave pine nuts in the same rabid way, but he definitely still likes them and Pink, who has significantly fewer scruples about such things than Blue, would seek them out in the cupboard, ask for them as a breakfast accompaniment, and usually, as soon as I'd bought them, dreams of a delicious an sophisticated supper in my mindseye, they'd be gone again.

I stopped buying them.

The other thing would be lack of basil. My mum grows amazing basil plants, but we don't seem to have had quite the same luck, and it always feels quite extravagant buying that much basil just to whizz it all up again.

But today, I had basil, and I had parmesan. I still didn't have pinenuts (old habits die hard), but I had walnuts. What to have for dinner was the question - Pesto was the answer. And spaghetti.

I must remember to make pesto more often - it is just delicious. Stirred through spaghetti and green beans, it made a great dinner.

I followed the method included in the Abel & Cole Veg Box Companion which is great book I knicked from my sister in law. I've never had an Abel & Cole veg box - and I doubt they deliver in this corner of the wild West Wales so I'm not about to start, either, but I like the sound of the company, and the book is full of great ideas for veg.

You probably know how to make pesto already, but indulge me here.

Basil & Walnut Pesto

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup grated parmesan
4 handfuls of basil leaves
a few good glugs of olive oil - just add as you process

Place all ingredients in a food processor and whizz up. You can leave it rough and rustic or smoother, as you like.

To store any pesto you don't use, pop it in a glass jar and pour a layer of olive oil over the top.



  1. That is a very middle class craving indeed! I love walnut pesto, in fact I don't think I've even made it with pine nuts. I've even made it with kale and cheddar when I don't feel like massacring a whole basil plant for the sake of my pasta.

    1. ha ha!! yes, Abel & Cole don't recommend basil at all - they even include making it with radish leaves!

  2. Any kind of pesto is a hit with me, this looks beautiful!

  3. That sounds delicious... I have a bit of a pine nut thing too, a salad isn't a salad in our house if it doesn't have a pine nut in it! :D Love the Waitrose page too, how have I never heard of that before? :D


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