In an effort to cleanse my diet (as well as my shopping budget), I am getting in to the habit of having small jars of homemade condiments in my fridge that I can reach for when I need to liven up my meals a little. Nothing too exotic, just some harissa, maybe a fresh tomato sauce for pasta and almost always either some hummus or pesto.
I used to buy jars of pre-made sauces, most of which were quite pricey, had a relatively short shelf life once opened and contained far more unnecessary ingredients that the homemade version. It takes two minutes to whip up a small jar of pesto – you can even do it whilst getting your daily Facebook fix – and it will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for days, so that when you need that nutty basil hit, it is there for you, ready and waiting.
These quantities are not an exact science and in my mind recipes are not there to be followed to the last letter. You may love your pesto really lemony, really nutty or really full of basil.
My advice; add your ingredients a bit at a time, and keep going until you have a taste you love. Don’t be afraid to add a few other ingredients of your choosing – garlic or chilli perhaps.
- Three tablespoons of raw pine nuts
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- The juice and flesh of a lemon
- Handful of fresh basil (leaves and stalks)
- Sea Salt
In a blender (I use a mini chop for small quantity condiments) add the pine nuts and give them a whizz about. What I love about raw pine nuts is that you get a delicious creaminess from them that perhaps you don’t get from toasted ones.
Add the basil and a little at a time add some of the olive oil to loosen the mixture until you have a consistency that resembles thick porridge.
Begin to add the lemon juice a little at a time and some of the flesh for an extra citrus hit. At this point, if you have the taste correct but feel the pesto is a little thick, add some more oil.
Season with sea salt.
Decant into a small sterilised jar with a sealed lid and store in the fridge.