Fresh Basil Pesto
Along with tomato ketchup, pesto is an everyday staple in our house. My daughter constantly makes demands for pesto pasta. At the supermarket I feel a bit inundated with so many brands on offer. Several are sugar free, such as Tideford Organics and the astronomically expensive Daylesford. And then there's the classic Sacla pesto - but if you check the label, you'll find glucose (sugar) has been added. As with so many of these foods, making it yourself is absolutely the best option. It tastes fresh and delicious and lasts just as long as shop-bought ones. I use pine nuts, so most people with nut allergies have no problems (pine nuts are seeds) - and my recipe has NO sugar.
Two cups of fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1 or 2 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste)
1 tbsp of lemon juice
5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
2 tbsp of parmesan cheese - grated
1 tsp sea-salt
Start by heating up the pine nuts in a frying pan over a medium heat. Toast them until they are golden brown colour and give them a quick toss so the colour is even. Remove the pine nuts and then toast the unpeeled garlic. Remove the garlic skin and let it cool down a little.
Place all the ingredients (minus the cheese) in a blender and pulse until smooth, but with a slight grainy texture. Put everything in a bowl and then add the parmesan. If you are dairy free, add a little more lemon juice to give it some more lift.
It is as easy as that! I store it in little glass jars, adding a bit of olive oil on to the top to stop it going brown, and keep it in the fridge. Spread on toast, piled onto the back of a fillet of fish or chicken and, of course, mixed up with pasta means it rarely lasts more than 3 days in our house.
If I've been running low on basil, I've added watercress, parsley and even spinach before and the children have given it their sign of approval.