Presto Pesto

DSC_0621

The saying about only appreciating things when you don’t have them – so true.

When we moved to India, one of the biggest problems for me was getting used to the fact that lots of the fresh products I was used to getting in Singapore were just not available widely here. I mean, you can still get things like raspberries, blueberries, avocados and asparagus but you have to go to specialty ‘gourmet’ stores and they’re extremely overpriced. Things I had taken for granted like basil, I now relished.

But now that we’ve moved into our own house we have lots of fresh produce growing in our own garden! We have spinach, methi (fenugreek), basil, mini oranges…  So you would think that now I have an almost endless supply of fresh basil I would be using it 24/7. Right?

DSC_0610

But yeah… not so much. Since we’ve moved into the house (5 months) I think I’ve used basil approximately… 3 times. And in that time we have probably gone through 10-12 jars of store bought pesto. I know, I know. Disgraceful.

It’s just that the whole process seems like so much work. It’s easier to just buy a ready made jar and not think about it. But when I went out one day and saw that the basil plant was slowly drying up I decided it was time to change.

And I’m so glad I did! Making pesto is so easy – it takes practically 15 minutes and most of that time is spent getting the pesto out of the food processor! When you make your own pesto, you can alter the flavors to your liking and experiment with different nuts and even add in other herbs. Also the taste of fresh pesto exceeds store bought by a landslide!

DSC_0612

So no further ado.. here’s an amazing, customizable, pesto recipe inspired by love and lemons.

How to customize:

I always use 2/3 basil + 1/3 coriander because otherwise the basil flavor is a bit too strong, but feel free to use all basil or experiment with addition of other herbs like mint or arugula

For the nuts I used a combination of walnuts and almonds, but you can use any nuts – pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans.. Pine nuts are generally the best for pesto but I didn’t have any on hand 🙂

Add in some grated parmesan cheese, some nutritional yeast or a dash of balsamic vinegar for some extra kick. Most recipes also use black pepper but I prefer the taste without it. It’s a personal opinion though so if you like it – go for it!

Basil Pesto

(Makes around 1 cup)

  • 1 1/2 cup herbs
  • 1/4 cup nuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and paprika/chili flakes
  1. Lightly toast the nuts in a small plan until lightly browned
  2. Add all the ingredients in a food processor until well blended
  3. Taste and adjust the salt or acidity if necessary. If too sour, add a splash of honey or agave syrup.

Enjoy!

DSC_0622

Asian Wild Rice with Vegetables

DSC_0445

A wonderful palette of flavors and textures in this dish. Who knew something so healthy and nutritious could taste so good?

Feel free to mix up the veggies in this, but I love the combination of these because there is such a variety in size and crunch. The wild black rice is crunchy while the brown rice is hearty and nutty, the mushrooms and peas are soft and sweet while the carrot and cabbage blend in perfectly with the chewy (in a good way!) rice.

This dish is extremely high in protein, fibre, vitamin A, manganese, vitamin C and iron all the while being comforting and delicious!

Asian Wild Rice with Vegetables

(serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dry brown rice
  • 1/3 cup dry wild rice
  • 1/2 packet button mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup finely diced cabbage
  • handful peas
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
  • chili powder, according to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Cook the rice according to instructions or just boil for 30-40 minutes until cooked.

Meanwhile, wash and chop the vegetables.

Heat a wok or a large pan and spread the olive oil

When the oil is hot add the garlic and onion and sauté until browned. Add the peas and cabbage and cook for a minute and then add in the mushrooms and carrot. Add the soy sauce, honey and chili powder and cook for a few minutes, mixing well.

Add the rice, mix everything again and then cover the pan to let everything cook for a few minutes.

Remove from heat and serve hot.

DSC_0442