I miss the days when I always had a jar of homemade pesto in my pantry. It's one of the simplest but probably the most insanely delicious thing there is in this world. Slather it on your toasts and make a bruschetta/panini out of it, dollop it over your salads, have it as a dip or serve with the milkiest and creamiest mozzarella or burrata cheese, or simply have it tossed in your pasta. This was what I lived on during my days in Paris when I wanted something quick and tasty.
I made dinner the other night with my homemade pesto and to pair it, a light lemon meringue tart. This dessert is my family's favourite I've thus concluded. I come from a family who love balanced to slightly acidic desserts and a lemon tart always does the trick of satisfying our sweet tooth(s).
I probably took all the basil that was left on the shelves of the supermarket but it was well worth it because if you store it well under all that beautiful green and fruity extra virgin olive oil, it keeps for up to 6 weeks without turning rancid.
Key to great and vibrant green pesto is of course using the freshest basil and not blending it for too long. Try not to use basil that has already begun to flower. Couple of cloves of garlic, tablespoons of toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan and you should have a pretty rocking pesto. Did I mention before that I absolutely adore pine nuts? They have the sweetest taste and it's just lovely.
I always loved the combination of pesto and prawns so I could not help myself. I marinated the tiger prawns in simple salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic and grilled them till lightly caramelized on both sides. As with any seafood, prawns are real delicate and overcooks easily so cook them on high heat.
On a side note, my first two lessons at the cooking school were pretty smashing so we're in talks for a puff pastry II class where I will be teaching how to make...... mille feuille!! Remember that chocolate one I made previously? I'll be teaching you how to make an unconventional chocolate puff pastry with two different fillings. One of praliné, and the other a fruity one. I'm drawing up the menu soon so stay tuned!
Also since I completely overestimated the amount of lemon cream to make for just six tarts, I'll probably be selling small individual tarte au citrons. Do keep a look out for them via instagram for my mini bake sales.
These lemon tarts are really for any time of the day. I would live on them if I could. It's of pâte sucrée, almond cream, the most divine and smooth lemon cream, lemon marmalade, lightly toasted swiss meringue and a lemon zested nappage. Unfortunately, I will not be posting a recipe for this lemon tart but hey, you get my delicious homemade pesto recipe. ;)
Happy midweek to one and all.
Natalie's Homemade Pesto:
(makes 2 standard sized jars)
freshly picked basil - 250g
good extra virgin olive oil - 300g
freshly grated parmesan - 3 tablespoons
garlic - 2 cloves
toasted pine nuts - 2 tablespoons
salt to taste
In a food processor, blend the garlic and salt till fine chunks. Add in the pine nuts and pulse till slightly broken down.
Add in the basil in three batches, working as quickly as you can so as to avoid overheating it. This ensures it remains a bright and fresh green colour.
When all the basil it roughly blended in, stream in your olive oil and cheese and blend for 5 seconds till you get a nice pesto consistency.
Store in jars and cling wrap upon contact. Keep refrigerated for up to 6 weeks.
// Note: Always clean down the side of the jars and cling film upon contact again or the top layer of the pesto will turn rancid. //