I've had enough Basil-gluts now to say with some confidence, I have a pretty decent Pesto recipe under my belt.
It's all about balance with Pesto - the right proportions of acid from lemon, sweetness from Parmesan and pine nuts, and punch from garlic. Plus super fresh, home-grown Ligurian Basil, where at all possible! Even if you haven't got home grown basil, a home made pesto using any fresh basil cannot compare with the slurry that comes in a jar. So simple but somehow rather splendid.
This recipe is so simple you really want quality ingredients; it's a celebration of these simple flavours, so choose those that shine.. Makes approx 1 small jam jar.
100g Basil leaves
60g Parmesan, cut in small chunks.
50g Pine nuts, lightly toasted (with a few chili flakes, if desired. I do desire)
2 fat cloves of garlic (Roast for 10 mins where desired, for less 'heat')
Juice of 1/2 lemon
50ml approx Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
1. Add the basil, Parmesan, Pine nuts, and garlic to a food processor and blitz in bursts, till you have coarse crumbs.
2. Season with lemon juice and S&P then blitz again, adding the oil in stages, until desired consistency is achieved. EASY!
Serve stirred through fresh Spaghetti, and ideally, accompanied by a large glass of Chianti
Keep any leftover pesto (unlikely) for about a week in the fridge, keeping the surface covered in oil.
SOIL!! Image on the right? NO NO NO! This is such an inefficient way to give your plants the drink they probably desperately need right now.. Plants take in 95% of their water form the SOIL. They are wilting because the SOIL is dry.. so.. Water the SOIL! Most of the water applied as shown opposite will likely evaporate before it can be absorbedf Plus, you risk scorching delicate leaves in strong sunlight. It also usually flattens small plants too, watering them in this way, so all round, a pretty nil-point approach to hydration.
ALSO, remember that the roots (where the plants draw their water from..) are not just around the base of the plant. In fact, better to water away from the base, around the peripheries where the edge of the root system will be seeking out H2O. As if to prove the point - BASIL; Supermarket Basil always dying on you? Stand the pot in a saucer; water in the saucer(basically, directly at the roots) Don't water from the top (other than the occasional dribble to keep the soil edges from shrinking). It'll last for months and months and months and...