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Sunday, 2 June 2013

Wild garlic pesto

The Jewish food festival, Gefiltefest was 2 weeks ago and an absolutely fantastic day. As well as learning about the incredible organisations feeding the homeless and redistributing food here and abroad, hearing about what locusts taste like and gorging on zchug – I reconnected with one of my favourite old teachers and met one of my favourite food writers Marlena Spieler. Spending time with the cooks, food writers and food activists* has ignited my passion for food even more – so expect to be hearing much more from me in future.

An unexpected additional joy if the festival was the masses of wild garlic growing in the beautiful garden of the LJCC. Wild garlic is amazing, kind of like chives turned up to 11. And when you pick it, you can pretend like you are in an episode of River Cottage. It is actually much easier to find then you might think, and can also be bought in Farmers’ Markets if you don’t fancy foraging.

This pesto is really tasty but quite pungent so use it sparingly. I used rapeseed oil and no cheese to keep it a little more pure, but you could of course use extra virgin olive oil and cheese, or whatever else you fancy really.

Makes enough for 4-6 servings, depending on how much oil you use

Bunch of wild garlic leaves – if you are picking them yourself go for about a handful
1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp pine nuts
A little salt to taste

Optional: hard parmesan-style cheese, grated.

Wash the wild garlic leaves to remove any bugs or badger wee.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat until golden and fragrant.

Blitz everything together using a food processor or immersion blender, adding oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.

Serving suggestion: emulating my aspirational Queens Park Farmers’ Market yummy mummy, I served the pesto with bulgur wheat, steamed sprouting broccoli and roasted salmon. Accompany with crisp white wine or posh apple juice, and complain about getting planning permission for your grade II listed house.

people have been asking & I feel I need to clarify - this is 2+ portions, I'm not that greedy!

*An easy way that you can get involved with food activism right now is to join the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign’s London event in Hyde Park on Saturday 8th June. World Jewish Relief have organised walking groups and kiddish from several local synagogues so that those who keep Shabbat can also attend  

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