Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two ways to use Basil

Even though we are sisters, we have a very different approach to food and photography. Each fortnight we are going to choose the same ingredient or theme and post the result. These are results of our second food fight.

Basil facts
  • The ancient Greeks and Romans thought basil would only grow if you screamed wild curses and shouted intelligibly while sowing the seeds.
  • Basil is Greek for 'royal' or 'kingly'.
  • In Italy, basil has always been a token of love.

Vanessa's dish - Pesto pasta
A work colleague arrived today with an armload of fragrant and vibrant basil. My classroom smells like an Italian kitchen and I am itching to get busy creating a dish to photograph, eat and post tonight.

The obvious is pesto so with a few other essentials and a food processor or mortar and pestle that's the plan.
I have some tasty tomatoes straight from the garden however they aren't the best looking as the birds or slugs have been snacking at them.

I would be happy with pesto and tomato however the males in my house may like it jazzed up with "meat" so crispy bacon on top should do the trick...

Wish me luck...

Pesto pasta with roasted tomatoes and pinenuts

Shopping list
Olive oil
Pine nuts
Pasta - spaghetti
Bunches of basil
Salt and pepper

A few hours later...
I cant believe the price of pine nuts, no wonder bought pesto contains 'other' nuts and vegetable oil.
I choose to go the whole hog and use extra virgin olive oil and expensive pine nuts, here is how I did it.

What you need
Dried pasta - spaghetti
Olive oil - about 300mls
Pine nuts - a hand full
Grated Parmesan - 1 cup
Salt and pepper
Garlic cloves - 1-2
Basil - 2-3 cups packed down (that's quite a bit of basil)
Tomatoes - 6
Bacon 300grams

How to make
In a food processor blitz basil, oil, Parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic. Add the pine nuts at the last minute and pulse for a few seconds.
Set aside.
Boil the salted water and cook the pasta until its al dente - firm to the bite.
Grill the tomatoes and bacon both drizzled with olive oil and salt/pepper.

To assemble
When the pasta is cooked and drained stir pesto into the hot pasta. You may need to add more oil or even some of the hot pasta water to fully coat the pasta. Top with crispy bacon, roasted tomato halves, more pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Ultimate comfort food - Pesto pasta

Ingrid's dish - Chunky chips with lemon basil aioli

My big plan was to make aioli (Lemon basil) from scratch, I did my research, I stole from the best (Jamie Oliver) and went to work. I had a little helper, Jim, my partner, telling me where I was going wrong, he was hungry and it was getting quite late, I told him its OK, I have Jamie, it can't go wrong.

Lemon basil aioli - The cheats way.  

I hit a curb ball when the recipe called for 500ml of olive oil (half virgin, half normal) to one egg yolk. I was astounded. I just love aioli, mayo, tartare...surely I haven't being dipping my chips in a great big pile of oil all this time. No matter how much I beat, blitzed, or processed, my aioli still looked like oily orange juice.

At 8.30p.m, when the chips were golden, I had to surrender. Thank god for Donna Hay! I grabbed the store-bought mayonnaise, added crushed garlic, my chopped basil, squeezed a little lemon/ lime, gave it a bit of a blitz and lemon basil aioli - the cheats way was born. Enjoy

The paprika adds a little bite to the chips, a squeeze of lemon cools it down
Handmade chunky chips with lemon basil aioli
makes enough for 4 (as a side)

You will need:
5 large floury baking potatoes
sea salt (to taste)
1-2 tsp paprika (sprinkle)
4 cloves of garlic
pepper (to taste)
olive oil
lemons (wedges or slices)

How to make
Set oven temperature to 180C. Bring to the boil a large pot of half filled water, Leaving the skin on, cut potatoes in 1cm thick slices, and them slice into chips. Boil potatoes for 3-4 mins. Dry on a paper towel and place in an lightly sprayed or oiled baking dish.

Add olive oil, enough to lightly coat, sea salt to taste, sprinkle paprika, cracked pepper, and place whole cloves of garlic in the dish. Bake for 15mins, turn chips, and bake for another 15mins or until golden. Serve with lemon wedges.

Lemon basil aioli - The cheats way!
You will need
4 Tbsp store bought mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, crushed
bunch of chopped basil
squeeze of lemon or lime

How to make
Blitz in a food processor, (or chop basil finely and mix all ingredients together well) and serve in a bowl with hot chips.

1 comment:

  1. Looks delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at