Garden glut – we made fresh pesto

Everyone has one of those lists that they want to tick off, you know the ones I mean, the ones where you list all the things you want to do before you’re 30, 40, 50 etc.  Mine is online on my website along with the check marks beside the things I’ve done. So when the garden gave me a massive glut of basil, it was a chance to tick off another item. I’ve always wanted to make fresh pesto. It sounds so incredibly silly to say that now after I’ve made it and now know how quick and easy it is. So I’m sharing this with you so you can make some too.

I should warn you though, it’s not one of those recipes where I can give you exact measures (which I struggled with a bit – as anyone who knows me will tell you – I am a complete control freak and I like order and lists and exactitudes), so here we go. Pesto!


  • BIG bunch of basil
  • one clove of garlic
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • a small handful of parmesan cheese – grated finely
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts
  • olive oil

It’s going to be one of those recipes you make and then tweak based on your personal tastes, I put 2 cloves of garlic in mine because I am a garlic monster, but to be honest 1 clove would have been sufficient.

So how to make pesto

Basically, put the toasted pine nuts in a food processor with the garlic and blitz it up. You can, of course, make your pesto using a mortar and pestle (this is the traditional way), but the food processor is a lot quicker. Once your pine nuts and garlic are chopped up finely, add your parmesan and basil and get that going. Drizzle olive oil into the food processor as its going until you get the consistency you are after. Salt and pepper to taste and that is you. Really, it’s that easy!

Enjoy with lovely homemade bread, or over pasta or if you are like me, with a spoon in a dark corner where no one can disturb you!!!!!!


Garden gluts – this time it’s tomato relish

Well we’ve made courgette fritters to deal with a glut of courgettes and beetroot soup to deal with a glut of beetroot. Today it is tomato relish.

We eat a lot of relishes and pickles, but it’s not something we’ve ever tried to make so today I decided I’d have a bit of a look around the internet to see what was involved with the aim of using up the last of the marmane tomatoes from our greenhouse (well I say the last – just the last from the batch I picked this week there are a whole lot more).

Looking at recipes online, it didn’t look too difficult so I thought, hey why not? And it turned out quite tasty so I thought I’d share it with you and maybe if you’ve fancied trying your hand but haven’t been brave enough, this might give you the courage.

ingredients for relishIngredients

  • 1kg of tomatoes
  • 500g of onions
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp smoked papkrika
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4cm piece of ginger
  • 250g sugar
  • 150ml red wine vinegar

What to do

It’s dead easy.

Slice the onions and throw them in a pan and caramalise them.

While that’s happening, take the skins off the tomatoes (make a cross in the bottom then put them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Take them out and plug them in ice water for 30 seconds. The skin comes right off) and chop them up.

Chop the garlic, ginger and chilli.

Once the onions are caramalised, put everything in a pan and simmer for an hour, stirring frequently.

Once it goes dark and “jammy” it’s ready.


tomato relishIMPORTANT NOTE

You need to sterilise any jars you are using to store this – the easiest way is to wash them and then put them on a tray in the oven with the lids off and beside them.

Heat the oven to 120C (for a fan) with the jars in there and leave them there in the hot oven for at least half an hour.