Hey Pesto: worknight dinners, plus a super cake

You know how it goes, you’ve worked all day and by the time you get home, absolutely the last thing you want to do is think about what to have for dinner, let alone actually cook something. At the same time, you need nourishment. Some days like this, I like to whip up a lovely batch of… canned baked beans on toast. Eggs on toast is also a winner.

Other days, like today, I actually find a smidge of motivation and make something. This is usually because I stupidly asked H, my eldest kid (the youngest would only answer ‘eeerrrhhh’ as he can only say three words), what he wants for dinner. Today, he wanted pizza so, since we demystified pizza bases a few days ago, we made our own. This is not a new story and so is not the point of this post. More specifically, he wanted pesto pizza. We ran out of pesto a few days ago and so it was time for a new batch. The beauty of pesto is threefold: 1) it only has 5 ingredients; 2) if you have a food processor, it only takes 5 minutes; and 3) is one of the only green things that my kids happily eat. It’s also fantastically versatile – you can have it on pasta, on pizza, as a dip, in a sandwich, stirred through scrambled eggs to make half a dish of ‘green eggs and ham’… the list goes on. Please comment if you have any great pesto recipes or ideas!

The recipe here was given to me by my sister, so all kudos goes to her, not me.

Twisty Kristy Pesto

You will need:

2 bunches of basil, washed and with leaves removed from the stem (I don’t use the stems or flowers as I find they can add bitterness)

3-4 cloves garlic

125g parmesan, grated (if you have a food processor, this is a 30 second job using the grater attachment). This is basically a small block of parmesan chopped in half.

125g pine nuts. At our local supermarket, they sell pine nuts in bags of 130g; it tastes just fine if you use the whole bag.

1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil (use the best you have; I like extra virgin)

1. Put all ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of your food processor. As soon as you turn it on, start drizzling the olive oil in. When all of the ingredients are ground up, it’s ready. Really. It’s that easy! Just make sure it’s not too dry; if there’s not enough oil, it will be hard to stir through your pasta and also will become discoloured if you want to store it.

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This keeps pretty well in the fridge for a week or so. It makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups worth, which is a fair bit of pesto; at least a couple of dinners worth. You can also do it in a mortar and pestle but (as I recall from my student days) it takes ages this way.

A recommendation from Tricia: Lime and coconut cake

One of my friends sent me an email recommending this recipe. It’s from Taste.com.au – Tricia has made it a few times and it’s both easy to whip up and delicious! I haven’t tried it yet, but think I’ll give it a go on the weekend.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/26876/lime+coconut+cake

You will need:

  • 200g (1 1/3 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 65g (1 cup) shredded coconut
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbs finely grated lime rind

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line an 18cm square cake pan, allowing the edges to overhang.

2. Process flour, sugar, baking powder and 50g (2/3 cup) of coconut in a food processor for 20 seconds. Add butter, eggs, lime juice and lime rind. Process until well combined. (Note from Narelle: I suspect that you could easily do this with a cake mixer or with a bowl and wooden spoon; although I have the technology, I usually prefer to make cakes without it and they turn out just fine)

3. Pour into the pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining coconut and bake for a further 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

If you similarly have a great recipe that you’d like to share, please do! We’re all here because we want to learn new ways of making things!

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