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Category: Gardening

Fresh Basil Pesto

You all will remember from my earlier posts my fledgling attempts at organic kitchen gardening, and finally I have something ready that I can use for all my cooking experiments and I am over the moon. I always dreamt of having garden fresh herbs at my disposable, and I am proud to say that I now can use fresh basil and parsley from my garden. And fresh basil calls for home made basil pesto, better than any store bought jar of pesto. And once you have made it fresh, believe me; you will never buy a bottle of pesto from the supermarket.

Fresh Basil from the garden

Fresh Basil from the garden

For the past few weeks, I have also been kind of obsessed with my garden, if you can call all the balcony and window sill planters that ; well for future reference that’s what I would like to call them. And I am sure all my plants would be gravely insulted on hearing anything otherwise. Well on last count apart from the herbs, I am trying to grow, spinach, lettuce, tomato, eggplant, radish and carrots. I love to see the green shoots coming out when I wake up in the morning, and see them growing taller day by day.

Now over to the pesto, as basil is a very strong aromatic herb, what I have done is substituted half with baby spinach leaves, it will make the flavour less strong and also helps you retain the vibrant green colour, which is lost after a day when stored in the fridge if using only basil.

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can substitute half the basil leaves with baby spinach)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts (can substitute chopped walnuts)

3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Pulse the basil leaves and pine nuts in a food processor several times, add the garlic and the cheese and pulse several times.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Add the olive oil slowly and not all in one go, so that it emulsifies properly; season with salt and pepper. Thats it, fresh pesto is ready. Time for some pasta dinner maybe, also goes well with potatoes, or just like that with some crackers.

 

 

Home grown organic vegetables

It’s hot in Mumbai, and we are all patiently waiting for the rains. The experimenting in the kitchen is on hold because I am too busy growing produce for the coming months!! Yes you heard me right, my latest passion or obsession whatever you might call is to try and grow some herbs and veggies for my kitchen. Home grown organic vegetables, farm to table; in my case kitchen window sill to kitchen to table, all in a couple of meters.

It all started with my struggle to get fresh herbs, whenever I wanted to cook something I would not get the herbs in the market and if you get them in advance they get spoiled quickly. I bought some herbs from the nursery, but they died too quickly on me, and then I realised that the environment in the nursery and my apartment is very different, and it’s advisable to grow plants from the seeds so that they get used to the surroundings from the very beginning. Now anybody who lives in a metropolis like Mumbai will understand the limitations of space, in our apartment the rooms were extended to take up the balconies even before I moved in, so all I have are the window sills to experiment and my huge east facing kitchen window serves the purpose just right.

What am I growing, well I have a few eggplant, chillies and cherry tomatoes; whom I will call fledglings at this point of time, as they are somewhere in between the stages of being a seedling and a young plant. And I have just planted some herbs, parsley, chives and basil. The basil seedlings have already sprouted, and I feel like a proud mama every morning when I water them. Incidentally this pre-monsoon/monsoon period is the best time to plant herbs in Mumbai, as the temperature and high humidity is just perfect for germination.

My basil seedlings

My basil seedlings

As usual fellow gardening geek blogs have been a huge help for a first time gardener like me and I would like to share some gardening blogs that can help you start your own kitchen garden in your own apartments.

https://seedgerminator.wordpress.com/

https://mumbaifarmer.com/

I can’t wait for the day when I can share a recipe on this forum using my own home grown produce.

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