Sunday, October 05, 2014

IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED WITH PESTO.........

..........try again


Do you recall a particular food or drink you used to hate when you were a youngster, but now you enjoy; it might be those brussels sprouts your mum wanted you to eat at Christmas or that soup your grandma forced you to swallow when you visited her at weekends or that lumpy slime they used to dish out in the school canteen and call custard? Well for me it’s yes, yes, yes to all of the above and I’d like to add another food to the list - pesto; yep that green stuff that university students live on. I had my first encounter of pesto in the kitchen of my university halls of residence and I can still remember the repulsive taste in my mouth and the disgusted frown on my face when my flatmate poked it into my mouth and assured me it was the best thing since sliced bread -  in my opinion it wasn't. I detested the taste and smell, and while I made the choice never to taste it again, my nostrils were subjected to it for 3 years because it was the food of choice (poured over pasta) among the guys and gals in my dorm. I vowed never to eat it or smell it again after I left!


Move forward a significant number of years and there I am watching a cookery programme the other week where Italian chef, Gino D’Acampo, made a pesto dish look absolutely deliciously mouth-watering. I couldn't understand why I didn't like pesto because it’s made up of all the ingredients I enjoy: basil; olive oil; pine nuts; and parmesan…….yum. So, being the foodie that I am who’s always up for a challenge in the kitchen I decided to make my own pesto using my pestle and mortar and mixed it with courgettini ( i.e. I used sliced ribbon-shaped courgette as a substitute for fettuccini/fetuccine pasta). Voila! I’m a home-made pesto fan.

What I used:
  • A fresh basil plant
  • Pinch of salt (and pepper if you like pepper, I don't)
  • A handful of pine nuts
  • A handful of grated parmesan
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional squeeze of lemon 



What I did:


I used a whole small fresh basil plant, picked off the leaves and rinsed.

I crushed the basil and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar, which gives the pesto a really nice texture rather than using a food processor, and then added the pine nuts to the basil mixture and crushed again.


I tipped the basil and nut mixture into another bowl and added the handful of grated parmesan and stirred gently.




I finished by adding a good glug of olive oil to the mixture and a dash of lemon juice.

I made my courgettini by slicing a courgette into  ribbon, fetuccini-style shapes and sauteed them in olive oil. I added some additional pine nuts for added protein and texture until they turned golden brown - the smell at this stage is unbelievable.


Once the courgette and pine nuts are sauteed to your liking, add the pesto mixture, and ensure it is fully warmed through. Serve and then enjoy with a two fingers up to the ready-made jar version.



Are there any foods that you used to hate, but now enjoy?

Later x

15 comments:

  1. Ahah, Colleen you made me so smile! Believe me, though Im Italian, you have been so much better and more creative than me on preparing your pesto version! Im so wondered you hated it at first since is my fav ever sauce! Just read the name, make me wish for a portion!:) I need to try your way using "courgettini" instead of fettuccini, for sure healthier (I also like to melt cheese on the top, as final touch). Btw, I dont have a particular food I detested and now love it, I can tell you I hated artichokes and last Christmas you found me eating a whole tray of artichoke lasagna lol!^^' Have a great week, hugs! xo

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    1. Oh yes I have tried a little feta cheese on this dish too x

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  2. Pesto is a staple jar and I am relieved that you love it now! I haven't tried this courgette ribbon business but i might try it but i am afraid of adding another kitchen gadget to my unused stash as it stands. Raw carrots used to make me dizzy but now I enjoy them in coleslaw drowned in mayo. But I always had a great appetite and like most things. But I still haven't taken a liking to brain though...

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    1. Oh go on, you can never have too many kitchen gadgets, especially in a newly renovated home! X

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  3. Dear Colleen, i´m a big fan of Italian food and Peso is one of my fav Italian recipe. I like it with very much Parmesan cheese. Your version of Pesto sounds very healthy and be sure i will try it.
    Have a great Week

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    1. The Parmesan definitely makes it ......

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  4. Reading this post really made me smile and brought back memories of my Mum making me eat my cabbage (or there would be no dessert!) Like you, its taken a while for me to enjoy pesto and I'm sure your version is delicious. I love pine nuts too. Thanks for the recipe which I shall definitely try. I remember first coming across courgettes when I was a teenager staying with my French friend's family in France. They were not so popular in England then. Such a versatile vegetable! By the way, your food photos look so professional!

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    1. Yes I've only recently started eating courgettes and their texture makes them versatile. Thanks for the kind words about the photos.

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  5. I love pesto!! It's great that you can make your own. I also love thinly sliced courgettes. The one food I never liked as a child which I enjoy now is lamb. The one I had when I lived in Saudi had a very strong smell and taste. It put me off. Back in the Philippines, the equivalent was goat. I still won't have goat, but I changed my mind about lamb here. I'm still quite picky about the taste and smell, but if it's properly cooked, I really enjoy it. Have a lovely weekend soon xx

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    1. ooooh lamb is my favourite meat. I'm curious to know how the lamb tastes in Saudi as I've never had a bad piece of lamb yet. Curried goat is a traditional Caribbean meal but I'm not so keen on that either xx

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  6. Dear Colleen, your home-made pesto looks delicious! Instead of you I like pesto from the first time I ate it, but I have to admit that this was also a home-made pesto, I think this was in the late 80s or early 90s :) Thanks for sharing the recipe, I will for sure try it, as pesto is in general absolutely my taste as there is no meat included. What I hated to eat when I was a child and what I love instead of this now? Honestly I haven't any idea as already when I was a child I didn't like meat and this habit hasn't really change until today ... What I loved as a kid are oat flakes and all kind of nuts, which I still like so much :)

    Hopefully you enjoyed your weekend so far, wish you a wonderful time!

    xx from Germany/Bavaria, Rena

    International giveaway: Top form by the reason of problems
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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    1. I love oats and nuts too, but I do love my meat too. Thanks Rena x

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