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A Pallet of Pesto – (with Doris from Earth Mother)

Yesterday, six of us decided that a wonderful way to spend a spring Saturday afternoon would be to enroll in a course of Pesto making with Doris – from Earth Mother, at her beautiful Hansel and Gretel home in Assagay.

She was such a delight to listen to as she passionately encouraged and taught us to eat natural good foods, which are seasonal and easy to grow or obtain in and around town. (visit the shop – Earth Mother 134 Davenport Road, Glenwood.)

The most fascinating thing about the afternoon was that pesto, one of the easiest things to make in the world…can make a very ordinary dish, a Master Chef creation in just minutes. Thrown onto a simple penne pasta, added to a stew, or simply served in a bowl as the hero dish on the side of a mezze platter are a few suggesetions to zshoosh up a meal when one is feeling uninspired.. Summer is coming up, and to me no lazy Sunday lunch should be without some yummy form of homemade pesto.

We arrived with a few chilled bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, extra jackets in the car (the temperature drops at least 5 degrees from Umhlanga!) and pen n’ paper in tow.

Doris took us through the origin of pesto (meaning green sauce) and suggested we try making our own combinations by using one simple rule of thumb! If you are making an Italian pesto using basil…you are safe in your experimental recipes as long as you combine ingredients that occur in that region or country.

So for example in Italy you get abundant amounts of lemons, olive oil, rosemary, pine nuts, Pecorino cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Try using your basic basil pesto with a few of these regional ingredients added to your base pesto to create your own secret recipe.

Similarly if you are using Coriander as your hero ingredient, it would not make sense to use Italian ingredients in this pesto, but rather think of ingredients in countries that use Coriander (Eastern Mediterranean or the Far East.) Try using more subtle oil (as olive has a distinctively strong European flavor) like Macadamia nut oil, or sunflower seed oil, ginger, Masala, cumin, coconut cream yogurt, or peanuts.

I thought that was very valuable and sensible information which actually is a basic rule to apply to all recipes when developing and experimenting with new flavours.

Can’t wait to try my hand at some new pesto’s.

Click here for my favorite Pesto’s and some of Doris’s – which I have added to the list.

(Contact Earth Mother to be added to their emailing list of what other courses are coming up.)


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