Thursday, 1 September 2011

Orkney pesto - a windowsill allotment sucess story!

Orkney basil pesto.
Well, inspired by the 'Orkney diet' regime I'm trying to get into, I've been freezing my own basil from the windowsill allotment all summer long (well from late April-now let me not pretend its been summer!) and its still going strong. I picked another goodly lot at the weekend and I've been thinking about pesto and making pesto...............I'll tell you why, I've kept glass jar recycling for a year, for the jars, not cos I'm lazy of course, no, no, because its good for recycling at home and of course its 'research' into our lives, research I tell you! However, rather unexpectedly during this *cough* 'research' its also allowed me to see from first hand what we've been eating over the year since we moved here, as a family and where its come from.  Among the various jars are a goodly amount of pesto jars, the cellist being a pasta guzzling fiend who we do eat alot of  both pasta sauces and pesto. Now the tomatos are grown to make sauces for her, big tick there, however the pesto jar infestation in the jar recycling box in the kitchen, got me thinking - to reduce what we buy, can I make pesto? I already freeze the basil for using in sauces - but 'Orkney pesto' - oh there's a thought toward more local food.
Pesto has basil, oil, nuts and cheese in it, how local can I be? Now I can grow basil here and happily I have lots of it, however I can't grow pine nuts here nor does anyone local do a hard cheese like parmesan - which are the other main ingredients, but I can get a hold of scottish (sorry not Orkney) cold pressed rape seed oil (to substitute the olive oil for). Perfect - a whizz and a blend and a bit of OK that looks right, later - here we go home made 'Orkney' (ish) pesto, in a recycled jar - all nice and pretty - it will freeze but we'll use the first batch fresh and build on making it. I've heard using walnuts works well, I'll see what local nuts (scotland or UK) I can get and build on my 'local' recipe that way.
Now, time for the obligitory in the garden, looks like its down, on the beach stones close up - its a bit brr ish out there but we've got Orkney pesto for our pasta - I'm so unbeliveably excited about discovering through random rummaging through our recycling box, um, I mean, well thought out *research*, a key thing we eat 'bought in' from 'sooth' which came here on a ferry and how we can tackle reducing our spends, food miles and our basil mountain! One more for the local food list for me, Orkney pesto. Brilliant.

And the best thing, the cellist approved, it got through the taste test. Phew!

The recycling box came in really handy for the idea. I've yet to figure out home made peanut butter ('ve looked I can grow the ground nuts next year) and chocolate spread (found a recipe for this) and the likes, other things in our recycling box for the past year.

I can wrack it up now with a few other thing like Orkney Bruschetta, Elderflower cordial and I'm only just getting started on my 'Orkney diet' inspired life - yippee.


  1. Well done!! I've got a large basil growing at the moment and it needs to be processed before our summer runs out. Just the perfect inspiration I needed..pesto!! Right-o! Yours looks delicious!

  2. Your local pesto is gorgeous. How luxurious it will be to defrost some in the dead of winter!

  3. It really does look lovely!

    I'd be *very* interested to know if walnuts go well in it - they're excellent for arthritis sufferers, and I eat a handful every day - it'd be great to know that they were in my pesto too - I'm addicted, by the way :)

  4. Pesto with walnuts tastes wonderful, so that could work as they do grow in the UK (though probably more expensive). What about hazelnuts? If they worked then they are UK native, you could probably grow them on Orkney!

  5. Brilliant info Janet thanks, I'd wondered about Hazel nuts and also saw another post this week from a genius using no nuts......will find link.

  6. Jenni, I hope you managed to get some done.

    Sue now that's a great thought.....

    Jan, it seems to work well, so others say, I'm giving it a go this week :)

  7. Here we go, this post is brilliant