Friday 29 March 2013

Treats from Nana's Garden

Nana has a great garden. And we are very lucky to be able to take advantage of all the autumn harvest produce. Yesterday we rustled up a quick lunch using tomatoes  and basil from the glass house, herbs and potatoes from the garden and walnuts from the tree. I made vinaigrette verde and basil and walnut pesto to dress up our simple autumnal meal. 

Vinaigrette Verde

The quantity ratios and ingredients for this recipe vary according to what is available and what lands in the jar while I am making it. The simple rule of thumb is 1 part acid to 3 parts oil. All the other ingredients are variable. Put all the ingredients into a large jar wide enough to accommodate the stick blender.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil, or a combination of olive and any other mild flavoured oil
a generous handful of fresh herbs from the garden: I used parsley, chives and thyme
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
2 cloves of garlic

Put all the ingredients in a wide jar with a lid and blend with the stick blender.
Check for seasoning and adjust as required.
Any left over vinaigrette can be stored in the fridge and will keep for a few days.

Arrange washed and sliced tomatoes in a shallow dish and spoon over a generous amount of the vinaigrette. It makes a great salad to serve with bread and cold meats.

Basil and Walnut Pesto

Again quantities for this recipe are approximate and can be altered to suit your personal taste and the quantity of basil available. I didn't put Parmesan into this batch as Nana didn't happen to have any.

1 couple of handfuls of fresh basil with the hard stalks cut off
any off cuts of parsley stalks you happen to have
1/2 cup shelled walnuts
approximately 1/2 cup olive oil - or any other oil you happen to have
1 teaspoon salt

Blitse the whole lot in the food processor until blended, but not too finely.
Stored covered in the fridge it will happily keep for a few days.

This pesto is tasty served with new potatoes and butter, and as a topping for bread. 

With lunch all done, its time for Little Miss 4 to head out to the chicken house for egg collection duty. She just loves spending time at the farm with Nana and Poppa.

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