I’m not doing so well with my 2 posts a week, am I? I am BUSY. I know everyone is busy, but I am really busy. Three children is ridiculous. I am wholly responsible for FOUR lives (one of which really doesn’t get much of a look-in – guess whose...) and partly responsible for two others - the Man and – since Sunday – the Au Pair. The staff arrived! It was somewhat anti-climactic. She said hello, announced she had been sick on the plane, and went to bed. The Man and I sat in the kitchen with a friendly bottle of red wine, which the Man used to ease the disappointment of the rapidly fading Ursula Andress image he had been hoping for.
She is, however, very very nice. But also very very slow. How can a human be so slow? She is part Swede, part sloth. In addition, she has an affliction which I thought was specific only to men, in that she appears not to notice mess: she walked past a pile of dirty clothes at the bottom of the stairs THREE TIMES, while I twitched and muttered in the background. This can, of course, be beaten out of her (just look at how the Man improved) – but The Slowness is something I worry about. Beating will probably only slow her down further. I asked her to tackle a sink of washing up – not an enormous amount, just the kids’ dinner stuff (so: two plastic plates, two sets of cutlery, a box grater and a couple of pots) and I am not exaggerating even a teeny bit, in the time it took her to w-a-a-a-a-a-s-h everything at paint-drying speed then r-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-n-s-e it all off, I had fed the Grubette AND made this:
Green Sludge! (Some of you also know it by its Italian name, Pesto). Which, in fairness, takes no time at all to make, and the baby is a speedy eater, but still. (She went out for a drink with neighbours’ au pairs last night, and being a control freak I started to get a bit worried when she wasn’t back after three hours. But THEN I remembered they were going to the pub at the end of the road, and given her sloth-genes, she had probably only just gotten there).
Anyway, back to the Pesto. I've always been a big fan of ready-made - esp the ridiculously expensive tubs you can get of higher-end stuff - but no more. They all taste like cack compared to home made. It's super-speedy, super-tasty, and super-flexible, and can be eaten:
- Straight from the bowl, if you are me or my elder daughter
- On toast
- Dolloped into a soft-boiled egg, or onto a poached one
- Spread over mushrooms / courgettes / peppers and stuck in a hot oven for about 25 mins
- Ditto fish – really any type, other than smoked – but for 15 – 20 mins
I’m not going to bother giving specific measurements, because it’s a rough-and-ready recipe. So roughly (and readily), you need:
A food blender / processor, into which you put:
- Two handfuls of basil leaves, stalks removed (this is about equal to the contents of one of those 28g packets)
- One handful of grated parmesan
- Small handful of pinenuts
- One clove of garlic, peeled (more, if you are a garlic fiend)
- Not-too-strong extra-virgin olive oil (or a 50:50 mix of plain olive oil and EV)
- A splash of water, maybe
Turn the blender on, and while it’s whizzing, slowly pour in the oil(s); how much depends on your preferred green-sludge consistency. I count to 5 while adding the oil, then leave it to blend for half a minute or so before checking it. If it’s too thick I then add more oils or a splash of water, if the oil is a bit overpowering. A squeeze of lemon is also good for cutting through any overly-strong olive oil taste
It’s ready whenever you decide it is. If you want to make a pouring sauce out of it, add an equal amount of crème fraiche to it. (This also makes it into a really nice pasta sauce).
Whatever you do, gobble and enjoy. Quickly.