Joy and warm wishes filled our return to our little home in Brisbane yesterday. Our mailbox was full to the brim with loving Christmas wishes and letters. Little elves had swept our tiles, tidied our outdoor furniture and filled up the dog’s pool. Our garden was still alive – hallelujah! These were all lovely and unexpected surprises.
The little elves were my lovely neighbours Scott and Brendan. I went over to thank them, only to be blessed some more! Not only had they watered my garden and cleaned our yard, Scott had used some of my basil and tomatoes to make me a basil pesto and a tomato pasta sauce!
Delicious! Thanks Scott!
Here are his recipes:
1/4 pine nutes
1.5 cups basil leaves
2 sml garlic cloves, halved
1 cup shredded parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil infused with lime
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 180°C. Spread the pine nuts over a baking tray. Bake in oven for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
STEP 2: Place the pine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream until well combined.
Savory Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
Makes 4 half-pints
3 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (see Note below), about 1 1/2 pounds
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely minced lemon zest
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
2 shallots, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Place tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, shallots, red chili flakes and salt in a 6- to 8-quart, heavy-bottom saucepot.
Place over high heat and bring to a FULL ROLLING BOIL (a boil you can’t stir down), stirring constantly to prevent scorching. (If mixture starts to scorch, turn down heat a bit.) Stir in the sugar and, as soon as the full rolling boil takes place again, start timing and cook jam for 6 minutes.
Then remove from heat, stir in basil and fill jars as above. Process jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes (with this method jam will keep for up to 1 year stored at room temperature), or cool and refrigerate jam for up to 3 months.
Note: Wash tomatoes in cool running water. Remove skins by dipping in boiling water for 30 – 60 seconds or until skins split. Dip in cold water, then slip off skins and remove cores.