Category Archives: Basil

Preserved Olives

Preserved Olives

          I made these recently, along with a whole host of other goodies, for my Mom as a present and she loved them! This is something I have been getting into a lot lately, making gifts, preserving things. It a lot of fun and a whole lot cheaper than just buying the things.

         They are also really adaptable. Theres not a lot of flavours that don’t transpose well into preserved olive form. For these ones I went with a little coriander seed, garlic and basil. If I was doing it again though i would probably steer clear of the softer herbs. The basil seemed to bruise a bit in the jar. I’m sure it still tastes fine but one could think it a mite unsightly.

          I got my olives from the Real Olive Company and they are amazing! Great value products in all of the markets around Dublin that you would care to show your face at.

1kg mixed un-stoned olives

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbs coriander seeds

1tbs fennel seeds

1 bunch of fresh basil

Good olive oil

-Sterilize a large glass jar (or jars) by placing it in boiling water for ten minutes then drying in a 100 degree oven.

-Lightly crush some of the seeds in a pestle and mortar.

-Peel the garlic but leave the cloves whole.

-In the still hot jar, pile in the garlic, seeds and herbs.

-Fill with olives

-Pour over the olive oil until the level is 1cm from the top and covering all of the olives.

-Close the jar while it is still hot. This will ensure a strong seal.

-Leave it to settle for about a week or two and then enjoy the spoils of your effort.



Walnut Pesto

Walnut Pesto

           I have done a few Pesto recipes on here over the last while but they never get boring. I suppose it’s because pesto is such a wonderfully simple and delightful thing. Incredibly easy and quick to make, if you have a bit of fresh basil around it will always be on hand to throw together and help you out of a tight culinary spot. Which, worryingly, I am finding myself in with increasing regularity.


          This is not quite a traditional pesto. I have swapped out pine nuts for walnuts and olive oil for rapeseed oil. I’d like to say it was for some interesting and new-fangled culinary reasoning but it’s mainly because they were what I have in the house. Pesto can adapt very easily to what you have. It is fuss free and delicious with anything from pasta to salads to boiled potatoes to finger food or even spooned over soup.



You can do this in a food processor if you have one. Just throw all of the ingredients in together and blend, slowly adding the oil bit by bit.




1 bunch of Basil (inc stalks)

75 g walnuts

75g Parmesan (grated)

Zest of 1 lemon

3 cloves of garlic

Rapeseed oil


-Roughly chop up the basil.

-In a pestle and mortar, grind up the garlic cloves with a good pinch of salt and pepper.

-When they have been ground to a fine paste, add in the Basil.

-Keep working the basil until you have a delightfully green mixture.

-Next add in the walnuts.

-Begin to break them up, leaving some textured while some ground to a fine powder.

-Add in the lemon zest and grated parmesan.

-Mix everything together well.

-Now slowly start to add in the oil little by little. Keep mixing it at you pour so the oil gets distributed evenly.

-You want to end up with a thick liquid consistency. Something that could be easily spooned.

-Thats it. Just jar it up and leave it in your fridge for anytime you want to make a quick supper a little more interesting.






Pesto is one of the easiest pantry items to make and is the one where you will probably notice the biggest distance between the flavour of the store stuff and the real stuff. Most of the ingredients cost under a fiver all-together, the only expensive part is the pine nuts (Tesco do a small bag for €4 which is the perfect size). It’s definitely something I recommend you try your hand at, trust me, you’ll never go back.


A good bunch of nice and fresh Basil, (go good quality here, it will pay dividends),
4/5 cloves of garlic,
100g of Parmesan cheese,
Small bag of pine nuts,
Salt and pepper,
Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
-Take the basil leaves off the stalks, finely dice the stalks and add all of the basil to the food processor.
-Peel  the garlic and slice the parmesan roughly then add to the food processor.
-Turn it on and keep adding the olive oil until you get a thick put pasty consistency.
-Add salt and pepper to taste, then pour it carefully into your jars.