Category Archives: Pesto

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 and Cheese Soda Bread

Pesto and Cheese Soda Bread

          I have talked about how much I love bread here before and nothing has changed. This one is so easy and straightforward a blind monkey would struggle to fuck it up. There is no yeast, so there is no need to prove it. In fact the longer you leave it after you mix the dough the flatter it becomes. Most of these ingredients you can have in your press and just whip it out whenever you need it. It can be prepped in around 15 minutes and then you are eating freshly baked bread in half an hour. What could be better eh?

           The main thing here to learn is to really slow down the mixing process so you don’t add too much liquid. You can always add a little more but you can’t take it away. So I haven’t put a volume down for the buttermilk, as this can vary from batch to batch. What you are looking for is a slightly sticky dough that still forms together when mixed.

450g White self raising flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

100g grated cheddar

2 tbs Pesto


-First sieve your flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.

-Next make a claw shape with your hand, this is what you will be using to mix the dough.

-Make a well in the centre of the flour.

-Place the cheese and pesto into the well along with about 100ml of buttermilk.

-Using your claw/bird of prey hand start to mix in the liquid. Very slowly, and always work from the centre, outwards.

-As your dinosaur hand starts stiffen the dough in the centre, add a bit more buttermilk. Little by little until you get the perfect bread consistency.

-Take a bread loaf tin or any tin really, this bread can be cooked in any shape. Line it with butter and the a dusting of flour to ensure a non-stick surface.

-Place the dough into your pan and then into the centre of a pre-heated oven (220 degrees) for 30 minutes.

-This works perfectly for me but everyone’s oven is different so there will be a bit of guesswork.

-The best way to tell if bread is done is turn it out into your hand and knock on the bottom, if it sounds hollow, you’re in business.






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.