SIMPLE BUT DELICIOUS - JULY 2016
We are certainly not Spanish defectors, but we have just spent a week on Lake Garda in Northern Italy. It was so beautiful and we had a fantastic time – swimming, cycling, we pounded down Monte Baldo at speed with agonising consequences (!), we went to Verona and saw an incredible performance of Aida at The Arena, and we squeezed in some relaxation time too. We were staying in a little village right on the lake so it really was very different to time spent at our house in Spain which is in an incredibly beautiful location but so off the beaten track, and no water to be seen (apart from the swimming pool). However, something that was very reminiscent of times we have spent there were the meals in the sunshine, and the delicious Mediterranean food.
Lake Garda is the northern most area in Europe where olive trees are grown. Although the winters there are cold, the huge expanse of water slightly softens the climate, so the shores of the lake are dotted with typically Mediterranean trees - lemons and olives have been cultivated there for thousands of years. We even went and visited an olive mill.
Unsurprisingly we ate a fair amount of pasta, sometimes just simply with olive oil and chilli, at other times with delicious pesto. Consequently I felt inspired to make these two different types of pesto – rocket and walnut, and sundried tomato and hazelnut - very simple and particularly yummy when homemade.
The basic ingredients for pesto are the same whatever flavour you are making – olive oil, nuts, parmesan and garlic, and then the main flavour. For classic basil pesto use pine nuts and fresh basil, but I have adapted this.
Rocket and Walnut Pesto - small clove garlic, 25g walnuts, 25g grated parmesan, 150ml olive oil and 75g rocket
Sundried Tomato and Hazelnut Pesto - small clove garlic, 25g hazelnuts, 25g grated parmesan, 150ml olive oil and 75g sundried tomatoes
Put all the ingredients in a mixer and pulse to make a paste - pulse lightly if you want it to retain texture, but if you like it smoother whizz more or you can add a little more olive oil or a squeeze of lemon juice. It will last for a week when kept in the fridge.
Olive oil plays such a big part in the Italian diet just as in Spain – it's not a wonder the food is so good. To replenish your stocks of Fino Olive Oil, or for anything else 'Fino' just click here – www.finooliveoil.co.uk - and place your order for next day delivery.
Look forward to hearing from you