Toasted Sunflower Pesto

Hello friends!

Apologies for neglecting you – I’ve been a busy bear with work lately, and have perhaps not quite gotten my time-management skills running like a well-oiled machine. Hand me the oil though – I’ll get there! Give it time..

Anyway, I thought I’d pop in and drop this delicious green bomb on you. Everybody knows I can’t get enough of pesto, and this is my latest creation. I made this up a couple of months ago now, and have made it several times since with slightly different variations – the recipe below is the basic plan I had in mind. One thing was the same throughout, and that was the use of sunflower seeds and walnuts as the base nuts. Toasting the sunflower seeds really brings out such a beautiful flavour, you must try it!

ImageToasted Sunflower Pesto

3/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 cloves garlic
3 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh coriander
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup flax seed oil
1/4 – 1/2 tsp chili flakes

Toast walnuts and sunflower seeds in a pan over low heat for approximately five minutes, until slightly golden and aromatic.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the garlic and throw it in a food processor/blender along with the lemon juice and salt. Blend to combine.

Add toasted walnuts and sunflower seeds, process until well chopped up – I usually keep going until they are the consistency of coarse crumbs.

Add herbs, oil and chili flakes and blend until the desired consistency is reached. If it’s too chunky, add some water or oil a little at a time until it’s smooth enough.

Need I tell you what to do with it next? Eat it on crackers, stir it through pasta, use it in a sandwich, in salad, on tofu, EAT IT ‘TIL IT’S GONE!!!

Image

1st Blogiversary + Beetroot and Mint Hummus

So it’s my blogiversary today – one whole year! I had often wondered how people remembered to announce their blogging anniversary – I thought for sure I would forget mine. But now I know the secret – I received a handy little notification telling me so – thanks WordPress!

Hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since I was picking grapes in Bathurst. Where did the time go? Since then I’ve been on almost a full lap around the country and now I’m sort of settled back in Melbourne, and have just started a brand new job. Polar opposites to the life I was living a year ago. Both good in their own way.

Anyway, I digress. As the day snuck up on me, I didn’t bake a cake or anything exciting like that. In fact, I had a little bit of a kitchen failure tonight, but I’ll discuss that later. Instead, for the celebrations, I’m going to do something I thought I’d never do.

That’s right, I’m going to share a beetroot recipe.

I KNOW.

Anybody who knows me knows that I DO NOT like beetroot. However, I am always trying to incorporate it into my diet in new, enjoyable ways. Usually it is quite well disguised (with chocolate). This time, I’ve used a bit to add a little extra to the old hummus. It’s quick, easy, and guess what?! – I don’t hate it.

Image
Beetroot and Mint Hummus

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil
400g can chickpeas

3 small beetroots, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp tahini
1/4 cup fresh mint, plus extra for garnish
Salt
Water

Place garlic, lemon juice, zest and in a blender or food processor and blend until relatively smooth.

Add beets and pulse until they are broken down.

Add chickpeas, tahini and oil and blend until fairly smooth. You may need some more liquid to get it going here – if so, add water 1Tbsp at a time until you reach the right consistency.

Chuck in the mint, and pulse until combined. Salt to taste.

Garnish with fresh mint, and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to eat.

White bean dip with sundried tomato, rosemary and sage

While hummus, in all it’s wonder, flexibility and glory, tends to be my go-to dip, I find that white beans make a nice light and creamy alternative – and they’re just as easy to mix up the flavour combinations with.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the markets as they were packing up and bought a whopper box of tomatoes for a measly $2 ($2!!!!!!!!). I turned all the slightly bruised ones into jars of tomato basil sauce for pizza/pasta/etc, kept some for salads, and chucked the rest in the dehydrator and sucked the juice out of those babies. For this recipe, I simply rehydrated a bunch of them and added them to a few things that were already lying around – leftover shallots from another recipe, and rosemary and sage from the garden.

Enjoy!

whitebeandip2


White bean dip with sundried tomato, rosemary and sage

4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
Juice of half a lemon
2Tbsp olive oil + 1/2tsp oil for frying pan
1 can (400g) cannellini
beans
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sautee for a couple of minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so until golden. Take off heat and transfer to food processor.

Add lemon juice, olive oil and tomatoes and process until fairly smooth.

Add cannellini beans and process again until smooth.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add rosemary and sage. Process to combine all ingredients.

Serve immediately, or store in the fridge until ready to use.

whitebeandip1

Lemony Almond Kale Pesto

I’m back for round two!

I’ve had a long day on my feet working for a jewellery stall in a shopping centre here in Bundaberg, so I’m going to make this a quick post.

In Gympie, I picked up some kale from a fruit and veg market that was according to the dude, grown “literally just down the road” – you can’t get much more local than that without growing it in your own yard (or van? Van garden? Hmm…)

It’s no secret that I love pesto…and garlic, and kale and lemon and almonds and so on. Anyway, I decided to whip up this pesto to stir through some pasta as a quick and easy meal, and we used the leftovers to spread in sandwiches (kale pesto, baby spinach, marinated red capsicum and sundried tomatoes). Yum.

Image

*note: I made this with raw kale as I enjoy the taste, but if you don’t like the bitterness, it’s a good idea to blanch it first (by dropping it in boiling water until the leaves turn bright green, then transferring to a bowl of ice water). However, if you are going to heat it up (on pasta for example), you will end up losing a lot of the bitterness anyway.

Lemony Almond Kale Pesto
(makes about 2 cups)

1 bunch kale, washed and stems removed (*see note above)
150g raw almonds

2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp water (plus more if needed)
Salt
Pepper

Add almonds and garlic to a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped.

Roughly chop the kale and add it to the processor along with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process until well combined.

Add nutritional yeast and water and process to combine. If necessary, add water 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Use as a dip, spread, sauce, or pretty much whatever you can think of. Sometimes I like to just eat it on my finger.

 

Image

Image

Spicy Coriander and Lime Hummus

Another quick recipe post, in lieu of my backlog – I have a few picture heavy posts ahead which I need to spend some time in one place uploading, hopefully over the next couple of days. This is a simple, yet delicious spin on hummus that I whipped up with some leftover limes and coriander we had lying around in the van. I love the chili/lime combo, and the coriander balances it out nicely as well as adding a bit of colour. Enjoy!

Image
Spicy Coriander and Lime Hummus
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

400g chickpeas, cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp tahini
Juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 bunch coriander, chopped
Salt and pepper

Add chickpeas, garlic, oil, tahini, lime juice and cayenne pepper to a food processor or blender and blend to combine, scraping down the sides as you go. Add water as needed – I added 1 Tbsp to thin the mix out a little. Add coriander (leave a little to garnish) and season with salt and pepper, then blend until smooth. Garnish with a dash of cayenne pepper and leftover coriander.