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Vegan pesto

I'm sure you all know, at the very least more or less, how to make pesto. This is just to remind you that pesto is always a good idea: for a quick pasta dinner, as an addition to a sharing platter, on what to do with herbs from your garden.

Traditional Ligurian pesto is made with basil, but I went for a blend of different herbs: basil, thyme, oregano and a bit of rosemary and mint. I skipped parmesan, but kept pine nuts from the original recipe. Feel free to experiment with herbs and nuts - try almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds or walnuts.

Recipe: Vegan pesto

Ingredients
  • one cup fresh herbs: basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint
  • 1/2 small clove of garlic
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, roasted on a dry pan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp soli morskiej
Method
  • Blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste using pestle and mortar or a food processor.
  • Feel free to add more olive oil, depending on what kind of consistency you like.
  • If not using immediately, place the sauce in a jar, top with a layer of oil and refrigerate until needed..

Roasted summer vegetables

Roasted vegetables are great as a light lunch or dinner. Try roasted asparagus with basil and sea salt pesto, baby artichokes with feta dip and round courgettes with cherry tomato sauce.

Surely, they would be even greater, if grilled and consumed in a garden, by the lake or in a park. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. For instance, one might not have a garden, a lake or a grill. Unexpected rain can also disrupt an al fresco dinner. Another reason could be a group of wasps.

It was during my sailing holidays in Croatia. I have spend the entire day gutting fish, squid and octopus that I'd bought on a market, geatting ready for a BBQ evening. When we'd finally managed to find a picturesque little bay and tie up the boat, we realised there were countless wasps coming to our yacht and we had to run away. We ended up staying in a marina where barbecueing was not permitted and I had to make the squid and octopus in the oven.

What lesson can be learned from this story? Probably the fact that anything that you might want to barbecue, you can also make in the oven. It doesn't always work the other way around, but in this case it does - I have prepare these recipes for the oven, but you can make the vegetables on the grill too.

Recipe: Roasted asparagus with basil and sea salt pesto

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • a bunch asparagus
  • one tsp. olive oil

Recipe: Basil and sea salt pesto

Ingredients
  • one cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
Method
  • Blend basil with olive oil.
  • Add salt, combine.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Trim asparagus' ends. Coat asparagus with olive oil.
  • Roast at 180C for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve with pesto.

Recipe: Roasted artichokes with sizzling feta dip

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4-6 baby artichokes
  • one tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • one tsp lemon zest

Recipe: Sizzling feta dip

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
Method
  • Prepare a bowl with cold water with lemon juice. To prevent artichokes from discoloration, keep the cut ones in the bow before you're ready to roast them.
  • Cut the stalks off the artichoke. Pull off the tough leaves. Cut the artichoke in half. Spoon out the inner leaves and the fuzzy choke. Very young artichokes might not have the choke.
  • Combine oil and lemon juice, coast artichokes with the mixture. Place them in a baking dish and top with lemon zest.
  • Roast at 200C for aboit 25 mintes.
  • Combine feta with oil and lemon juice.
  • Place in a ramekin and bake with the artichokes for 20 minutes.

Recipe: Roasted round courgettes with roasted tomatoes sauce

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 round courgettes
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • tsp olive oil

Recipe: Roasted tomatoes sauce

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • tsp brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Cut the tomatoes in halves and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and sugar.
  • Roast at 150C for about 45 minutes.
  • Cool down and blend.
  • Cut the courgettes in halves and coat with oil. Place them in a baking dish and top with chili flakes.
  • Roast at 200C for about 35 minut.
  • Serve with tomato sauce.

egg-in-a-hole

Recipe: Cilantro pesto

Ingredients
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • one small garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp. of roasted sunflower seeds
  • 3 tbsp. of grated parmesan
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil

Recipe: Eggs-in-a-hole

Ingredients
  • 2 slices of rustic bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. of butter
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Method
  • Cut a hole into the center of each bread slice. Place bread on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Spread some butter on top of each slice. Carefully crack an egg into each hole.
  • Bake at 180C for about 6 minutes - until egg whites are set and the yolks still runny.
  • In the meantime, combine all the pesto ingredients in a food processor.
  • Sprinkle the toasts with freshly ground pepper. Serve with cilantro pesto.

radish leaf pesto

Recipe: Radish leaf pesto

Ingredients
  • 2 large handfuls of radish leaves (about 100 g), washed and dried
  • 3 tbsp. of roasted pumpkin seeds
  • one small garlic clove
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper. to taste
Method