While I write to you, I am busy chomping on a bowl of pasta with basil sauce and am wracking my brain as to what to focus on in today’s blog. Should I expound on the marvels of basil, one of the most versatile and luscious herbs, or on seeds which are one of my favourite and most used sources of omega oils, or on pesto and pesto style sauces without which life would not be quite as rich… Books have been devoted to each individual topic! Okay, basil it is as my basil plants are in full flourish right now and deserve a little lime light.
Basil is one of the herbs you simply must have growing at home (if at all possible). It loses its flavour with most preservation methods and is such an easy plant to grow – so do! I buy little basil plants in spring from Stodels Garden Center (I love shopping there, super knowledgeable staff and awesome selection of plants and accessories ) and within a month or two after planting I have more basil than I can use!
The staple use for basil in my kitchen is pesto style sauces! I have come up with every variation on the basil sauce theme but one of my favourites at the moment is the combination of toasted seeds, feta, garlic, olive oil and loads of fresh sweet basil. Yum! (recipe below) But the uses are endless – add basil to most pasta sauce – bought or home made. Add it to your cheese and tomatoes sandwich – or any other for that matter. Add it to salads or make a classic caprese. Add fresh on top of soups. Basil can enrich most meat sauces , stews and gravies if chopped and added shortly before serving. You can even add it to drinks – it’s yum added to a mojito!
Okay, but for starters let me give you the recipe for my basil sauce de jour.
Feta, Toasted Seed and Basil Sauce
Makes about a cup
Two handfuls (tightly packed) of fresh sweet basil, washed
1 round (about half a cup) of feta
½ a cup of toasted seeds (omega mix – flax, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)
1 large clove of garlic, peeled
60ml of olive oil
60ml of water
½ tsp. of salt
For the toasted seeds – either lightly dry fry them in a hot pan until they start to brown or for a spicier version fry them with a dash of oil and add a little cayenne pepper, turmeric and cumin.
Combine all the ingredients in a blender jar and blend with a stick blender. You can of course blend them in a combi blender too – but it’s allot more messy.
The sauce can be kept for at least a week in an air tight container in the fridge. Add it to pasta, use as a dip diluted with chunky cottage cheese or hummus, add a dollop on a steak or with a grilled chicken breast. Use on sandwiches or add a dollop into your soup. Use to add flavour to salad dressing. Toss with steamed or roast veggies.