by Kirsty Richardson
A bit about me:
My whole family is passionate about food and cooking. I have many great memories of my Grandma’s lamb breast stew with lentils, eating bowl after bowl with crusty bread and butter. Every Friday my other Grandma used to make homemade fish and crinkle cut chips – I can still remember the excitement I felt coming down the drive and smelling the chip pan going!
I started cooking when I was about eight years old, learning from my mum, my aunties and my grandparents. At thirteen I was cooking dinner for the whole family. My mum used to complain that I made such a mess – ‘Why did you have to use every pan in the house?’ she’d always ask! Things haven’t changed much since – I’m as messy in the kitchen as ever!
Over the years I’ve worked in an Italian restaurant (they gave me all the rubbish jobs but I loved it anyway!) and various hospitals, which I loved but which was also very stressful. Eventually, I was convinced by my partner to work at his pub, The Clarendon Hotel, and I can honestly it’s the best decisions I’ve ever made.
You can read more about me – including how I met up with famous chef Raymond Blanc (see the pic on the left) – and get more great recipes at my website: http://www.kirstyiscooking.co.uk.
And be sure to follow me on Twitter – @kirstyiscooking
Making your own pesto is easier than you’d think – all you need are a few ingredients and, if you’re using a pestle and mortar like I do, a bit of elbow grease!
2 handfuls of fresh basil (or about 1 packet from the supermarket)
50g parmesan cheese
150ml very good quality olive oil
50g pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste
As I mentioned, I prefer to do this by hand in a pestle and mortar but feel free to whizz it up in a food processor – it will still taste better than the stuff you get in a jar from the supermarket!
1) Put the peeled garlic into a pestle and mortar and grind with a pinch of salt
2) Add basil leaves and blend into a rough paste and place in a bowl
3) Grind down the pine nuts (but not too finely – I like it rustic!)
4) Put the paste in a bowl, add the oil and grated parmesan, stir well and season with salt to taste
5) Place in a jar and cover with about 1cm’s worth of olive oil for preserving – then just pop in the fridge
And – hey pesto – it’s done! Beautiful pesto made by your own fair hand!