Mar 312015
 

Carrot top pestoOnce you know how to make carrot top pesto, you’ll never want to waste your carrot ‘greens’ ever again.

My recipe appeared online and then in my book The Permaculture Kitchen. Since then, I’ve seen carrot top pesto used by loads of people in all sorts of creative and scrumptious ways. I thought it’d be good to collect some of those ideas together as a source of inspiration. The recipe for the carrot top pesto aka ‘CTP’ is at the bottom of this post.

How to use carrot top pesto

Bread

Carla Tomasi made these delicious bread sticks with black pepper and CTP spread over the dough before she twisted and baked it. Ideal with drinks and antipasta.
Carla's bread sticksAlso good is the CTP spread on bruschetta or toast with one or more of cheese, olives, veg, anchovies or shellfish.

Pasta

Thane Prince used the CTP to dress penne in this scrummy pasta bake with cherry tomatoes.
Thane's pasta bakeYou can just as easily just mix it through cooked pasta: just leave some of the cooking water in the pasta to help make the ‘sauce’. Or use it with ricotta or mascarpone filled ravioli or other filled pasta. Peas go well in the stuffing.

Vegetable Tart

Francoise Murat spread the CTP over the base of a puff pastry case and filled with tomatoes and delicious vegetables. Just bake till tender.

Easy- spread on puff pastry, add roasted tomatoes (vinegar+sugar+oil), peas +vegies, mozzarella bake 20 mins  = trop trop bon!

Rice and grains

CTP is ideal mixed into risotto or with farro/bulgur and other grains.

Roasted and baked veg

I love CTP spread on all sorts of veg including potatoes, oca, mashua, aubergine, courgettes, carrots (!), parsnips, onions which are then roasted. Use as a filling for that warming baked potato.

Meat, chicken, fish & seafood

CTP is delightful spread on all these to roast, grill or pan fry. Stuff it under the breast skin of a chicken before roasting. Slather on salmon before you grill it. Pop a blob on a juicy steak as you serve it.

Carrots a large bunch

Carrot top pesto recipe

Ingredients

Feel free to scale the recipe to suit what you have available.

It’s important that you use the young, tender carrot tops. The leaves & stalks from larger ones tend to be a bit tough.

100g of young carrot tops (a large bunch)
1 clove of garlic, peeled (you can use more)
50g whole almonds (it doesn’t matter whether they are blanched or not) Hazelnuts would work well too.
50g parmesan, roughly diced
150ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

If you need to, wash the leaves to get rid of any mud and grit. Pop them in a big saucepan over a high heat and pour over a large splash of boiling water. Cover the saucepan and boil for 2-3 minutes until the leaves are just wilted. Strain in a colander and refresh with cold water to stop them cooking. Drain completely and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. If you don’t need to do this, then you’ll get a fresher result.

Dry roast the whole almonds in a heavy based pan or in the microwave until they are nicely browned.

Cut the garlic cloves into slightly smaller pieces which will help them blend evenly.

Put the almonds, garlic and a small amount of the carrot leaves into a food processor. The carrot leaves help the other ingredients process well. Process until the almonds and garlic are finely chopped.

Add the rest of the carrot leaves and process until they are puréed. You’ll probably need to scrape down the sides of the processor a few times to ensure even processing. Add the parmesan cheese and process until well mixed, scraping down if needed.

What you’re going to do next is to add the olive oil to make a fluid paste. Add it gradually, stopping to test consistency and scraping down the sides. The consistency I was after I call ‘falling over’ consistency so that the pesto just falls into the blades of the processor as it turns. So, with the food processor running, gradually add the olive oil until you get your desired consistency.

Then check for seasoning. I added a good grind of black pepper and a couple of pinches of sea salt and processed that in.

Keep in the fridge covered in oil.

 Posted by at 17:09
Feb 112014
 

Three-cornered leek deliveryThis box arrived courtesy of a very generous Lindsay on Twitter. Lindsay has a wonderful surfeit of these in Devon and needed an ID for it. She also wanted to be rid of some and so one thing led to another.

Allium triquetrum flowers

Allium triquetrum flowers by Kenpie WikiMedia Commons

It’s allium triquetrum or three-cornered leek (aka three-cornered garlic). It’s so called because of the cross-section of the leaf. Wild garlic (allium ursinum, ramsons) has a broader, flatter leaf and is only just poking out of the ground now. Like wild garlic, it has white flowers.

It’s a mediterranean plant which has naturalised in the south-west of England and prefers a moist but well-drained soil. It will spread by division and seeds extensively. It’s treated as a weed and invasive species in many places. It’s an offence to plant in the wild in England & Wales.

It tastes like a grassy leek or garlic with a lingering aftertaste. It’s not as pungent as garlic or as spicy as chives.

So I felt I had to come up with some culinary treatments for it. Read on for the details…
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 18:13
Mar 182012
 

20120318-134256.jpg

The first nettles of the 2012 season for us.

While the spaghetti cooks, gently fry garlic & anchovies in extra virgin olive oil. Then add nettles to the pan and cover till they wilt. Season with salt, ground black pepper and lemon juice. Mix through lightly drained spaghetti with a good handful of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Other posts you may like:

 Posted by at 13:49
Jan 092012
 
The Legendary Wild Haggis

The Legendary Wild Haggis as pictured by StaraBlazkova

Haggis is one of my most favourite savoury meat dishes. It’s spiced and has a nutty smoothness. It’s a great way of using offal and an economical make-ahead dish. Traditionally it’s made with a sheep’s heart, lungs and liver (the ‘pluck’), mixed with oatmeal, suet, onions and spices and packed into the sheep’s stomach. It’s then boiled till cooked.

It’s mostly associated with the Scots now and Burn’s Night celebrations on the 25th January. According to Wiki its origins could come from Scandinavia through to Greece. As anyone who knows anything about butchering fresh killed meat, the offal will spoil quickly, so it seems logical to use what you have to hand to cook it asap after the kill.

Anyway, it’s something I’ve made a version of at home a few times and really enjoyed. I’ve used a few different people’s recipes and thought it was time I came up with my own version. I made this during the festive break and had it with a pearl barley risotto one day and then as a lasagne the next as you can see here. My version is cooked in a saucepan, not in a sheep’s stomach or in an ox bung (big sausage skin).

So here’s my haggis recipe, from Wales (via London).

Would you like to have a go? Read on… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 15:42
Nov 102011
 

Like many English people, I have a love affair with Corsica. It’s partly because of this:

Corsica Mare et Monte

Corsica has a fantastic blend of  Mare et Monte: sea and mountains. It’s why I live  in North Wales, to be with môr a mynydd. But Corsica smells different too: it has the maquis. The maquis is a mixture of fragrant shrubs and herbs that lead Corsica to be called The Scented Isle.

Corsica is also famous for growing and using the fruit of the sweet chestnut tree. Some of the nuts are converted into flour and Corsican cuisine is famous for how it uses this: in a type of ‘polenta’, pancakes, flans, muffins, cakes and pasta.

I loved eating in Corsica and resolved to get a cookery book. It just so happens that the Corsican cookery book is written by an Englishwoman, Rolli Lucarotti. She sailed to Corsica in the 1970s with her husband and baby daughter. She fell in love with Corsica and, like many English people, now lives there. Her book is called Recipes from Corsica. It’s a great read and insight into a unique cuisine that has developed separately from that of it’s French & Italian invaders.

This recipe Rolli calls Panzarotti incu brocciu: cheese ravioli. The pasta is Pasta di castagna: chestnut flour pasta. Brocciu is called The Prince of Cheeses and is the Corsican national cheese. It’s like an Italian ricotta but made with sheep or goat’s milk, so it’s good for the lactose intolerant. Since I had a method for making ricotta, I thought I could make a close replica of brocciu. And I have now found a source of organic chestnut flour.  The recipe calls for calamint (calamentha nepeta) which my friend Carla Tomasi had recently sent to me from Rome where she calls it mentuccia. The recipe also needs eggs & chard. Our chickens produce eggs and we grow chard, so I was in business to make this wonderful dish. Want to know how? Read on… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 13:30
Oct 242011
 

Pizzoccheri layered up

I just love pizzoccheri. The dish is robust & earthy in taste & feel: a true peasant meal. It’s made with buckwheat pasta which is very easy to make or you can buy dried from Italian food stockists.

It’s a traditional recipe of the Valtellina in Lombardy, Northern Italy. Classically it’s made with the buckwheat pasta layered with chard or savoy cabbage, potatoes and cheese all dressed with a garlic & sage butter.

One of the joys of the dish is its flexibility. You can make it all year round with whatever veg is to hand. It’s ideal for using the bits and bobs you might pick from the garden or have in a veg box. This is my interpretation of this classic using a mix of seasonal vegetables from my garden. and I show you how easy it is to make the buckwheat pasta.

Fancy having a go? Read on… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 16:40
Jun 212011
 

Rotolo on the plateThis pasta is a bit of a show stopper. It looks just great on the plate and there are loads of variations you could make to the filling.

I’d often looked at the recipe in Jamie’s Italy and decided that it was a bit too much of a faff to do.  Then I saw the Rotolo that Maureen at Orgasmic Chef had created. I really liked the result she achieved and so determined to have a go myself. Of course, I wanted to do something a bit different to the recipe in the book with spinach and roasted squash.

I thought hard about colours and took the Italian Flag’s tricolor of green, white and red as my inspiration.

For the green I used our abundant (and free) nettles instead of the pasta.

For the white I used ricotta that I made.

And for the red I used tasty cherry tomatoes.

The nettle filling gives a unique ‘meaty-veggy’ taste with a great slight spicy edge. The tomatoes give a nice squish and flavour with slight acid balanced by the creamy cheese. The lemon-thyme butter was a lovely fresh tasting complement to the pasta.

Want to know how to make this? Read on… Continue reading »

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