Last weekend we were invited to our great friends Viv and Ralph’s place for lunch and had the most wonderful slow cooked lamb shanks. Viv is an excellent cook and the best food shopper I have ever known.
The taste of the shanks lingered so long in my palate that I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for entire afternoon.
To be fair F’s great Shiraz and her Ralph’s fab coffee and pistachio chocolate also helped to keep the smile intact so long…
After the lunch before the coffee she took me to her veggie garden and shared her “biggest” problem of the moment:
Her celery and Italian rocket took over the whole patch on one side of the garden. She had no clue what to do with them.
I had an immediate idea of rocket pesto and celery salt to preserve this beautiful crop before the winter’s vicious hand of frost took them from us.
Here are two easy recipes I shared with my friend and I am still waiting for her to share her pictures… Hey Viv are you reading this ;))
Ingredients (you can play with the quantities according to your taste but this is rough proportion)
2 big handfuls of rocket, cleaned
1-2 cloves garlic
small handful of pecan nuts, crushed
extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoon grated parmesan cheese,
salt & pepper to taste
In the food processor start off with your rocket and a drizzle of oil to get it working. Once pulverized add in 1 clove of garlic & continue to grind. Now add in your nuts, lemon zest and a bit of salt & pepper & give it one more grind. Add the cheese and while continuously mixing add in the olive oil until you achieve your desired consistency.
Store in the freezer in a zip lock.
This is the pesto I made the other day with the basil from my garden and olive oil carried in a suitcase from Kas plus the garlic bought and smuggled from Delhi…
Serve this delicious and nutritious pesto tossed over fresh pasta or rubbed over toasty bread with shaved parmesan, or make a beautiful frittata with a touch of pesto! Try it with chicken stews, steamed zucchinis or as a salad dressing with addition of lemon juice.
Now the next recipe:
CELERY SALT (all you need is the celery leaves and flaky sea salt)
Pick the leaves from each celery stalk, leaving the stems behind. The outer leaves tend to be dark green and hearty, the inner leaves pale green and tender. Use them all.
Rinse the leaves with cold water, then shake off as much of the water as you can. At this point you want to dry the leaves as much as possible, so they toast (not steam) when you cook them. Gently pat them dry in a clean dish towel, or paper towels. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then bake in a 180’C (preheated) oven for about 5-7 minutes. Bake until dehydrated and crispy, but not browned. Remove from the oven and let the leaves cool completely. They’ll crisp up even more at this point. When cool, use your fingers to crumble the leaves completely, discarding any leaves that aren’t crispy.
Combine equal parts celery leaves and salt in a jar, and either stir or shake to distribute the celery leaves evenly throughout.
You can use the spice grinder of the food processor if you want it more refined…
You have your homemade celery salt and you love your Bloody Mary more than ever, don’t you now?Check this if you like to read about the perfect Bloody Mary : http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/may/02/how-to-make-perfect-bloody-mary