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Entries in basil (21)


lemon basil pizza

when i read about this lemon and basil pizza i knew i had to make it. i love using lemon in both sweet and savoury dishes and really enjoy the range of flavours you can create by using the whole fruit – this spicy chicken and pepper pasta is an old favourite, which is made really special by the addition of thin slices of lemon; i also like roasting chunks of lemon with vegetables or meat, so that the edges can caramelise and add an extra layer of flavour.

so, lemon and basil pizza… aka pizza sorrentina from kesté pizza & vino in new york's west village. a combination of smoked mozzarella, fresh basil and lemon slices.

i added some chopped garlic on top of my dough and then used a mix of fresh and smoked mozzarella. basil leaves added before and after cooking plus a scattering of finely sliced lemon pieces before it went in the oven.

the result was delicious – very simple, reminiscent of a cheesy garlic bread (maybe the garlic wasn’t the best idea) but with little hits of lemon or basil to punch through the richness. i will definitely be making this again, perhaps with chilli flakes instead of garlic. i think finely chopped fresh rosemary or sage would also be worth experimenting with. any other ideas?


fried courgette and burrata pasta

i’ve been catching up on my blog reading and have been particularly inspired by a few smitten kitchen recipes, including this ottolenghi pasta and fried courgette salad. it was an intriguing read – deep-fried courgette is dressed with a little red wine vinegar plus a basil and parsley pesto, the combination of which is very moreish. add capers, lemon zest and more basil plus pasta and you end up with a lovely fresh-tasting vegetable-laden dish. add torn pieces of creamy burrata and the deliciousness is amped up several notches.

the original recipe also includes edamame beans, which i didn’t have so couldn’t include. fresh peas or broad beans would also have been nice but again i was out of them so just increased the courgette, which was no real hardship given how amazing the deep-fried discs tasted, especially once they’d been marinating in the dressing. 

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wild garlic and basil oil

it’s been a while since i made pizza but it was worth the wait to enjoy this version, which used a wild garlic and basil oil as the base sauce.

wild garlic is wonderfully flexible and i enjoy using it with pasta as well as risottos and pilafs. however, i have learnt the hard way that using it in a pesto can result in something too pungent to enjoy. the key is to mix it with another flavour – rocket is nice, as are other herbs. this time i used a 50:50 mix of basil and wild garlic.

i smeared this on the pizza dough, added thin slices of courgette, salami and mozzarella. the result was wonderfully fresh and spring like.


spring salmon with lemon, basil and broccoli

the weather in london was wonderful this weekend – bright, mild and dry which meant i got to spend a couple of hours in the garden, tidying it up after several wintery months of neglect. and then we had a late lunch, outside, while we enjoyed the final bits of sunshine – so exciting to be eating in the garden again!

this dish was inspired by a lovely lunch that friends cooked for us last week. in an ovenproof dish i put chopped chilli and garlic, tenderstem broccoli, chunks of red peppers, cherry tomatoes, the juice of a lemon plus the squeezed lemon cut into chunks, a couple of chopped anchovies, some capers, a handful of basil leaves plus a glug of both white wine and olive oil. oh, and some black pepper.

i cooked this for 10 minutes at 180c and then added my salmon, which was wrapped in smoked pancetta, and cooked it for another 15 minutes. a final few minutes under the grill to crisp up the pancetta and it was done. serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.


pickled pumpkin – version 2 


this is the second pickled pumpkin recipe i made. the pickling mix varies quite a lot between the two recipes – rowley leigh's recipe uses cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and spicy flavourings whereas this skye gyngell recipe uses white wine, a much smaller amount of vinegar, a small amount of caster sugar plus herbs and mustard seeds.

truth be told there wasn’t a massive difference in the end flavour apart from a slightly more vinegary chilli kick to the first recipe. i’d happily use either version in future and would probably mix and match between the two recipes.

this dish was very different – the spicy sweet pickled squash contrasts well with the bitter leaves (i used a mix of radicchios) the creamy buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil oil. interestingly the few pecans added a really important contrast of textures – don’t be tempted to miss them out. the similarity was that once again i think this is best served as a starter so you don’t get bored of the pumpkin’s very simple flavour.

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