Freeze it for the future…


Let’s continue our basil saga and add to our recipe book…

Frozen basil for cooking

When I’ve started growing basil on my window seal, I didn’t expect it to go so well that I’ll have to look into several ways of using basil as well as storing some for rainy days.

After trying basil infused olive oil and basil pesto…the next best thing is to prepare basil ready to use for cooking and then freeze it so it keeps for longer.

This is the simplest way of storing basil and completely ready to be used.

Ingredients: 2 cups basil leaves, 4 tbs olive oil. Whizz it all together until the leaves are finely chopped (you might have to add a bit more olive oil if the mixture doesn’t look smooth enough).

I’ve used one of my trays for ice cubes, heart shaped…hahaha, it doesn’t really matter what you use to freeze them as long they are frozen in the shape/quantity you would use them for cooking.

I like a light flavour, when I am cooking so I’ve only filled 1/2 of each heart cube. I’ve left them to freeze for two days after which I’ve transfer them into a freezing bag to store for longer in the freezer.

When cooking, I would just add them directly frozen depending on the dish. I mostly use basil in tomato based dishes, but it can be added to so many other recipes.

Hope you’ve find this useful, if you ever have too much basil on your hand.

Your Girl with their Apron,

Julia

Just another pesto…


Following from my last post about the basil infused olive oil…happy to report the basil saga continues with …you’ve guessed it, pesto.

I absolutely love to grow basil and it feels amazing to cook with it, smell the beautiful green leaves…

Besides using fresh leaves in cooking, I have recently made my first basil infused olive oil, which is a game changer when it comes to certain dishes, especially tomato sauce.

Today, I want to share with you the next best thing you can make with basil and that is pesto.

I absolutely love pesto and so far we have only made kale pesto which is delicious with pasta.

Basil pesto with pasta

Ingredients: 2 handfuls of washed basil leaves, 30g pine nuts, 20g walnuts, 40g Parmesan, 100ml olive oil, 1 clove garlic. Cook the pine nuts until golden, then add them to the remaining ingredients using a food processor. Whizz until smooth, then season to taste, I only add a sprinkle of salt.

The above will get you enough for 2 servings of pasta. You can always double the quantities to have pesto for later, always store in the fridge until used.

I always fry the pesto, just a bit before coating the pasta and serving straight away, but that is a personal preference, you do not need to do it, but it does elevate the taste of the dish.

Once all ingredients are mixed, you should get a a smooth like texture, you might need to add more olive oil as you mix, depending on the rest of the ingredients. The secret is, bigger the quantity, easier the mix.

Basil Pesto

Just another pesto…but so delicious.

Your Girl with the Apron,

Julia

Sour but so sweet


This year has been another great summer for our sour cherry tree, so it was a no brainier that we’ll do some jam…and oh, what jam we did!

Homemade sour cherry jam

This is hands down, the best so far…and yes, it does look like strawberry or raspberry jam, hahaha, but it’s not.

My secret ingredient is chia seeds, super healthy and your best friend if you want to use less sugar but you want the thick texture.

Ingredients: 2kg pitted sour cherries, 1kg caster sugar, the juice of 2 lemons. Bring to boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer slowly until it thickens, but not all the way. Make sure you do stir using a wooden spoon and the heat is always on low. Once it starts thickening and the juice has reduced at least 3/4, you can smash the fruit using a fork or a potato smasher.

Once you are happy with the texture, I’ve let it simmer for about 2 hours, you can turn the heat off and add 4 tbs of chia seeds. Stir and leave to cool half way, so not completely cold, before you store in jars.

I usually place the jars on a tray with greaseproof paper in the oven for about 10 minutes, this will disinfect the jars and kill any bacteria. Once the jam is stored and still warm, cover the jars with a kitchen towel and leave it until they cool down completely. Once a jar is opened, store it in the fridge until consumed.

I would love to see what other recipes you guys use for homemade jam. This has worked for me both times and the jam is absolutely delicious.

If you want to reduce the sugar, you will need to increase the quantity of the chia seeds to obtain the thick texture. As I have used the sour cherries, sugar was needed for a sweater taste, but for sweet cherries I would definitely use around 800g sugar and 6 tbs of chia seeds.

Let me know if you ever try the recipe.

Your Girl with the Apron,

Julia

Chocolate Quinoa Bowl


I was thinking this morning what to name this post and after a few minutes I’ve realised that this delicious new found breakfast option needs nothing else than to be called what it is…Quinoa, the best chocolate bowl you will ever taste.

I’ve used quinoa before but never in a sweet option, especially a breakfast one. Most times I cook it as a side to chicken or together with rice in the oven.

Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

One thing I can confirm is that the portion I’ve made, the one you see in the picture above was too much for me, but it might be perfect for you.

Ingredients/how to make this deliciousness

1 cup quinoa, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup hazelnut milk, pinch of salt, 3 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1tbs Nutella or any other chocolate spread. Fresh fruit to decorate and chia seeds, alongside a few chunks of dark chocolate. The ingredients are for two portions but you can easily get three or even four.

Rinse the quinoa with cold water, then place them into a hot pan and mix with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes, until the seeds dry a bit and become crispy. Add the 2 cups of milk and bring to boil, then let it simmer for about 25 minutes, mixing every now and then.

Once the liquid has been completely absorbed and the quinoa is tender, remove from the heat and add the maple syrup, cinnamon and chocolate spread and combine all together,

Serve warm or a bit cooled down, decorate with fruit and any seed you might be already using for your smoothie bowl. I love chia and flax seeds, but hemp seed is a good one as well.

Bon Appetite

Hope you enjoy it:)

Julia,

Your Girl with the Apron

The king of leaves


Homegrown Basil

My adventure started learning how to grow basil at home.

I love basil, the flavour, the smell…the taste in food, absolutely everything about it. After successfully growing my own basil from cuttings, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to store it any other way besides drying them. So the research began…

Besides drying the leaves and using them in everyday cooking, I have also found how to infuse olive oil with basil leaves and then use to cook or as dressing for salads and cold plates.

I thought you will find it useful if I share how I’ve done it, as there are so many recipes out there, but this one worked for me.

Recipe/How to infuse olive oil with fresh basil/no cooking involved

First, wash the leaves well, my basil is homegrown/indoor, so I know exactly what’s on the leaves…NOTHING, but nevertheless they need to be clean. Once washed, the leaves are put in boiling water for exactly 1 minute, process called blanching.

Remove them from the hot water and place in ice cold water to cool down quickly.

Dry them on a paper towel, I’ve also used a paper towel on top to soak the excess moisture

Place the blanched basil leaves, olive oil and pinch of salt in a blender and mix until completely smooth.

This should be your final result

You can use immediately or store in the fridge for just over 1 week.

I’ve used mine straight away in making some delicious tomato sauce for spaghetti, the taste is absolutely amazing, nothing compares to it.

Especially that before I used to add leaves to my sauce but the flavour wasn’t always there.

See below measurements:

1.5 cup of basil leaves, pinch of salt and 1 cup olive oil.

If you want a stronger basil flavour, put 2 cups of leaves to one cup of oil, this will also make it much thicker, perfect for dressing salads.

Let me know if you have tried this recipe and what do you think.

Lots of love,

Your Girl with an Apron