Rocket Pesto – A Guest Post from Little Button Diaries

I’m really excited to have a guest post from Brighton baking, making and baby bloggers, Little Button Diaries. They’ve been a huge influence on this new blog, and ignited my inner crafter as well. Here’s their post, and a great use of the rocket at the allotment.

Homemade Rocket Pesto

I’m always looking for inspiration for new ways to get creative in the kitchen utilising the fruit and veg I get from my garden. Simon’s blog is one of my bookmarked blog for it’s inspiring kitchen ideas and gardening tips and so I’m really happy he asked Little Button Diaries to write a guest post.

I have the smallest postage stamp of a garden, but despite its size I’m living proof that you don’t need a vast space to grow your own vegetables. I’m a big fan of growing things in tubs and pots and this year I decided to grow some rocket in a rusty old supermarket basket I found in my Gran’s garage (good stealing Gran!). As a pretty solid weed, it took over in abundance and I was left wondering what I could do with mountains of rocket – as it has definitely got too cold for salads now. I decided to make rocket pesto, which is actually a good peppery alternative to the basil version. Its also very very easy!

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What you will need
A good bunch (about 50g) of rocket leaves
1 clove of garlic
salt
Juice from half a lemon
25g lightly toasted pine nuts
25g parmesan
125ml olive oil

Begin by putting the garlic, salt and nuts into a blender and pulse until finely chopped – don’t blend for too long or it will start to turn to a paste. Remove from the blender and do the same for the rocket leaves and lemon juice, with a small dash of the oil. Then remove and combine the nuts and rocket with the remaining oil, mixing well.

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This is can then be stored in the fridge and used in just the same way as basil pesto. I mixed mine into some cooked penne, grated on some cheese and breadcrumbs and gave it a blast in a hot oven. Very tasty it was too.

Rocket and other salads

This year has really been a good one for a steady crop of salad products from the plot. I’ve grown Romaine, as well as Mustard, Lollo Rosso and other mixes. It’s meant that, instead of buying bags of hermetically sealed supermarket salad, we’ve enjoyed a fresh supply of whatever is at the plot. Latterly this has included pickings of less conventional, but easily as tasty, nasturtiums, beetroot and chard. They all add variety of flavour; from the peppery nasturtiums, to the more earthy flavours of the beets. It’s said you also eat with your eyes; and the ruby red veins on the chard leaves, as well as the yellow and orange nasturtium flowers, really are appetising.

20131010-120048.jpg These have all been in and out of our salad selections, but the ever present is rocket. It’s a gardeners’ (and cooks’) friend. Speedy to grow, it produces lots of peppery leaves which can be cut and will regrow for further pickings. It also makes a great frittata or pesto.

I’ve found that rocket can bolt in the heat of summer (and experienced it a bit this year). So I tend to sow in partial shade – in my case in a cold frame which is situated under one of our apple trees. We’ve got some old polystyrene mushroom boxes which have made great planters, as they don’t tend to dry out that quickly when filled with rich moisture retentive compost (we’ve punched a few drainage holes in the bottom). All you need to do is sow (a little every week or so) and water when necessary. It’s October now and the rocket is still going strong. Indeed, I think I may sow some more in the greenhouse.

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