I love Winter. The frosty mornings. The crisp clear days. Snuggling up by the fire with a good book and a glass of red.
If I was forced to choose my favourite season it would be a toss up between Winter and Autumn (Fall).
That being said, it’s about this time of year when I get a little nostalgic for long, sultry Summer evenings. And not having to pile on wellies and layers just to go and feed the chooks.
I also get a little nostalgic for basil. Especially in the form of verdant green pesto.
Of course, I can still buy bunches of basil at an exorbitant price all throughout the Winter but it’s just not the same.
The good news is I’ve discovered a Winter-friendly alternative. If you’re a stickler for tradition, it’s probably best if you stop reading now and check back next week.
But if you like to try new things, read on!
It uses mint and almonds instead of basil and pine nuts. And it’s just the thing to liven up Winter soups and stews.
Although if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment and are sick of eating basil, this could be just the thing for you too!
I can also imagine it sitting proudly on an outdoor table waiting to accompany a piece of fish or chicken from a Summer evening BBQ…
What about you?
What’s your favourite season and seasonal foods? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
Mint & Almond Pesto
Serve this pesto pretty much any where you’d serve regular pesto. Dollop on soups or salads. Use as a sauce for pan fried fish, chicken breasts or even steak. My personal favourite is to team it with lamb… Either lamb cutlets cooked until still rosy pink or slow roast lamb shoulder literally melting off the bone. It’s also great to liven up some steamed green beans or peas.
Enough for about 1 cup
large bunch mint, leaves picked
1 small clove garlic
3 handfuls almonds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Whizz mint, garlic and almonds in a food processor until finely chopped.
2. Add oil and a little lemon juice and mix. Taste and season with salt, pepper and extra lemon if needed.
summery – replace mint with basil. You can replace the almonds with pine nuts but I’m also a fan of cashews because they’re delicious and much more affordable.
nut-free – replace almonds with half soft breadcrumbs and half finely grated parmesan.
other herbs - flat leaf parsley, carrot tops, coriander (cilantro) are all possibilities. I’m also a fan of a little bit of sage or oregano combined with parsley.
garlic-free – sometimes I can’t be bothered with garlic and it’s still lovely but I do find it needs more salt and lemon to make up for that garlicky sharpness.
no food processor – just finely chop everything and stir together for a more rustic chunky pesto.