Tag Archives: condiment

Basil and Macadamia Nut Pesto


I feel like getting back to basics. I’m officially on holidays from my food editor job, and the past weeks have seen all manner of festive dishes cooked, tested and prepared for the magazine. I feel I’ve already cooked my way through Christmas fare and now I just crave some simple food that requires no recipe, no testing, no oven!

I can think of no better condiment to make in summer than basil pesto. What makes this pesto truly special is replacing the traditional pine nuts with macadamia nuts. The creamy consistency of macadamia nuts is just what the sweet perfumed basil requires. It’s a match made in heaven. 


My son – and I must say I’m absolutely ecstatic about this – discovered he likes to eat my pesto with crackers. He actually polished off the entire bowl the other day and instead of lecturing him on how greedy that was, I was congratulating him on finally discovering the wonders of freshly made pesto. One child down, one to go.


Basil and macadamia nut pesto 


1 1/2 cups picked and washed basil leaves

80g (1/2 cup) raw macadamia nuts

1 small clove garlic, chopped

1 small lemon, juiced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan

Sea salt

Black pepper


Place all the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor, blitz till nuts are a chunky consistency and basil is well combined. Check seasoning and adjust with extra salt, pepper or lemon juice.

TIP – washing the basil enlivens the vibrant green colour and gives you a bright green finish to the pesto. Pesto stores in the fridge for several days.






Salsa verde – the magic green oil




Salsa verde – ever tried it? You really must. This vibrant, rustic, green herbed sauce adds a little touch of magic, with a big touch of flavour. And serving it with a simple steak is one of my favourite ways of eating it. Though don’t stop there. In Italy, where salsa verde comes from, they serve it with fish, a grilled piece of barramundi is sublime drizzled with a little of the magic green oil. You can dress a salad of mixed leaves with it, toss it through warm potatoes, or spoon it over tomatoes with mozzarella. The possibilities are endless.






Lets talk anchovies. They are a key ingredient in salsa verde. Their naturally salty flesh falls apart and oozes it’s flavour into the green sauce. Anchovies have a bad reputation with many people, I used to be one of them. But I assure you, they are delicious when used to flavour sauces. So please, please don’t leave them out. I used parsley and mint in my batch of salsa verde, as that’s what I had on hand, but basil and fresh tarragon are also good additions. Back in my restaurant days, we always made salsa verde in the food processor, which is fine if you’re in a hurry, these days I pound mine in the mortar and pestle, but also suggest chopping by hand if you have the time.





Salsa verde


2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp baby capers

2 anchovies

1 cup roughly chopped parsley

1 cup roughly chopped mint

1 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar

75ml extra virgin olive oil

Place the garlic, capers and anchovies in a mortar and pestle, pound to a paste. Alternatively, chop to a fine paste. Add parsley and mint and continue to pound or chop till herbs are well combined. Place in a small dish, add vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a small pinch of salt and a large pinch of pepper. Stir till sauce amalgamates.

If time is of the essence, you can chuck everything in a food processor and pulse-blitz till combined.