I started the week with Riverford Everyday and Sunday and am ending it with River Cottage Every Day…both of these businesses are in Devon, both pride themselves on educating the less knowledgeable about eating and growing good food and both, in my opinion, live up to their promise by producing really ‘everyday’ cookery books.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is someone I’ve not read before. The moniker of TV chef is enough to put me off, which is probably why I’ve never bought any books by Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay or Nigella Lawson either. But when I started flicking through HFW’s most recent offering in a shop in Broadway Market, I realised that I might have to change my rather stubborn opinion. It only takes one good idea to make a cookery book worthwhile; in River Cottage Every Day it’s the lunchbox section, which is full of quick fixes like this pesto.
Proper basil pesto is lovely, but I find it a tad boring and pine nuts are wildly expensive. However, as a fan of baking, I always have walnuts in the cupboard (I find the cheapest place to buy good ones is Lidl…) and there’s often some parsley knocking about in the fridge in need of a home. Add to that some blue cheese and you have a standby for use with gnocchi, pasta or, if the weather’s a bit glum like it is today, on top of a baked potato. HFW says remove the stalks from the parsley but I didn’t bother; it’s a faff and it all gets squished to a paste anyway.
HFW’s parsley, blue cheese and walnut pesto (adapted from River Cottage Every Day)
This is enough for three or four dinner-size portions of pasta or gnocchi and it also keeps in the fridge for a couple of days.
You will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have):
Sea salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
50g flat-leaf parsley leaves (I find the supermarket bunches overpriced, but the corner shop ones weigh in at 180g or so which may mean you end up with rather a lot of leftovers)
50g crumbly blue cheese, cut up into small pieces (I used Stilton)
75g shelled walnuts
Juice of half a lemon
1. Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until they are fragrant and just starting to take a little colour. They will need turning every so often to stop them from burning.
2. Put the garlic and nuts into a food processor or blender and process to a coarse paste.
3. Add the parsley to the garlic and nuts and process again to a paste. Depending on the size of your processor you may have to do this in stages; the little mini-choppers tend to get a bit jammed.
4. Empty the paste into a bowl, add a tablespoon or so of olive oil and of lemon juice, season and stir. Add more oil or juice to taste or to thin to the desired consistency.