On the Saturday of last weekend the majority of the population of Great Britain gave a slice of their hard earned cash to a small body of professionals in the unlikely hope that it would be refunded with interest. This lemming like aberration occurs annually on the day of the Grand National when the nation’s interest turns to whores razing, oars ricing or even hearse raisin depending on who’s asking. To avoid my fingers dancing a diatribe on the keyboard against unintelligible pronunciation, whilst simultaneously being mentally tarred and feathered by my readers, I am crossing the Channel to a place where accent gives way to language and I can get on with making pesto, pistou, romesco or whatever name may be given to a sauce made from basil, pine nuts, cheese and oil (plus or minus a few other things, but always with love) because the sun is shining and I don’t want to argue or to have to pluck feathers from my tarry hide. Why did I ever mention that fecking hearse raze? I started the day with my mind untrammelled by thundering hooves, or tondering hoofs, but filled with the pleasure of remembering a wonderful book entitled “A Taste of France”, published in the early 80’s, that was filled with calmly beautiful food pictures by the great American photographer, Robert Freson. Food photography is, of late, as prone to the foibles of fashion as any other genre but, even though I do not own any of his books, his pictures remain as fresh in my mind as on the day that I first saw them which leads me back to the moment that I was making a shopping list in the kitchen, seeing the basil in the sunlight and deciding to make some pesto. Being too lazy to pulverise the soft green leaves in a mortar I can still relish the first waves of basil laden scent as they are released by the whirling blades of the processor while I carefully grate a chunk of crumbly Parmesan, making sure to eat any stray pieces that fall onto the board. My laziness allows me to watch, through the transparent side of the bowl, as the cheese, basil, pine nuts, walnuts and olive oil slowly metamorphose into a viridian paste that I finally loosen with a tablespoon of warm water. Impossible to resist a green and yellow flecked finger full just to check that all’s well and another just to be sure. I feel that whatever it has cost me to make this deliciously beautiful condiment has been refunded with interest and I certainly feel richer for the pleasure that it has afforded me, in any man’s language
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Hearse race being most apt! Barbaric form of entertainment best left to those who don’t enjoy a good pesto!
Neat comment. Pesto as opposed to dead horses for entertainment – no contest.
Another very clever post Roger and yes, I think you got the best entertainment making your beautiful pesto. And you have to stick a finger in to taste it…what cook would ever serve something without tasting it first?!
How right you are:)
Wonderful post. And great pictures as always. I can almost hear your voice as I was reading this article. I will be thinking about this every time I make my pesto. and as always, with love. 🙂
Love is a very important ingredient:)
positively gorgeous photo of your finished pesto! i can think of few things i’d rather dip a loving finger in than this exquisite saucy condiment, and yours is as pretty as they come!
Home made pesto has such an irresistible taste:)
I wouldn’t swap your pesto for whores racing 😉
That’s very kind of yoy:)
My own laziness.. compels me to just linger a while and stare at your photos on my computer screen… if only there was a way to bring it a wee bit closer.. onto my table! Lovely!
No doubt some geeks are working on that plan as we speak:)
Oh, basil….I buy it and then spend all my time taking huge draughty sniffs. It’s a wonder it ever gets to the table. You make creating pesto sound like an almost spiritual experience: might have to give it a go!
It always happens on the spur of the moment. There’s a wonderful recipe for Light Basil Sauce with a white bean soup in Patricia Wells’ “Provencal Cook”. After making that once, I guarantee it won’t be the last:)
Learning how to make pesto was a revelation and that continues, to some extent, to this very day. So few ingredients, so wonderful a taste, and so enticing an aroma. Your photo captured it all, Roger. I’m beginning to regret my choice for this evening’s dinner.
The same happened to me. I’d already planned dinner before I made the pesto:)
Getting ready for a bit of “whores razing, oars ricing or even hearse raisin” here, too, on the first Saturday in May. Most exciting 2 minutes in sports? It’s heresy, but all I can say is ugh. Beautiful pesto!
That must be the Kentucky Derby – just words from Guys and Dolls to me:)
Great looking pesto. I wouldn’t have the patience for the pestle either.
Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom, so forget the pestle:)
That lovely color…I love pesto and am just awaiting my own basil to make some. Seeing your beautiful photos is making me crave it!
Thanks for following for my blog, and I hope you find or make some good pesto to ease your craving:)
I don’t know anything about whores razing, but I do know a bit about pesto and yours looks wonderful! Our basil is just germinating, but soon I’ll be making it too.
It’s not a well known sport, and pesto is certainly better:)
Recently, I had a chance to try pine nut-free pesto. I wasn’t that bad. However, I would greatly prefer your version.
Pine nuts work best, but walnuts are good too:)
“fecking hearse raze” I keep saying this aloud with the most amusing accent (and I don’t have an accent!) I long for the pesto, but cannot do milk. Your words evoked a summer memory, love fresh basil ~
There’s a wonderful light basil sauce with no cheese ( milk?) in Patricia Wells’ “Provence Cookbook” – check it out:)
magnifique! j’aime beaucoup ces photos
T’es trop gentille..je to remercie:)