Pesto. Is. Amazing. It can transform a simple pasta into something delicious. It can give chicken a new lease on life. And it can provide nourishment and excitement to otherwise neglected taste-buds during a cleanse.
I love making pesto from scratch because it is actually far more simple that you would imagine, and has such a burst of freshness that is hard to find in the store-bought kind.
To make a pesto suitable for the
we completed, or for a paleo diet, there are only four ingredients needed. Into a blender combine 1 and a half bunches of fresh basil, 3 cloves of garlic, a handful of raw unsalted cashews and a splash of oil. Pulse until well chopped and the garlic is in tiny fragments. Continue adding as much oil as you would like until it has reached the desired consistency. For example, as I was using this pesto as a crumbing I needed it to be quite thick, however if you are using it for a pasta sauce, you would need to add more oil. If you aren't on a restrictive diet at all, throw in a good chunk of fresh Parmesan cheese as well, but it actually was incredible without it, so don't fret if you can't include the cheese.
Once you have made your pesto, you simply spoon it onto whichever white fish you have (I used Haddock for this meal, but have used Cod in the past) and press firmly onto the fish.
Place the fish on an oven tray and it will need to bake for about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven temperature. The pesto will help keep the fish extremely tender, so you won't need to worry as much about it being dry and rubbery (not that that ever happens of course...).
While the fish is cooking, I like to throw some tomatoes in the oven as well at the same time, as roast tomatoes go beautifully with baked fish. For this dinner I also made roasted sweet potato. I found that if you pre-cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave a bit first, they will crisp up far quicker and somehow taste a thousand times sweeter than if you were to simply roast them.
Making courgette fritters (really, really simply)
Two ingredients - grated courgettes and ground almonds. One ingredient removed - water! It makes all the difference. Grate the courgettes (I used two for the two of us) and then squeeze out all the excess water. Once they are quite dry, add about half a cup of ground almonds, or really, any ground nut would work well, hazelnuts would be delicious! Mix together well and form into small rounds and carefully place in a pan with a little oil.
The secret to making fritters that doesn't have any binding ingredients (like egg and cheese), is that you leave them alone! The oil should be hot enough so that they are sizzling away, but not so hot that you are constantly needing to turn them. Pretend they are a good steak, you only want to turn it the one time. This will help it form a bit of a crust on the side being cooked and will help them stay together. They take about 10 minutes to cook. Drain them quickly on a piece of paper towel if there was a lot of oil in the pan, otherwise serve immediately.
As an aside, how good do these
s of Jamie Oliver's look?! Just a few more than two ingredients, but they look yummy too!!
I don't often comment on my own food in a positive way. Usually I keep any complimentary opinions to myself at the dinner table, but my husband couldn't shut me up whilst eating this meal! I'm not sure if it was
, or perhaps just so much better than the previous two dinners (funnily enough they aren't appearing on meg-made), but I could have eaten this for the entire cleanse. The flavour of the pesto was so fresh and vibrant. The sweet potatoes were crunchy on the outside and sweet and fluffy on the inside. The courgette fritters were crispy and the best way to eat courgettes. And the tomato, well unless you want to drench it in butter and cook it in a pan, it was as good as a tomato is going to get! Okay, I'll stop there. Try it for yourself and see!