Coriander/Cilantro Pesto

DSC_9914I think that it may have been a bumper coriander harvest back at home in Sydney that prompted playing with this recipe. It is a riff off the Taste.com recipe, and is a zingy, fresh version of traditional pesto. We are harvesting the greens from our tiny, very-late-fall garden now, trying to make sure we do not lose the lovely leaves to the creeping cold. Once again, Asher’s coriander thrived and there was just enough to make a batch of this. We tossed it through pasta, kale, zucchini and broccoli for a quick dinner this week, topped with a touch more parmesan. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup (approx 55g) toasted cashew nuts
1/3 cup (approx 35g) finely grated parmesan
1/4 cup (60ml) light olive or peanut oil, plus extra as needed for desired consistency
zest and juice of a small lemon
salt to taste

Method:
1. Add the coriander, garlic, nuts and parmesan to the bowl of the food processor, blend till just combined, still a little chunky is good.
2. Add in the lemon, turn on the machine and gradually add the oil till the you reach a glossy, spoonable consistency.
3. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Store in a glass jar, top with oil to seal the pesto off from the air.
5. Enjoy through salad and pasta, or perhaps spread over a pizza base!

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How to make a birthday

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When it’s for this particular muso there must be lots of instruments, lots of friends and family and lots of good food. We celebrated another year of Asher with pizza, playing and partying last week and it seemed to come off! People seemed happy and relaxed, enjoying all the different aspects of the night. The birthday boy was pretty wrapt … it may not be last birthday we celebrate like that! Special thanks to my dad for teaching me about all things yeast, including this particular recipe. I’ve even adapted his instructions here. If you would like to make some pizzas like his/ours (or really, like Donna Hays – see Issue 8, Autumn 2003 for the original recipe) read on …

Makes 3-4 thin based pizzas or 2-3 thicker based pizzas. For a family of 5 we often doubled it. 7 batches worked well for this party and there were 20-25 people.

Ingredients:
2 teasp active dry yeast
½ teasp sugar
1 cup warm water
2 ½ C Plain Flour (approx 360g) (doesn’t need to have very high Protein)
1 teasp Salt (6g)

Toppings:
Tomato pasta sauce (or a mixture of this, tinned tomatoes and tomato paste) + Bocconcini cheese + Basil leaves
Basil Pesto + pan fried chicken thighs + shaved parmesan + rosemary leaves
Dad also likes doing garlic + olive oil + rosemary leaves + parmesan and its a bit of a winner too!

Method:
1. Put yeast, sugar and water into a small in a small bowl, mix to combine. Let sit for a few minutes. Check for bubbles – if there are none, the yeast is dead and you need to find more yeast! Otherwise continue …
2. Put the salt and flour into a bigger bowl, pour in the water mixture and then mix till a dough forms. Knead this for 5-10 minutes. Divide the dough into 3-4 (2-3) balls.
3. Preheat oven to 2200C (2100C fan forced).
4. Let this rest for 30mins-2hours (if you are that patient, 30mins is fine though!). Dad says to cover with a damp cloth, I just covered mine with glad wrap. Either will be fine.
5. Roll out each one to desired shape – round or rectangular, on a floured surface if necessary. Dad says in his instructions to get them as thin as you can. I like mine a bit thicker I think, I let them stay about 1-1.5cm thick and they were great too. Depends on which result you want! Thin and crispy or thick and doughy! At this point Dad also makes a border round the edge, pressing with his fingers … its does work, I just didn’t do it this time and it was also fine. Follow your intuition!
6. Spread with desired toppings and cook for 12-15 minutes or till golden and crispy on top and toppings are looking and smelling very tasty!
7. Cut into several slices (we do rectangle pieces – a pizza cutter and or kitchen scissors work well) and share!