The other week I was asked to do cooking demos at the Edinburgh Foodies Festival. What a treat, now what recipes could I whip up on stage – had to be my herbal recipes and of course that meant pesto – smokey parsley and almond pesto to be exact!
The weather was wonderful for this fabulous foodie festival, the sun shone all weekend and the temperature rose enough for everyone to get the holiday vibe, kick back and enjoy the live music, taste all the tipples on offer, sample the food and make full use of the bars!
The Pimms bar was my favourite, it was a very English jolly red teapot. Of course there were lots of other drinks on offer from the chic Prosecco bar with its jazz music and French lager served from a vintage camper van to Spanish Rioja and very British Gins.
Of course the food available was wonderful and ranged from popcorn to paella, Greek lamb to roast beef, sausages to spit roast pork and nitrogen ice-cream to French macarons.
Most definitely something for everyone.
I loved going round all the market stalls and met a lovely lady called Audrey Grieve (no relation) who runs a company called Boulevard Cuisine from North Shields where they make a whole range of super tasty smoked goodies, from salts to peppers and oils to mushrooms. I was enchanted by the flavours and made full use of her Smoked White Pepper and Smoked Garlic Salt to make my Smokey Parsley and Almond pesto that I made every day as part of my demo.
I’ve come home with a batch of their goodies to try in different recipes so more to come…
As you know I love making pestos and this smokey parsley and almond pesto is quick and easy to make and super tasty too. Of course I was using the smoked salt and peppers to give a real depth of flavour but you can go with straight s&p too. But honestly pop over to Boulevard Cuisine and check out their range they are too good to miss out on.
For my pesto I used two tablespoons of flaked almonds which I quickly toasted in a dry pan for about 40 seconds (not as easy as it sounds when you are talking non stop and doing this on stage in front of 100 people, a few almonds got a tad too hot!) and then these were blitzed in a food processor along with a clove of garlic, a large handful of parsley (I used curly but choose your favourite), zest and juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of parmesan cheese, about 100ml of olive oil and of course the lovely smoked garlic salt and smoked white pepper to really give a depth of flavour.
When I make pesto at home I always use the old-fashioned pestle and mortar method just because I like the whole slow process of it all, the scent of the almonds and garlic coming together and the silkiness when you add the oil.
I thoroughly enjoyed doing my demos at the Edinburgh Foodies Festival, catching up with old friends like Fiona who makes the most amazing chocolates and making new ones too. It is a real privilege to be asked to do these shows and I have to say my audiences were great, really enthusiastic and so full of compliments.
So thanks to everyone who made the Edinburgh Foodies Festival such a great success, here’s to next year!
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds
- 1 clove garlic
- handful parsley (25g/1 oz)
- zest and juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
- 100ml olive oil
- smoked garlic salt and smoked white pepper to taste
- Toast the almonds in a dry pan for 40 seconds or until just golden and aromatic
- Mince the garlic and then add all ingredients to a food processor and whazz to a sauce consistancy.
- Serve as a dip or sauce for pasta or spread on to crusty bread.