29 August 2007

Pesto for Lundulph

I've been thinking of making my own pesto for a long time and also to work out an alternative for Lundulph, one without parmesan and last night I finally got round to making some.

I spent some time browsing for recipes and this one seemed ever so good. Besides, I'd recently managed to make my way to La Fromagerie and had managed to get hold of some pecorino sardo. Yummy! So my plan was to make one lot for Lundulph without the precious pecorino and one with for me.

But, since I also made paneer, just to try it out, it seemed so easy on telly, I only made the Lundulph pesto.

I also cheated, as I used the hand blender and whizzed it all together. The "couple of handfuls" of basil leaves came to 55 g. Instead of the parmesan and the pecorino, I used plain Philadelphia. And I reduced the garlic to 1 clove as it's a school night.

Overall, it was very creamy and tasted strongly of basil. I should have used the full amount of garlic and also added more salt. We had it with pasta of course, Lundulph had ravioli with chicken and mushroom filling (no cheese!) and mine were mushroom and ricotta and I added a generous amount of Spanish black olives and pecorino sardo.

The paneer sort of worked, it was fascinating to watch the milk curdle. But I didn't manage to get enough of the liquid out of it, so it was still quite spongey when it was ready. I think I'll make a Korma tomorrow and use it in there. Out of a 4 pi (2.25-ish litre), the resulting paneer is just about enough for two people. After a chat with my Mum today, the way a similar cheese is made in Sweden is by using the Swedish live "yogurt" which is called filmjölk as a souring ingredient and actually add it to the milk even before bringing it to the boil.

Pottering around the kitchen however, I spotted my knobbly rolling pin, that I specifically asked for last Christmas and that my Sister Bip searched through Stockholm to find for me. It's used in Sweden to make Swedish tunnbröd and knäckebröd and it's definitely time to dig out a recipe or two to try out.

One last comment on the pecorino sardo. My parents discovered this last year, along with pecorino romano and are completely converted. The main reason being that both taste surprisingly similar to Bulgarian kashkaval (Kашкавал). Lately it's particularly precious as the quality of the kashkaval has fallen dramatically and nowadays is not ripened long enough to taste of anything beyond plastic. Also it seems a lot less greasy than normal. I was so happy to find out that there is a place in the UK that sells these cheeses and I'll be doing many more trips to La Fromagerie, not the least to get hold of the World's stinkiest cheese - Vieux Boulogne.

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