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Spicy Dill Dip

spicy dill dip

Dill is one of those herbs that you simply have to use fresh. And with an abundance of plants available from garden centres there’s no excuse for not adding this herb to your repertoire. One of its main uses is to flavour bland store bought veggies. Serve this spicy dip with crudités, potato chips or as a sauce for cold salmon or prawns.

1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbs mayonnaise
2 Tbs dill, finely chopped
1 Tbs parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbs minced green onion
1 Tbs chili sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours to allow the flavours to develop.

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Smoked Chilli Chutney Recipe

Technically this is not a chutney. It’s more like a traditional Cape Malay blatjang which is essentially a tangy chili sauce. It’s quick-and-easy to make and it will keep almost indefinitely in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Adjust the ‘heat’ to suit your palate.

smoked chilli chutney with crostini and brie
This quick-and-easy chutney is exceptionally versatile. Here it’s served with crostini, brie, and preserved figs for a delightful appetizer.
Smoked Chilli Chutney
 
Serve with cheese, hamburgers, fish and meats.
By:
  • 60ml grape vinegar
  • 900g apricot jam
  • 8 habanero (or 14 birds eye) peppers, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5ml smoked paprika
  • 5ml paprika
  1. Mix the vinegar and jam to a smooth paste.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well blended.
  3. Bottle and let stand for at least a week to allow the flavours to develop.
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Habanero Hamburger and Hotdog Sauce

This hot chilli sauce is a firm family favourite and it never fails to get compliments. It’s based on a style widely used in the West Indies. Basically it’s habanero peppers, tropical fruit, yellow mustard, and a few other ingredients thrown in for good measure. And it’s super quick-and-easy to make.

chilli hamburger and hotdog sauce
Give your next hotdog or hamburger an upgrade with this West Indian style chilli sauce. Photo credit: iStockPhoto
Habanero Hamburger and Hotdog Sauce
 
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  • 12 habanero chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped finely
  • 1 cup cheap yellow prepared mustard
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Blend all the ingredients to a puree in a food processor.
  2. Bottle and let stand for at least a week before serving to allow the flavours to develop.
  3. Keep refrigerated.
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Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe

Basil pesto sauce is as indispensable to pasta lovers as chili is to chili lovers. Tossed with freshly cooked pasta it makes a fabulous meal. It also compliments a wide variety of other foods making it a must have in any cook’s pantry.

This recipe by Chef Jerry Traunfeld, author of The Herb Farm Cookbook, is the best blender-made basil pesto sauce recipe I’ve tried to date. Follow the directions below to the letter; and you’ll also end up with a perfectly balanced fragrant and sultry pesto sauce.

Making it by hand with a mortar and pestle surely gives the better pesto sauce. But with a blender you can make a perfectly good batch of pesto in just a few minutes. And with very little effort.

Basil Pesto Sauce

Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe
 
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  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons raw pine nuts
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sweet basil leaves, gently packed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a food processor (or hand held blender), process the garlic, pine nuts and salt until finely ground. About 15 seconds.
  2. Add the basil leaves to the bowl and process in spurts until no whole leaves remain.
  3. With the machine running, pour the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream. Stop and scrape down the sides, then process for several more seconds. The mixture should be ground to a paste-like consistency but a little bit of the leaves' texture should remain. If necessary, quickly pulse the mixture again.
  4. Add the cheese and pulse until just incorporated.
  5. Serve immediately.

 

Follow Jerry Traunfeld (@poppyseatle) on Twitter and get a copy of his The Herb Farm Cookbook.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pesto Sauce

What is Pesto Sauce?

Pesto is a classic cold Italian basil sauce from Genoa. It’s a bright green, aromatic and full-flavoured sauce with a thick pouring consistency. The name ‘pesto’ comes from the original method of preparing the basil by pounding it with a pestle in a mortar.

What is in Pesto Sauce?

The classic Italian pesto is simply fresh basil leaves pounded with a bit of salt, a handful of pine nuts, some grated Parmesan cheese, and some richly flavoured olive oil.

Can I Freeze Pesto Sauce?

Though nothing compares to a batch of freshly made pesto it does have excellent keeping qualities. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and for longer storage you can freeze it for up to 6 months.

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A Master Pesto Recipe

Using the basic pesto-making technique with a wider variety of herbs and added ingredients is very popular with chefs, home cooks and food bloggers. Especially with those that have a herb garden. It makes perfect sense for processing a bumper crop of say rocket, parsley or marjoram.

Almost any fresh herb, nut, oil or hard cheese can be combined in the same fashion to produce a pesto style sauce. Just remember that the fresh flavour of the herbs is intensified when the leaves are pounded. So be careful with those that become bitter or unpleasantly intense.

Your Aims When Making a Pesto-style Sauce

Your primary aim is to produce a balanced, aromatic, full flavoured pesto-style sauce to compliment a specific dish. Choose your flavour combinations wisely and don’t let the pesto overpower the dish.

Your secondary aim is to produce a pesto with a thick pouring consistency. Bear that in mind when you get to the oil.

master pesto recipe

Master Pesto Recipe
 
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  • 1 part nuts
  • Garlic, if using, to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 4 parts fresh herbs
  • 1 part oil
  • ½ part grated hard cheese
  1. Substitute the parts with any convenient measure. A ¼ cup measure works nicely for developing new recipes.
  2. When adding garlic, always add in the beginning with the nuts and salt.
  3. Follow the directions for making a machine-made version or the hand-made version.
  4. The ratios are not cast in cement as different nuts, herbs and hard cheeses have varying oil and moisture contents. Play around a bit.
Notes
Tip: When choosing an oil to use in a pesto recipe I use the same criteria as for choosing an oil to use in a salad dressing. First of all it must compliment the other ingredients. Next is that I can eat the oil by the spoonful. Simply because, like salad dressing, I love eating pesto by the spoonful.

Hungry for more pesto ideas? Feast on these…

Making pesto with a blender.

Making pesto by hand.

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Our Favourite Basil Pesto Recipe

Making basil pesto by hand – with a mortar and pestle – arguably produces a far tastier end result than making pesto with a food blender.

For starters, the consistency is different. It’s coarser than the blender-made version. At the same time it’s silky and emulsified. The colour is different as well, more of a creamy shade of olive than bright green.

Most importantly it tastes better, having a rounder, fuller more balanced flavour.

“Perhaps the best reason for making pesto by hand is for the pleasure of the process. You’ll see the separate ingredients slowly transform in unctuous sauce. You’ll smell the powerful clove, mint, and licorice fragrances of the basil as it combines with the garlic and cheese. And you’ll listen to the soft pounding and grinding of the pestle instead of the unyielding whir of an electric motor.” – Chef Jerry Traunfeld, author of The Herb Farm Cookbook

Chef Traunfeld is also the creator of this pesto recipe. And just like his machine-made version it makes the best basil pesto we’ve ever tasted. Follow his recipe to the letter and you’ll also end up with a perfectly balanced fragrant and voluptuous basil pesto.

By the way, if you like this recipe, get yourself a copy of The Herb Farm Cookbook. It’s a must have for any foodie or food professional.

making basil pesto

Our Favourite Basil Pesto Recipe
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Makes about 1 cup, enough pesto sauce for a bowl of pasta for 4
By:
Serves: 4
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons raw pine nuts
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sweet basil leaves, gently packed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Put the garlic, pine nuts and salt in a large mortar. Use the pestle with a gentle downward pounding action to crush the ingredients and start to form a paste.
  2. Coarsely chop the basil leaves on a cutting board with a sharp knife. Add the leaves to the mortar one handful at a time as you begin to rotate the pestle in a circular grinding movement, working mostly at the bottom of the bowl. From time to time use the pestle to pound the mixture with downward strokes. After several minutes it will start to form a paste.
  3. When all the leaves are added, begin to add the olive oil a little at a time, while continuing to use the pestle with the rotary grinding motion. When all the oil is added, the colour will be lighter and the oil will be suspended in the thick spoonable sauce, but you will still be able to see shreds of the basil leaves. Stir in the cheese.

Hungry for more pesto recipes? Try these…

More Resources
Follow Chef Jerry Traunfeld (@poppyseatle) on Twitter
Get a copy of The Herb Farm Cookbook by Chef Traunfeld at your favourite book store.