Monday 17 June 2013

Green days, Herby Pesto and Hummus Sauce and Stone Soup

Summer is here and the days are green with balmy weather. Mild and rainy and windy. The wind blew the honeysuckle right off the top of the garage roof. It blocked the whole path into the main bit of the garden making it seem like a secret garden. I had to push my way through green fronds to get there. They pulled my hair and left twiggy bits behind making me look like Radagast, (without the beard, thankfully)

I cut back three heaped wheelbarrows full of honeysuckle in the rain, then wheeled them into the woods. I could have stayed there the whole day. It was all green and wet and wild...and yet calm. I picked nettles to make stone soup. And herbs to make green pesto sauce to serve with asparagus with new potatoes and steak, or pan fried chicken. 

To make my green herb and hummus pesto salad dressing you will need:

  • A couple (or three, I have small hands) handfuls of fresh herb leaves. I used basil and rosemary and mixture of baby spinach and other salad leaves.
  • About a handful of finely grated Parmesan Cheese.
  • The same amount of pine kernels
  • A lime or lemon
  • Olive oil
  • One or two cloves or peeled and crushed garlic
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • A tablespoon of ready made hummus or a couple of tablespoons of cooked chick peas and one of tahini. 

  1. Wash and remove leaves from stalks of herbs and salad vegetables, chop roughly and place in the bowl of a blender. If using rosemary I chop it finely before adding.
  2. Add the cheese, crushed garlic, pine kernels plus a good glug of olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice and twist of sea salt and black pepper along with the chick peas and tahini if not using ready made hummus. 
  3. Give them a good whizz in the blender or work with a pestle to pound down into a paste adding lemon juice and olive oil until you reach the right consistency that you are looking for. Add the hummus and mix well.
  4. Taste and adjust ingredients to suit your palate.

This is a recipe that you can play around with using whatever herbs or nuts you have to hand, or to taste.  Since eating  the most amazing Mortons' hummus and roasted vegetable sandwich that I'm sure also contained basil pesto, I've started adding a big spoonful or two of hummus to mine. You can add all the hummus ingredients along with those for pesto  or a spoonful or two of ready-made. I love this addition but I also sometime use a little yoghurt if I want a lighter dressing. 

It makes a fantastic salad dressing, is perfect with new potatoes, great in lunch box salads and lighter Summer Sunday lunches or suppers; where vegetables are being steamed instead of roasted and it just seems to be the wrong time of year for gravy.


  1. How pretty your garden looks Debby. Summer has arrived here too and while I enjoy the unscheduled days, I do detest the hot and humid weather.
    I have been working in my herb bed this morning and was just thinking about making a pesto sauce and now I see your recipe, how perfect.

    1. Oh thanks Tracey. What a coincidence about the pesto...this one is amazing on potatoes. We don't grow our own but Jersey New potatoes are in season now and they are the best.

  2. Yum yum yum, I wish you lived next door or I lived next door to you. We could eat your good food and knit and chat! Wouldn't that be divine?

  3. Green, green and more green, love it. Don't think I have ever made stone soup.

    1. I am a big fan of wild green gardens I find it so calming although it doe sometimes get a bit overwhelming as the woods at the end of he garden are constantly trying to reclaim it...I think it's winning and that probably I don't mind too much though...

  4. Everythign just looks so fresh! I love that there's so much green in my fridge now:) I love making pesto; so versatile and so fun to experiment with usign wwhatever herbs I can get hold of. Stone soup, though, I have yet to try. Need to! x

  5. I love this time of year for fresh produce too Shu Han and all the lovely berries...that reminds me I must check the gooseberry bush. There's a lovely story about how the name stone soup came about. You may have already heard it but if not you can link to here:

    Have a cool weekend.