Walnut pesto

Both of us are not keen on pesto that comes in a jar as it tends to be too oily (although both our kids love it!) and we have finally hit upon a homemade version which hopefully is worthy of getting an Italian’s seal of approval.  We didn’t have any pine nuts or grated Parmesan cheese but we think walnuts and Pecorino Romano works just as well.   The addition of walnut oil accentuates the taste of the walnuts in the pesto.  We had it for lunch today with some penne and tricolore salad.


What do I need to make it?

  • 2 small bunches of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Handful walnuts toasted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp walnut oil
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

A small bowl full – 6-8 heaped tablespoons

How do I make it?

Place the basil, garlic and walnut in a mixer or pestle and mortar and blend to a coarse paste.   Add the oils, cheese and adjust the seasoning.  Use it with your favourite pasta or as a spread on some grilled ciabata.

Gluten free coffee & walnut cake

Having discovered chestnut flour a few weeks back I decided to bake with it today and replaced our normal gluten free flour mix in a coffee and walnut cake.   Net result, I think texture wise it is better and the cake is not as crumbly.  Another incentive for using it moving forward is that it is a singular flour and not a composite of many.  I searched the web for some inspiration and found that almost all the recipes for the cake are similar with slight alterations to the icing (equal measures of flour, sugar, butter and egg with personalized extras thrown in for good measure!)   Here’s my recipe for gluten free coffee and walnut cake (notice the equal measures!!)


What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gms chestnut flour (singoda)
  • 250 gms golden caster sugar
  • 250 gms softened unsalted butter
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 1 tsp espresso coffee powder
  • 5 tbsp Kaluha
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 50 gms chopped walnuts

For the icing

  • 100 gms icing sugar
  • 1 shot of espresso

How much will I make?

12″ round tin

How do I make it?

Cream the butter and sugar first before adding the eggs.  Continue whisking before adding the flour and baking powder.  Whisk for another 5 minutes before adding remain ingredients barring the walnuts. Keep whisking till you get a nice glossy sheen – finally add the walnuts and fold them into the batter.   Pour into greased pan and place in a 180 degree Centigrade pre-heated oven for 45 minutes to an hour till cake is done.   For the icing mix the icing sugar and espresso a little at a time till you get a thick mixture.   Add more icing sugar if the mixture is too runny.   Pour over cooled cake and allow to set before slicing and serving.