Verdict: I’m not broken. Also spinach pesto is delicious.

I’m sore.

Very sore.

But my legs work. I started a new one week challenge this week. I drove to work on Monday and left my car there (I have use of a fleet car) and walked -slowly- home. I rode to work this morning, knowing that firstly, it would be painful, and secondly, active recovery is always a good option.

My challenge for the week is a no-car challenge. I’m using my car at work only and biking or walking everywhere. This really isn’t difficult since I’m only a few kms from shops and friends, but I figure a bit of light exercise won’t hurt me this week since I’ll be resting and recovering from the weekend.

My thighs hurt the most. It’s the front of my thighs in particular, and not my ankle or my calves. My backs a little sore too but nothing drastic.

I’m trying to feed my body good food at the moment, with the exception of today’s lunch chips because I ran out of time and couldn’t decide what to eat.

Last night was spinach and basil pesto on wholemeal spaghetti.

not the greatest photo

I didn’t measure, but I threw some fresh garlic, fresh picked basil (mmmm!), baby spinach, cashews, salt and olive oil together in the food processor and added bits and pieces until it tasted good. Because of the spinach it had a milder flavour than my normal basil pesto, but it was pretty good. I also threw in some hemp seeds, for the lovely omega 3s!

To serve, I cooked the pasta, drained it and then tossed the pesto through. I topped it with some olives and sun dried tomatoes as well as “super sprinkles”. Super sprinkles are a Parmesan replacement, but Gary didn’t want to call it “fake Parmesan” so super sprinkles it is! I make it from roughly equal parts pine nuts and nutritional yeast, with a twist or two of the salt grinder, and then whizz it in the food processor. Some recipes say to put it in the oven to dry it out but I don’t worry about it.

This is what it looked like in the end (again I was a little slack on the presentation/photographing!):


Now, before I get murdered by pesto purists, I know this isn’t a traditional pesto. My favorite pesto is actually a fully traditional basil pesto smashed in my mortar and pestle because nothing has ever compared to that flavour. However, this is a delicious and highly nutritious way to get some greens into you!

As a side note, I made sure to have an orange afterwards because the vitamin C aids absorption of the iron from the spinach.

Tonight I’m planning BBQ tempeh and some grilled veggies with a spinach based side salad. Can’t seem to get enough spinach lately!



summer’s leftovers – salt preserved basil

Last night I cooked Spaghetti Bolognese and I used some of our own produce to do so. A massive spring onion – nice strong flavour but a little woody at the base due to age – and fresh parsley were thrown in. I have used all my jars of tomatoes and pasta sauce which I made from last summer’s crop, so I had to use supermarket tomatoes.

Since no Spaghetti Bolognese is complete withough delicious basil, and I have no fresh basil available (due to it only just being spring), I used the last of a jar of salt preserved basil. As you can see from the photo above, salt preserved basil looks a little different to the fresh basil.

But here’s the thing – dried basil tends to lose its flavour. This one, while it loses some of the flavour, still tastes like basil. I can’t vouch for the science of it, but here’s my best guess: Drying basil lets out all the essential oils – and that’s what carries the flavour. Salting basil draws only the water out of the leaf, leaving the oils. This means a few big jars of salted basil can give you tasty (although no so attractive) basil supplies for the winter months, as there is no moisture in which bacteria can grow. If anyone is concerned about how food safe this is, please conduct your own research before embarking, as I am by no means an expert on the subject. I am happy with my thoughts on the matter and consider the risk well worth the almost fresh taste of basil in winter.

I wouldn’t use it in a pesto – thats why I crushed basil at the end of summer and froze it at various stages of becoming pesto to see which stage is the best to freeze it at (turns out parmesan cheese doesn’t go so well in the freezer).

To salt basil, it’s as simple as putting a layer of salt in the base of washed and dried glass jar, then layering your clean and dry basil – with no two pieces touching – between layers of salt. Pop a lid on it and keep it in your pantry – or a cool dry place out of direct sunlight. Over the next few days the salt will draw the moisture out of the leaves. As you chip out the salt later to get the leaves, put it into a shallow bowl or dish and let it dry out – it can then be reused and will not carry any basil flavour. I made up one jar using rock salt, and the rest were using normal salt. While the rock salt looks pretty awesome, it can be a bit difficult/annoying to have to chip out lumps of salt to get your basil out. I’d advise personal discretion be used with that one!

In using the basil, there is usually a bit of salt clinging to the leaves as you bring them out. There’s two choices here – if it’s a recipe that requires salt, throw in the leaves with the salt attached and reduce or omit the salt itself. If you don’t want the salt, it’s a simple matter to brush it off or wash the leaves.