There’s nothing Fawlty about my Basil!


The sewing and gardening season is upon us and I anticipate many triumphs and failures along the way.  I seem to always do well and have an abundance of courgettes, potatoes and tomatoes, my herb garden blooms and pretty much everything else takes care of itself with a few minor casualties along the way.


That said I can never seem to grow basil from seed well enough. If it grows it does not form well and strong and so inevitably it gives up and withers away into a pot of dissatisfaction and disappointment. So, I cheat, and this cheat is fool proof, easy and cheaper than a packet of seeds.


I buy a supermarket basil plant and cut to the base of each plant or stem, I then pop the stem into a jar of water and leave it to form roots which should take a couple of weeks or there about. Then you simply plant each rooted stem into a pot of compost, thus giving you multiple basil plants. This little effort really does work a treat. What is more is this can be actioned throughout the year so that you always are able to have this delicate favourite available in your kitchen within grabbing distance of your cooking pot. Once potted the plants do need to stay indoors until the summer is providing us with full day blistering sunshine. I’ve not tried this with any other supermarket herb plants yet, but I certainly will do.



Basil and ricotta pesto

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Makes: 500ml jar


250g basil

70g pine nuts un-toasted

1 large garlic clove, peeled

60g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

Salt & pepper, to season

80ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or a light olive oil if you prefer a lighter note)

125g ricotta

Lemon zest (optional)


  1. Into a food processor add the basil, pine-nuts, peeled garlic, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper.
  2. Blitz for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour in half of the oil and blitz for a further 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the remaining oil until you have achieved the perfect pesto, a loose dropping consistency would be ideal.
  4. Spoon in and stir the ricotta. Taste and season as required. Spritz of lemon would be a welcome addition.