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Out of the ashes

The smell of freshly picked basil wafts through my kitchen, which is great timing considering I haven't done any housekeeping since before Christmas. And that's unlikely to change any time soon not because I'm lazy. I wish! But rather because Fifth Ave Katoomba Retreat got a complete refresh yesterday. From top to bottom. On the inside at least. And we're pooped to say the least.

So as I live in squalor at home, I can rest easy knowing my incoming guests today will walk in and find a glowing haven, quite literally! It will be a relief from the ash and dust surrounding the Blue Mountains currently – which is why we didn't even attempt to wash the outside – apart from the the front porch and our cheery crimson front door sporting a wooden Santa ornament I purchased at a local market years ago.

Now, what to do with all this beautiful fresh basil ... Whilst nowhere near the amount given to me by my Italian neighbour last year – so much that I put it in vases in every room of the house. Talk about air freshener. But my harvest this morning, actually grown from the seeds from my neighbour's gift, will be enough to make up a pesto sauce for my family. It will be a great excuse to cook up some of my air dried pasta made a few months ago.

Making fresh pasta these days, whether for a Makers Market or for interested stockists such as Chapter and Leaves in Faulconbridge, or Fish and Fowl in Katoomba means there is zero waste. Any strand of pasta that doesn't quite cut it, so to speak, is put aside for our own use. I just cut them into small pieces and store in the pantry. No need to run down to the supermarket any more. So I'm thinking, I should grow way more basil and parsley, and start freezing the jars of pesto too. Oh, the joy of being self sufficient!

If you're wanting to have a go at making pesto sauce, it's easier than you might think. See my Parsley Pesto Recipe blog.

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