The herbs in my garden are flourishing at the moment and most weekends I make a herb pesto or salsa of sorts to keep them under control. There is no right or wrong way to make a pesto, just use the herbs that you have available and adjust to your own tastes. My preference is to make a straightforward herb pesto and add different ingredients to it depending on what I am eating. By adding a little white vinegar, gherkins and capers you get a sharper almost salsa verde type dressing to go with lamb, or If you add pine nuts and parmesan to the mix then you will have a more traditional pesto.
The herb pesto recipe makes roughly a jam jar full and will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. You can use herb pesto in all sorts of ways as it is particularly versatile, for example it can be used to flavour bread as below, as a dip, as a sauce for pasta or simply as an accompaniment to grilled chicken.
The herb buns are a great tear and share food to have with a barbecue or as an accompaniment to a salad. This bread recipe is simple and makes light, fluffy buns, just make sure that you do knead the bread properly at the outset until the dough springs back when you touch it and then just be patient and wait for it to rise. Enjoy!
Herb ‘tear and share’ buns
Makes: 9 buns
Preparation time: 4hrs
For the buns
- 400g strong white bread flour
- 25g butter (melted)
- 200-225ml milk
- 1tsp sugar
- 1tsp dried yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4tbsp herb pesto
- milk (to glaze)
- 40g Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 25g fresh mint
- 50g fresh coriander
- 50g fresh parsley
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 lemon
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 4-6 tbsp olive oil
- In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt.
- In a separate bowl stir together the yeast, sugar, milk and butter, then pour the wet mix into the flour and combine using your fingers.
- On floured surface knead the dough for a good 10 minutes (you will notice that the texture of the dough will change during this time, once you have finished kneading the dough should spring back after being pressed lightly).
- Place the dough into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 1 ½ – 2 hours (until it has doubled in size).
- Whilst the dough is rising make your herb pesto – place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a slightly course pesto, taste and add more seasoning as necessary. Store the excess pesto in a jam jar. (Tip for storing: once you have placed the pesto in a jam jar pour over some olive oil so that the top of the pesto is covered to stop the air getting to it – this will help the pesto keep better.)
- Once the dough has risen add the herb pesto and roughly a handful of flour and knead until the pesto is evenly incorporated into the dough.
- Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a long sausage shape then cut into 9 equal sized pieces. Shape the pieces into small balls and placing it in an oiled and floured tin leaving it to rise for the second time for roughly 1 hour.
- Before placing in the oven, brush the buns with some milk and scatter over the parmesan and pine nuts.
- Bake the buns at 190°C fan for 18-20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.