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Gingergirl: ‘Nothing says summer like a fresh salad’

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Hello and welcome to all about food. This week we’re celebrating the taste of summer.

Hello and welcome to all about food. This week we’re celebrating the taste of summer.

Ask Gingergirl

Hello Gingergirl,

This year I took my first tentative steps into grow your own and I am delighted to say that it has been a real success. Almost too successful! My rocket plant has gone into overdrive! Is there anything I can do with it or should I simply keep my friends in salad for the summer?

Joe, Caherdavin

Hello Joe,

I love the peppery taste of rocket leaves and, as you mentioned, it is great in salads; with pasta, pizza or in sandwiches. However, left with a bumper crop I highly recommend making pesto. Though classic pesto is made with basil, I always seem to have access to large quantities of rocket more often that the very large quantities of basil.

Rocket pesto will keep in a sealed jar for up to six months in the fridge, giving you a little taste of summer right through the winter months.

Rocket & walnut pesto

Feel free to multiple this recipe accordingly.

300g of fresh rocket leaves

4 cloves of garlic

150g of walnuts

The juice of 2 lemons

700ml of extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt (Maldon is good)

150g of Parmesan or pecorino cheese

Preheat the oven to 180ºc. Place the walnuts on a baking tray and cook for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Place the walnuts, and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, rocket, and half the olive oil and process until the required texture is achieved, gradually add the remaining oil. Stir in the parmasean and season with salt and pepper. Adjust the olive oil content to reach the desired consistency, it should be quite thick. Cover and chill. If you do plan to make and store this pesto long term, it is better to leave out the cheese until using the pesto and simply stir in the finely grated parmesan before use.

This pesto is perfect with pasta, gnocchi or spread on ciabatta.

Contact Gingergirl


Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

Letters to ‘Gingergirl’ c/o The Limerick Leader, 54 O’Connell St. Limerick.

You can follow Gingergirl’s on Twitter – under gingergirlfood or on Facebook – under ‘gingergirl’.

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