Smoked red pepper pesto

We were having a cook-in the other night and I’d had a hankering after some red pepper pesto. Luckily for me, my daughter Kaytlin is pretty enthusiastic about getting involved in cooking and I got her to make a batch while I did some other stuff. It was fab.

This has a wonderfully nutty, slightly burnt flavour which will brighten up your darkest winter evening. Great with fish or flesh, with fantastic peppery, smoky notes and a robust colour which looks great spread across a white plate.

3 large red peppers (capsicums), quartered
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 heaped tbsp pine nuts, toasted
50g Parmesan, grated
Best olive oil, a few splashes

Roast the quartered red peppers on a hot skillet until charred on both sides, especially the skin side. After a few minutes, put them in a plastic bag and seal, leave them cook a little longer in their own steam and ultimately cool off a bit. While this is happening, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan, being careful not to burn them, because they’re very easy to burn. Back to the peppers: peel/scrape off the skin and discard because it is somewhat indigestible. Put the flesh in a liquidiser, chuck in the pine seeds, garlic and cheese and liquidise, adding enough oil to lubricate the process but not so that it’s too runny. It needs to be thicker than cream but thinner than nutella.

Bottle up and refrigerate.

Some people recommend adding basil and walnuts, paprika and other spices, but I think it over-complicates the recipe. I think the fact that I have such a high percentage of toasted pine nuts is enough to satisfy the palette.You can find more of these on