Ocimum basilicum

Basil (Basilikum)

Every spring I sow my own basil on our south-facing covered balcony… the ideal location, as it hates rain and cool nights, and LOVES sun! I sow at regular intervals of 3 or 4 weeks to ensure that I always have some young aromatic leaves. And what do you do with all this basil, you may ask?


Recently we’ve been eating it twice or even three times a week to finish off the basil, as it loses its aroma as soon as the nights get cool. I tried freezing the prepared pesto last autumn, but it loses its flavour and was only really fit to be mixed in to another dish. (Okay, I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to pesto!)

Sweet Basil or Genovese Basil:  Ocimum basilicum

Basil Pesto (all approximate quantities)

2 cups basil, leaves only

25g pine nuts

5 or 6 cashew nuts

salt and pepper

2 or 3 cloves garlic (fresh if possible)

¾ cup grated vegetarian parmesan

mild olive oil

Wash and drain basil. Put in mixer with nuts, garlic and a little oil. Blend.

Add seasoning and parmesan, and more oil. Blend again. Taste. Add more oil or blend further to create the consistency you prefer.

Hey Pesto!

Most people eat it with spaghetti, but we prefer it with tortiglioni.


What is happiness for you?

Our news in Germany last night was all about a study that has revealed that Germans are happier than they have been in 10 years, especially in the north….. dispelling the myth that the Bavarians in the south are the happiest of all!

Factors involved were, of course, money, but more than that health, partnerships, jobs and friends. An interesting point, however, was that the ability to forgive makes people happier, and apparently a person from Hamburg for example is better at that than a Bavarian… There are many differences between north Germans and Bavarians, but I hadn’t heard that one before!

The study reminded me of an article I read recently by Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, about the policy of promoting “gross national happiness” in the small Himalayan state of Bhutan. How is happiness measured there? Peter Singer says that

“it is not clear whether people’s answers to survey questions in different languages and in different cultures really mean the same thing”.

 So perhaps that is also the case between the north and south of Germany…. Just a thought.