I recently needed pesto for a recipe and realising I was out of it -  but literally had a forest of basil growing in the garden - decided to whip up some of my own.  A quick reccie of the pantry and I realised I was also out of pine nuts...so instead saw a bag of pecans and hey pesto...this is the result!  This made about 3 cups or enough for two small jars.

3 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil 
1/3 cup citrus flavoured oil (I used The Filling Station's Blood Orange oil)
Juice of half a lemon
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup toasted pecan nuts
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan

Nikki xx

Blitz all ingredients in the food processor - if it is a bit stiff, add a little extra olive oil.
This will store for up to a week jars if kept in the fridge.

We found this great recipe back in winter when we were gearing up for Mardi Gras, but with it's fresh mango & cilantro it feel like a great salsa for summer or any season! Enjoy!

Mango Chipotle "Mardi Gras" Salsa

1/2 bunch cilantro finely chopped
2 mangos peeled & chopped
1 red onion chopped
4 tomatillos roasted chopped salt to taste.
4-5 canned chipotle peppers in adobo
4 cloves garlic chopped
salt to taste

Combine ingredients serve.

Another great party dip, that my family counts as a staple in our "beach eats." This is the way Mara makes it, but my cousin Jessie uses a layer of guacamole after the beans, and uses green chillies instead.  I make mine with plain sour cream.  You can make it your own...though we all agree that although you need to refrigerate for a while to get it to "set" we all enjoy it best at room temperature!  XO  Martha

Pantry Must Haves:
1 can refried beans
1 16 oz. container sour cream
1 package taco seasoning
1 large bag of shredded cheddar/jack cheese
a bunch of scallions chopped
2 tomatoes diced
1 can sliced black olives
1 jalapeños pepper sliced thin

Mix taco seasoning into the sour cream, set aside. Prep all the veggies. 
In a pyrex pan or cake pan, spread the refried beans evenly over the bottom.  Next spread on the seasoned sour cream, followed by the layer of cheese.  
Top with scallions, tomatoes, and olives in any order you desire and finish 
off with the jalapeños. 
 To feed a crowd, double the recipe!
This amazingly easy and delicious salsa-like concoction is part of our "beach eats" collection when we vacation.  The combination of canned goods with fresh cilantro, onion and peppers makes it simple enough for the kids to prepare.  Just be forewarned that it makes a huge portion that we keep  in the fridge for nibbling all week long with tortilla chips!  I owe my college roommate credit for introducing me to this crowd pleaser! Thanks Mara! XO Martha

Pantry Must Haves:

I can black eyed peas
1 can black beans
1 can hominy
1 can garbanzo beans
2 cans of ro-tel (dice tomatoes with habaneros)
1/2 onion chopped
1 pepper chopped
1 big handful of cilantro chopped
1/4-1/2 jar of light italian dressing

MIx them all together and 
enjoy with some tortilla chips!
A recipe from a MATE
4 Ripe Avocados- sliced
1 lime
1 Sweet onion
A bunch of Cilantro
Diced Grape Tomatoes
And Salt to taste....
Using a mortar and pesto- Crush the onions and Cilantro, together. Add a little salt, then crush in the  avocados. Stir in the tomotoes and cilantro. then add more salt and lime for taste.... Serve with corn chips
The Danny Doyle Guacamole recipe! 
2 Avocado
1/2 Small RED Onion diced small
1 Clove Garlic minced
1 Tomato diced
1 Fresh Lime squeezed
and a pinch of Kosher Salt

An Aussie Version
I have a yummy pea Guacamole recipe: blend 350g defrosted frozen peas, 1 garlic clove crushed, 2 chopped spring onions, 1tsp grated rind and juice of 1 lime, 1/2 tsp ground Cummin, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and a dash of Tabasco sauce (process till smooth). Add 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander process for a few more seconds. Cover and Chill for 30 min. Sprinkle cayenne pepper over the top. Yummy with crudités or on rosemary and pinenut loaf.

Guacomole left overs- RARE but it could happen...Check out Emily's solution...

Martha's Version
2-3 Ripe Avocados
1 Tomato
1 Onion (small to medium)
A Large handful of fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/2  Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste

Halve the avocados lengthwise, take the pit out and use a knife to dice the avocado up while it's still in the skin.  Use a spoon to scrape that green goodness into a big bowl.  Dice the tomato and onion, add to big bowl.  Make sure you remove the stems from the cilantro first and just chop up the leaves and add as much as you like to the big bowl.  Using a fork, start mashing up the avocado and mixing up the ingredients.  Squeeze the fresh lime juice on top and add plenty of salt and pepper to taste.  
(Click to link to photos.)

1 Large cooked rotisserie chicken
1 8oz block of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 12oz bottle of Frank’s Red Hot, Buffalo Style Wing Sauce
2 cups (16oz) Ranch dressing
3 cups Shredded Mexican cheese
2 bags Corn tortilla chips


First pick the meat from the rotisserie chicken. Pull the meat apart with your hands or run through with a knife to make shredded or small cubed pieces. In a large mixing bowl combine the chicken and the softened cream cheese and ranch dressing; mix thoroughly. Next add 8-12oz of Buffalo Wing Sauce depending on the desired spice level. Mix all the ingredients making sure they are evenly distributed throughout. 

Preheat the oven. Pour the mixture into a 9”x13” cake pan, top with 3 cups of Mexican cheese and bake at 350 degrees until the cheese has melted and slightly bowned. Serve with Corn Tortilla Chips.