making stuff from scratch

What I've been making:

1. Home made peanut butter

 2. Home made basil pesto

3. Home made tomato sauce 

I can hear some snorting (yes I can hear you). As in, seriously lady, why would you bother

Tell ya why – because it takes two minutes in a food processor, it's cheap, and you know exactly what is in it. 

I'm a keen cook. I've always made most things from scratch. It's my kind of fun. (Dork.) 

But I also have two kids who react to artificial colours and flavours and our house is seriously way more peaceful when they have a really clean diet. (I reckon one of the worst offenders that affected my kids behaviour was plain old rice crackers. Even the plain ones have an unidentified antioxidant in the salt. Bad. Rice crackers are on my list to try to make sometime soon.)

And really, once you've made your own peanut butter I'd challenge you to ever go back to Kraft. Homemade is just so. much. yummier. 

Sadly can't try it out on anyone other than Tilly as the boys of the household hate and detest the stuff. 

Henry will move chairs at the breakfast table to get away from peanut butter on toast – mine or his sister's. 

But if you like peanut butter, give this a whirl! I bought roasted and salted peanuts which kind of defeats the purpose of being all from-scratch-etc and obviously you can roast and salt your own. But this was just too quick for words. 

1. Recipe for homemade crunchy peanut butter


4 cups peanuts (roasted and salted)

3 tablespoons peanut oil


Throw 3 cups of the peanuts into the food processor and whizz for a good couple of minutes. It'll take that long for the nuts to break down and become oily. Once mostly smooth, throw in the peanut oil and whizz again for a minute. Then add the last cup of nuts and whizz up until desired chunkiness. 

I don't want to overstate it but this is the best peanut butter you'll ever eat. 

2. Recipe for home made basil pesto

I used this one because who doesn't love Jamie's "handful" of this and that instructions. Encourages you to cook by taste! I used 3 cloves of garlic which in retrospect was a tad garlicy and a 70g packet of pine nuts, maybe more than a handful. Totally delicious though. 

I served it over homemade gnocchi with fresh parmesan. Hmmmm.

3. Recipe for homemade tomato sauce


4 truss tomatoes, sliced

handful of dried herbs

salt and pepper

Splash of olive oil


Slice the tomatoes onto an oven tray and sprinkle with herbs and olive oil:

 Bake in a moderate oven for about half an hour then whizz till smooth in a food processor.

I stirred it through orrichiette pasta for the kids. Yummmm. 

What's something else I can try? Bueller? Ever look at something and think: I should make that?

Hope I haven't brought on a peanut allergy in anyone…


17 Comments on “making stuff from scratch

April 29, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Love it love it love it! I’m definitely going to try the peanut butter…and then macadamia butter (they’re relatively cheap here for some reason). And I love your tomato sauce. Even my trusty canned tomatoes have an extra thing in it, I guess for preservation. You are so clever.

April 29, 2010 at 10:32 pm

I thought of you when I was “sampling” the peanut butter off the spoon. Wish you were here, I made way too much. You’d love it. I have also, after thorough research, found a recipe to make your own Nutella!!

April 29, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Awesome, I’d be all about taste-testing that one for you. Wish I was there too. But not just for the peanut butter. xo

Krista Bjorn
April 30, 2010 at 3:44 am

Wow, this post makes me so happy and absolutely inspired! The pesto I’ve made, sauce I’ve made, but never the peanut butter. It sounds amazing!! 🙂

Jodie Petrov
April 30, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Hi Fi! I’d love to know whose or what gnocchi recipe you use (I assume it was potato gnocchi?) – I’ve tried it a few times with various recipes and have, without fail, ended up with what amounts to watery potato soup! Just CANNOT get the little buggers to hold together.

Love to all, Jode.

April 30, 2010 at 5:09 pm

How bout yoghurt? Very easy and satisfying. It helps if you’ve got hordes of yoghurt obsessed kids in your house to inspire you on.

I’ve just found your blog recently – your cooking exploits are very inspiring. Ill have to try that tomato sauce recipe soon!

April 30, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Wow! I certainly didn’t scoff at your efforts for pure food! In fact, I saw the first picture, then ‘homemade peanut butter’ written underneath and said ‘ohhhh yummm!’! It’s always worth giving these things a go – once you get the recipe right things are ALWAYS tastier when homemade!

I agree with Toasted – homemade yogurt is so easy and you NEVER run out that way!!

April 30, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Hi fi. I’m trying to find a good recipe for dukka. Perhaps you can help in my research??? I’ll definately use that tom sauce recipe. Thanks!

April 30, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Hi Fiona, good on you! I am always inspired by your wonderful recipes. I made your orange cake a while back which was so delicious (and I had it all to myself as no-one else here likes oranges!!). I will be trying out these recipes, thanks so much for sharing and for the motivation to haul out my food processor! Hope you have a wonderful weekend ~ Tina x

April 30, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Jodie darling I simply DO NOT believe you have ever failed at anything in the kitchen. Not believing you for a second. My gnocchi (my first attempt last week) was pretty yummy, maybe a good recipe (actually got it out of the SMH), but just a tad stodgy so thought I’d try it again before posting it. Also looked online and found one with less flour, more potato which looked better. Will try once more this week then blog it. Love to your 2 fellas down there xxx

April 30, 2010 at 8:48 pm

YOGHURT. Fantastic idea. Have a household of yoghurt fanatics here. Thanks thanks thanks. Got a recipe I could try?!

April 30, 2010 at 8:53 pm

ooooh, dukka. I love dukka. Fresh bread, good olive oil, really that could be dinner, right? let’s see what we can find – let me know if you turn u a beauty and I’ll ask around too xxx P.S. wearing one of your t-shirts today. You’re awesome xxx

April 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Yoghurt recipes gratefully received if you have one!

May 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

We just use the last batch of yoghurt to make the next one -until it becomes contaminated – you can tell by the taste/ or the faces of those that taste it! – and we buy a new one.

We’ve got a few ex-coffee jars (the type with push-on rather than screw-on lids) that we rotate. We fill the jar with milk to get the right measurement, heat the milk on the stove and turn it off just as it starts to boil. Then let it cool to lukewarm, pour it into the jar (which we’ve ‘sterilised’ in the meantime by pouring boiling hot water through it) and stir in a tablespoon of the previous yoghurt. Then simply pop it in a yoghurt thermos (we got ours at the op shop) with hot water (hot, but not too hot to dip your hand in) for about 12 hours. Wonderful!

Didn’t realise how airy-fairy our process is. Hope you can make sense of it.

May 3, 2010 at 10:14 am

Or you could pick up an old EasiYo (as toasted says, they’re a dime a dozen in op shops, and extra bits can be bought online if needed), and – rather than buy Easiyo’s (awful) powdered stuff – make your own using toasted’s process above, but with powdered milk (cheaper than milk and goes further!).

You half-fill the yogurt container with water; add two tablespoons thick, Greek yogurt (or labni is ideal) + 1 1/3 cups-ish of milk powder (skim or full cream); shake well; top up with water; sit in boiling-water-filled Easiyo thermos; in the morning it’s yogurt!

PS Re: gnocchi. I recently got an Italian contraption, which looks a lot like a GIANT garlic crusher. You put your whole boiled, peeled potato in there, crush it through, and the “worms” it produces make the potato much less liquidy than mashing, somehow. Excellent and foolproof! I think they’re called potato ricers?

May 3, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Thanks for this!

May 13, 2010 at 6:13 am

Oh my goodness. I made peanut butter and I’M NEVER GOING BACK! Thank you!! xo


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