Everyday Freedom. Then Prune Pesto

When I lived in Papua New Guinea, I only remember once going out for dinner. It was a farewell dinner with friends because we were going to go to live in Brunei. The dinner was at a Chinese restaurant and we all arrived exactly at the same time – because different cars arriving at different times can turn into a dangerous affair there. There was a guard with a gun patrolling the roof of the restaurant. There was a guard at the door with a gun. He let us into a small cubicle space where there was another guard with a gun. And so on. I don’t remember how many doors with guards there were.

We had a lovely dinner and had a nice time with our friends. We were lucky.

A few days later we left. We learnt through our friends that one week later others weren’t so lucky, as someone managed to go past all the controls, with a gun, and hold a shooting session.

I know that I’m very lucky to live in a safe place at the moment. Even though in Spain there are huge economic problems, people and very discontent with the politicians (I won’t go into it all), at least being killed is not a normal everyday fear. The most violent thing I need to worry about is someone snatching my purse from my bag without me realising.

Many of my friends that are from South American countries want to return to their countries but they really ponder about it, due to the fact that they feel so much safer in their everyday lives in Spain, as opposed to in their own country. The truth is, often when I go about on my day-to-day activities, or come back late at night with no fear, I do reflect on how lucky I am to live in a safe place.

Anyhow, going onto happier thoughts, today I have a prune pesto recipe. I made this the last time my brother-in-law came to visit. He is a wonderful dinner guest and appreciates my pestos. This pesto holds his seal of approval. Even though I found the prunes (shiny black blobs) to be highly un-photogenic, I also thought the addition of the prunes made a fantastic flavour.

Prune and basil pesto


1 big bunch basil leaves

1 handful pine nuts

1 handful walnuts

5 prunes

1 clove garlic

100g Parmesan cheese


black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Simply put all the ingredients in a blender and blend.

Note: lately I’ve been making pesto with less olive oil than you would usually use. I quite like this less oily variation as it gives a chunkier and crunchier feel to the pesto and a more intense flavour.

Pesto with prunes

Pesto with prunes recipe

Thank you for reading!

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  1. Johnnysenough Hepburn 2013-11-13 at 01:24

    Love the idea of adding prunes, Hadn’t really thought about including dried fruits. Dried apricot with thyme would be great. Will have to buy in more fresh herbs next week and try one!

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:30

      I think that if you add a raw garlic, as I did here, (STRONG!) the dried fruits add a sweetness that balances that out. I think my poor pesto plants have had enough of this season so I’ll be decided what herbs to make the next pesto. I shall have to what you incase you have a great idea!

  2. Guillermina Bósquez Stover 2013-11-13 at 02:08

    Wow–prunes in the pesto–what a fabulous idea! You are so wonderfully original, Sofia…

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:30

      You should try it Guillermina, its great! xx

  3. dalo2013 2013-11-13 at 02:24

    It is a wonder how safe we are in the West… It is a bit heartbreaking to have friends or see others having to deal with such violence and safety issues on a daily basis. I am a huge optimist, however, and see the world getting better & better (albeit at a rate that is very slow). Hopefully this message will reach you ~ in China right now, and WordPress is banned (and I do not use a VPN) but lucky today. Pictures do not download, so cannot see your great photo but assume it must be beautiful 🙂

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:36

      I like to think its getting better but you never know, I think some areas of the world are slightly getting worse… What WP is banned? Really? How do you do it then? It doesn’t matter if the photos were good, in real life it was delicious! 😉

  4. Priya Kedlaya 2013-11-13 at 03:01

    I feel the same way about everyday freedom.. I doubt I could withstand the daily anxiety over basic safety! Neat idea with the prunes.. more texture and depth to pesto!

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:37

      Yes, I have lived in some dodgy places, so basic safety is important! I hope you do try making some pesto with prunes 🙂

  5. SJPONeill 2013-11-13 at 03:25

    You’ve inspired me to drop some basil seeds into some potting mix this afternoon…I miss my pestos..!

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:38

      Fantastic 🙂 I should try dropping some seeds too and see if I manage to grow some..

  6. aryana0821 2013-11-13 at 05:41

    look wonderful ..and lovely 🙂

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:38

      Thank you, I’m glad you like it!

  7. apartmentwife 2013-11-13 at 06:26

    first of all, prunes and pesto are two of my favorite foods, and this sounds delicious. if we were neighbors i would probably always be stopping by your kitchen. second, you raise some very significant points about the importance of feeling safe in our communities. i lived in new orleans just after hurricane katrina, and the violence in the city made it nearly impossible to feel safe walking down the street in daylight. i love new orleans for the culture, the art, the music and the food (i could go on), but could never really call it ‘home’ for the underlying tone of violence. anyway! long post, but i agree with you- feeling safe is something we shouldn’t take for granted 🙂

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:41

      It would be fun to have you as my neighbour 🙂 Gosh I’m sure living through that must be have been hard. And its also terrible how moments of hardness and chaos can bring on waves of violence. xx

  8. Sunny 2013-11-13 at 10:50

    Hey Sofia, ouch that story is really pretty scary. You have definitely seen the world in a way that most don’t get the chance to. Happier thought: I just found the blender the fiance bought when he was still living on his own, which means I CAN MAKE PESTO SOON! Think I’ll just do the basic version first. I used to love making pesto, but I haven’t since my own smaller blender broke (and I totally forgot he brought one into our household, haha)!

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:43

      Hey yeah… anyway Sunny, great, homemade pesto is the best!

  9. Mabel Kwong 2013-11-13 at 12:16

    I feel the same way when I am holidaying in Malaysia (where my parents are from). Some places here are pretty dangerous and every night when I fall asleep, I am thankful I am safe and sound. Where I’m living in Melbourne currently, I think it’s much safer and except at night, I don’t look over my shoulder when I’m out and about. By the way, the pesto looks very delicious.

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:44

      Really? I’ve been to Malaysia a few times but not enough to experience that I think. However I’m sure you feel safer in Melbourne. I hope you try making some pesto too! xx

      1. Mabel Kwong 2013-11-14 at 13:18

        Boring as this may sound, I love pesto pasta sans too much cheese. I’m not much of a cook, but perhaps one day I’ll make some myself. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  10. pianolearner 2013-11-13 at 13:00

    Scary stuff!. once you’ve made your own pesto you can never buy shop bought again!

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:44

      I’m sure you make your own too 🙂

      1. pianolearner 2013-11-13 at 23:26

        yes we do. I love our own homemade pesto on sandwiches with cold chicken

        1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 23:43

          Hadn’t thought of it with sandwiches, nice, but i do like it with chicken 🙂

  11. Ada ~ More Food, Please 2013-11-13 at 22:17

    Never thought about adding prunes to pesto–what a fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Sofia 2013-11-13 at 22:47

      I hope you make some 🙂

  12. celestedimilla 2013-11-14 at 22:45

    I can’t imagine living life in a place where I didn’t feel safe. Reading about your life in Papua New Guinea makes me feel very thankful that I live in the US. I’m glad that you are safe now girlfriend! And what an interesting pesto recipe. I’ve never made anything with prunes before, but this looks good. Celeste 🙂

    1. Sofia 2013-11-14 at 23:33

      Hi Celeste! Yes, feeling safe on a normal day to day basis is so important.
      This pesto is great, you should try it 🙂

  13. littleblissbook 2013-11-15 at 06:13

    Oh wow that restaurant experience sounds scary!

    I’ve only every tried a pesto sauce once and loved the taste before I started breaking out lol…i didn’t know it had pine nuts until after the fact. I’ve always wanted to try making it with a nut I can have though, like almonds. Maybe it’ll work.

    Btw, I love your blog so much I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award, hope you’ll participate in the tag. http://littleblissbook.com/2013/11/13/pet-peeves-and-thankful-tag/


    1. Sofia 2013-11-15 at 23:24

      Oh, thanks so much, that is so sweet of you. Congratulations to you too 🙂
      Regarding the pesto, sure pine nuts are “typical” but you can also make them with other nuts. Can you not eat pine nuts then?

  14. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward 2013-11-17 at 20:23

    Hi, Sofia,
    Your prunes are not at all unphotogenic. They are a gorgeous contrast to the bright, green pesto in your beautiful photos.
    Your story – and those of your friends – saddens me. I am, however, happy that you and many others are safe in Spain, and well – even if it has its share of issues, like many countries.
    Thank you for sharing your story – and your recipe. I look forward to making this inventive and creative pesto. Your brother-in-law is a lucky guy to eat such a flavorful and scrumptious dish.

    1. Sofia 2013-11-20 at 22:11

      Yeah, all countries have its share of problems, but we also need to look at the bright side because all countries also have their own beauty. Oh yeah, my brother in law is lucky to have me as his sister in law 🙂

  15. Obsessive nutrition compulsive 2013-11-23 at 09:25

    Wow! What a huge jump from the heavy stuff to prunes!! Nevertheless, I love the idea of prunes in pesto/dip; a great binder plus this may solve my mum’s constipation problems (hahaha don’t ever tell her I told you that). I love that you put less oil in there, since they don’t actually act as a leavener/fluffiness-creator, oil is just not that necessary in pesto but to satisfy taste buds.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences! How fascinating your life must have been! I’m confused about whether you reside in Australia, or Spain??

    1. Sofia 2013-11-24 at 21:23

      Yeah, homemade pesto is always so good.
      My life is weird, or I think I’ll use your word as from now: fascinating 🙂 haha. I’m of mixed Spanish-Indonesian origin and I’m Australian. I currently liven Barcelona, Spain.
      PS I’d love to visit NZ!

      1. Obsessive nutrition compulsive 2013-11-25 at 06:32

        Wow, I’m further fascinated now that you’ve explained your cultural identity! Did you live in Australia very long? It’s not all that different from NZ I think. The weather here is uber nice right now, it must be winter in Spain, I heard Christmas/New Year celebrations there are pretty all-out!

        1. Sofia 2013-11-28 at 00:32

          Oh theres a cold wave here now and I hate it! I’d rather have hot weather 🙂 Spaniards love to party so any celebrations here are awesome! xx

          1. Obsessive nutrition compulsive 2013-11-28 at 06:16

            I guess you would be used to hot weather – having lived in Australia, etc. Oh well! The cold weather comes with the happy season! Looking forward to Spanish Christmas recipes!!


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