• Tired basil leaves and a few stalks
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

I am a reformed hoarder. Maybe reformed is too strong. I’m a recovering hoarder. Like anyone with a predilection to do things to excess, I will never fully be cured. I will always be a hoarder. Just one who’s less inclined to keep everything these days.

Things I have hoarded/collected:

- The ‘how to teach yourself piano’ supplements from the Guardian circa 2009.

- Seeds, all types, herbs, flowers. I do not discriminate. However, I also do not plant them. Go figure.

- Glasses. The type you drink from. Not just the pretty French stuff with printed fruit and fancy words on. Oh no, Ikea will do too. At one point I owned 67 shot glasses. I don’t even drink shots.

- Moisturisers. After buying a promise in a pot, I have very good intentions to apply every morning and every night but time seems to just eek away. So I have dry skin, wrinkles and loads of unopened miracle creams. If I applied them all in one go I might turn back the clock to 1983.

- Recipes torn from magazines, newspapers and now photographed on my phone from friends cookbooks. It’s a habit that seems sensible, after all cooking and baking is my hobby. But it’s not sensible; the back log sometimes makes my heart flip. Maybe when the kids are both at school I’ll have the time to try them all. Clearly this is nonsense as I’ll be busy collecting recipes.

And lately pots of tired looking fresh herbs have been gathering on my kitchen windowsill. Drooping, withering, crying out for water. The remnants of a great photo shoot. But there’s no point trying the save them with water, says my husband, they’re not growers apparently. Well obviously a hoarder like me couldn’t bin them. Instead my tired basil leaves have had a second go at life as a basil dressing. It’s easy as the easiest thing.

Here goes:

One year ago: Wedding macarons and Lemon and almond breakfast rolls

Two years ago: Bakewell tart with a vanilla crust and Father’s Day man-cake

Basil dressing


  • Tired basil leaves and a few stalks
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Finely chop or food process the basil, a pinch of salt and a few scrunches of black pepper. Then add olive oil a tablespoon at a time until you have a dressing that’s thick or thin enough for whatever you fancy. I drizzled mine all over fresh tomatoes and avocado. Also makes a great marinade if we’re lucky enough for more barbecue weather. Maybe change the oil to one that likes higher heats like groundnut instead.

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