A giant sweet chestnut tree stoops over the platform as I wait for the 7:58 with a huddle of sleepy commuters each morning. Even the slightest breeze sends a shower of prickly hail advancing towards us; as the startled panic subsides I quickly gather a handful of nuts into my pocket before shoehorning onto the train. A simple pesto is a good way of using up herbs in the garden before the cold sets in; replacing olive with rapeseed oil helps bring the chestnut and herb flavour through.
100g sweet chestnuts
Good handful mixed basil, parsley and mint leaves
50g grated parmesan
150ml rapeseed oil
2 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
Cut a small cross in each chestnut and roast for 30 minutes (200°C). Cool before crushing with the flat side of a knife, removing shells and blitzing kernels in a food processor. Throw in remaining dry ingredients and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil, mix together and season to taste.