Freshfield Grove

Tales of Tasmanian Adventures in Olive Oil

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How to Cure Olives at Home – Part 2 – Ferment in Brine

In part 2 of this series I’m dealing with brine cured olives. 

If you want to read about water-curing olives, then go my previous post here.

This takes the longest of all the methods, but is also the easiest. The lack of contact time is a huge bonus for me, and although the months, and months, and months of waiting seem impossible at the start, if you hide them in the back of the pantry you’ll forget they’re there! Until, one day, you remember, and it feels as if someone’s given you a super special yummy gift! And if you do this every year, you’ll always have a supply of these little treats to hand anyway, so it won’t matter that the new batch can’t be touched!

Brine curing relies on a natural fermentation process. Basically, you put the freshly picked olives in an acidified brine solution which creates a selective environment Continue reading

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Recipes From My Kitchen – Colourful Roast Veggie Pasta

Cooking veggies in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) increases the antioxidant-rich phenols of the vegetables. Phenols are known to be anti-inflammatory and have a preventative effect against cancers and chronic illnesses. They’re present in vegetables and EVOO, but cooking them together by frying or baking increases their availability. Cooking veggies like this obviously increases the calories, but EVOO has been shown to keep us feeling full for longer after meals, so it reduces calories from snacking!

These veggies can all be grown in the area where I live in the Coal River Valley region of Tasmania, but my vegetable patch is still in its infancy! I’m lucky to be able to find many of them at local markets when they’re in season though.

This recipe takes a while because of the time for the veg to roast, but the chopping is the most difficult and time consuming part! I scale this up or down depending how many people I want to feed, Continue reading

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Recipes From My Kitchen – Cauliflower Cheese Pasta Bake

This recipe is like a cross between cauliflower cheese and macaroni cheese, and it’s perfect comfort food! The weather’s picked up again in Tassie and we’ve got some beautiful sunny days as we head into autumn, but it was getting a bit chilly for a while and I dug this recipe out! Make this to enjoy on its own, or pair it with some BBQ food. It’s great as a veggie dish, but chicken or bacon are tasty additions. I sometimes add a bit of broccoli too, for a little more colour. It can also be prepared in advance, Continue reading

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Recipes From My Kitchen – Spicy Zucchini Tomato Rice

I made this earlier in the week, after being gifted some zucchini (aka courgettes!) from our lovely neighbours. I obviously forgot to take photos of the zucchini, but they were a mixture of yellow and green which made for a very pretty dish. Also forgot to take pics of the cooking process and final result, as it came after a busy day at work and I was just trying to get food into my belly as quickly as possible! I was delighted with the result of this experiment though. Filling but not heavy, and with leftovers for lunch a couple of days later 🙂

Spicy Zucchini Tomato Rice

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A quick, easy, healthy dish for zucchini season.


  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp fresh extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed or chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • jalapeno rings to taste, chopped (optional, I only used 4!)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Cook the rice, and while that’s going on, continue with the following…
  2. Put the extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan and turn onto a medium heat.
  3. Add the sliced zucchini, cover and cook, shaking occasionally for 5 minutes until just tender.
  4. Add the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook for a further minute.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, chopped jalapenos (if using), and red wine vinegar.
  6. Simmer uncovered for a few minutes until the tomatoes have reduced.
  7. Add the cooked rice and stir to combine.
  8. Serve into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.

Possible substitutions and additions:
Brown rice instead of regular basmati would add a great flavour and texture, while increasing the fibre content.
Other small squashes could be substituted for the zucchini.
Fresh tomatoes would be wonderful, but will take just a bit longer to cook.
Garlic paste is absolutely perfect if you’re out of fresh.
Lemon or lime juice would add a fab extra zing instead of the red wine vinegar.
Add a cup of black beans when you put in the tomatoes, to bulk it up and increase the protein value.

Other tips:
Freezes well, so make extra and reheat.
Also great as a side dish.
I sliced the zucchini using the slicer on the side of my cheese grater – they were a bit wonky but it didn’t matter!


My Most Used Recipe Book

I want to share with you what has rapidly become one of my most used cookery books. And I have many! Mrs Beeton remains my go to for when I want to know how to make, well, anything (jugged hare anyone?) But for when I want a quick, inexpensive, and healthy meal, that I already have the ingredients for, then this is the one! It’s quicker to cook most of these meals than get a takeaway. And if you want to count calories, or use a meal plan, then it’s all there.

So what is this book? Well, it took me a while to track it down. I’d come across publications by Mary Flynn, a prominent American nutritionist based at Brown University (and Associate Professor of Medicine (Clinical)), and kept seeing mentions of her plant based olive oil diet (PBOO). Yes, it was the olive oil bit that caught my eye! The book is called “The Pink Ribbon Diet”, and it’s based on her research study of women who were overweight and had undergone treatment for breast cancer. The study found that this higher fat, olive oil-based, Mediterranean diet resulted in more weight loss than the low-fat or low-carb diets. It also showed health benefits not seen in the low-fat diet, with improvements in blood lipids, blood sugar, and insulin, which are all biomarkers for breast cancer.

Pink Ribbon Diet Mary Flynn PBOO

I’m in the fortunate position of not seeking out this book because I have cancer, but I am interested in how what I eat affects my health and wellbeing. I’ve also got a busy life, and I’m always on the lookout for recipes that make it easy to eat a healthy, tasty, filling meal.

I’d love to share some of the recipes in the book, and I emailed Dr Flynn to ask permission, but she replied that permission rests with the publishers, and unfortunately they haven’t replied to my emails! So I’ll give you a quick description of some of my favourites which I hope will whet your appetite (and not get me in trouble!), and a top 7 of reasons I love this book.

Porridge with walnuts and raisins: Mix rolled oats, water, brown sugar, and a little salt in a dish and microwave on medium until cooked. Add milk, chopped walnuts, and raisins and stir in. One of our neighbours has a walnut farm, so it’s easy to get yummy fresh walnuts 🙂

Tomato, zucchini (courgette), and potato casserole: Gently fry sliced tomatoes and courgettes in extra virgin olive oil. Add flour and milk to make a white sauce. Layer in a dish with sliced potatoes, and bake until cooked and golden. Love this in the summer when there’s a glut of tomatoes and courgettes. (For some reason WordPress won’t let me put these photos in chronological order, but I expect you can figure it out!)

Baked pasta with chickpeas: Gently fry fresh or frozen peppers and spinach in extra virgin olive oil, add chickpeas, a can of tomatoes, and cooked brown pasta. Transfer to a baking dish and bake until bubbly. This can be prepared as far as putting it in a baking dish, and then baked at a later time. As can the tomato-zucchini one above!

Black bean, corn, and tomato salad: Mix black beans, canned sweetcorn, chopped pepper, chopped fresh tomatoes and chopped red onion. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and lime juice. This is beautifully colourful, and doesn’t wilt on hot days 🙂 But I forgot to take a photo, so you’ll have to imagine the colourful bit!

My top 7 reasons to love the recipes in this book:

  1. They’re easy, quick, filling, and healthy.
  2. They can often be made from store cupboard ingredients,
  3. But I can also use fresh, and could grow a lot of the ingredients myself! If I ever actually planted a veggie garden, instead of just planning it…
  4. They can be adapted with different herbs and spices,
  5. They can be prepared in advance and made in bulk,
  6. They’re great on their own but also make fantastic accompaniments for a barbeque (one of my husband’s favourite hobbies!)
  7. And they use lots of EVOO!!

Happily, Mary has her own website with several other recipes, and I’d encourage you to take a look ( There’s also a ton of information there about basic nutrition and the concept of food as medicine. Alternatively, seek out the book itself, on eBay or Amazon (click for links). I don’t think you’ll regret it!

I’d love to know what your favourite recipe books and go-to recipes are. If you’d like to share, please tell me in a comment. FFx