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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How to Cure Olives at Home – Part 1 – With Water

This is a multipart series of posts to give you the confidence and know-how to cure yummy olives yourself at home. You’ll obviously need fresh olives in order to even get started, and for some people this will be the trickiest part! I know some greengrocers in Australia stock them, for example the Harris Farm stores in NSW, so keep your eyes open. However, if you have the good fortune to be in Tasmania during olive season, then get in touch with me and arrange to come and pick some of ours!

Manzanillo olives

Olives are too bitter to eat straight off the tree, and must be cured in some way to make them palatable. Several methods are described, 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 – Spaghetti with Beans, Walnuts, and Mascarpone

I created this dish as a way to use some of the beans that are currently cropping really well in my new veggie patch. These borlotti beans (aka tongue of fire) are so pretty with their red streaky pods (although this colour disappears on cooking). I’ve picked these young and am eating them pods and all. Regular green beans, or French beans, would also work really well in this, but the ones I’m growing aren’t quite big enough yet!

I wanted to make a quick meal for dinner, and a rummage in the pantry and fridge revealed walnuts and mascarpone. I had a vague idea of what to do and found something similar without the beans in this great pasta sauce book by Dianne Seed (a fab gift from my Mum!) Mascarpone cheese can be frozen, so if you don’t use the whole tub, you can pop the rest in the freezer til next time.

Spaghetti with Beans, Walnuts, and Mascarpone

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

Use this recipe combining fresh beans in a creamy pasta sauce with the lovely added texture of walnuts, to make a speedy light dinner for 2

Ingredients

  • 100g spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • a handful of beans, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped walnuts
  • 80g mascarpone cheese
  • 25g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook the spaghetti in salted water, and while that’s happening…
  2. Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the chopped beans, crushed garlic, and lemon zest, and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped walnuts and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat, add the mascarpone and stir to combine.
  6. Return to the heat, add the grated parmesan, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce a little (use boiling water from the kettle if you’ve already drained the pasta).
  8. Drain the pasta, tip it into the sauce, and combine to coat the pasta with the sauce.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Possible substitutions and additions:
– A variety of different beans would work well here – French beans, young runner beans, double podded broad beans…
– I think double cream could be substituted for the mascarpone, and this would give a more decadent, creamy result.
– The parmesan could be increased to make it cheesier, or perhaps substituted for a blue cheese, in which case I’d omit the lemon and garlic.
– Spaghetti works well with this creamy sauce, but other pasta shapes would be just fine. Wholewheat pasta could be used to increase the fibre content.

Other tips:
– Make sure the walnuts you use are fresh – old rancid ones will ruin the dish. Fresh walnuts tend to have a paler colour, while old ones can be rather darker.
– You can freeze any leftover mascarpone cheese.


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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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  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!