Freshfield Grove

Tales of Tasmanian Adventures in Olive Oil


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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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Newsletter – February 2017

Click here to read the February 2017 Newsletter, with news of my adventures in and out of the grove…


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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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Interview on Tasmania ABC Radio Drive Show

I was interviewed by the lovely Helen Shield for Tasmania’s ABC Radio Drivetime show, broadcast just before Christmas. It was a fun experience, if a bit scary! If you’ve got 7 minutes, have a listen and find out a bit more about what we’re doing at the moment, how we got here, and what the future may hold!

 

Want to get involved and be able to try our fabulous, fresh 2017 harvest oil later this year? Find out how to adopt one of our trees by clicking HERE.

Fiona and Glenn at Freshfield Grove, Campania, Tasmania


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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!


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Adopt an Olive Tree

I’ve been working on this for a little while, and I’m excited to announce this new way for more people to get involved with our adventures. We’ve decided to put our trees up for adoption!

Each of our trees is unique, and so they each have their own name – Spanish of course since Picual and Manzanillo are both Spanish varieties!

We’ve got three different packages to suit every budget, and they would all make an amazing gift for food lovers 🙂

The packages include:

  • An emailed adoption certificate that you can print straight away (fab as a gift if you’ve left it ‘til the last minute!)
  • A digital photo of your tree, with his or her name.
  • A map image and a Google Earth placemark showing YOUR tree’s exact location in our grove, so you can really get a feel for where your tree lives.
  • A printed adoption certificate including a photograph of YOUR tree, sent by post.
  • We would love you to visit your tree here in Tasmania, and we’d be delighted to give you a tour of the grove on selected Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year. Just get in touch to let us know when you’d like to come.
  • Delivery of our next harvest of Extra Virgin Olive Oil delivered to your door!

All the details are on our special “Adopt a Tasmanian Olive Tree” website – click here to take a look.


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A Tale of Two Brownies…

olive oil chocolate brownie

Wholemeal version on the left, Lucero version on the right.

I’ve baked brownies a couple of times recently. I’ve mentioned brownies before, and I still don’t feel they’re something I’m good at! This recipe from Lucero Olive Oil has been my go to (yes, using olive oil instead of butter – hooray!), but I’ve wanted to do some experiments using fewer refined ingredients. I found this one, on the lovely Passionate About Baking blog using wholemeal flour and raw sugar and decided to give it a go! The result is much cakier, but I have a confession… This second recipe calls for baking powder, and for some reason (well there are several, I’ve been a bit frazzled…) I read this as baking soda (aka bicarbonade of soda), and promptly added 1tsp of the stuff. I didn’t even realise what I’d done until partway through baking [“Oooh, how funny – that’s rising really well… oh noooooo!”] And I used all extra virgin olive oil in place of the combo of butter and oil (90ml in total).

So, the flavor is ok, the bicarb is mostly hidden by the chocolate, but overall these are a bit too cakey and crumbly for my perfect brownie. But I don’t think the use of wholemeal flour and soft dark brown sugar caused problems. I want to try this second recipe again, but would change the following:

  • Melt the chocolate alone, and then whisk in the oil – the only reason being that the aroma of good extra virgin olive oil being added to melted dark chocolate is simply divine. And much better than when the oil and chocolate are heated together!
  • I’d add maybe a tablespoon of full fat milk, just to increase the moisture level a little. Probably wouldn’t be needed if I’d used some butter.
  • Another top tip is that if you’re adding walnuts as I do because I LOVE the added texture of these, they should be added AFTER the flour has been folded in. If you add the walnuts and the flour together, the flour gets stuck in all the little walnut crevices, and it’s really REALLY hard to combine it all without beating the mixture. Which can tend to make the finished product rubbery 😦
  • And finally, I will pay attention to the recipe, and try and select the right ingredients!

If you want to read more about chocolate brownies, The Guardian did one of their excellent “How to make perfect…” series on the topic. But I’m off for now, I have brownies to eat 🙂 FFx

PS. Would love to know YOUR favourite brownie recipe – please share in the comments!