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 – Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry clafoutis is something that for some reason I’ve always wanted to make. I’ve got an image of it in my mind, with amazing puffy, golden batter rising around plump, juicy cherries. But cherries have always been too precious to do anything with other than just eating them, so I’ve never made it. But, recently I had a call from a neighbor saying that their cherry trees were ready for picking, and it needed doing before the birds got them!

A short while later we’d picked the trees as clean as we could, although it still felt as if every time we turned around there was another bunch of cherries hiding under a leaf. I took a share home and while munching happily, had a look for a clafoutis recipe. My favourite cook book, Mrs Beeton, had one, but it looked a bit fiddly, so I had a look online and found this easier looking Nigel Slater recipe.

I pitted the cherries, as it seemed easier on the eating front! I used a home-made cherry pitter to start with, as suggested by the Zero Waste Chef, but must admit that although it worked, I found it a bit fiddly. And although there’s a learning curve and I was getting quicker, I still had about two kilos of cherries to pit that were destined for the freezer, so I abandoned my vow to stop buying bits of kitchen equipment and purchased a cherry pitter. I can use it for olives too, right?!

This recipe includes the suggestion to substitute a portion of the flour for almond meal (aka ground almonds, almond flour) and I did this, mostly because I had some in the larder from my Christmas cake (AWESOME Nigella recipe!) and this seemed to be a great opportunity to use some more of it up. This substitution meant the batter didn’t rise as much as I think it would have done with 100% flour, but it rose enough, and lent a delicious texture and flavor. I was worried that the whole thing would be absolutely welded to the pan when it came out of the oven, but it didn’t stick at all!

I’ve heard that clafoutis can be tricky, but give this a go, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Cherry Clafoutis

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Fabulous seasonal dessert enclosing fresh juicy cherries in a delicious golden batter.

Ingredients

  • A 20cm shallow, round baking dish (see tips)
  • 80g sugar
  • 350 – 400g cherries
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 60g plain flour
  • 30g almond meal
  • 150ml milk (I prefer whole milk)
  • 2 drops vanilla essence / extract
  • 30g butter, melted (grass-fed if available)
  • extra butter and sugar to prepare the baking dish
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • cream to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. Stone the cherries.
  2. Set the oven at 180degC (gas mark 4).
  3. Prepare your dish by buttering and then dusting with 2tbsp sugar.
  4. Tip the cherries into the prepared dish, and shake so they settle in a single layer.
  5. Melt the butter in the microwave (I go for 30 second intervals at medium power), or on the stove in a small pan.
  6. Take a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and beat in the eggs with a large balloon whisk.
  7. Sift in the flour and almond meal, then add the milk and vanilla essence and beat again.
  8. Add the melted butter to the batter mixture and stir in.
  9. Pour the batter over the cherries.
  10. Bake for 35 minutes until puffed and golden.
  11. Allow to cool slightly, then dust with icing sugar before serving. Delicious warm or cold.

Possible substitutions and additions:
– Use 90g flour if you don’t have or don’t want to use almond meal.
– Try other fruits, such as apricots, blueberries, blackberries, or cooked pears. You’ll need slightly less by weight, approximately 275g (as there’s no pits).
– Soak the fruit in kirsch for a bit before using, for a boozy version.

Other tips:
– I don’t have a baking dish of a suitable size, so I used my cast iron frying pan, which worked brilliantly.
– Do sift the flour – I don’t bother for most things, but it does make a difference with batters.
– Don’t be tempted to omit the icing sugar dusting – you only need a little, and it makes a BIG difference to the overall flavour.


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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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Branding and Growth Challenge – Day 5 – Publishing calendar

Oh god! This has been hard… Was supposed to review all my stats and work out which things are most popular. The thing is, I’ve not been posting regularly on any particular topics. That is, when I’ve been blogging at all… So no obvious pattern. But maybe trying to figure out a few categories would help me carry on posting regularly.

So, here goes, I’ll post regularly on Wednesday evenings (Aussie time), and have four main categories. I might add some bonus posts if I’m inspired in between times, or join in with one of the cool challenges that’s around.

  1. Recipes.
  2. Health and food, emphasising things with a good evidence base, and including links to the research where possible.
  3. What I’m up to on the farm – olive and non-olive related.
  4. Things to do / eat / drink, and places to see around where I live.

What do you think? What topics would you like to see more of? Is there anything in particular you’d like to know? FFx