Marinated olives, recipe by Brenda Fawden, Eat Local
GF Olive & rosemary pan bread, The Energy Guide, Dr Libby Weaver
We are in the middle of two weeks of preserving olives. It's a process we followed last year after I visited Derek and Kirrily Blomfield's 987-hectare property Colorado, at Caroona on the Liverpool Plains of NSW researching a story for Country Style magazine (September 2016). Back then, Derek's father Sandy Blomfield was picking olives, rehydrated by record winter rainfall. We picked a bag and I returned home to work out what to do with them. Preserving them was a great success and kept us in olives for months.
This year I visited the Colorado olive grove with our sons during the autumn school holidays to pick olives, ripening from lime green to deep purple and black. As I was leaving home, Duncan gave me instruction to "Pick more this time" so I took a few calico bags to fill with olives. Kirrily generously helped me pick manzanillo olives, while our sons played on a swing under a peppercorn tree. The olive grove, made up of hundreds of trees, also has frantoio (or paragon), and correggiola varieties. Kirrily and I imagined the olive grove as a location for a long lunch at a shared table. The shade of the trees invites lounging.
Derek and Kirrily are hosting a Farm Forage day on Sunday May 7, 2017 as part of Taste Tamworth, 10-days of food related events in the Tamworth region. If you haven't been to the Liverpool Plains of north west NSW, it is an enlightening journey. Travelling the backroads of Pine Ridge, Blackville, Spring Ridge, Bundella, Caroona and Premer you learn the true meaning of broadacre farming, where the largest farms are measured in thousands of hectares and are unfenced. The fertile black soil plains are carpeted in a patchwork of crops depending on the time of year, including sunflowers, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, chickpeas, and cotton.
Back home loaded with an esky of olives we invest in a 25 litre wide mouth plastic drum with a tap to make it easier to change the water of the olive bath each day. Last year it was easy to change the water for a smaller quantity of olives, but this year we've ramped up the quantity of olives, and consequently the water and weight. It has been easy to empty the olive water into a bowl and pour it on the garden or down the sink (depending on whether it has been raining or not).
This weekend it will be time to follow the next step in the preserving process. We're following SBS's Preserved olives recipe, so after the water bathing we'll be marinating the olives in vinegar for two days, and then covering them in salt for a day, before storing them in a brine. You can also read Milkwood Permaculture's process for curing olives and Homelife's 'How to preserve fresh olives'.
Last year I used Brenda Fawden's recipe for Marinated olives from her book with partner Christine Sharp, Eat Local. We loved eating the marinated olives warmed on a salad. Brenda generously shared her recipe below. While I wait patiently to make Brenda's marinated olives, in the meantime I stumble across a recipe for gluten free Olive & rosemary pan bread, in Dr Libby Weaver's 'The Energy Guide', which I eat with butter and parmesan. I use shop bought olives, but Colorado 'Crude' extra virgin olive oil from the Blomfields' olive grove. Anticipation is delicious.
What you need: 400g table olives, drained and rinsed, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp black pepper corns, 2 bay leaves, 1 orange and 1 lemon, peeled with a zester, 2 tsp preserved lemon, finely diced (optional), 1 long red chilli, split lengthwise, seeds removed, rosemary and garlic infused extra virgin olive oil, garden thyme.
What you do: Place all ingredients, except the oil and thyme, in a bowl and toss together. Pack the olive mix into a jar and cover with oil. Seal and refrigerate for two weeks before using. Garnish with garden thyme to serve.
To serve olives warmed, heat gently in a heavy based frying pan.