Olives Two Ways – Part 2: Dry Salt-Cured

Dry salt-cured olives

Last year I posted a recipe for preparing olives in brine – and I must say they came out well! This is another method of curing olives and the end result is totally different, although also delicious.

Salt-cured olives come out with a very intense, salty and actually slightly sweet flavour, and are great to add punch to dishes, especially Mediterranean-style recipes. You can also eat them straight up – I can personally only manage 2 or 3 at a time though as they’re so salty and intense (as opposed to, say, 10 or 20 at a time of brined olives).

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Curly Kale and Salpico Salad

Curly kale and salpico salad

This nice autumny salad is a bit of a variation on the traditional Waldorf salad and it somehow suits this time of the year perfectly. It’s packed full of stuff that’s good for you – kale, apples and celery, with a dash of extra flavour in the form of salpico, nuts and raisins.

You can’t really go wrong with any green, leafy veg but kale is a kind of superfood in its own class. It’s full of anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and it even contains some protein and healthy fats. It helps to lower cholesterol, reduces the risk of cancer and supports the body’s detox processes. All that in a delicious salad, and if you can get your hands on organic kale, even better! And yes, you can cook it but it’s used raw here.

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Star Ingredient: Sunflower Seeds

Toasted sunflower seeds

I love sunflower seeds! They’re totally delicious and go well with so many things, both sweet and savoury. You can eat them raw or slightly toasted, which really brings out their nutty flavour.

Sunflower seeds come from sunflowers (no surprise there), and are naturally encased in a gray or black shell, which sometimes has stripes. If you want to grow sunflowers or sunflower shoots (which by the way are also delicious and nutritious), you will need them in their shells.

I buy them raw, shelled and by the kilogram from my local nut and seed supplier, Yellow Submarine, which is a lot cheaper than buying a small packet from a supermarket. You can also buy them ready-roasted at some retailers if you can’t be bothered to toast your own.

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Date, Fig and Nut Bites

Date, fig and nut bites

These bites are both delicious and good for you – always a winning combo!

Although I’ve seen many variations of this recipe, after much playing with different combinations and quantities of the ingredients, this one is my favourite. Feel free to change up whatever you like though to suit your own tastes.

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Nasturtium Pesto

Nasturtium pesto

Nasturtium pesto might sound a bit strange, but if you like the slightly bitter taste of nasturtium leaves (or rocket/arugula, if you’ve never tasted nasturtium leaves), you’ll love it. In fact the basic recipe is very similar to that of traditional basil pesto, only we’re varying the leaves.

Traditional pesto can be pricey though, which is not surprising given some of its original ingredients – parmesan cheese and pine nuts, neither of which is particularly cheap. Luckily, you can create something that tastes quite similar using more reasonably-priced ingredients, in this case, cheddar cheese (leave this out if you want a vegan or pure paleo version) and toasted sunflower seeds.

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