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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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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Olives Two Ways – Part 1: Brined

Who doesn’t love olives? Actually I know some people who don’t but I can’t understand that at all. When I was growing up, we used to count them out on to everyone’s plate when serving up salad with dinner, to make sure no-one got more than their fair share. A sad but true story.

A happier story is that not only are olives delicious, but they’re also really good for you, being high in healthy fats as well as a multitude of vitamins and minerals, not to mention anti-oxidants. For more on their health benefits, see here, here and here, just for starters.

The thing with olives though is that they’re very more-ish and a bottle really doesn’t last very long, plus they’re expensive (here in South Africa anyway). So years ago when a friend told me she could get fresh olives direct from an olive farm, I jumped at the chance to make my own and ordered 5kg.

Since then, I’ve made a batch every year I’ve been able to get my hands on some, which sadly hasn’t been every year but certainly many of them. Those years I enjoy eating them till they’re coming out my ears and they also make great gifts to give away.

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Baked Chicken, Tomato and Yoghurt Casserole with Broccoli Rice

Chicken, tomato and yoghurt bake with broccoli rice

This is one of the easiest and most delicious recipes to make when you only have a few minutes to spend on preparing dinner. It’s fresh, tasty and healthy, and only takes 5 minutes to put together. Then it cooks for about 45 minutes, while you go off and do other things, before needing another 5 minutes at the end to finish up and serve.

It’s also versatile in that you can serve it with many different options of “starch”. If you’re going low-carb, it works really well with cauliflower or broccoli rice, as I’ve served it here, or cauliflower or broccoli mash. You can also go more traditional and serve it with mashed potato or sweet potato, or rice of any description and/or lightly steamed green beans.

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