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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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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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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Potato Rosti

Potato rosti with roasted fennel and smoked trout

Rosti go by many names – rösti, potato pancakes, hash browns and latkes, to name just a few – and come in many variations. At heart though, they are simply grated potato mixed with a little salt, and whatever other flavourings you choose to add, like onion, herbs and/or cheese. I’ve been wanting to try them for ages and when a friend bought round some smoked trout, I decided it was the perfect opportunity.

After doing some fairly extensive research on Pinterest (there are quite a few methods out there, believe me), I decided to keep the base very simple and rather go wild on the toppings.

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Seed and Nut Crackers

Serve with toppings

As I don’t eat much bread, I like to have savoury biscuits on hand for a quick meal or snack – it’s so easy to grab a few and throw something yummy on them.

If you’ve never taken the time to read the ingredients of mass-produced, shop-bought savoury (or sweet) biscuits though, I really recommend you do so. If you’re anything like me and/or even vaguely health-conscious, you’ll probably be horrified by what’s in them.

So I decided to come up with my own variation of savoury biscuits, made entirely of healthy ingredients – seeds, nuts and herbs. This recipe is a combination of several versions I came across when I was researching how to go about it, and I personally love it. It’s high in nutrients and fibre, with no gluten in sight. The biscuits feel like clean food when you’re eating them and in my humble opinion, they taste better than shop-bought.

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Courgette-Feta Crumpets

Courgette-feta crumpet ready to eat

Normally when you think of pancakes or crumpets (the South African version of American ‘pancakes’, which are different from French ‘crêpes’ and also different from English ’crumpets’ – I know, it’s very confusing!), it tends to bring up images of a tea-time treat that’s a bit starchy and usually served with jam and cream. And those are certainly delicious, no doubt about it.

These crumpets are completely different though, more like very light fritters – savoury and fluffy, and a different and interesting way to prepare vegetables. You can eat them as a snack on their own, have them as a side dish with meat or make them the main part of a light meal and just add a salad or something to round it out.

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