Three years ago I went on a boozy winery tour with a busload of artist mates. Somehow along the way I managed not only to buy two small olive trees, but also two magnificent French oak wine barrels to plant them in. Once I had persuaded the bus driver to let me manoeuvre the barrels onboard, I also had to convince the other passengers to help me load them off and back on at every winery so we could exit and re-board the bus. Let’s just say I can do without another rendition of ‘roll out the barrels’. Three years later, planted in their barrels in inner city Melbourne, my olive trees have fruited madly. Perhaps it’s the West-facing position, combined with the heat-retaining brick wall behind them, but these trees have done their best at an astonishingly early age. So what to do with them? Fortunately during a sobering coffee the next morning, the proprietor of the olive tree shop gave me some simple advice, which I followed. First I picked my olives as they began to change colour and soften. Not too soft, just a bit of give when you squeeze them. I then made up a salt solution of 100g salt to 1 litre of water. Some recipes suggest making a cut in each olive, pricking them with a fork, or smashing them with the bottom end of a beer bottle to hasten the curing, but I am continually time-poor and am happy to let them be. Over the next few weeks I changed the salt solution roughly every week or ten days, and the olives gradually darkened, while the salt drew out the bitterness. I kept this up until the bitterness disappeared, and left them in clean water for a few more days to remove more salt. Once the bitterness is removed it’s time to bottle. I chose to put mine in sterilised glass jars with a fresh salt solution of I part vinegar to 4 parts brine. I threw in a few dried chillies, garlic, peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves before filling the jars almost to the top, and then topped them up to the brim with olive oil to seal them. There are a few expensive stoneware olive-curing pots on the market, which have an inner perforated disc to keep the olives submerged. The important thing is to fill the containers to… Read more »
Posts Categorized: olives
Apartment in Collingwood, Australia. A light filled inner urban apartment taking up the entire second floor of the former Aboriginal Co-operative building on Smith Street, Collingwood one of the hottest eat streets in town and a short walk or tram trip to the CBD. This i... View all listings in Collingwood
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- Truffle dinner number 2You asked for it – seems like I better give it I guess. We’ve pressed Scott Pickett into service on another of his nights off to cook more truffles for us on the 15th July. What: Truffle dinner featuring truffles from around Australia with matched wines and giveaways.When: 6:30pm for a 7pm start Tuesday 15th JulyWhere: Estelle 243 High […]
- Truffle Dinner: MenuChef Scott Pickett has put his fingers to the keyboard and has sent me through the menu, We have a few tickets left, so if you’ve already booked, let your friends know. (And if you haven’t booked – get a wriggle on, this will sell out!) What: Truffle dinner featuring truffles from around Australia with matched […]
- Madame Estelle’s Fringe (yes – TRUFFLE TIME!)Fringe Food is four truffle season old. Can you believe it? This year sees us back collaborating with Madame Truffles and we’ll be returning to Estelle in Northcote, home of one of my personal favourite truffle dinners so far. We’d better outdo that one I guess! What: Truffle dinner featuring truffles from around Australia with matched […]
- Lunch at Movida Aqui – Seaweed SalonI’ve just been sent the menu for our Seaweed Salon on 3 May and I have to say that it looks like a stand out. And we’ve confirmed that it can be adjusted to pescatarian friendly (we will substitute the beef course) What: Lunch featuring seaweed and sea plants, matched wines and education. When: 12:30pm […]