Tag Archives: olives

Couscous, feta and olive salad

Spinach and ricotta ravioli in a creamy butter sauce, crispy rosemary potatoes, chocolate-layered fresh cream profiteroles… All ready within minutes, all to be found at the chilled isle of your local supermarket, and all for a ridiculously low price. Sometimes it’s just too easy to fall into the habit of eating processed foods.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t eat them? No. Are they all bad for you? Absolutely not. But even though it’s a convenient way to bring a tasty dish to the table, there’s something about homemade foods that make a weeknight dinner an occasion.

couscous feta olive salad

In my view, making food is art. It’s one feeling looking at it, and another actually being an artist. It’s about finding the right balance of taste and presentation, consequently rewarding you with a sense of achievement, recognition from your guests, or just satisfying hunger. There is also an element of challenge to it as it requires the use of a number of skills including creativity, planning, and time management.

Couscous feta olive salad

By no means is this recipe a challenge, it’s really just one of the many examples of effortless ways to have a quick tasty dinner (and lunch the next day).

Ingredients:

1/2 cup couscous (replace with quinoa for gluten free version)

3/4 cup boiling water

A handful of olives

A handful of cherry tomatoes

50g crumbled feta cheese

A couple tablespoons olive oil

A crack or two of black pepper

 

Directions:

1. Pour boiling water over couscous and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. For an extra kick toast couscous with garlic before adding water.

2. Once couscous is ready, combine the ingredients in a serving bowl with a touch of black pepper and olive oil and you’re done!

Couscous feta olive salad

Black olive tapenade and cream cheese crostini

Hey hey hey, he’s back with the food stuff!

I can’t believe it’s been over two months without a kitchen. Two. Solid. Months. You wouldn’t think you’d miss chopping onions, would you?

In terms of cooking, the closest thing that has happened is that we’ve bought a knife. And that is just to slice some fruit that we buy at the local market. We’re lucky to occasionally find some whole fruit, as street vendors sell most goods pre-sliced, be it watermelon, pineapple, even the pancakes are cut into bite-size pieces!

There are plenty of street vendors pretty much anywhere in Thailand, but sadly they’re all meats on wheels. Therefore the only option that’s left is eating out, which gets boring fairly quickly and it also costs more. Bear in mind (rarrgh!) that even in Thailand eating out can be expensive, considering that people here generally eat less greens than they do in England!

Bangkok Khao San Road
The occasional ‘rotee’ stand offering banana pancakes.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is a must for your party. I actually made these for my friend’s hen do (bachelorette party). I feared that I may be pushing it with my vegetarianism (this topic comes up fairly often when I’m around people), but from the feedback I received it turned out that EVERYONE loved them. And what’s not to love: they’re black, they’re white, they’re savoury, you name it!

As always, choose quality ingredients and keep tasting throughout the making process, as ingredients (as well as tastes) differ around the world.

olive tapenade and cream cheese sandwiches

For 4 sandwiches you will need:

Ciabatta bread (or bread of your choice)

2 handfuls of pitted black olives

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

A grind of pepper

Few leaves of spinach

3 tbsp of cream cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Slice the bread to your preferred size. You can grill it for a few seconds on a hot pan for crunchiness.
  2. Whizz the olives, garlic and olive oil in a blender. Alternatively you can just chop everything finely and mash it together with a fork.
  3. Spread some tapenade over one part of the bread, then fill the rest with cream cheese. You can be as generous as you want at this stage.
  4. Season with some freshly ground pepper – it gives an appetizing aroma.
  5. For sandwiches, use a layer of tapenade on one piece of bread, cheese on the other, then press them against each other, with a bit of spinach in between of course!

olive tapenade and cream cheese sandwiches

 

olive tapenade and cream cheese sandwiches

Nosy about Rosy: Rosemary focaccia with olives

The room filled with smell of freshly baked bread and it felt like home. It was a sunny winter Tuesday morning and the sun had heated up the room through our huge window. Once we opened the oven, I literally had to take my clothes off!

I bought this rosemary plant for 50p or so, and it looks and smells amazing. The problem is I have to use it now, but most recipes don’t require more than a sprig of it. So here’s a start.

 

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Ingredients:

 

500g flour
10g sea salt
5g yeast
2 tbsp oil to finish
Oil
Flaky sea salt
4 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves
Olives of your choice

 

Directions:

 

1)    Mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Dissolve yeast it in 350ml warm water and add to the flour mix. Mix to a very rough, soft dough, add the oil and squish in.
2)    Scrape the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and, with lightly floured hands, knead until smooth and silky – about 10 minutes. Keep dusting your hands with flour; it will become less sticky as you knead. Note – it still has to be sticky once you finish kneading, otherwise it won’t rise and will become hard and heavy.
3)    Shape the dough into a ball, put it in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with a clean tea towel and leave until it has doubled in size; for about an hour.
4)    On a floured surface, shape the dough into a rough rectangle, lift into a lightly oiled shallow baking dish and press right into the corners. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for about 30 mins.
 5)    Once risen, poke rows of deep dimples over the top. Trickle generously with oil, then sprinkle with salt, rosemary and olives.
6)    Bake in an oven heated to at least 230C (450F) for 15-20 minutes, turning it down after 10 minutes if it browns too fast.

 

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Once you take this bad boy out the oven, you can serve it with an oil dip, just as they do in restaurants and charge £3 for it. Just mix 1 part balsamic vinegar/lemon juice and 3 parts oil.
Voila!

 

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