Freshfield Grove

Tales of Tasmanian Adventures in Olive Oil


Recipes From My Kitchen – Farmer Fi’s Banana Bread

This is the quickest banana bread recipe I know – the ingredients are really easy to mix together and you can have it in the oven in under 15 minutes. The tricky bit is not eating it as soon as it’s baked, because the aroma is amazing! I eat it as it is, but you may like to toast and / or butter it. It’s a great snack or breakfast on the go – try a piece of fresh fruit to go with it.

There’s already a good dose of healthy fats with the extra virgin olive oil and walnuts, but try making it with wholemeal flour and brown sugar to increase the fibre content, and reduce empty calories further.

Calories: 232 per serving

Farmer Fi's Banana Bread

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Incredibly quick and easy banana bread recipe - a perfect snack or brekkie on the run.


  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125g sugar
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • grated rind ½ lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g raisins


  1. Mash bananas.
  2. Mix with all other ingredients and beat ‘til smooth.
  3. Pour into greased or lined loaf tin (23x13x8cm).
  4. Bake at 180°C for approximately 1h 10minutes. You can check for done-ness with a skewer 5 minutes before time is up.

Possible substitutions and additions:

  • You can substitute wholemeal flour in place of all or half of the self-raising. If it’s not self-raising wholemeal flour, add 3tsp baking powder per 200g flour (in addition to the baking powder and bicarb that’s already listed).
  • Sugar can be granulated, caster, or brown. Flavour and texture will vary a little.

Other tips:

  • Bananas freeze well, just place them in a plastic bag or other container. Either buy when they’re ripe and put them straight in, or buy them unripe and pop them in the freezer when they ripen. This means you avoid the scenario where you want to make banana bread, but all the ones at the shop are green! They’ll be a bit wet and floppy when they come out, but it’s no problem for this recipe!
  • You can do things to ripen bananas faster. I’ve never tried, but this site covers the different methods…
  • Grated lemon zest can be frozen.
  • If you don’t have a loaf tin this size, then other size tins will work, but the quantity or cooking time and temperature may need to be adjusted. The mixture should only come about half to two thirds up the pan to best allow the loaf to rise and cook through.
  • Alternatively, bake as 12 muffins (approx. 20 mins at 160°C).
  • Lining the pan with greaseproof paper or baking paper can make the loaf easier to remove.
  • I slice the cooled loaf and freeze as individual portions – grab one on the way out of the door and it will have defrosted by the time you get to work.

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Habits for Health and Happiness

Do you feel as if you don’t have time to look after yourself the way you want? With my background as a doctor I know both how important our health is, and how difficult it can be to look after ourselves when we live busy lives. I’ve been making some changes recently to increase my activity levels, and decrease the number of calories I’m consuming while raising my fruit and veg intake. And you know what? It doesn’t take long at all to start feeling the benefits 🙂

Read on to find out more, and for some ideas you can use to make your lifestyle healthier and happier without too much effort…

Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil improves the nutritional benefits of vegetables, by increasing antioxidant-rich phenols. So, stop steaming and start sautéing!

I’ve started running again, something that had largely fallen by the wayside when I had a tendinopathy affecting one of my hip muscles a couple of years ago. And I’ve signed up to WeightWatchers to help me get rid of a pesky surplus 5kg that I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to shift for about the same amount of time! I don’t necessarily agree with the way WeightWatchers deals with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), or other healthy fats, but I find their system pretty slick, and easy to use, and it does work for me. So, although a huge number of my points seem to be derived from EVOO, walnuts, avocados, full fat milk, and the occasional glass of wine, I’m going to stick with it!

The reason I’m eating so many of these healthy fats is because the evidence for including them in our diets is really strong. There’s a large, and seemingly ever increasing, number of studies supporting EVOO and the Mediterranean diet in particular, which show a reduced risk of various diseases and health problems, including:

  • Reduction in blood pressure (1).
  • Reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes (2).
  • Reduction in risk of invasive breast cancer (3).

I contributed to this recent article titled “7 Habits to Make, Not Break” on exactly this topic, and I recommend including at least 2 tablespoons of EVOO in your diet every day. Take a look at the article for some other great, sensible tips – a lot of things that contribute to a healthy lifestyle are common sense, but it definitely helps to be reminded of them from time to time!

I’d love to hear your health and happiness tips, whether it’s for food, fitness, or general lifestyle – do let me know yours in the comments. And if you’re wondering how to get more EVOO into your everyday food, keep an eye out here for recipes and suggestions, or just ask me 🙂

Get outside – you never know what you’ll find! I met this female leopard seal resting on the beach when I went for a run this week. (I know it was a female leopard seal because I rang the Tas Wildlife Marine Mammal hotline to report it, and they told me they were keeping an eye on her ❤ )


(1) Flynn M, Wang S. Report. Olive oil as medicine: the effect on blood pressure. December 2015. UCDavis Olive Center.

(2) Estruch, R et al. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet, N Engl J Med 2013;368:1279-1290

(3) Toledo E, et al. Mediterranean Diet and Invasive Breast Cancer Risk Among Women at High Cardiovascular Risk in the PREDIMED Trial: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med.2015;175(11):1752–1760


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Interview – Tasmanian Country Hour – 28 June 2017

I get so excited about olives and olive oil, and I love opportunities to share this, so I was thrilled to have Nick Bosley-Pask from ABC Radio Hobart visit again last week.  I was even more excited when I paused for lunch a couple of days later to hear myself on the Tasmanian Country Hour show! I find doing that sort of stuff pretty nerve-wracking, but I try to think of it just as a one-on-one conversation, so I don’t freak out!

I’ve attached my segment here so do listen to find out more about the harvest timing, modern olive pressing, how it feels to wait for the first oil to flow out of the press, and my experience of hiring casual employees.



Do get in touch if you’ve got any questions about anything discussed. I’d love to hear from you 🙂 FFx


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WIN a packet of Tasmanian Olive Leaf Tea


Enter for your chance to WIN a 30g packet of my soothing Tasmanian Olive Leaf Tea and find out what it tastes like without spending a cent! The prize includes worldwide postage.

To enter simply CLICK HERE to go to the post:
LIKE the facebook post
– COMMENT on the facebook post with your answer of how many grams of tea are in this jar. (Whole numbers only, no decimal places!)

Competition closes Sunday 28 May at 6pm AEST (UTC+10)

Full T&Cs here…

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Tasmanian hand-carved olive wood spoons

If you hate waste then take a look at what a talented craftsman can make out of my wonky olive prunings!

Read more about them, and why you might need one HERE.

Photo credit: David Rauenbush @ Phoenix Creations


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How to Cure Olives at Home – Part 2 – Ferment in Brine

In part 2 of this series I’m dealing with brine cured olives. 

If you want to read about water-curing olives, then go my previous post here.

This takes the longest of all the methods, but is also the easiest. The lack of contact time is a huge bonus for me, and although the months, and months, and months of waiting seem impossible at the start, if you hide them in the back of the pantry you’ll forget they’re there! Until, one day, you remember, and it feels as if someone’s given you a super special yummy gift! And if you do this every year, you’ll always have a supply of these little treats to hand anyway, so it won’t matter that the new batch can’t be touched!

Brine curing relies on a natural fermentation process. Basically, you put the freshly picked olives in an acidified brine solution which creates a selective environment Continue reading

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How to Cure Olives at Home – Part 1 – With Water

This is a multipart series of posts to give you the confidence and know-how to cure yummy olives yourself at home. You’ll obviously need fresh olives in order to even get started, and for some people this will be the trickiest part! I know some greengrocers in Australia stock them, for example the Harris Farm stores in NSW, so keep your eyes open. However, if you have the good fortune to be in Tasmania during olive season, then get in touch with me and arrange to come and pick some of ours!

Manzanillo olives

Olives are too bitter to eat straight off the tree, and must be cured in some way to make them palatable. Several methods are described, Continue reading


Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

As the Easter weekend is approaching I thought I’d repost my recipe for sourdough hot cross buns – yum 🙂

WARNING – it takes a couple of days, so be prepared!

Freshfield Grove

I always like to make hot cross buns at Easter, and this year because I’ve been making sourdough bread, I wanted to make a sourdough version. My regular recipe is from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Cookery and Household Management (my standard cooking reference) and uses regular bread yeast.

sourdough hot cross buns baked Finished buns!

I had some trouble finding a sourdough recipe, partly because a lot of sourdough recipes use cup measurements and I prefer weights. And in some I didn’t really understand the timings. I had a bit of a hunt around online, and eventually found two recipes via a twitter search.

Virtous Bread blog – The World Premiere of the Sourdough Hot Cross Bun at The Clink

Celia’s Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blog – Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

By an odd coincidence, I discovered that some of the blogs I’ve found since I started this one, also have links to Celia

View original post 1,087 more words

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Recipes From My Kitchen – Colourful Roast Veggie Pasta

Cooking veggies in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) increases the antioxidant-rich phenols of the vegetables. Phenols are known to be anti-inflammatory and have a preventative effect against cancers and chronic illnesses. They’re present in vegetables and EVOO, but cooking them together by frying or baking increases their availability. Cooking veggies like this obviously increases the calories, but EVOO has been shown to keep us feeling full for longer after meals, so it reduces calories from snacking!

These veggies can all be grown in the area where I live in the Coal River Valley region of Tasmania, but my vegetable patch is still in its infancy! I’m lucky to be able to find many of them at local markets when they’re in season though.

This recipe takes a while because of the time for the veg to roast, but the chopping is the most difficult and time consuming part! I scale this up or down depending how many people I want to feed, Continue reading

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Pick Your Own Olives

We grow two varieties of olive in our grove in the Coal River Valley; Picual and Manzanillo. Both are Spanish varieties (which is why if you “Adopt An Olive Tree”, your tree will have a Spanish name!) They’re both happy in our cool climate, and they help to pollinate each other. Traditionally Picual is an oil variety, and Manzanillo is a table olive, but you can eat the Picuals, and press the Manzanillos. The Picual olives are smaller than the Manzanillos, and the two are slightly different shapes, with the Manzanillo being rounder – they look a bit like plump cherries when they turn black. (For more on green and black olives, read this previous post.) Manzanillos tend to have a higher moisture content too, which makes them harder to press into oil for technical reasons that I need to find out more about!

Can you spot the difference between Picual and Manzanillo from the photos below?

In the longer term, we’re planning to make table olives as part of our range of products, but at the moment we’re still getting on top of the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) side of things. I’m going to pick some of our Manzanillos to do a few preserving experiments with, but there’ll be lots left on the trees. So, we’ve decided to offer “Pick Your Own Olives” days at our olive grove in Campania. Dates will be announced towards the end of May, when we have a better idea of when they’ll be ripe, but it’s likely to be in early June this year. This time of year is always exciting in Tasmania, because the Dark Mofo winter festival is on around then, so there’s tons going on.

I’ll be writing more on how to cure olives in some following posts, but the basic principle is that the bitterness needs to be removed. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried biting into an olive straight off the tree, but it’s not a pleasant experience! This can be done using water-curing, brine-curing, or lye-curing (=caustic soda – yuk! Which is how most commercially available olives are produced because it’s very quick.)

If you’d like to be first in line to find out when our “Pick Your Own Olives” days are on, then watch this space, or sign up to my mailing list and I’ll send you an invite so you don’t miss out!

CLICK HERE to sign up to my mailing list.