Freshfield Grove

Tales of Tasmanian Adventures in Olive Oil


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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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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… https://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/how-to/ripen-bananas-faster-with-these-3-simple-tricks-0167554/
  • 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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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


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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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Recipes From My Kitchen – Cauliflower Cheese Pasta Bake

This recipe is like a cross between cauliflower cheese and macaroni cheese, and it’s perfect comfort food! The weather’s picked up again in Tassie and we’ve got some beautiful sunny days as we head into autumn, but it was getting a bit chilly for a while and I dug this recipe out! Make this to enjoy on its own, or pair it with some BBQ food. It’s great as a veggie dish, but chicken or bacon are tasty additions. I sometimes add a bit of broccoli too, for a little more colour. It can also be prepared in advance, Continue reading


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Recipes From My Kitchen – Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry clafoutis is something that for some reason I’ve always wanted to make. I’ve got an image of it in my mind, with amazing puffy, golden batter rising around plump, juicy cherries. But cherries have always been too precious to do anything with other than just eating them, so I’ve never made it. But, recently I had a call from a neighbor saying that their cherry trees were ready for picking, and it needed doing before the birds got them!

A short while later we’d picked the trees as clean as we could, although it still felt as if every time we turned around there was another bunch of cherries hiding under a leaf. I took a share home and while munching happily, had a look for a clafoutis recipe. My favourite cook book, Mrs Beeton, had one, but it looked a bit fiddly, so I had a look online and found this easier looking Nigel Slater recipe.

I pitted the cherries, as it seemed easier on the eating front! I used a home-made cherry pitter to start with, as suggested by the Zero Waste Chef, but must admit that although it worked, I found it a bit fiddly. And although there’s a learning curve and I was getting quicker, I still had about two kilos of cherries to pit that were destined for the freezer, so I abandoned my vow to stop buying bits of kitchen equipment and purchased a cherry pitter. I can use it for olives too, right?!

This recipe includes the suggestion to substitute a portion of the flour for almond meal (aka ground almonds, almond flour) and I did this, mostly because I had some in the larder from my Christmas cake (AWESOME Nigella recipe!) and this seemed to be a great opportunity to use some more of it up. This substitution meant the batter didn’t rise as much as I think it would have done with 100% flour, but it rose enough, and lent a delicious texture and flavor. I was worried that the whole thing would be absolutely welded to the pan when it came out of the oven, but it didn’t stick at all!

I’ve heard that clafoutis can be tricky, but give this a go, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Cherry Clafoutis

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Fabulous seasonal dessert enclosing fresh juicy cherries in a delicious golden batter.

Ingredients

  • A 20cm shallow, round baking dish (see tips)
  • 80g sugar
  • 350 – 400g cherries
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 60g plain flour
  • 30g almond meal
  • 150ml milk (I prefer whole milk)
  • 2 drops vanilla essence / extract
  • 30g butter, melted (grass-fed if available)
  • extra butter and sugar to prepare the baking dish
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • cream to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. Stone the cherries.
  2. Set the oven at 180degC (gas mark 4).
  3. Prepare your dish by buttering and then dusting with 2tbsp sugar.
  4. Tip the cherries into the prepared dish, and shake so they settle in a single layer.
  5. Melt the butter in the microwave (I go for 30 second intervals at medium power), or on the stove in a small pan.
  6. Take a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and beat in the eggs with a large balloon whisk.
  7. Sift in the flour and almond meal, then add the milk and vanilla essence and beat again.
  8. Add the melted butter to the batter mixture and stir in.
  9. Pour the batter over the cherries.
  10. Bake for 35 minutes until puffed and golden.
  11. Allow to cool slightly, then dust with icing sugar before serving. Delicious warm or cold.

Possible substitutions and additions:
– Use 90g flour if you don’t have or don’t want to use almond meal.
– Try other fruits, such as apricots, blueberries, blackberries, or cooked pears. You’ll need slightly less by weight, approximately 275g (as there’s no pits).
– Soak the fruit in kirsch for a bit before using, for a boozy version.

Other tips:
– I don’t have a baking dish of a suitable size, so I used my cast iron frying pan, which worked brilliantly.
– Do sift the flour – I don’t bother for most things, but it does make a difference with batters.
– Don’t be tempted to omit the icing sugar dusting – you only need a little, and it makes a BIG difference to the overall flavour.


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Recipes From My Kitchen – Spicy Zucchini Tomato Rice

I made this earlier in the week, after being gifted some zucchini (aka courgettes!) from our lovely neighbours. I obviously forgot to take photos of the zucchini, but they were a mixture of yellow and green which made for a very pretty dish. Also forgot to take pics of the cooking process and final result, as it came after a busy day at work and I was just trying to get food into my belly as quickly as possible! I was delighted with the result of this experiment though. Filling but not heavy, and with leftovers for lunch a couple of days later 🙂

Spicy Zucchini Tomato Rice

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A quick, easy, healthy dish for zucchini season.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp fresh extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed or chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • jalapeno rings to taste, chopped (optional, I only used 4!)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook the rice, and while that’s going on, continue with the following…
  2. Put the extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan and turn onto a medium heat.
  3. Add the sliced zucchini, cover and cook, shaking occasionally for 5 minutes until just tender.
  4. Add the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook for a further minute.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, chopped jalapenos (if using), and red wine vinegar.
  6. Simmer uncovered for a few minutes until the tomatoes have reduced.
  7. Add the cooked rice and stir to combine.
  8. Serve into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.

Possible substitutions and additions:
Brown rice instead of regular basmati would add a great flavour and texture, while increasing the fibre content.
Other small squashes could be substituted for the zucchini.
Fresh tomatoes would be wonderful, but will take just a bit longer to cook.
Garlic paste is absolutely perfect if you’re out of fresh.
Lemon or lime juice would add a fab extra zing instead of the red wine vinegar.
Add a cup of black beans when you put in the tomatoes, to bulk it up and increase the protein value.

Other tips:
Freezes well, so make extra and reheat.
Also great as a side dish.
I sliced the zucchini using the slicer on the side of my cheese grater – they were a bit wonky but it didn’t matter!


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Branding and Growth Challenge – Day 5 – Publishing calendar

Oh god! This has been hard… Was supposed to review all my stats and work out which things are most popular. The thing is, I’ve not been posting regularly on any particular topics. That is, when I’ve been blogging at all… So no obvious pattern. But maybe trying to figure out a few categories would help me carry on posting regularly.

So, here goes, I’ll post regularly on Wednesday evenings (Aussie time), and have four main categories. I might add some bonus posts if I’m inspired in between times, or join in with one of the cool challenges that’s around.

  1. Recipes.
  2. Health and food, emphasising things with a good evidence base, and including links to the research where possible.
  3. What I’m up to on the farm – olive and non-olive related.
  4. Things to do / eat / drink, and places to see around where I live.

What do you think? What topics would you like to see more of? Is there anything in particular you’d like to know? FFx


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My Most Used Recipe Book

I want to share with you what has rapidly become one of my most used cookery books. And I have many! Mrs Beeton remains my go to for when I want to know how to make, well, anything (jugged hare anyone?) But for when I want a quick, inexpensive, and healthy meal, that I already have the ingredients for, then this is the one! It’s quicker to cook most of these meals than get a takeaway. And if you want to count calories, or use a meal plan, then it’s all there.

So what is this book? Well, it took me a while to track it down. I’d come across publications by Mary Flynn, a prominent American nutritionist based at Brown University (and Associate Professor of Medicine (Clinical)), and kept seeing mentions of her plant based olive oil diet (PBOO). Yes, it was the olive oil bit that caught my eye! The book is called “The Pink Ribbon Diet”, and it’s based on her research study of women who were overweight and had undergone treatment for breast cancer. The study found that this higher fat, olive oil-based, Mediterranean diet resulted in more weight loss than the low-fat or low-carb diets. It also showed health benefits not seen in the low-fat diet, with improvements in blood lipids, blood sugar, and insulin, which are all biomarkers for breast cancer.

Pink Ribbon Diet Mary Flynn PBOO

I’m in the fortunate position of not seeking out this book because I have cancer, but I am interested in how what I eat affects my health and wellbeing. I’ve also got a busy life, and I’m always on the lookout for recipes that make it easy to eat a healthy, tasty, filling meal.

I’d love to share some of the recipes in the book, and I emailed Dr Flynn to ask permission, but she replied that permission rests with the publishers, and unfortunately they haven’t replied to my emails! So I’ll give you a quick description of some of my favourites which I hope will whet your appetite (and not get me in trouble!), and a top 7 of reasons I love this book.

Porridge with walnuts and raisins: Mix rolled oats, water, brown sugar, and a little salt in a dish and microwave on medium until cooked. Add milk, chopped walnuts, and raisins and stir in. One of our neighbours has a walnut farm, so it’s easy to get yummy fresh walnuts 🙂

Tomato, zucchini (courgette), and potato casserole: Gently fry sliced tomatoes and courgettes in extra virgin olive oil. Add flour and milk to make a white sauce. Layer in a dish with sliced potatoes, and bake until cooked and golden. Love this in the summer when there’s a glut of tomatoes and courgettes. (For some reason WordPress won’t let me put these photos in chronological order, but I expect you can figure it out!)

Baked pasta with chickpeas: Gently fry fresh or frozen peppers and spinach in extra virgin olive oil, add chickpeas, a can of tomatoes, and cooked brown pasta. Transfer to a baking dish and bake until bubbly. This can be prepared as far as putting it in a baking dish, and then baked at a later time. As can the tomato-zucchini one above!

Black bean, corn, and tomato salad: Mix black beans, canned sweetcorn, chopped pepper, chopped fresh tomatoes and chopped red onion. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and lime juice. This is beautifully colourful, and doesn’t wilt on hot days 🙂 But I forgot to take a photo, so you’ll have to imagine the colourful bit!

My top 7 reasons to love the recipes in this book:

  1. They’re easy, quick, filling, and healthy.
  2. They can often be made from store cupboard ingredients,
  3. But I can also use fresh, and could grow a lot of the ingredients myself! If I ever actually planted a veggie garden, instead of just planning it…
  4. They can be adapted with different herbs and spices,
  5. They can be prepared in advance and made in bulk,
  6. They’re great on their own but also make fantastic accompaniments for a barbeque (one of my husband’s favourite hobbies!)
  7. And they use lots of EVOO!!

Happily, Mary has her own website with several other recipes, and I’d encourage you to take a look (http://medfooddiet.com/recipes/). There’s also a ton of information there about basic nutrition and the concept of food as medicine. Alternatively, seek out the book itself, on eBay or Amazon (click for links). I don’t think you’ll regret it!

I’d love to know what your favourite recipe books and go-to recipes are. If you’d like to share, please tell me in a comment. FFx

 


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Anzac biscuits

Another belated baking post today! In the same way that I helpfully posted a recipe for Sourdough Hot Cross Buns a few days after Good Friday, here’s a recipe for Anzac biscuits, only a day after Anzac Day itself… I’d forgotten just how fab these biscuits are, and how quick to make, so I write about them now because I see no reason why they shouldn’t be made and enjoyed All Year Long! They have a touch of the Hobnob about them in my mind, and I’ve often wondered how they’d be with a chocolate topping – even more delicious I reckon, if not authentic.

I always thought that Anzac biscuits were made and sent to Australian and New Zealand forces on the front lines, but Wikipedia suggests they were more often used as a fundraising item. They’re obviously now produced commercially. This recipe results in quite a crunchy biscuit, but some bought ones have a much softer texture. A shorter baking time would lead to a less crunchy biscuit, if that’s what you prefer.

There are lots of recipes out there, most pretty similar. The one I use was written down for me by a good friend, visiting us when we lived in the UK. I made it more frequently there than I have since we migrated, to give my husband a taste of home! But now I’ve been reminded how good they taste, I won’t leave it so long ’til next time!

This recipe makes  40-50 biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 130g butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Freshfield Grove Anzacs 2

Method

Set oven to 170degC.

Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan over a low heat.

Freshfield Grove Anzacs 1

Mix the flour, sugar, coconut, and rolled oats together in a large bowl.

Freshfield Grove Anzacs 3

Mix the bicarbonate of soda, vanilla essence, and boiling water together in a cup.

Take the butter – syrup mixture off the heat, and stir in the bicarbonate of soda mixture from the cup. This will foam up a bit!

Pour all these combined wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix together.

Freshfield Grove Anzacs 4

Take approximately a tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a ball, then place it on a baking sheet and flatten slightly. I don’t grease my baking sheets, and so long as you get the biscuits off before they harden, they lift off easily. Leave some space between them to allow them to spread, which seems to happen mostly in the second half of baking. I end up baking in two or three batches, as I can’t fit them all in the oven in one go.

Freshfield Grove Anzacs 5

Bake for 10 minutes in total until golden brown. Halfway through baking, take the biscuits out and flatten them slightly with the back of a fork, then pop them back in the oven. This part of the method was emphasised by our friend, and I think it gives the biscuit a much better texture at the end! (I forgot to do it once and they weren’t as good.)

Freshfield Grove Anzacs 7

The baking time and temperature can be adjusted depending on your oven, to get the texture and colour you want. The biscuits are soft when they come out, and harden when cool. Leave them on the baking sheets for about 2 minutes to cool enough to handle without breaking, but it is VERY IMPORTANT to remove them before they are completely hard, as from experience they will be firmly attached to the baking sheet by this stage!

Eat and enjoy! They do keep really well, if you can manage not to eat them all at once… FFx