Recipes: fab new olive dishes

Today I’m featuring some lovely recipes using olives (one of my favourite tasty treats) by Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy.
Omar grew up in Madrid and a love of cooking runs in his family. His mum was great at baking  which inspired him and by eight he was selling puddings to the neighbours during the summer holidays (wish I’d lived next door to him).
He says: “Enjoying good-quality food with friends and family is so important. Whether it’s an impromptu get-togethre or to mark a special occasion, sharing good times with loved ones over tasty food and drink can bring much love, laughter and happiness.” Amen to that.
Olives play an integral role in Mediterranean cuisine and Omar’s come up with some great new, inventive recipes using one of his favourite ingredients. He’s even made them into a sweet delicacy! Enjoy
Green olive gazpacho
Serves 4
Health-giving gazpacho with an olivey twist

Health-giving gazpacho with an olivey twist

100g of pitted green olives
8 tomatoes, quartered
½ onion, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove
¼ cucumber, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
10 drops of Tabasco
5 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 slice of bread
1 glass water
2 tablespoons olive oil
ice cubes, croutons and olive oil, to garnish
Place all the prepared vegetables and olives in a food processor or blender. Add the cumin, sherry vinegar, bread olive oil and about 200ml of water. Add a pinch of salt and blend until very smooth (at least 5 minutes of blending)
Check the seasoning and add more salt if necessary. If you don’t like bits in your gazpacho you can pass it through a sieve at this stage
Serve in a bowl with a few ice cubes, croutons, sliced olives and a few drops of olive oil, or serve in a cocktail glass with an olive on a skewer and a few drops of olive oil
Gazpacho tastes much better when prepared in advance – the night before if possible. If you do want to sieve it, I recommend you wait until just before serving as the flavour will be much more intense if it has been left overnight with all the bits in. In summer you will find a bottle of gazpacho chilling in the fridge of pretty much every Mediterranean kitchen. Sometimes we even add a shot of vodka to enhance its potential!
Coarse pate of mixed olives, manchego cheese and pistachios 
Serves 4
An inventive, simple-to-make tasty pate

An inventive, simple-to-make tasty pate

100g of pitted green and black olives
30g of manchego cheese
30g of pistachio kernels
50g of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon of fennel seeds
A pinch of sweet pimenton
Blend all of the ingredients into a coarse mix with the help of a food processor.
Serve on toast with any other ingredient you like: piquillo peppers, tuna in oil… or use as a garnish for a pan-fried fillet of sea bass or even as a crust for a baked leg of lamb.
Candied pitted olives and cherries in sweet sherry wine 
This would make a lovely gift or keep in your pantry for a sweet fix whenever you need one.
Yummily sweet olives in a bottle

Yummily sweet olives in a bottle

50g of pitted black olives
100g of cherries
1 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of water
1 glass of sweet sherry wine
Place a small sauce pan over high heat and add the sugar, water and olives. Let it all form a syrup and reduce down to a golden caramel
At this point add the glass of sweet sherry and the pitted cherries and let it all boil together for an extra 5 minutes. This will keep in a tight container for more than a month
For more great ideas with olives visit

Tasty recipes using olives

I love olives in all their colours, shapes and forms. My marinated ones have achieved some sort of fame – everyone loves them and I’m always being asked to make them for special occasions. You can find the recipe in a previous post at this link.

Originally thought to symbolise peace and wisdom, olives are also really good for you as they’re high in fibre and contain plenty of minerals and nutrients.

To celebrate the olive harvest season Olive it! have teamed up with top chef Jose Pizarro to create some delicious autumn-inspired recipes. They’re really simple and tasty and will give you more of a creative olive outlet. I know I’ll be trying them. If you’re inspired by this (which I’m sure you will be!) and feel the need for more olive recipes, visit

You can also watch this fantastic video:

Just copy and paste this link.

Videos on my blog…now I’m impressed!

Sautéed girolles, black olives and thyme

Sauteed girolles, black olives and thyme

Sauteed girolles, black olives and thyme

125g black olives

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

75g small whole girolles, cleaned

2 sprigs thyme


Freshly ground black pepper

In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the shallots over a medium heat for a minute or two until they soften but don’t colour

Lower the heat a little then add the garlic and the girolles and cook for three minutes before adding the olives and the thyme

Cook for a few minutes more then season with salt and black pepper.

Pour into a serving bowl and serve warm

Chicken stew with tomatoes, chorizo and black olives

Serves 4

Chicken stew with tomatoes, chorizo and black olives

Chicken stew with tomatoes, chorizo and black olives

100g black olives

1kg chicken breast and thigh meat, cut into 2cm cubes

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

4tbs olive oil

200ml red wine

2 medium onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

125g chorizo sausage, chopped

2 tsp bitter-sweet pimento

2 tbsp tomato puree

1can 400g chopped tomatoes

300ml chicken stock

The leaves from 3 large sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

3tbs sherry vinegar

1tsp sugar

2tbs chopped flat parsley

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole and brown the chicken in batches until nicely browned, set aside in a bowl

Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan with the onions and fry gently for 15 minutes until very soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic and chorizo and fry for 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine to the pan and as it bubbles up, scrape the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the caramelized juices

Stir in the pimento and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato puree, the tomatoes, chicken stock, thyme and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer gently for 30mins.  Add the chicken to casserole and cook for another 10mins

Put the sherry vinegar and caster sugar into a small pan and boil until reduced to 1 tablespoon. Stir it into the casserole with the olives then simmer for another 10 minutes leaving it uncovered if the liquid needs to reduce a bit more

Add more seasoning if required and finish with the parsley

Black olives, anchovy, orange and rosemary 

Black olives with anchovies, oranges and rosemary

150g black olives

30g tinned anchovies, drained of oil and halved

1 medium orange, peeled and segmented

4-5 small sprigs rosemary

Freshly ground black pepper


Mix the olives, anchovies, orange and rosemary together and leave to marinate for 2-3 hours

Season with a little pepper before serving

A great new deli discovery: The Pantry

How many times have I said it? There’s always something happening in London. And today it’s a visit to a fabulous new deli in Cheam called The Pantry. Cheam is in the London borough of Sutton, just on the edge of Surrey. I’d never been there before but a short train journey from Clapham Junction and there I was in charming Cheam Village.

A bit of history. Cheam is probably most famous for Nonsuch Park and Nonsuch Palace which was Henry VIII’s last and most fantastic palace. Building began in 1538 at the start of the 30th year of his reign. The palace stood for generations until  Charles II gave it to his favourite mistress (yes his favourite one, not sure how many he had!), Barbara Villiers, who gambled herself badly into debt. In 1682 Charles allowed her to demolish the building and sell the materials to raise money. So Nonsuch Palace is no more! Those Kings and their mistresses, huh!

The latest addition to this historic part of London is The Pantry, the brainchild of local boy, Neil Berry, which opened last Monday, so it’s very new. You heard it here first.


The Pantry is in charming Cheam Village

It’s such a treasure trove, one of those places where you need to explore the shelves and fridges carefully and you’re bound to come away with a bagful of deliciousness.

There’s plenty of cheese like the award-winning Montgomery cheddar and a delectable Manchego with rosemary, the best chorizo ever and amazing olives from Spain, Sussx meats (like ribeye steaks), terrines (like duck, pear and pistachio), guest wines and beers and fresh bread. Plus you’ll find other great products from Italy and Spain, curry sauces and pastes and even a mouth-watering selection of sandwiches. You won’t find any of this stuff in your local supermarket, making it a unique shopping experience without the schlep of heading in to Borough Market.

The service is friendly and welcoming and the lovely ladies behind the counter couldn’t be more helpful or enthusiastic about the array of tempting products. Most of which you can taste before you buy – a sure fire way to get the juices going!

the pantry1


Cheese, glorious cheese

And with Christmas coming up (yes, it is nearly November after all), there are exciting hampers available, too.

Treat friends to a special hamper for Christmas

Treat friends to a special hamper for Christmas

My foodie journey of discovery around London has lead me to yet another little gem. Lucky me…and lucky you, residents of Cheam, with an exciting new place to shop.

The Pantry is at 21 Station Way, Cheam

Bulls, markets and Marc at 5am in St Remy

My first guest blogger on my new blog. Welcome Jan Orchard. She wrote about her visit to Arzak in San Sebastian for the previous, destroyed blog and I’m glad to say has agreed to making another appearance. And it’s a real goodie from the town of St Remy in Provence, France.

Visiting St Remy by Jan Orchard

If you ever have the urge to feel like a character in one of Peter Mayle’s novels, take yourself off to St Remy de Provence, sit in the Café Place and watch the passing scene. On market day, you’ll be serenaded by the sounds of Charles Trenet, Edith Piaf and less appealingly Johnny Hallyday from the vintage record stall.

If you want lunch, get there by 12,30 latest – the tables are occupied by robust Provencal types who want to tuck into the plat de jour before it all goes. The plat changes daily – while we were there the choices were moules mariniere featuring fat, juicy mussels from the beds at Sete and brandade de morue (salt cod) with mashed potato and a tomato stew.

This is just an ordinary café but the food is outstanding. We both had hand rolled trofi pasta served with creamy burrata. One dish came with pesto, the other with a rich, full tomato sauce, both were fabulous and over generous. As we ate, we watched a dead ringer for Carla Sarkosy, all pout, high voltage glamour and poker straight hair pick at a beef tartare between puffs on her cigarette (eating exterieur in the South of France means smoking is allowed – even if the exterieur is a veranda). The enfant with her was badly behaved for a French child. Usually when confronted with food, French children stay in their seats, eat up and from time to time comment on the menu. We’ve never recovered from seeing a five year old order and enjoy oysters!  I’ve also eaten salade chevre chaud at Café Place which instead of the usual grilled goats cheese on a croute is a toasted ham and goats cheese sandwich with bayonne ham, fig chutney, sun dried tomatoes and a large salad.

Trofi pasta with pesto and Burrata at Cafe Place

Salad chevre chaud with a difference

St Remy is set at the foot of the Alpilles and is a major area for olives, fruit, tomatoes and Mediterranean vegetables. The Wednesday market is a food lover’s heaven. The narrow streets are packed with stalls selling local olive oil, mountain cheeses, olives, little jewel like boxes of strawberries, redcurrants and other fruits, tomatoes in every colour imaginable, pesto, tapenade, pungent anchoiade, sun dried tomato paste, the ubiquitous Vietnamese nems you see in every French market (a relic of the Colonial past), saucissons, hams and more. The table setting isn’t neglected either – there are dozens of stalls laden with colourful salad bowls and dishes, table linen and the Opinel knives no French countryman can be without – so handy for cutting a piece off a passing cheese or saucisson!

This great olive stall also sells hummus, tapenade, pesto and sun dried tomatoes

Sun dried and fresh Provencal tomatoes with herbs. Heaven.

Cheese, glorious cheese from cows, sheep and goats.

You’re going to need something to carry all your food home in! Go on, buy a new basket.

The porchetta is sold by the glass at this stall

As you walk around the streets, you’ll see signs saying, danger, manifestation taureau. This refers to the annual bull festival  – a spectacular event where the gardien horsemen from the nearby Carmargue come into town with their little black bulls who run through the streets. They take part in a bullfight too – but not the Spanish corrida. The bull gets to chase unarmed young men around the bull ring. One event during the festival features a large pool in the centre of the ring – it is not unknown for the bulls to give up chasing and go and stand quietly in the water instead ! Posters around the town advertise that Ferdinando or wboever from a particular mas (farm) will be appearing – and lists his parents and his and their victories.

St Remy has tourists but is still very much a Provencal town. Get up at 5am and you’ll see workers sitting at the Café Marche with a glass of Marc and a strong coffee. There are designer shops and galleries – but also many beautiful patisseries and delicatessens. On the drive into town there are farms advertising wine, honey or olive oil tastings – well worth a stop.

Stay at Hotel Gounod, right on the main square. Ask for a garden room. Eccentric in the extreme with religious statues and clutter of various sorts everywhere – but very convenient and with parking. For a treat, head to Mas de Carassin which is about a mile outside town. Dinner is a wonderful experience here – there is no menu, everyone has the same four courses but it is delicious – and advertised in the morning so changes can be made if there is something you don’t eat.

Thanks Jan! How amazing does St Remy sound and look? I’m totally sold on the place! The closest big town is Avignon where you can catch a bus there. Oh and Marc is a fearsome spirit made from squashed grapes and stalks after the wine is pressed – a real firewater officially called Pommace Brandy! Who’d have thought I’d learn about a new liquor I hadn’t heard of.

Do you have something you want to share on my blog? I’m always keen to have you help me cover the world of food…so get in touch if you have something to say.

Zesty citrus olives

I love olives. And I love it when you’re in a bar and they bring you a bowl of olives with your drink. Specially if I’m with my husband as he hates them (too salty) and I can scoff the whole bowl myself. It’s allowed, they’re delicious and good for you.

Olives come in many different shapes and forms, colours and flavours. I started experimenting with marinating my own when I realised how expensive the marinated ones are in the supermarkets (or anywhere for that matter). After a bit of experimentation, this is what I came up with. I like to make these when I’m having guests round for dinner or to give as gifts when I go to visit. They are really nice and citrussy but you can add more orange or lemon zest if you want to up the flavour a bit. And of course the same applies to all the other ingredients. It’s good to try them out yourself and come up with the personal concoction that suits you best.

Packed with citrussy flavours, these olives make a tasty gift

Lemon zest from 2 lemons

Orange zest from 2 oranges

600ml olive oil

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

6 sprigs fresh thyme

6 bay leaves (fresh)

6 cloves garlic

2 tsp chilli flakes

½ tsp ground black pepper

400g green brined stoneless olives, drained weight

Peel off the lemon and orange zest and add to a medium sized saucepan.

Add the olive oil, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, pepper and chilli.

Heat the mixture over low-medium heat for 6 mins just until the oil is hot.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the oil to cool to room temperature.

Place the olives in 2 large jars and pour the mixture over them.

Make sure the lid is tight.

Store in the fridge for at least 24 hours – turning the jars over at least twice.

They will last for two to three weeks and will taste better if you turn the jars every day for the first week.

And remember that after you’ve made these you will have two lemons and two oranges without any peel! Put them in the fridge overnight as they will transform it into a heavenly fragrant zone! And eat the oranges for breakfast the next day. As for the lemons, they work just as well in gin and tonics without peel, just add two slices and a squeeze of juice.