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Olive Tapenade

This Ancient Roman dish makes the perfect appetizer. You can use the Tapenade, also known as Olive Paste, as a condiment, with pasta or as a spread.  Be sure to try Olive Tapenade Palmiers.

500 ml black Kalamata olives
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Pinch of dried thyme
5 ml anchovy paste
45 ml extra virgin olive oil

  1. Pit the olives with an olive pitter or and transfer it to the bowl of a blender
  2. Remove the rosemary leaves from stalks and chop it finely before adding it to the blender as well.  Discard the stalks.
  3. Add the thyme and anchovy paste and blend thoroughly until the mixture forms a paste.
  4. Add the extra virgin olive oil a teaspoon at a time, keeping the olive paste more on the “dry” side.
  5. Transfer the paste to a serving dish and serve with bruschetta, crostini, vegetable crudités, etc.


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Roasted Olives

These olives can be served warm as part of an antipasti or meze platter.  Tip:  Always buy whole olives and pit them yourself with an olive pitter.

500 ml brine-cured olives, rinsed and pitted
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 ml crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3 rosemary sprigs

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 ° C.
  2. Combine the ingredients in an 20 cm square baking dish, cover with foil and bake until fragrant and heated through – 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm as part of an antipasti platter or stir into cooked pasta, etc.

Recipe adapted from Sarah’s Cucina Bella.


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Muffuletta Sandwich

The Muffaletta (moof-fuh-LEHT-tuh) also know simply as “muff”, is a classic New Orleans sandwich. It is the ultimate make-ahead sandwich and is super easy and convenient to make. Hollowed-out bread (authentic round muffaletta loaf or other Italian round bread) is filled with generous amounts of olive salad and a variety of cold cuts of meat, cheese and vegetables.  A true Muffuletta Sandwich must always be served at room temperature.

An Italian immigrant, Signor Lupo Salvatore, owner of the Central Grocery & Deli in the French Quarter of New Orleans, claims to have invented this sandwich in 1906. He apparently started making the sandwiches for the men who worked at the nearby produce stalls of the French Market. The sign over the covered sidewalk proudly proclaims, home of “The Original Muffuletta.”  The Central Grocery & Deli not only sells the Muffuletta sandwiches as take-out or eat-in, they also sell the ingredients of the Muffuletta – including olive salad by the jar – for people who want to make the sandwich at home.

Muffuletta Bread or 1 round country loaf (25 cm in diameter)
Olive Salad (see recipe below)
50 g Italian salami, thinly sliced
50 g Italian ham, thinly sliced
50 g Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
50 g Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
a handful or two of small sweet red peppers (pimiento) or Peppadews, halved
rocket leaves

Olive Salad (this should be made the day before for flavours to infuse)
200 g green olives, drained, pitted and coarsely-chopped
200 g Kalamata olives, drained, pitted and coarsely-chopped
10 ml crushed garlic
1 anchovy fillet, mashed
15 ml capers, drained and rinsed
15 ml red wine vinegar
15 ml fresh lemon juice
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
60 ml parsley, finely-chopped
freshly ground black pepper

  1. To make the olive salad, combine all the ingredients and then allow the flavors to infuse.
  2. Store covered in the fridge for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight.
  3. To assemble the muffaletta, remove the insides of the bread and reserve for another use, e.g. make bread crumbs to be used in Meatballs, etc.
  4. Spread some of the olive salad over the cut side of bottom half of bread.
  5. Layer the salami, ham, cheese, pimiento and rocket with a tablespoon or two of olive salad between every other layer.
  6. Place the top half of the bread on top like a lid and wrap the sandwich in cling film.
  7. Weigh the sandwich down with a cast-iron pan or tinned vegetables and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Remove the sandwich from refrigerator, cut into wedges, and serve.

Based on Martha Stewart’s Muffuletta recipe.

The Central Grocery & Deli in the French Quarter of New Orleans where the Muffuletta sandwich was invented in 1906.
The real deal – a Muffuletta sandwich from the Central Grocery & Deli in the French Quarter of New Orleans.


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Olive Ciabatta

The most effortless recipe for home-made Italian bread.  Ciabatta literally means “slipper”  in Italian, so keep this in mind when shaping the bread!  The bread is deliciously hard and crisp served soon after baking but may be enjoyed within a day or frozen, thawed and reheated.

500 ml cake flour
2 x 10 g packet instant yeast
5 ml salt
5 ml sugar
15 ml olive oil
350 ml lukewarm water
additional cake flour
additional oil to grease hands and bowl

  1. Place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl with a lid that can seal airtight.
  2. Stir to combine, make a well in the centre and add the oil and water.
  3. Beat the dough well with a spoon to make a soft dough, difficult to stir but too soft to knead.
  4. Add extra flour until the dough holds together in a soft ball and becomes less sticky.
  5. Grease the palms of the hands very generously with oil and gather the dough into the hands.
  6. To strengthen and manipulate the dough, slap the dough from the one hand to the other 100 times! Or, knead in an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for 4 minutes.
  7. Oil two bowls generously and place half of the dough into each bowl.
  8. Seal airtight with a lid or cling wrap and allow to rise for 20 to 30 minutes until doubled and full of air.
  9. Place a Wizbake baking sheet on a baking tray and sprinkle with a little flour.
  10. To make two smaller ciabatta’s, cut and separate the dough into two portions with a pizza cutter table knife and shape into a “slipper” shape.
  11. Sprinkle the bread/s with flour, cover with oiled cling wrap and allow to rise another hour or until well risen and filled with air.
  12. When the bread has almost doubled in size, preheat the oven to 200 ° C.
  13. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
  14. Remove the bread from the oven with oven mittens and transfer it to a cooling rack to cool for a few minutes.
  15. Serve the bread immediately with good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Servings: 1 large or 2 smaller loaves


The bread is at it’s best soon after baking but may be enjoyed within a day or frozen, thawed and reheated when needed.


To make one large loaf or focaccia, slip the dough onto the prepared baking tray and with oiled hands shape and stretch the dough to make an attractive flat bread.

Rye Flour Ciabatta Bread
Substitute 1 cup of the cake or bread flour with rye flour and add 5 ml caraway seed for a delicious flavour. Sprinkle the shaped bread with rye flour.   

Bran-rich Ciabatta Bread
Substitute 100 ml (use 400 ml) of the cake or bread flour with 250 ml digestive bran.    

Olive and Sun dried Tomato and Herb Bread
Have ready about 125 ml stoned olives and/or sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary sprigs, chopped rosemary, dried herbs or garlic and herb seasoning. Brush the shaped loaves with olive or sunflower oil and press the prepared topping ingredients into the dough of the shaped loaves with the index finger. Add sprigs of rosemary or herbs and let rise.

Tuscan Onion Bread
Brush the shaped loaves with olive or sunflower oil, arrange thinly sliced onion rings (1 medium onion) on top and sprinkle with coarse salt and / or garlic and herb seasoning. 

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.  Also see the recipe for Italian Ciabatta in the Art of Cooking Recipe book p. 831.


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Olive Tapenade Palmiers

A palmier (French for “palm tree”), is a French pastry that gets its name from its resemblance to a palm leaf.   It is also known as elephant ear, palm leaves, French hearts, palmeritas (Spanish).  It is made from puff pastry, so it is crispy and flaky.  The traditional sweet palmier is coated with sugar, but a variety of savoury fillings ranging from olive tapenade to sundried tomato paste, to basil pesto, can also be used.  Palmiers are made by folding the left and right sides of the pastry to the middle, then folding the dough in half again length-wise, sandwiching the first folds inside. Sliced into individual cookies, this is what gives the palmiers their distinctive “palm” or elephant-ear shape. You can also roll the sides of the puff pastry toward the middle, making even more layers and giving the palmiers a more rounded look.

1 x 400 g packet frozen puff pastry, defrosted in the fridge overnight
200 ml olive tapenade (clicks here for the recipe for home-made Olive Tapenade)
1 large egg, beaten with a little water

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200º C and line two baking trays with Wizbake baking sheets and set it aside.
  2. Remove the pastry from the packaging and unroll the pastry on a Wizbake baking sheet.
  3. Fold the left and the right sides of the dough inward so they meet in the middle.
  4. Fold the left side over the right side, like closing a book. This should make a very long, flat length of dough with the first two folds sandwiched in the middle.
  5. Cover the pastry “log” with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to give the dough time to firm up.  This will make them easier to cut and also help them puff better in the oven.
  6. Transfer the log back to a chopping board, remove the cling film and slice the log across into cookies roughly 1 cm wide with a sharp knife.
  7. Transfer the cookies to prepared baking tray, laying them cut-side up.
  8. Make sure to space the palmiers a few centimeters apart — they will puff quite a lot in the oven!
  9. Shape each slice with your fingertips so that it is round at the bottom with two neat curls at the top, so that it looks more or less like a heart shape.
  10. Brush the slices with the egg mixture
  11. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.
  12. Let the palmiers cool for a few minutes on the baking tray, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  13. Transfer the palmiers to a serving platter and serve as savoury cocktail snacks.

Palmiers are best the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container for several days. They will gradually lose their crispiness over time.


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Chicken Puttanesca

This tangy, somewhat salty Italian pasta dish has ingredients that are typical of Southern Italian cuisine: tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, olive oil, capers and garlic. Traditionally, the sauce is served with spaghetti, although it also goes well with penne, tagliatelli, linguine and even rice,

salt and pepper to season the chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 100 g each)
olive oil to fry
125 ml white wine or chicken stock
2 medium onions, peeled and finely diced
200 g cherry tomatoes, halved
30 ml tomato paste
10 ml crushed garlic
15 black olives, pitted
15 ml capers
30 ml basil, finely chopped fresh
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

  1. Brush the chicken breasts lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat and then sear the chicken breasts on both sides until nicely colored and almost done. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add half of the white wine or chicken stock to the hot saucepan to deglaze – scrape any bits of chicken that may have stuck on the bottom.
  4. Add the chopped onions and cook until the onions are translucent and soft – about 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste.
  6. Season with some salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like it spicy.
  7. Stir well and add the other half of white wine and cook covered with a lid for about 7 to 8 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
  8. Stir in the the olives, capers and minced garlic, and cook for another couple minutes.
  9. Add the chicken breasts into the saucepan. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes covered, or until the chicken breasts are thoroughly cooked.
  10. Sprinkle with the chopped basil and serve either with pasta of your choice or rice.


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Olive Salad

Olive Salad is one of the key ingredients in the Muffaletta sandwich, a make-ahead sandwich that consists of a round loaf of broad which is filled with cold cuts of meat, cheese, vegetables and olive salad.  It tastes just as great served as a relish with braaied meat, etc.

200 g green olives, drained, pitted and coarsely-chopped
200 g Kalamata olives, drained, pitted and coarsely-chopped
10 ml crushed garlic
1 anchovy fillet, mashed
15 ml capers, drained and rinsed
15 ml red wine vinegar
15 ml fresh lemon juice
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
60 ml parsley, finely-chopped
freshly ground black pepper

  1. To make the olive salad, combine all the ingredients and then allow the flavors to mingle for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
  2. Store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use as one of the fillings of the Muffaletta sandwich.


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Olive Corn Fritters

Corn fritters are part and parcel of New Zealand’s favourite everyday food and served in Cafés all day long. Enriching these favourite fritters with additional vegetables and cheese turns them into a most nutritious and tasty light meal or in between snack.

375 ml self-raising flour
1 ml salt
a good grinding black pepper
a good dash garlic and herb seasoning
250 ml whole kernel corn
125 ml black olives, pitted
125 ml grated baby marrow (zucchini)
125 ml grated cheese
30 ml spring onion, snipped
3 large eggs
250 ml milk

To cook
olive or sunflower oil to grease the non-stick frying pan

To serve
natural yoghurt or sour cream or
sweet chilli sauce or
salad garnish such as avocado, tomato or cucumber or
grilled bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms

  1. Place the flour, seasoning, corn, olives, baby marrow, cheese and spring onion in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine evenly and make a well in the centre.
  2. Add the eggs and milk and mix gently until blended.
  3. Brush a non-stick pan with olive oil and heat to medium hot.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the pan and spread out into a neat circle about 1 cm thick. 
  5. Cook until light golden brown on both sides.
  6. Serve warm or cold with variable ingredients listed above.

Servings: 8 large or 12 – 16 small fritters

1. The corn may be canned and drained, frozen or fresh
2. The baby marrow/zucchini can be substituted wtih chopped fresh spinach.
3. The cheese used may be Edam, Cheddar or Mozzarella

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.


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Olive & Eggplant Dipping Sauce

This tasty sauce can be served as a dipping sauce with crudités, crisps, bruschetta or fresh bread. It can also be mixed with cooked pasta!

2 large aubergines/eggplants/brinjals
2 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped (optional)
125 ml spring onion, finely sliced
5 to 10 ml crushed garlic
180 ml olive oil
125 ml black olives, drained and pitted
30 ml parsley, finely chopped
30 ml basil leaves, finely chopped
2.5 ml sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
100 to 200 ml plain yoghurt or crème fraîche (optional)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C. 
  2. Line a baking tray with a Wizbake baking sheet and set it aside.
  3. Peel the aubergines and slice into 1 cm thick slices.
  4. Transfer the aubergine slices to the prepared baking tray and brush each slice on both sides with olive oil.
  5. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the aubergines halfway through the cooking time.
  6. Set the aubergine slices aside to cool.
  7. To skin the tomatoes, fill a medium saucepan half full with water and bring it to a boil.
  8. Fill a medium mixing bowl half full with water and add some ice cubes. Set the bowl aside.
  9. Slice a shallow X into the bottom of the tomato (opposite the stem side). 
  10. Place the tomatoes into the boiling water and for about 30 seconds or until you see the X begin to split open wider.
  11. Transfer the tomatoes to the bowl of ice water and let them cool off. This will help to stop any “cooking” that has started. 
  12. Remove the tomatoes from the ice water and place them on a chopping board.
  13. Begin peeling the skin at the X, pulling the skin back gently towards the stem side.
  14. Discard the skin and quarter the tomatoes.  Remove the seeds and transfer it to the bowl of a food processor.
  15. Add the cooled aubergine to the food processor and set it aside.
  16. Transfer 5 ml of the olive oil to a saucepan and stir-fry the spring onion and garlic in the heated oil for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the spring onion mixture to the food processor.
  17. Add the olives, parsley, basil, sugar, salt and pepper to the food processor and process with the pulse action until smooth and blended.
  18. Stir in a tablespoon of yoghurt or crème fraîche if you like a creamier dip.
  19. Spoon into a serving dish and serve as a dipping sauce with crudités, crisps, bruschetta or fresh bread.