Olives and their oil have been around since Biblical times. The oil was used to eat and light lamps with, for example. This amazing tree can live for hundreds of years and I have seen such trees on my travels to Morocco.
The olive is so versatile, it loves to be in the company of so many foods like beef, lamb, chicken, pork, fish and many vegetables. One of the nicest salads that I have ever eaten was in Greece where they serve large salty chunks of feta, bitter salty black olives with crisp juicy pink cubes of sweet water melon.
One of the biggest shocks to my mouth was to eat an olive straight from the tree – I had never tasted anything so bitter in my life. In fact I thought I had been poisoned and it took a lot of convincing to put my mind at rest. My ex-father in law, an Italian, used to cure his own olives every year and we would welcome the large jars of olives he presented to us with open mouths and arms.
I love olive oil. It is one of the healthiest edible oils around, because it contains so little saturated fats.
Watermelon and olive salad
3 cups of watermelon cubes
200g feta cheese broken into chunks
200g mixed pitted olives halved
100g wild rocket leaves
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
Place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, onto a platter and drizzle with olive oil and a good grind of black pepper – so simple, yet so delicious.
Chunky olive Spread
This can be served as a spread or chunky dip.
1 cup finely chopped black olives
100g walnuts chopped
1 tbls chopped red onion
1 clove garlic crushed
1 red pepper diced
1 chillie chopped
2 tbls lemon juice or to taste
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and roughly grind, season with salt and pepper, spoon into a bowl and drizzle over with olive oil.