Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Olivemite; a precursor to Olive Tapenade

This post originally appeared in my other blog about 2 and a half years ago. It was about vegemite and olivemite. Keep in mind at that point in time I'd never heard of olive tapenade, ahem. I've taken the parts out of the post that don't pertain to food, and I've softened the edges of some not-so-nice words.

Happy Little Vegemite!

Vegemite... I'm sure all of you up in the "other hemisphere" have heard the term: Vegemite

There was a telly commercial yonks ago down here with a couple of happy, sappy ankle-biters singing a song,"...We're happy little vegemites..." It was in black and white so down here that means in the early '80's. Not really, 50's I believe.

In case you are interested, Kraft (tm) now owns Vegemite. They were going to try to compete with it down here with their own version, but they just decided to buy the company and keep the name and recipe as Vegemite. Pretty darned shrewd marketing, eh?

So, like what the hell is Vegemite? Yes, I heard you ask that! Not only can I see in the dark, but I can peer into cyberspace too.

Vegemite is "Concentrated Yeast Extract". And it's a dark brown colour (color). And it has a VERY strong flavor (flavour). And it's "one of the world's richest sources of Vitamin B". And it has a VERY strong flavour (flavor). Did I mention that it is strong tasting?

It should be used as a spread on toast or a sandwich (usually with butter --in fact, the butter in our butter dish has brown streaks in it... FROM THE VEGEMITE YOU PERVERTS!!!!) It should not be used as a "dip" as some dipsticks in the US do when they are first presented with a jar of Vegemite. If you use it as a "dip", then you will HATE it for the rest of your life and all of your future lives too. Forewarned you are.

Remember all the stuff about Vegemite earlier? Well, this is called Olivemite. As much as I'd like to take credit for the name, I can't. A few months ago myself and The Most Wonderful Woman In The Entire World were driving through Mclaren Vale --it's a great place, over a hundred wineries right at the doorstep! Take a note, dave: blog about wineries soon.

Anyways, we stopped at an olive shop to get some specialty olives and we noticed they had a jar of something labeled Olivemite. It was bloody-well GREAT! Bought some --wee-hoo! Had a look at the ingredients later on and I thought to myself, "Dang, I can make that! And it won't cost much either."

So, here is how to make dave's Olivemite

What you need:

200 grams (just under a cup) of pitted Kalamata Olives***
1-2 heads roasted garlic
olive oil

*** Don't use regular black olives... It will taste like shit (seriously, I tried!) if you do --you've been warned

What you do:

This is simple. Chuck it all into a food processor and process it till it's done. The more olive oil you add the creamier it is.

Your taste buds will thank me for this one, guaranteed.

Here's a little something I've just added that's not in the original post: to turn the olivemite into olive tapenade, just add a bit of lemon juice, a few capers, an anchovy fillet (or a bit of anchovy paste) to the food processor, no worries. A bit of ground black pepper if you'd like.

There are as many ways to make olive tapenade as there are provinces that border the Mediterranean Sea --that's where it's from, BTW. So don't think that mine is THE way to make it cus there are literally hundreds of authentic olive tapenade recipes. Have fun and experiment! I'd be trying some tarragon first.


Suzer said...

Ooh and I have all the ingredients. Hubs turned his nose up at it when I first mentioned it, but think I will try it anyway, especially as he loves all the ingredients, silly man.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

That's us! Silly men we are, and darned proud of it :)

Rachel said...

That sounds delicious! I love olive tapenade, but my family isn't so crazy about it, but I think this is the right take on it, so I'll definitely be trying it.

A few years ago we found some olives that we love, since I'm an olive wimp and don't care for the strong bite in strongly brined olives (including kalamata). They're ripe green olives that are packed pretty much the same way as black olives...no brine, no vinegar, no pimento. They taste like what you'd think the fruit belonging to olive oil should taste like...creamy and delicious. Do you have those in Aussieland? I'm thinking they would be great with the roasted garlic, though I may attempt it with Kalamata, with such a strong warning. :)

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Rachel: Good to see you back mate. Glad the move went smoothly for you and yours.
Regarding the olives to use... I'd really suggest trying kalamatas first. Just use a little bit and experiment. Just a thought.

Both the olivemite and olive tapenade recipes should work great with the ripe green olives you mention (yes, I know the type you are talking about), but try it in small amounts to get the mixture right --I'd suggest a few extra capers, but not too many.
As far as the ripe green olives down here in Oz, we can actually buy (or pick) olives fresh down here. Olive trees grow very well down here, in fact so well that if they escape from a grove they are considered a pest plant.

Rachel said...

A pest plant that provides sustenance. That's funny! Maybe not to the people who don't want them around, but to me. :)

Alaska-womom said...

Absloutely yum! I'm on a cooking kick so I will be combing over your site!