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.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bread Baking Tip

Firstly, let me apologise for not having a recipe up for a while. It's been... ummmmmm... busy down here lately.

There are several recipes that I've been meaning to put up, and I also want to put my homebrewing hijinks here too.

In the meantime (or at least today) here's a tip to make really soft bread. Or rolls, or whatever bread-like substance you happen to put in the oven.

Fill up a small pie dish (or something similar) with hot water. Put it on the lowest rack of your oven and preheat the oven. Once the oven is preheated, then put in your bread or rolls.

Ultra soft crust! And a very nice texture too. I've been doing this for the past few months and M-I-L, B-I-L, and Wifey-Poo won't have the bread any other way now.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wasabi Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise... Ahhhhh what great and wonderful stuff it is... mmmmmmmm, drool...

Did you know that originally mayo was made with garlic? Yup! I do like mine that way since I use a LOT of garlic (Vlad will not get me, HA!) when cooking anyways. Now, it's just hearsay, but the story goes that mayo was made in France with garlic. But when one particular Cardinal came to power he decreed NO garlic in mayo. He hated garlic. Something tells me he wasn't *really* French.

Anyways, that's just what I heard yonks ago and have absolutely no idea if it's correct or not.

There's also two conflicting versions of the origins of mayo, and I really don't feel like (or have time to) check wiki and sift through the references. Why don't I have time right now? Cus I'll be cooking a batch of pappadams in less than 5 minutes so I'd better get a move on.

Now I know that you could just open up a jar of mayo and add a squeeze of wasabi paste (mmmmmmmmm... wasabi...) and call it good. But if you did that then you'd be getting all the preservatives and chemical crap from the jar of mayo. And that's what we're trying to avoid.

BTW, this calls for egg yolks. Make sure you save the egg whites for meringue. Oh, the chooks down here aren't fed growth hormones either.

Wasabi Mayo

What you need:
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp wasabi paste (or more!)
1/2 cup olive oil

What you do:
Chuck everything but the olive oil in a small food processor. Process on low for a min or two. Then slowly add the olive oil while the processor is running.

Hey, now just how darned easy was that? Of course, you can add any sort of other herbs or spices you want, but the wasabi paste pretty much makes the taste and I've found other additions to be a waste as they don't really come through flavour-wise.


I'm off to fry a batch of pappadams to have with tonight's Mango Chicken Curry. Ta.