The olive tree is surely the biggest gift of heaven – Thomas Jefferson
I grew up with sunflower oil and butter but these days I have five different extra virgin olive oils next to my stove. Ordinary olive oil for frying my chicken breasts, truffle olive oil that I add to my mashed potatoes, orange olive oil that I sprinkle on my pumpkin before I put it into the oven, parmesan olive oil to be added in good measures over hot pasta and then lime olive oil for dressing my salads. Olive oil is a completely natural oil (straight from heaven, I would say) with no preservatives added.
SA Olive Association
In South Africa, the SA Olive Association keeps a watchful eye over our olive industry and if you want to be sure that you have a good South African olive oil you should be on the lookout for the organization’s seal of approval on the bottle.
Now, how should a good olive oil taste?
Well, once tasted, it should have fruity flavours such as apple and this should be followed by a bitter taste at the back of your tongue, giving way to a sharp peppery sensation in the back of your throat. Feel free to take a half teaspoon of olive oil, put it in your mouth, breathe the oil in as if you are tasting wine and see whether you experience theses sensations.
Beware of oils that smell or taste winey, metallic, musty or rancid.
Interesting facts and tips about olive oil
• Use olive oil while it is still young and fresh. It is not like wine which gets better as it gets older.
• Store oil in a cool, dark place.
• Do not store the olive oil in the refrigerator, the condensation will promote oxidation.
• Olive oil is more heat stable than, for example, sunflower oil and can be reused seven times.
3 tablespoons orange olive oil (this can be replaced with ordinary olive oil and the juice of one orange)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. Place the butter on a baking tray and then the pumpkin, sweet potatoes and pears. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and cumin seeds and bake for 30 minutes. Mix the honey, sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the pumpkin and bake for a further half hour.
I felt like a fruit salad the other day but because it was freezing cold and wintery outside I did not feel like cold fruit. I decided then and there to make a baked fruit salad. For me, a fruit salad is not specific fruit – it’s just fruit that you have in your bowl. On that day I had guavas, bananas, apples and pears. I just cored them and baked these with star anise, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.
It formed this delicious yummy tropical caramel-like sauce at the bottom and was devilish delicious with a dollop of ice cream. Sometimes in life, you have to do things differently. Try it, it sometimes holds some delightful surprises.
The other day a delivery of the most beautiful Abate Fetel pears from Tru-Cape arrived at my desk and it inspired me to make this delicious and easy pear crumble. That day I handed these delicious pears to some of my colleagues … well they all shouted for more and said they were just so utterly natural, fresh and delicious. Pears are such heavenly treats and so fabulous to bake with – so I baked some and also did a little research on the humble Abate Fetel pear* …
Abate Fete: ah-BAH-tay fuh-TEL
These pears were fist cultivated by Italian monks a few hundred years ago.
Shape + Look
Unlike normal pear-shaped pears, this variety of pear is slim and long and often many people have described it as almost banana-shaped. This fruit has an attractive yellowish brown russet over its green exterior.
When to eat
This variety of pear is eaten when it is just barely soft; you don’t have to wait for the fleeting, elusive moment between green woodiness and pulpy mush.
A rich sweet taste with a very unusual note: could it be aromatic honey?
Source: thekitchn.com + specialtyfruitclubs.com
* Abate Fete pears are now available in Checkers Stores nationwide.
Filling – Place all the ingredients into a pan, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes and then transfer cooked ingredients into a small ovenproof dish.
Crumble - Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cut the butter into small cubes and add this to the dry ingredient mixture. Mix with your fingertips until it resembles an even crumbed texture.
Cover the pears with the crumble mixture. Bake for approximately 40 minutes until the crumble turns golden and serve hot with some creamy vanilla ice cream.