by THE WEEKEND COOK with Maggie Cooper
OLIVES are very much an acquired taste, one that, thankfully, I learned to enjoy quite a few years ago. We grow terrific olives here in Australia. Our country has so many different climates in so many areas that there are few crops we cannot manage here once good farming practices are applied.
I often wonder how we first discovered olives were edible; the raw fruit is not thanks to a bitter compound called oleuropein. Depending on the age and variety of the fruit it can be leached out by splitting the olives and soaking them in water – changed daily – for a length of time (up to a month). Other varieties need to be cured by one of several methods using salt, brine or lye. So it’s quite a process to convert them to the tasty nibble we enjoy with drinks, on pizzas or as an addition to many Mediterranean recipes. I like to buy a good brand of Aussie olive and then marinate them myself. They are delicious served warmed with pre-dinner drinks. Just about any of your favourite herbs and spices can be used. My personal choices are thyme, rosemary, garlic, nigella (black cumin) seeds and a little dried chilli. Feel free to experiment: oregano, sage, marjoram, regular cumin seeds, mustard seeds, mandarin peel, and peppercorns are alternatives.
INGREDIENTS: 2 cups cured mixed olives
1/4 cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
zest of a small lemon
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tsp fennel or nigella (black cumin) seeds (optional)
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
METHOD: Drain brine from olives and discard.
In a small saucepan, combine oil, lemon zest, garlic and herbs, reserving one sprig of rosemary for garnish.
Add fennel or nigella seeds and chilli flakes if using.
Heat oil over a medium heat until garlic just starts to colour; don’t allow it to brown as it will become bitter.
Remove from heat and stir in the olives.
Cover and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes, preferably overnight.
Reheat gently before serving.
Contact Maggie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Promoting diversity and variety of goods in the markets!
Discount markets is something but not everything….
European Table Olives: Showcasing Superior Quality And Taste
The campaign is a three-year promotional programme co-funded by the European Union, which aims to increase the awareness and demand for European table olives of both professionals and consumers as well as to develop exports in the target markets of USA and Canada.
The ‘OLIVE YOU, European Table Olives’ campaign was launched at the Summer Fancy Food Show, the largest food and beverage trade show in North America, held this year in New York on June 25-27, with more than 40,500 registered participants.
Under the umbrella of the Olive You campaign, PEMETE and seven of its member companies participated in this important international food show, highlighting the superior quality and high standards of European table olives.
Over 2,000 distributors and HoReCa sectors visited the ‘OLIVE YOU, European Table Olives’ booths and were presented with European Table Olives varieties and informed about their superior quality and flavours. They also had the opportunity to taste this healthy product.
Following the event, the three-year ‘OLIVE YOU, European Table Olives’ campaign in the US and Canada will approach journalists, chefs, foodies, retailers and consumers of all ages, through promotional activities, events, sampling, and publicity, in order to familiarise the public with this natural and delicious food product.
PEMETE is a professional association, founded in 1970, that promotes the interests of table olive exporters. The 46 member-companies of PEMETE represent more than 90% of Greece’s exports of table olives to more than 100 countries.
The European Union has teamed up with Spanish Inter-Professional Table Olive Organization, INTERACEITUNA, and Michelin-starred chef José Andrés to launch an olives campaign directed at U.S. consumers. The goal of the campaign—“A tasty message from Europe. Have an Olive Day”—is to raise awareness of the versatility, flavor, nutrition, and rich history of olive production in Europe, especially in Spain, the world leader in production and exports of table olives.
The campaign will run through 2019 and will seek to educate U.S. consumers on the different variations of European olives and their culinary uses. It will focus on U.S. regions with high olive consumption, including New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Pioppi, Italy is known as the world’s healthiest village because many of its residents live past the age of 100. What are the factors responsible for their remarkable longevity? A leading doctor in Britain revealed their secrets.
The villagers have a diet of whole natural foods comprised of things that are in season and available according to the local climate.
Imagine living in a community where the average man lives to be 89 and many reach the 100-year mark. Picture what it would be like to enjoy one’s golden years without dementia or type 2 diabetes, maladies that are an integral part of aging in the rest of the world. After hearing about Pioppi, cardiologist Aseem Malhotra became fascinated with discovering what diet kept the residents so healthy and what lessons could be learned from them.
After studying the village, Malhotra developed a formula for optimal health. For starters, the Pioppians have a very low sugar intake, eating it only once per week. It is this dietary practice that the doctor considers essential for their good health. He contends that western society’s fear of fat is to blame for the high consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Malhotra attributes these foods as the cause of the widespread incidence of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Pioppi has received notoriety because it’s known as the home of the Mediterranean diet. As the villagers have no supermarket, their diet consists largely of vegetables, olive oil and fish. They also eat cheese, but other dairy products aren’t available. Pasta and bread are consumed in small quantities. In addition to sugar, their diet is low in meat and refined carbohydrates.
Other lifestyle practices aside from a healthful diet play a role. The villagers get seven hours of sleep per night and experience freedom from much stress. Although it isn’t intentional, intermittent fasting is a natural part of their lives. They don’t engage in exercise per se, but they’re very active.
Malhotra is the coauthor of a new book, The Pioppi Diet: A 21-Day Lifestyle Plan. Below are his top recommendations for vibrant health and longevity based on the Pioppians:
• Don’t fear fat; sugar and refined carbs are the enemies.
• Keep moving. Exercise for health, not weight loss (and walking is best).
• Extra virgin olive oil is medicine, as is a small handful of nuts – eat both, every day.
• Get seven hours of sleep a night.
• Stop counting calories because not all are created equal.
• Eat 10 eggs a week. They’re satiating and full of protein.
• Have two portions of vegetables in at least two meals a day.
• Fast once a week for 24 hours. Have dinner, then don’t have breakfast or lunch the next day.
While Malhotra is an allopathic doctor, his advisories are in line with tenets of naturopathic medicine. Olive Oil Times sought out the perspective of Kathy Gruver, natural health author, speaker and practitioner. “I think there are several points to this that we can all adopt. The villagers have a diet of whole natural foods comprised of things that are in season and available according to the local climate,” she said.
“This is unlike the western diet that involves a huge amount of processed and packaged foods. It’s not only laden with sugar but also contains fake and unhealthful components such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives and fast food. Our bodies weren’t made to process all this fake stuff. It doesn’t know what to do with it,” Gruver added.
“Furthermore, he mentions though they don’t ‘exercise,’ they are very active. We put so much emphasis on workouts, which can be a big turn-off to people. They think it means that they have to go to the gym or run on a treadmill. But it’s about moving your body in a way that works for you.”
“I laud the doctor’s suggestions on sleep, stress and intermittent fasting as well. All of these things, clearly, are combining to promote optimal health and a longer life.”
VILLAGERS IN NORTHERN CRETE HAVE LOW RATES OF HEART DISEASE DESPITE FATTY DIET
People living in isolated Greek mountains villages live long and healthy lives thanks to a unique gene that protects them against heart disease, recent research has found.
Scientists studied the villagers in an area of northern Crete because they had low cases of heart disease despite eating lots of animal fats.
The study, for the first time made a genetic portrait of the population of of Zoniana and Anogia by sequencing the entire genome of 250 individuals.
They found a new genetic variant, common among villagers, which appears to protect the heart by lowering levels of ‘bad’ fats and cholesterol.
Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute found that the variant is 40 times more common in this small Greek population than in other European populations.
Lead author Professor Eleftheria Zeggini said: ‘Genetic studies like this can help us begin to understand why this is.’
Cooking with this adored Mediterranean fruit
It’s difficult to describe the tastes and flavors of foods. Olives are an especially hard case. Nothing tastes remotely like them, so it’s impossible to compare them to any other food.
Novelist Lawrence Durrell did the best job of evoking them when he wrote, “The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palms, the gold beads, the bearded heroes . . . all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent smell of these black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.”
Cultivation of the olive is certainly ancient. The gnarly trees, their green-and-silver leaves trembling in any breeze, are native to the Mediterranean. In Israel, there’s evidence of olive oil production in 6000 BC, and on the Greek island of Naxos, archeologists have discovered remains of olive oil in a jug dating to 4,000 BC.
Indeed, the olive tree was so vital to the Greeks that they embedded it in their myth of Athena. When she struck the Acropolis with her spear, the first olive tree sprang forth. This magic underwhelmed the witnesses, who grumbled that the sea-god Poseidon would have given them a better gift. But after Athena taught them how to cultivate the tree and process its products for food, light and timber, they realized its many virtues and named their city Athens in her honor.
Greece remains a major grower, producing 11 percent of the world’s olives and consuming 23 liters of olive oil per person per year. (Americans consume about one liter.)