Antipasto platter

By Madiha Hamid – Published: January 15, 2015

37Method

For the dressing:

•  Mix all the ingredients and whisk them lightly.
•  Keep tasting the mixture every few minutes to check for sourness or sweetness. The dressing should be tangy in taste.
•  Adjust the mixture by adding sugar or honey.

For the vegetables:

•  Marinate the sliced vegetables in the dressing for about an hour or so. Allow them to sit in the refrigerator for the juice to sink in.
•  Sprinkle the veggies with oregano and fresh parsley for added taste.

On the side

•  Cut some pita bread into small, triangular pieces and toast it.
•  Add a small bowl of hummus or salsa sauce to dip the vegetables in.

The concept of antipasti

Antipasto (plural: antipasti) is the Italian name given to the foods offered before a main meal — an appetiser, if you will. This is a delightful way to set the stage for the coming feast and invite family and friends to the dinner table. The presentation of antipasti — the different colours, artful composition, varied tastes and the care taken in its presentation  — serve as reminders for guests that it is time for relaxation, pleasure and indulgence.
According to Italian tradition, the ingredients of antipasti are selected on the basis of colour, flavour and how well they complement one another and the main course. A typical antipasti platter includes olives, pepperoni, anchovies, mushrooms, artichokes, cured meats, pickles, different cheeses and vegetable slices dipped in oil or vinegar. It can be served hot or cold, in bite-size plates or as elegant centrepieces from which everyone is served. In Italy, the most common antipasto dish includes a simple display of cured meats like salami or mortadella slices along with hard cheeses garnished with olives, onions, peppers or sun-dried tomatoes.
The Italians generally save antipasti for special occasions and big parties and celebrations. In Milan, enjoying an aperitif (alcoholic drinks served before a meal) has become a sort of institution. The Milanese consider drinking wine while nibbling on some potato chips, olives and peanuts an hour before the main course an essential for the good life. In fact, it would be unthinkable for the Milanese to start a dinner without an aperitif!.

Winter vegetables for antipasti?

Indulge in your favourite cured meats and cheeses, served with a mix of the best vegetables and fruits the winter season has to offer. These include:

(Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/818737/antipasto-platter/)

6 high fat foods you should be eating

WHETHER we’re trying to lose weight or just avoid gaining it, many of us think steering clear of dietary fat is the first step. Rather than cut out all fat, however, we’d be better served if we focused on what types of fat we’re getting.

The body needs some fat — just not too much. Fat gives your body energy, keeps your skin and hair healthy, helps you absorb certain vitamins and even keeps you warm, among other responsibilities.

A diet high in saturated fat — found in animal products and some vegetable oils — can lead to heart problems, but eating the right amount of unsaturated fats can protect the heart.

Unsaturated fats — including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — are considered good-for-you fats. Polyunsaturated fats include the famed omega 3 and omega 6 fats, both considered essential fatty acids, because our bodies can’t make them on its own. Polyunsaturated fats can help lower total cholesterol, while monounsaturated fats can raise “good” cholesterol, or HDL, and lower “bad” cholesterol, or LDL.

The average adult should get about 20 to 35 per cent of their daily calories from fat and less than 10 per cent of their daily calories from saturated fats. A gram of fat contains nine calories, so a daily diet comprised of 2000 calories would even out to about 44 to 78 grams of total fat a day.

So where can you find these unsaturated fats? Look no further than the six healthy picks below.

Olives (And Olive Oil)

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Mixing 10 large olives into your next salad will add about 5 grams of fat, 3.5 of which are monounsaturated and .4 of which are polyunsaturated.

Not an olive fan? The oil is an even more concentrated source of healthy fats — just don’t be too heavy-handed on your pour: A single tablespoon contains over 13 grams of fat, nearly 10 of which are monounsaturated and about 1.5 are polyunsaturated.

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Fancy some olives with your beer? Menabrea hope so

by STEPHEN EMERSON

THERE was a time, in the not too distant past, that a packet of peanuts and a pint of heavy was the standard order in pubs across Scotland with the slightly more adventurous beer options locked away in the bar fridge gathering dust.

656221328Today’s craft beer explosion and influx of brews from across the continent has transformed our options at the taps while pub food, a rarity before the smoking ban, is now widely available. Our attitudes to beer and food has changed which has in turn opened the door for imports like Menabrea whose makers hope that we’ll soon be sipping their offering with a range of apertivos. Menabrea, available in draft and bottle, is a punchy little number. Dull in colour and medium-bodied it is both mellow and refreshing with a welcome citrus bite to clear the palette.

The Italian firm offer Menabrea Bionda in draught – a 4.8% ABV pale lager – and Menabrea Ambrata at 5.0% ABV in 330ml bottles. Menabrea is commonly paired with aperitivo in Italy – small snack dishes commonly served with drinks in Italy, such as olives and nuts – and as part of the beer’s launch in Scotland, outlets will be provided with produce and custom Menabrea aperitivo dishes to serve with each order.

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Tapas heaven with olives – recipes

OLIVE BREAD

750ml flour | 10ml salt | 10ml sugar | 10g sachet of instant yeast | 50ml olive oil | 400-500ml warm water | 60ml chopped black olives | 60ml chopped green olives | extra oil for brushing

  • 20140821_834680664Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl.
  • Add olive oil and enough warm water to mix to a dough that is soft but not sticky. Knead well until smooth and elastic.
  • Put the dough in an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place until double in size.
  • Remove dough and knead lightly.
  • Knead the olives into the dough. Shape the dough into an oval loaf and place on a greased baking tray, cover with an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
  • Brush the surface with olive oil and bake at 190°C for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove and cool on a rack.

GREEN OLIVES IN CHEESE PASTRY (Makes 12)

250ml grated Cheddar cheese | 100g butter, softened | 310ml flour | 5ml dry mustard powder | 2ml salt | 12 large green stuffed olives, drained

  • 20140821_Olive PastryPut the cheese, butter, flour, mustard and salt in a food processor and process until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Remove from the processor, wrap in cling film and set aside for 30 minutes. Break off pieces of pastry and mould around an olive. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • Repeat with remaining dough and olives. Bake at 180°C for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool. Delicious served as a cocktail snack.

CITRUS MARINATED OLIVES

250ml olive oil | 300g green olives in brine | 300g black olives in brine | 4 bay leaves | 4 sprigs of rosemary | 1-2 red chilies, seeded and sliced | a few strips of lemon rind | a few strips of orange rind | 60ml red wine vinegar

  • 20140821_citrus marinated olivesPour oil into a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until just warm. Divide olives, bay leaves, rosemary, chili, rind and vinegar between sterilised glass jars. Pour over warm olive oil. Seal.
  • Turn jars upside down and stand for five minutes. Turn upright.
  • Allow to infuse for one week, turning once daily.

OLIVE TAPENADE (Makes 125ml)

250ml black olives, pitted | 50ml chopped parsley | 5ml chopped garlic | 2-3 anchovy fillets | 30-60ml olive oil

  • 20140821_834680664Put the olives, parsley, garlic and anchovies into a processor and process until finely chopped.
  • With the machine running, add in the olive oil. Process until smooth.
  • Store in a jar in the refrigerator and serve on slices of toasted baguette.

(Source: http://www.iol.co.za)

* For household queries, recipes and tips, call The Angela Day Helpline at 011 836 7181 from 8.30am-12.30pm weekdays, or e-mail Janice at angeladay@inl.co.za

* See www.angeladay.co.za

Tilapia with toasted Almonds and Green Olives

Tilapia is the beige of the fish world: inoffensive and ubiquitous. It doesn’t stand a chance against, well, just about every other fish around, but it’s also incredible cheap and fairly adaptable to whatever toppings you’d like to add to it. This explains why I spent far more time worrying about what would go with the fish than I did worrying about the fish itself.

20130617-256533-dinner-tonight-tilapia-almond-olive

I wanted something dramatic and flavorful, which led to the idea of coating the tilapia in crushed almonds. But I always cringe before starting a recipe where I have to make sure something adheres to fish. Regardless of how careful I am, half the time the coating falls off in the pan, burning the ingredients and leaving the fish exposed. And even when I do succeed, I’ve usually made a mess of the kitchen in the process.

Instead, I took the easy way out and sprinkled on almonds at the end. That way I could focus on making sure they were properly toasted, and not on whether they were sticking to the fish or burning in the pan. This also allowed me to mix in some briny green olives with the almonds, which added even more character to the dish.

I took the easy route with the green beans, too. They’re simmered in boiling water until bright green, drained, and then immediately tossed in a tart Sherry vinaigrette. I liked the vinaigrette so much, I drizzled a bit of it over the whole finished dish.

Get the recipe at http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/06/dinner-tonight-tilapia-with-toasted-almonds-a.html

(Source: http://www.seriouseats.com)

Roast Tomato, Onion, Feta, Olive And Basil Salad

When I made the zucchini, haloumi and feta fritters recently I wanted a delicious salad to go with it.  I love roast tomatoes and often make a risotto with roasted cherry tomatoes, so I decided to try roast tomatoes (this time Roma tomatoes) in a salad.  The results were delicious.

I love how roasted tomatoes take on a juicy, sweet flavour that is so much more intense than an unroasted tomato.  The roasted onion takes on a sweetness too, and coupled with the fresh creamy danish feta and basil it’s a flavour extravaganza.

gosalad1Ingredients

  • roma tomatoes (large, quartered)
  • purple onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pepper, salt
  • 30 grams Chalkidiki olives (green)
  • 50 grams feta (I prefer Danish Feta)
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsps white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 clove garlic (grated)

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Table Olive Processing (Method 1)

fermentationThis method is similar to the natural fermentation process we use. It allows the sugars in the olives to ferment and form lactic acid. The end result will be well worth the effort and the wait. All the wonderful flavours are preserved and this gives the olives its delicious taste.

 Green Olives:

  • Green olives are soaked in a caustic soda solution of between 1,3 and 2,6% for ±15 hours. The time may vary according to the size and ripeness of the fruit. After a few hours, take out an olive and make a cut through the flesh. When the lye has penetrated two thirds of the distance between the surface of the fruit and the pit, it is ready to be washed.
  • Also try to prevent the olives from coming into contact with air, as this can cause the colour to go dark or an unattractive khaki green. Keep in an airtight container (stainless steel, glass or high grade plastic will not affect the taste) through the entire process.
  • In the mean time prepare the brine by dissolving 1 kilogram of salt in 10 litres of clean water.
  • Now rinse the olives many times with clean, cold water to remove soapiness and caustic residue. This step is very important, because you don’t want your olives to taste of caustic soda or “soapy”.
  • Place the olives into a suitable container and cover completely with the brine. Make sure the container has a tight fitting lid.
  • Leave to ferment ±12 months. Taste them from time to time and decide for yourself when they are to your taste.

Bottling: Remove from the brine, rinse with clean water and place into glass jars and cover with hot brine. To make the brine solution: 20g Salt mixed into 1 liter boiling water. Cover immediately and leave to cool. Store in a cool place and refrigerate after opening.  Wine vinegar may be added to taste. You may even add sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme or a few cloves of garlic or lemon slices.

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11 Reasons You Should Be Eating Olives Daily

Are you looking for healthy snack ideas? Have you ever thought about adding olives to your diet? The truth is olives make a great healthy snack.  Olives contain a lot of vitamins and macro/micro elements which do wonders to our body. Additionally, olives contain a large amount of fatty acids and antioxidants, including lutein, a potent antioxidant that neutralizes the action of free radicals and protects our body from aging.

  • PicMonkey-Collage2Olives contribute to the prevention of diseases of the heart and vessels, as well as oncological diseases.
  • Maslinic Acid in Olive Skin helps prevent against colon cancer.
  • Olives  have a therapeutic effect in arthritis, podagra, osteochondrosis – diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
  • The calcium contained in olives is important in the strengthening of bone tissue, which takes part in the formation of the joints.

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Miranda Kerr’s beauty secret: Super food salads … feta cheese and olives included!

miranda_storysize_650_052314030436Supermodel Miranda Kerr gives credit to super food salads for her slender figure and radiant complexion.

 The 31-year-old said that she survives on a diet of healthy green smoothies and grilled lean meats, as well as a daily dose of leafy goodness packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

Every day I eat a big salad with finely chopped spinach and kale, fennel and macadamia nut oil. (Also) fresh lemon squeezed on that with apple cider vinegar. And feta cheese, olives and cucumber,” she said.

Kerr also said she consumes noni juice, goji berries, chia seeds or maca powder.

 

A taste of the Mediterranean: Olives — their oil and our health

Olives in bowls in a shop. Black and green olivesContinuing with the Mediterranean eating theme practically requires that we cover olives and olive oil at some point in the discussion, since they are so widely consumed by Mediterranean cultures. Traditionally, a Mediterranean diet calls for eating several olives (maybe up to 10) or consuming 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil each day. Let’s take a look at what the benefits of this practice may be.

Are there health benefits from olives that are separate from their oil?

This is the first question I had when starting this post. After all, most dietitians can rattle off several benefits of consuming olive oil without much trouble at all, but olives themselves? I tend to think of olives as mostly a garnish of sorts, not really a food, but in the Mediterranean diet they are indeed a food. Olives are rich in phytonutrients that exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. A recent study even shows that compounds in olive leaves may help increase insulin sensitivity (though the study used capsules and not olives themselves). In fact, one company is seeking a patent for the olive leaf extract, which is a more potent source of the two phytonutrients of interest—oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol—for its effects in the blood sugar control/metabolic syndrome area. These phytonutrients may also play a role in cancer prevention, and are known to have some blood thinning properties. It’s a bit early to jump on the olive leaf extract bandwagon, but it certainly presents some rationale for including more olives in your diet. Olives are also a good source of fiber, iron, copper and vitamin E.

Now to rattle off the olive oil health benefits

Marinated green and black olivesMost of the health chatter around olive oil relates to the fact that it is mainly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). These are considered healthy dietary fats, and when you decrease your consumption of less healthy fats (such as saturated and trans fats) with MUFAs, you can help lower your risk of heart disease by lowering total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. There is also some evidence that suggests that MUFAs may benefit blood sugar control as well—great for those with metabolic syndrome or Type 2 diabetes. In fact, studies like this recent one have shown that a Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil and nuts—without energy (calorie) restriction—reduced diabetes risk in a group of adult men and women who were already at risk of cardiovascular disease. Some types of MUFAs appear to have a use in fighting breast cancer, though more studies need to be done before conclusive benefits are demonstrated.

Bringing it to the table

Healthy golden olive oilOlives or olive oil for you? Both have benefits, and many of them are the same. So it may come down to sodium. Olives are usually high in sodium, though the level varies by type and processing technique. Most olives are brined and cured for several months to offset their naturally bitter taste. This means, of course, that they are salty—and rinsing them does little good. If you’re one of those folks who needs to watch sodium, you may want to go the olive oil route instead of the olive route when following a Mediterranean eating plan.

When choosing olive oil, keep these things in mind:

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has the highest concentration of health-promoting phytonutrients. It’s made by crushing/pressing the olives, and is the first extraction of the oil from high quality olives. Choose EVOO for drizzling, dipping or dressings.
  • Light olive oil, though not worthy of the extra virgin quality label, is still olive oil (albeit likely a mixture of different olive oils) and has comparable health benefits. It is further refined than EVOO, resulting in a more colorless, more mild-tasting oil. It’s better suited to cooking with high heat as its smoke-point is higher than that of EVOO. It’s also a good choice for baking.

(source: http://catchinghealth.bangordailynews.com/)

Green olive, basil, and almond tapenade

Green olive, basil, and almond tapenade2 Credit - Ed Anderson, 2014.jpgIngredients: Serves 6 to 8

260g green olives, pitted (Inolivia with almonds)
35g whole untoasted almonds
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
15g fresh basil leaves
125ml olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt

Method Step 1: Put the olives, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and capers in the bowl of a food processor. (I don’t use a mortar and pestle for this because I like the slightly chunky bits of almonds in the finished tapenade.)

Step 2: Coarsely chop the basil leaves, add them to the processor, and pulse the machine a few times to start breaking them down.

Step 3: Add the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Pulse the food processor until the mixture forms a coarse paste, one that still has a little texture provided by the not-entirely-broken-down almonds. The tapenade will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

From My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. (http://metro.co.uk/)

Olives and olive oil in the prevention of osteoporosis

healthy for lifeIncreasing life expectancy is matched by an increase in the prevalence of a number of age-related chronic diseases, including osteoporosis and its associated complications. To prevent this disease, nutritional strategies for optimizing bone health are now being considered, since a dietary approach is more popular amongst osteoporosis sufferers than drug intervention, and long-term drug treatment compliance is relatively poor. Indeed, an increasing body of scientific evidence has demonstrated that compounds derived from food alter the expression of genes in the human body. By turning genes on or off, bioactives in food alter the concentration of specific proteins directly or indirectly associated with human diseases. This may explain why adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet affords protection from degenerative diseases. This diet provides high amounts of olive oil, which is considered as a functional food, and which besides having a high level of MUFA, as oleic acid, contains multiple minor components with biological properties. There is accumulating evidence that antioxidant and anti-inflammatory micronutrients could be beneficial to bone health as well. In this light, olives or olive oil consumption remain sources for putative new and innovative dietary health intervention in the nutritional prevention of osteoporosis.

(source: http://www.teatronaturale.com)

Check Chalkidiki in Wikipedia

Chalkidiki peninsula, the hometown of Aristotetle (philosopher, 384 BC in Stageira–322 BC), is well known for the purple green beaches and its light green olives, the famous Chalkidiki Green Olives. As indicated in wikipedia, in the domain of agriculture, the peninsula is notable for its olive oil and olives production. Visit wikipedia for more information about Chalkidiki.

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Olives & Olive-oil – Cell Aging Delayed

20140104_121122Protection against cellular aging in a natural way: Austrian researchers biotechnologically produce a valuable antioxidant from olives that is more effective than Vitamin C. It can prevent cancer and has many positive effects on human health.

GRAZ, AUSTRIA, March 24, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ — Whether in salads, for frying fish or meat or just as a snack on white bread – for millennia olive oil has been one of the tastiest natural products. And it is one of the healthiest be-cause of the high content of unsaturated fatty acids and additional substances, which are present in minute amounts in olives (and in virgin olive oil “extra virgine”). A particularly valuable one is 3-hydroxytyrosol. “The substance is said to protect the cells and thus delays aging and prevents various diseases,” says Margit Winkler, researcher at the Austrian
Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib). This is due to the antioxidant effect, which is even stronger than that of ascorbic acid, the well-known antioxidant Vitamin C from citrus fruits.

No wonder that the substance is always in demand as a natural food supplement or as a component for cosmetics. The crux of the matter is the availability of 3-hydroxytyrosol: olive trees grow in limited geographic areas and olives should remain a valuable and tasty food and not become the raw material for a substance that is present only in minimal amounts. The separation is difficult and expensive, says Margit Winkler.

_MG_8895A research group of acib and the Swiss industrial partner Lonza has found a way to produce the valuable substance biotechnologically. A patent has been filed and it will be scientifically published shortly. The biotechnological route uses bacteria (Escherichia coli) as a cell factory. The researchers have integrated a new enzyme from another microorganism (called Nocardia), which is able to convert a cheap, low-carbon acid (3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, DOPAC) into the valuable 3-hydroxytyrosol. The entire reaction was improved so that the otherwise for this complicated conversion necessary cofactors are no longer needed – the high art of biotechnology.

“Fed with DOPAC, at laboratory scale there is a turnover of 100 percent using our modified Escherichia coli cell factories,” explains acib-scientist Winkler. The next step is transferring the process to an industrial scale.

Antioxidants and Cancer

20140104_121133Oxidative stress damages living cells: They form very active “radicals”, which react with everything that comes their way. This causes cancer or an even faster cell death. For example, skin cells exposed to UV light show such oxidative stress. The skin ages faster, dries out, becomes wrinkled. In the worst case, skin cancer is the long-term consequence. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals and decrease the risk of damages dramatically. 3-hydroxytyrosol has already been tested in many studies and showed “cytoprotective effect”: Protection of cells was shown with intestinal and brain cells, cells of the cardiovascular system, liver and various other cell types. For the authors of the studies, 3-hydroxytyrosol can prevent cancer, is anti-inflammatory and has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.

Reference: “ChemCatChem: Whole cell carboxylate reduction for the synthesis of 3-hydroxytyrosol,” Kamila Napora-Wijata, Karen Robins, Antonio Osorio-Lozada and Margit Winkler; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cctc.201300913/abstract

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1806361#ixzz2x3oqQ6g6