Sunday, 5 July 2015

Green tapenade

I was going to share garlic pickle next, with a bit of story-time, but let's complete the dips triumvirate first, of black-olive tapenade, hummus, and green-olive tapenade. Some people might put taramasalata into the mix, but in case you haven't noticed, I don't much like fish. (I deeply regret this and am trying to work on it, slowly; so far I can actively enjoy mussels, oysters, shrimps, and salmon, and can eat other kinds of shellfish, but no actual fish besides salmon, and I will swill my mouth with sour milk to get rid of the taste of anchovies.) So, green-olive tapenade it is!

 The same ingredients as black-olive tapenade, except the olives are green, the lemon has been replaced with orange, the walnuts have been replaced with almonds, and there's no garlic. The recipe book is the same one that has that inadequate recipe for hummus; it's better on the tapenades, but I find I need more olives than it says. Also, I replace their anchovies with extra capers. I used to add a tablespoon of fish sauce as a subsitute (little enough that it added piquance without making it fishy) but now I think, hey, if it's so close to vegan and vegetarian, why not just leave it that way?

900g jar of olives (440g of olives drained), 4 tablespoons of almonds, 2 tablespoons of capers, the zest of an orange, 250 ml olive oil. (We always buy extra-virgin olive oil, in a big tin that we can decant into bottles.)

Put HALF the olives plus everything else into your jug blender / jug if you have a blender stick. You don't need a special zester or anything - just grate the orange on the second-smallest holes of your grater. (Not the tiny spiky bit, that's for nutmeg, but the one that makes finely grated cheese.)

 Here comes the olive oil! Adding olive oil to actual olives invariably puts me in philisophical mood.

See? Half the olives in the jug, half still waiting in the colander.

Blend everything (except the other half the olives) to a fine puree - this way, the nuts and capers and orange zest get finely mixed, but the olives we add later will let us still have some texture, not just baby-food puree.

 Add the rest of the olives, and blend them in with a few quick pulses of the blender - enough that the olives do get chopped up, but not so much that it's totally smooth. I didn't get a final photo, because I was - invariably - about to hare out the house with it, to a family barbecue.

And at the family barbecue, or after it to be precise, something magical happened. I was walking with the family, when my nine-year-old niece said, "I'm bored!" So I said, "Do you want a story or a poem?" (My aunting is mostly limited to stories, poems, and reading aloud. I forget birthdays. I'm a pretty crap aunt. I remain popular, apparently, through novelty value.) So she said story, I said, "About pirates?" She said yes. And for the next two hours I told her about my Oxford where all the streets are water and big ships sail down them, and the pirate accordionist, and the Crow (who was raised by birds), and mostly the long and dramatic life story of the finest captain and how she got to be the finest captain. (I'd made it all up already, I'm rubbish at making up stories on the spot.) And every time I paused (even for breath), she said, "GO ON!" And hung on every word. All the way home, and then sitting in the garden, and then inside when it started raining, and then up in her bedroom when the people around us were too noisy, and then back downstairs on piles of cushions in a corner of their conservatory, for probably about two hours total. That is how to make a writer happy. Best. Audience. Ever!

May your tapenade be textural and your stories long and well-received. 

Usual freezing stuff: if it's not being hurtled off to an iminent barbecue and your best-ever audience, with wide-eyed five-star demands for more, you'll be wanting these:

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