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The beautiful olive groves of Umbria

We all know how much I love food and wine…  In saying that, it doesn’t take much to tickle my taste buds.  One of my favourite ways of connecting with Lili Marlene is to meet at Trattoria Lido, over a glass of Greco di Tufo and a small bowl of Italian olives.

Isn’t it funny – you are either an olive lover or you can’t bear the little suckers.

I personally adore everything about olives… Umbrian olive groves, olive oil, olives stuffed with anchovies or almonds, infused garlic oil, truffle oil,  meaty Sicilian olives, Kalamatas (we guess the Greeks must have stolen the first tree from the Romans!)… Anyway you get my drift.

A piece of fresh ciabatta dipped in home made, green, virgin olive oil and a touch of salt,  must be classified as one of life’s simple pleasures!

So when my girlfriend Fiona said she was going to make a batch of olives, I couldn’t resist but take part.  Over the years, many friends have made the attempt to produce home made olives, but have failed.

It’s quite a labour-intensive pursuit.  Finding the right tree (preferably not over your neighour’s fence!), picking the fruit, pitting, salting, rinsing…

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We began by washing our meaty olives…

But over a glass of wine, Fiona and I committed ourselves to continuing the Italian tradition. We began by washing our meaty olives and then pitting them.  This is best done with a pitter (I bought mine from House for about $10).  Fiona has done it by hand before, but there’s collateral damage on your hand and the olive!

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Place the pitted olives in a bowl or barrel and then throw in a generous handful of quality salt and cover them with water.

The olives will have to stay in the bowl for between 10-14 days.

Fiona changes the water everyday and resalts them twice during the resting time… This is a “controversial” topic amongst the Italian olive experts.  But Fiona’s way certainly tastes good to me!

The most important thing is that the bitterness has gone.  Fi then marinates them in olive oil, lime juice, garlic and rosemary.  All I can say is;  “Delizioso” !!!!

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The finished product… Delicious!