Cooking With Omar and Olives

Olives are something I had to train myself to enjoy. Thankfully all the training paid off when Olive It! came to Edinburgh to teach us how to cook with the unusual fruit.

The closest I’ve come to cooking with olives is the careful placement on pizza, or tossing a few into a ragu. Olive it! teamed up with Omar Allibhoy (aka the Antonio Banderas of cooking) to teach a group of bloggers some new and delicious ways to enjoy Spanish olives.

Our training session took place at the prestigious Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, somewhere I’ve been keen to visit since EdinBloggette’s masterclass in baking.

Omar Allibhoy had a passion for Spanish Olives and wine, luckily ENTCS was filled with both.

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Olive Based Facts:

  • Olives are a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which is famed for being one of the healthiest in the world.
  • They are one of the few foods that have all four basic flavours – sweet, salty, bitter and acidic.
  • Olives contain 150kcal in around 100 grams, which is four times lower than processed snacks.
  • They also contain up to 77% contain oleic acid – an important monosaturated fat – are a natural source of vitamin E, while black olives are a source of iron.

Whatcha Got Cooking?

First up was a medley of marinades. I love picking up a plastic tub of olives at the deli counter, usually in a chilli and garlic marinade, but have never thought of making my own. I don’t know why I’ve never tried it before, but after this cookery class I won’t look back.

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I was so engrossed in the act of making the marinade that I forgot to document the adventure. Rest assured, we’ll be trying out some new home-made marinades at EB HQ and will share the results in all their golden glory.

It only takes 20 minutes to marinade olives, which is far quicker than walking to the local supermarket. They keep in the fridge for up to a month and only get better with time (and alongside wine).

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Next up, meatballs! Again, another first for me. Obviously I’ve made burgers before, the process is similar, just a bit more spherical.

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You might be wondering how olives were involved in this dish. We’ll wonder no more. Deep within each meatball was a single olive, a scotch olive of sorts.

Making meat look pretty on camera is no easy task…

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Here’s an example of how it could have looked:

Queen olive stuffed beef meatballs with tomato and olive sauce

Our internal olive was too firm, I could see the recipe working much better with a supple olive like the one in the professional shot.

Olives in Dessert? Sure, why not!

We actually started our cookery class with dessert, but when blogging about it I thought I’d leave it to the end. A dessert incorporating black olives isn’t something I would ever have considered, with a glass of wine and an open mind I was ready to learn.

We started by making our own caramel (another first for me) and then candied some black olives. To accompany the unusual concoction was a cheese based custard, made with goats cheese, double cream, sugar, olive oil and vanilla essence. This was such a simple sweet cheese cream and will be something I’ll happily repeat at home.

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We had an absolute blast at The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, we left inspired by the humble olive and will definitely be marinading our own in future.

A big thanks to Olive it! for organising such an enjoyable event, and to Omar for being a great teacher and fun host.


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