The Event Post #18: Tapas Tasting with Olive It

*Some of these images are the property of Olive It

In the past few months or so, I have been trying to get into
cooking a little bit more. I love experimenting with new food and when I whip
out my apron and spend some time in the kitchen I actually really enjoy it. Luckily
for me the lovely guys at Olive It chose the perfect time to invite me down to
a masterclass with celebrity chef and founder of Tapas Revolution, Omar
Allibhoy, to get some tips on how olives can and should be used more in cooking.
I headed down to Beckett’s Farm, where the class was being held with my best
friend Charlotte (who is an insane chef…I picked wisely!) where we were greeted
with a large glass of red and taken through into the big farmhouse kitchen that
was going to be our home for the evening.

As a bit of an introduction, Omar gave us a crash course in
why Olives are so damn great. In a nutshell here in the UK we tend to use
olives only as a snacking dish but in the med, particularly in Spain, they use
them much more widely in a range of cooking and Olive It is a campaign backed
by the EU to encourage us Brits to do the same.

Throughout the night we made three different dishes, all of
which contained Olives in some shape or form and naturally Charlotte and I made
our way through a jar of three of snacking olives as we cooked!

First up was the starter, and this was the most
straightforward of the three recipes. We created a coarse pate using a mixture
of green and black pitted olives, manchego cheese, pistachio kernels, olive
oil, lemon juice, fennel seeds and a pinch of pimento which were simply tossed
in together and blended to form the paste. It was served on soft white bread
with a good helping of Tuna and was delicious! The perfect savoury snack to
keep those hunger pangs at bay while you are waiting for your dinner.

Now it was time for the main and one of my favourite dishes in
the world…meatballs! Omar showed us how to make quick and easy meatballs from
scratch and to give them an extra special something we stuffed them with pitted
queen green olives. For the sauce we used a chopped tomato base and added black
olives along with mixed herbs, carrots and a healthy splash of white wine.
These would be delicious served as a tapas dish or as a meal with some spaghetti
and a freshly baked ciabatta!

We rounded off our trio of olive based dishes with a dessert
of candied pitted olives and cherries in sweet sherry wine. The olives and
cherries were caramelised and added to a cream cheese mixture made from double
cream and goat’s cheese. The dessert itself was gorgeous and I loved the
cherries – but I have to admit, I think three courses of olives might be that
little too much for me!

We had loads of fun at the master class – Omar was so lovely
and down to earth and gave us some great tips to use in our everyday cooking. If
you want to try out any of the recipes we used you can find them here.

How do you guys use olives in cooking? Have you ever tried
out any recipes like this?

Charlotte x