Wonderful foods and a Motto for Life!

Live more and eat very happily.
Now  that's what I call a Motto for Life!  

About a week ago I received a parcel of goodies from Olives et Al and feel guilty that I have been a bit tardy in reviewing what they sent me. The truth of the matter is I have been overwhelmed with their wonderfulness!

First out the box was a jar of Sumac and this is what it says on the label ...

“Inspired by adventure we spent a year journeying across the Med on two motorbike collecting recipes everywhere we went.  Discover some of our stories – and tell us yours ...

So, of course I immediately visited their site and was beguiled for ages and ages, I suggest you do the same. There is so much to read, such a lot of useful information ranging from how to taste olive oil (it’s more complicated than I made it sound there!) to how to have shiny hair. Lots of recipes, ideas and fabulous pictures and that’s not all; click on a fabulous picture and up comes an interesting little story that makes me want to wander off and see some more of our lovely World. This is just a snippet of their clickable pics, there are loads!

images from around the world

All this excitement  before I'd even tasted the products! 

Olives et Al sent me four interesting items and there is a lot to play with so this is a preliminary post with another one to follow when I've had a more thorough experiment.  Firstly ...


Now you might think me a bit of a doofus but despite having an inordinately huge interest in food and being quite well travelled myself (including North Africa and Greece) I had never tried sumac.

a dish of sumac

haddock with sumac scented panko crumbs

My first taste was a tentative dip and lick of the finger – hmm, lemony – and my second was using it to brighten the crust on some haddock.  I am very partial to panko crumbs so this time I mixed some sumac with them together with some Maldon sea salt “et wulla” (as they say in the States!) lovely crunchy, tangy, salty divine fish. 
The very next day I sprinkled sea salt and sumac onto salmon fillets before pan frying them and serving with oven baked sweet potato chips and a salad dressed with the lovely Mojo Pink Grapefruit Dressing and Marinade which was also in the parcel – see below for more details on this.

salmon with sumac

Olives et Al’s sumac is 100% pure crushed berries sourced from a Women’s Cooperative in the West Bank and is totally authentic.

I can’t believe I have waited so long (so very, very long!) to try this delightful spice and my mind is spinning with ideas!

Mojo Pink Grapefruit Dressing & Marinade

Now this one says on the label ...

“Why are labels covered in photos?  Have a look at the website for the full story and loads more pics.  
Live more and eat very happily”

I am glad they say “dressing and marinade” because I am always encouraging people to use various vinaigrettes to marinate meat and fish before cooking and especially useful in this Time of the Barbecue.

The flavour of this dressing is quite powerful (and I’m not surprised as it contains garlic, cumin, Dijon mustard and oregano with loads of lovely black pepper heat) but in a good way! 

The recipe was apparently discovered in the Cayman Islands which is close to “home” for me.  I actually first tried mojo in the Canary islands where it is a garlicky, citrus and olive oil mixture often used as a dipping sauce (luckily I have some wonderful Vicky’s Bread on hand) and I believe it may be the Latin influence in the Caribbean that has caused the sauce to migrate.

Last night for dinner we ate up the remains of a roast chicken; my real man had ... another roast dinner whilst I ate a delicious salad of diced chicken, salad leaves, tomatoes and red onions tossed in Pink Grapefuit Mojo. We both had new potatoes that were only yesterday in our friend Carol’s garden – lucky us!  I  tossed mine in a little Preserved Lemon Butter.

Preserved Lemons

I've had preserved lemons before and am glad to be having them again! The first thing I did was cut some slivers off one and the second I did was to scatter some of said slivers over smoked salmon with sour cream.  Lovely (especially after I added lots of black pepper - not shown!).

smoked salmon with preserved lemon

Next I made Preserved Lemon and Black Pepper Butter (see here for lots of compound butter ideas because they are so useful) and inserted some under the skin of a chicken breast. It roasted up wonderfully, the skins was crisp, the flesh was fragrant and I roasted a few potatoes alongside which turned out well too.

chicken roasted with  preserved lemon

preserved lemon ice cream

Message from the future – here is an easy no-churn recipe for utterly brilliant Preserved Lemon Ice Cream; sweet and lemony as heck with a very slight salty bite from the pieces of preserved lemon.

Neat & Dirty Lemon Vodka Olives

jar of dirty olives

According to Olives et Al this preserving of olives in alcohol is a world first – thank God someone got round to it at last!  

had a quick nibble, as one would, and have to say I approve.  I haven’t done anything more yet but will be reporting back.

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