Make Your Own Specialty Olives

Have you ever tried to Make Your Own Specialty Olives? Like the ones you get at fairs or in the supermarket? But much cheaper and with the added bonus that are homemade? I made flavoured marinated olives hundreds of time. This time I’ve used sundried tomatoes, herbs, fresh garlic and a blend of vegetable oils.

Make Your Own Speciality Olives. Picture from the top

The recipe is, obviously, vegan and naturally healthy. I will list the ingredients, but without mentioning the weights. It’s all down to your taste and how you want to make the olives. It doesn’t take a long time to prepare them, but it takes a long time for the olives and sundried tomatoes to infuse. I would suggest waiting at least 2-3 weeks for the sundried tomatoes to soften. If you are not using sundried tomatoes, or if they are already soften, then it takes only a week to ten days for the olives to infuse and get the flavours from the spices and herbs.

I don’t suggest using fresh herbs, as they have moisture. There are plenty of delicious dried herbs that will work great. I used fresh garlic, but you can use garlic powder if you fancy, it will work just as good. I always add different spices, and they always turn out great.

This time I’ve used chilli oil. Basically it’s vegetable oil infused with chilli flakes, nothing too complicated. If you don’t have chilli oil (do make some, it’s great on pizza/pasta, and in sauce), it doesn’t matter, you can use some chilli flakes. The chillies will infuse the oil in a week or so, plenty of time before you should open the jars and enjoy them.

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Seaweed Butter

I like making my own flavoured butter. I shared recipes for Miso butter and also a simple butter spread. I also make garlic butter and herby butter from time to time. I saw somewhere seaweed butter and I wanted to try it. As I forgot where I saw it, I made my own take. It’s obviously an easy recipe, but it’s nice to have the idea. For me, the idea of the seaweed butter looks posh and is a nice option for a dinner party.

Seaweed butter

I’ve used dried seaweed that aren’t salted. If you are using salted seaweed, don’t add more salt. As for the oil, a good option is vegetable oil, rapeseed or sunflower. Don’t use olive oil because it will change the taste and give it a bitter note.

– 100g butter
– 100ml vegetable oil
– 5g dried seaweed
– sea salt

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Zacusca is a traditional Romanian dip that is usually made in Autumn for the Winter. It lasts for a few months in the cupboard. My husband likes this dip a lot and we might buy a jar or two from the International shop we go to. The downside of the shop-bought zacusca jars is that they have too much oil. With the ingredients I used, I ended up with for 4 big jars.


I usually make it from scratch, but as I found ready made smoked aubergines and roasted peppers, I’ve decided to use those and make the dip with them.

02 Zacusca

These are the jars I’ve used. The smoked aubergines are Turkish and the roasted peppers are Bulgarian, without any vinegar. Don’t use peppers with vinegar for zacusca. To make them yourself is easy, but it takes a bit of time. The aubergines have to roasted in the oven at medium heat, 160C to 180C, flipping them from time to time. When they are ready, the skin is easily removed the flesh of the aubergine is chopped and ready for the zacusca. For the peppers the process is similar, the peppers are roasted in the oven, skin removed and then ready to be chopped and used in the zacusca.
As I said, it’s not complicated as they have to stay a long time in the oven, around 1 hour, so it’s not likely they get get burned. But it takes a long time and if you find a jar of ready made aubergine flesh or roasted peppers, it’s so much easier and hassle free. I imagine there are other brands that make them, these are the ones I was able to buy. I kept the jars and I use them as I like the shape and I think recycling is important.

– 2 jars of smoked aubergines
– 2 jars of roasted peppers
– 750g onions
– 5 spoons of oil
– 900g chopped tomatoes in tomato sauce
– pepper
– salt

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Broccoli Mini Quiche

This weekend we had the end of season party at the manor house I’m volunteering. We all got together and had a chat about what we did. We also talked about what we are going to do next, there are special activities before Christmas with lots of children from local schools. For this occasion I made these Broccoli Mini Quiche. I only had time to take a couple of pictures of them after I took them out of the oven. Then I rushed to the car with them as I was a bit late. My Broccoli Mini Quiche were a success with the other volunteers and I got plenty of compliments for them. I tried a ginger cake I loved and I’m going to try to make my own version pretty soon.

Broccoli Mini Quiche

I wanted to make something a bit lighter, so I’ve used light cheese and I opted for a hot water pastry instead of shortcrust. I had frozen broccoli florets, but fresh broccoli can be used too. I wrote in the recipe for both options.

Ingredients for 20-24 Quiche:
– 330g plain white flour
– 115g butter
– 150ml water
– salt
– 175g broccoli
– 150g grated Cheddar lower in fat
– 150g light soft cheese
– 4 eggs
– 1 tsp dried parsley
– 1/2 tsp dried oregano
– 1 tsp dried basil
– white pepper

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Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs, the way my mother used to make them for me and one of my husband’s favourite starters. I was sure I’ve shared the recipe on my blog, but when I looked yesterday I realized I didn’t. I took pictures of the deviled eggs I made earlier, so I can write the recipe. I like to fill the eggs using a teaspoon and not pipping, as they will look more informal. As it was a special day, I’ve decorated them with fresh parsley and edible flowers.

Deviled Eggs

Ingredients for 14 pieces:
– 8 free-range eggs
– 60g mayonnaise
– 1 tsp mustard
– 1 tsp dried parsley
– white pepper
– sea salt
– Nigella seeds
– fresh parsley and flowers for decor

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Pea and mint dip

I buy pea and mint dip quite often, but I have lots of mint in the garden, so today I’ve decided to make my own after reading a few recipes yesterday. It turned out delicious and it’s made with only a handful of ingredients. I will make this dip again, as it takes only a few minutes to make and I can control how much salt and oil I add. A quarter of this dip means you get 1 of your recommended 5 a day. It’s so easy to add a bit of veggies in the diet while making everything taste amazing.

01 Pea and mint dip

I would recommend using vegetable oil for the dip, rapeseed or sunflower. Olive oil has a strong flavour and I think it wouldn’t compliment the flavour of the peas and the mint.

Pea and mint dip

I used Apple mint, Spearmint and Garden mint, three of the four types of mint I grow in my garden. If you don’t have different types of mint, you can use fresh mint from the supermarket. For 350g peas I’ve used half of the leaves photographed here. I wasn’t sure how much mint I would need. I used the rest to add flavour to a big mug of green tea.

– fresh leaves of Apple mint
– fresh leaves of Spearmint
– fresh leaves of Garden mint
– 350g frozen pois peas
– lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
– 2 spoons of rapeseed oil
– sea salt
– white pepper

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Sweet Potato and Lentil Pate

My husband and I have a big breakfast each day. As it’s an important meal for us, I thought of new spreads we can enjoy and I came up with this Sweet Potato and Lentil Pate. I made lentil pate before, but it’s the first time I would use sweet potato too. It was a really great idea, as it’s delicious and it’s a nice way to add more veggies. The recipe is naturally vegan, healthy and filling. If you want it for breakfast, as I did, I would recommend preparing it the day before, as it’s yummy cold and you might not have the time to prepare it before going to work.

Sweet Potato and Lentil Pate

Ingredients for 4 servings:
– 100g dry lentil
– 2 sweet potatoes
– 4 spoons olive oil
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– sea salt
– 1 tsp dried parsley
– 1 tsp dried basil
– black pepper
– 1 tsp onion flakes

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