Thursday, March 11, 2010


What you need comes to you

I tripped off to the new(ish) Fitzroy market on Saturday before Armageddon hit. It reminded me of Glebe market when I first went there twenty-something years ago. Smaller. But Has Promise.

The rent from the stalls at the market goes to Fitzroy School’s Kitchen Garden project. That’s reason enough to support it.

A couple of days before I’d made a batch of marinated olives. Carbon dating the original recipe*, I scribbled it down and first made them in the mid ‘80s. It’s a simple concoction – a few herbs, good Kalamata olives, a decent olive oil. I’d assembled the marinade bar one vital ingredient – a couple of bay leaves. Too bad I thought, I'm sure it will be ok without it. And forgot about it.

At the Fitzroy market my eyes fell upon a big tub of laurel branches, a generous stallholder giving them away. Take two they urged. No one’s enough there’s so many leaves on the branch. A nice chat, then off home with the lush foliage peeking out of my bag.

The missing bay leaves, fresh and vibrant, now added to the marinated olives.

Follow your instincts

Before I skipped out the door in the last of the sunlight, I’d put the tagine in the laundry tub to soak. The terracotta pot, when not used every day, needs a bit of a dip, time to dry and then a rub with oil to season it before cooking.

At lunchtime I whipped up a simple vegetable tagine with a big dob of harissa from my freshly harvested chillies, threw in some left over green olives and gently put it in a cold oven. The plan was to cook it all afternoon on very low (about 125C) and forget about it til dinner.

With the sun still high in the sky but feeling a little lazy after my morning wander, I drove rather than walked the kilometre or so up the road and submitted myself to a much needed massage.

Relaxed and a little dazed I stumbled out onto the darkened street and wondered where I was. Had I been transported to a winter’s afternoon in London? Not even 3 and the sky was so dark, every car had its lights on. Coming back to my senses, I was full of foreboding and started driving home. In the short trip the sky opened and pelted me with hail. It was a storm on monolithic proportions.

Safely inside, the house was infused with the aroma of the slow cooking tagine, locals tweeted amazing images of impromptu rivers running down city streets, hail stones the size of lemons and general chaos.

It was quite a storm.

And quite a tagine!

veggie tagine ready for a long slow cook: eggplant, pumpkin, leeks, fennel, green olives, parsnip, homegrown cherry tomatoes and harissa


I don’t need a calendar to know when autumn has arrived. Nor look for fallen leaves to crunch under my feet. Autumn officially begins the morning I awake craving porridge (oatmeal) and when I get the urge to make a big pot of soup.

Today is the day. Goodbye summer. Farewell asparagus. See you later berries. Bring on the pumpkin!

Porridge for breakfast (with crushed nuts and maple syrup) and a pot of autumn vegetables and bean soup cooking on the stove.

I'm ready!

*Marinated olives

The original recipe
(Source unknown)
2 c Kalamata olives
1 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 dried red chillies, crushed
2 bay leaves

Mix ingredients in a bowl then transfer to a sterilized jar. Marinate for 1 week, stirring occaisionally. Use the marinade for salad dressings etc or reuse.

My version
In a clean jar combine fresh chillies, black pepper corns, bay leaves and lots of garlic with the best quality olives and olive oil you can find. Keep out of direct light, at room temperature and try to resist eating them for at least a week. Shake the jar daily.

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Blogger K_Bom said...

I've just started following your blog; your writing is lovely and I appreciate the simplicity of your food ideas. I love olives but have never marinaded them myself - you've inspired me, so thankyou.

9:36 am  
Blogger Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

Oooh I will have to give those marinated olives a try for sure! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

9:53 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Welcome K_Bom and Lisa. Thanks for your comments. Enjoy the olives - it doesn't get simpler than this!

9:57 am  
Blogger Nate @ House of Annie said...

Hail the size of lemons? Good grief!

Since you're using homegrown chiles, share your dish in our Grow Your Own roundup this month! Full details at

1:48 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Hi Nate, thanks for stopping by. Have a great spring :)

7:47 am  
Blogger Lord Sedgwick said...

A propos of well intentioned markets. let's hope it has legs and does well.

Bendigo Community Farmers Market.

5:24 pm  
Anonymous Tresna @ Duty Free Living said...

I agree, the internal foodie clock *knows* when it is Autumn. Last week I made my first bowl or porridge - with a jar of poached quinces that has been hiding in the back of the cupboard since last year! Funnily enough, I made a batch of pumpkin and lentil soup only days later.

11:43 am  

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