June 27, 2011

Guest Post by Cherie Hausler from Scullery Made Tea

Hi friends!

I'm very excited to feature the first ever guest post here in Scandi Foodie! 

I met the wonderful Cherie Hausler from Scullery Made Tea at the Barossa farmer's market a couple of weeks ago. Cherie's teas and delicious home-made treats immediately caught my attention, and I was keen to find out more about her business and life in Barossa. 

I'm so happy to share Cherie's story and recipe for Wild home-cured olives with you. For further information about her business, and more of her delicious recipes, please visit her website at Scullery Made.

Thank you, Cherie!

I’ve caught myself writing my blog specifically for my Mum sometimes. Of course I love her dearly, but it’s more the fact that most of the time I imagine she’s the only one reading it. Actually if I was to be brutally honest with myself I’d have to admit my Mum doesn’t actually read every post either. Long and short of it is, that when Maria from Scandi Foodie sent me a super lovely email asking to guest blog for her I was initially just rapt to know my readership had managed to reach beyond my immediate relatives. Happy days.

So to recipe swaps… I was all geared up to do a chocolate self saucing pudding with spelt flour and rapadura sugar, coconut butter and raw cacao, you know, the kind of good-for-you-deliciousness Maria and I share a common leaning towards, but out on our little hill my husband and I woke up to a very sunny Barossa Sunday that had other plans in store. The road to great olives is paved with good intentions it would seem.

Every morning we walk past a disheveled gang of wild olive trees on our ritual start to the day, and have been eagerly watching the branches groaning under a bounty that is surely to be a season best, according to local ‘farmtalk’ - watching and waiting for the fruit’s colour change to yell ‘pick me!’ And today was that day; the very same that I had planned to dedicate to raw cacao pudding making. Our mantra of living according to the seasons and wildcrafting whenever possible, had my pudding coming in a clear second best to an entire year’s supply of organic, handpicked, homecured olives though. Plus, I figured olive hunting would be more indicative of life in our part of the world for those of you who haven’t yet managed some ‘local’ time in the Barossa. Olives in, pudding out. It seemed the only fair thing to do. So we threw on our backpacks and announced out intentions to our border collie, Stella, the-wildcrafting-extraordinaire, and the afternoon went something along these lines… 

PS. If you’re an olive fan, don’t ever let anyone put you off curing your own olives, they are absolutely worth the effort and with such a bumper crop this year you should easily find fresh olives at a Farmer’s Market if you don’t happen to have a gathering of wild olive trees within reach.

Wild Homecured Olives

Organic black olives
Rock salt
Extra virgin olive oil
Clean, decent sized bucket

1. Pick over the olives to pull out any leaves that may have jumped in to your bucket during harvesting and then fill up the bucket with fresh water. Larger olives can be pricked with a fork to speed up the curing process, but wild olives tend to be teensy so we didn’t bother with this step.  

2. Leave the olives to soak in the water for 3 days and then drain, refilling the bucket with a salty brine solution of 1 cup of rock salt per 2 litres of water. Leave in the brine for another 3 days and then drain again before returning to fresh water for the next 3 days. Repeat this process, alternating between the salt brine and fresh water for approximately a month, or until the olives have lost their bitterness.

3. Once the olives have cured to your taste, pack into sterilized jars and cover with extra virgin olive oil before sealing. Stored in a cool, dark place, the sealed olives will keep for at least 6 months. 

You can add orange zest or lemon, fresh thyme or rosemary, or perhaps some roasted garlic, but in our experience it’s always better to add any extras to your serving bowl of olives rather than during the jarring process. This helps enormously with avoiding the ultimate disappointment of proudly cracking open a jar of olives only to find our unwelcome friend ‘mould’ has come to visit. 

All photos by Cherie Hausler.