What you can make with olive oil and olives

In this section I plan to give you some recipes - my best method of pickling olives (thank you Mr KG), my soap recipe using olive oil and beeswax, plus dukkah (for dipping) and how to use olive oil for baking.

First recipe   This is how I pickle olives.  (There are of course hundreds of recipes available if you search the internet, or ask someone's italian nonna, or indeed anyone who has had a go.  I have tried many, and this one works for me)
Put your fresh, carefully picked, unbruised fruit in a bucket and cover it with water.  Put something on top of the olives to keep them under the water.Change the water every day for 14 days.  This helps to de bitter the fruit.  On day fifteen, mix up a brine solution.  Because I am usually pickling ripe Kalamatas, I make up a 10% solution - a kilo of salt to 10 litres of water.  However some olives will wrinkle if you hit them with such a strong solution straight away, and it is better to start with a weaker solution to start with and strengthen it as you go along.  The olives stay in this solution for 21 days. The salt to use is flossy salt which is designed for pickling food.  It is very reasonable priced and obtainable from  WA Salt Supply, down in Cockburn Road, Hamilton Hill. If you are trying to be very professional, you will use a brine tester and a pH tester to ensure that your brine levels don't get too low and your pH doesn't get too high.  The brine levels will get lower as the salt gets into the fruit.  If the pH rises (ie the brine is becoming too alkaline) you must add enough food acid (tartaric acid, citric acid) to bring the pH back into the acid range, otherwise you run the risk of weird moulds growing on your bucket of olives.  Not all of these are harmful, but if your olives smell and taste funny, err on the side of caution and throw them out.  I then drain my olives and boil up the brine and strain it, when cool, back over the olives. adding wine vinegar to taste.  Some people say half brine to half vinegar, but that is too vinegary for me.  Sometimes I put them in small jars straight away, sometimes I leave them in the buckets for a while before bottling.  (You can get special buckets from Plasdene Glaspak in Canning Vale which have both a lid and a grid inside to hold the olives under the liquid).  When I put the olives into jars, that is when I add flavourings such as chile, garlic or oregano.  If you are planning to use the olives very soon, then you can add fresh herbs etc, but if not it is safer to use dried flavourings to avoid the risk of mould developing.

Second Recipe   Here is the simplest recipe ever for pickling olives.  However the result is not a 'typical' olive - It is more like a prune!  Interested?  This is how you do it.  I put about 2 kilos of ripe olives (in my case, Kalamatas) into a stainless steel colander, layered them with salt, and let them sit there for 4 to 6 weeks. Brine drips out. That is essentially it!  Wash them, put them into jars and cover with oil.  I kept some for several years and the olives were still ok, but the oil had deteriorated, so I think it is best to use these olives fairly quickly.  They were moreish and nutty.  You could no doubt add flavourings if you wanted to.