Olives. On a mission. Chef’s diary & recipes.

Journal & Recipes

Mission Olives. The Mission olive is a cultivar of olive developed in California, by Spanish missions along El Camino Real in the late 18th century. Although developed in the United States, Mission olives are also used by South African oil producers. We have an olive grove growing at African Relish, a small one compared to the thousands of olive trees that have been growing in Prince Albert for many years. We enjoy the harvest of our olives especially with a little bit of help from our guests. Olives may well be a mission to hand pick, but it is definitely worth it in the long run. Olives are truly a ‘gift from the gods’ as they say. The oil has so many different uses and there are very few people I know who don’t like that uniquely bitter, yet subtly salty with an almost sweet flesh of the perfectly brined olive. On it’s own, or in a sweet and savoury relish, or baked into a lovely, heart warming bread, the olive never goes out of culinary fashion. We use the local Prince Alberts Olives oil in our kitchen.

When you finally have your bucket full of olives picked, brine them in a 10% salt water solution (1kg of coarse salt on 10 litres of water) and cover tightly with a lid. Let them stand for Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 11.25.46 AM8 months. After this period, strain the olives out of the brine and put them on a tray and let them dry outside for about 6 – 8 hours. They will become this beautiful, rich black colour at which point you must return them to their bucket and re-brine them in 1 – 3 % salt water solution, depending on how salty they taste at this stage. Normally a 3% solution will do just fine. Let them rest in the new brine for a couple of weeks and they will be ready to use. You can now marinade them in your choice. Garlic, rosemary and chillies are just a few of my favourite flavours. Or enjoy them on their own with just a glass of Merlot, a sunset and some good friends to celebrate one of nature’s true delicacies.

Olive and rosemary Bread

500g white bread flour

225ml warm water

12g dried yeast

Pinch of salt

2 tblsp olive oil.

10 pitted olives

1 tblsp chopped rosemary

Mix all in a large bowl until it forms a smooth dough.

Leave to rise for 30min.

Knead it back again, shape and place on a tray or in a bread tin.

Once doubled in size, bake in a hot oven of 200 degrees celsius.

Turn out onto wire rack and leave to cool.


Olive and onion Relish

1 cup pitted olives

4 onions – thinly sliced

1 cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup white sugar

1 bay leaf

Place all the ingredients into a large pan and bring to a boil

Reduce heat to a gentle simmer

The onions should be soft and the liquid almost half of what was put in, then the relish is ready.


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