12 January 2010
Bunnyconnellen Olives - Convivial Pleasures Indeed...
I was dizzy with excitement to be given this package of gourmet goodies to review – especially after checking out their website and noting that these were “my kind of people”. They create an excellent product that wins awards all over the place – yet, in true Aussie style – they take the mickey out of themselves instead of blowing their own horn. (Check out their website for their casual, tongue-in-cheek recipes)
I was torn about what to do with all these goodies. I obviously wanted to tell you about them "au natural "– but what are sexy ingredients if you don’t at least try them out in some classic recipes?
So after trolling my recipe book collection, consulting with my peeps on Twitter and finally calling my Mum – I decided on a second go of the Bourke Street Bakery’s Pizza Base. As hubby is away on a dive trip – I couldn’t justify making more than one pizza so decided on a half / half.
The first half was a generous smear of the Olive tapenade with wafer thin slices of Spanish Onion and a light dusting of Mozzarella. I tossed up about using a Parmesan but didn’t want to detract from the gorgeous flavour – this was all about complimenting the tapenade, not having it as a background flavour.
On the other half, a light tomato base with just a few slices of Pepperoni, more red onion and those gorgeous marinated olives. Nice and simple with just enough Mozzarella to give it a bit of ooze.
I’m not sure if its because I’m modest or just hyper critical – but I can’t actually remember the last time I openly moaned while I eating something I made myself. And in all fairness, although I did make the pizza base – everything else was just “assembled” by me, so I guess I can’t take too much of the credit. But I have to tell you – that Olive Tapenade is up there as one of my happiest food moments. It was the perfect balance of sweet and salty, with generous chunks of olive and a smooth richness from the Anchovies. With the fluffy pizza base that had a nice crunch and the simple sweetness of the Spanish onion – it was the perfect combination (if I do say so myself!).
I was unabashedly enjoying myself so much that even the dog was too embarrassed to sit next to me.
I have to say – I think I have found the perfect pantry staple.
Tonight I had it on pizza but I’m already craving it spread on Sourdough toast with cold butter for lunch tomorrow. And then stirred through hot Fettuccine for dinner with just the lightest shaving of Parmesan. It would be amazing on a Grilled Vegetable Foccacia and I can’t wait to have it with a Slow Roasted Lamb Shank, Creamy Mash and a nice big dollop of it just to make a comfort dinner fancy.
So where do I start with the olives? Let me start with their point of difference. These are the first olives I have ever had where their juice is just as tasty as the olives themselves. I barely made it to the car before I cranked open the lid to sample one. And as soon as I did, visions of an ice cold Vodka Martini with 3 of these babies and a little slurp of the juice began to assail me. Dear Lord these are good olives. *drool*
They were perfect on the pizza, plump and juicy – and although it slows me down while eating – I love them whole on pizzas, stopping to suck the flesh off the pips. It’s such interactive, enjoyable, comfort food. And the high oven temp just seems to bring out the sweetness and complexity of the flavours even more.
The juice is a triumph all on its own. So often olives are left floundering in some vinegary concoction that some bright spark threw a chilli into thinking that would make it special. Wrong. How you make "special" is by paying as much attention to the marinade as you do to tending the crop. That’s how. This juice is so good I would actually have it in a Martini or even spooned over a green salad in lieu of a dressing. That’s how good it is.
With so much blatant success with the Tapenade and Olives – there was no way the Olive Oil would let me down and it was delicious. Pure luscious, golden goodness. A deep earthy flavour that demands fresh crusty bread, and lots of it. I seriously think I will need to hide the bottle from my husband so he doesn’t “waste it”… this might need to stay my little secret. *wink*
In the car this morning I heard an interview with George Calombaris where he discussed how excited he is to open a Restaurant in Brisbane in the near future - citing one of the reasons being that Brisbanites are so fanatical about using locally grown produce. Having spoken to Peter and Janie about this - it was interesting to hear just what a struggle they have had trying to get their product into Brisbane Kitchen's over the Italian and Spanish Olive Oils. Come on Brisbane! Live Local, Shop Local, Eat Local! Support your local businesses!
So dear Reader, what is your favourite Gourmet Goodie that you have (hidden?) in your house?
Mine, is without a doubt the Bunnyconnellen Olive Tapenade - and when we run out, I'm going to make hubby take me out to their Vineyard so I can stock up on more... and I'm going to time this visit to coincide with lunch... yum!
Bunnyconnellen Olive Grove and Vineyard
Crow's Nest QLD 4355
Ph: 07 4697 9555