The olive tree is surely the biggest gift of heaven – Thomas Jefferson
I grew up with sunflower oil and butter but these days I have five different extra virgin olive oils next to my stove. Ordinary olive oil for frying my chicken breasts, truffle olive oil that I add to my mashed potatoes, orange olive oil that I sprinkle on my pumpkin before I put it into the oven, parmesan olive oil to be added in good measures over hot pasta and then lime olive oil for dressing my salads. Olive oil is a completely natural oil (straight from heaven, I would say) with no preservatives added.
SA Olive Association
In South Africa, the SA Olive Association keeps a watchful eye over our olive industry and if you want to be sure that you have a good South African olive oil you should be on the lookout for the organization’s seal of approval on the bottle.
Now, how should a good olive oil taste?
Well, once tasted, it should have fruity flavours such as apple and this should be followed by a bitter taste at the back of your tongue, giving way to a sharp peppery sensation in the back of your throat. Feel free to take a half teaspoon of olive oil, put it in your mouth, breathe the oil in as if you are tasting wine and see whether you experience theses sensations.
Beware of oils that smell or taste winey, metallic, musty or rancid.
Interesting facts and tips about olive oil
• Use olive oil while it is still young and fresh. It is not like wine which gets better as it gets older.
• Store oil in a cool, dark place.
• Do not store the olive oil in the refrigerator, the condensation will promote oxidation.
• Olive oil is more heat stable than, for example, sunflower oil and can be reused seven times.
- 800g pumpkin, unpeeled and sliced
- 500g sweet potato, unpeeled cut into fingers
- 2 pears, unpeeled, quartered
- 60g butter, cubed
- 3 tablespoons orange olive oil (this can be replaced with ordinary olive oil and the juice of one orange)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. Place the butter on a baking tray and then the pumpkin, sweet potatoes and pears. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and cumin seeds and bake for 30 minutes. Mix the honey, sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the pumpkin and bake for a further half hour.