Fragata Olives and Roasted Red Peppers.

I was recently asked by Fragata if I was interested in trying out some samples of their gorgeous olives to bake and cook with.  Fragata is a company specialising in Spanish olives from the Andalusian region and they have been going for nearly 90 years!

A quote from the Fragata  website says: “Fragata Spanish Olives can be used in hundreds of different ways to create authentic Mediterranean dishes and mouthwatering tapas. What better way to create a unique culinary corner of Spain in your own home – go on, savour the flavour of Spain!”  

 Both my hubby and I adore olives and could happily sit and trough our way through several pots of them.  They evoke happy times both on holidays in the sun and of relaxed family weekend meals preferably washed down with glasses of Prosecco or wine alongside. So to be given the challenge to bake and cook with one of my favourite foods was just fantastic. As we love all things Mediterranean and our holidays in Spain what could be better than eating food which reminds us of happy memories and special times?

Last week a box arrived at my house which contained a delicious goodie bag not only full of Fragata olives but also contained a jar of roasted red peppers.  Another food I just adore, not only in salads or anti pasti or tapas meals but cooked through in other Mediterranean inspired dishes.

My mouthwatering goodie bag from Fragata. It contained a Snack Pack of green olives from Andalucia, a large jar of stuffed green olives mixed with pimento, a large can of green olives stuffed with anchovies and a jar of delicious roasted red peppers. I couldn’t wait to get started on creating recipes with them.

My first recipe attempt started last Monday which was during half term week.  My hubby was going to be late back from work and my daughter had been working as well. So we needed something quick and easy which I could throw together within half an hour.  I hadn’t had much chance to go out food shopping and wanted to use up what was left in the cupboard.  I had some penne left and loads of onions, tinned tomatoes and garlic as well as my favourite Spaghetti Spice made from Nigelissima. The result was quick and tasty and even my fussy son liked it.  He doesn’t normally like red peppers but he enjoyed these! Result!

Roasted Red Pimento Piquillo Peppers. I have bought these before and used them in salads but wanted to try them out in other recipes.
I carefully washed and drained the red peppers. They were then sliced thinly. I chose to cook them in a tomato pasta sauce.
I fried red onion and garlic, then added the chopped and sliced red pepper to the frying pan.
The peppers, onions and garlic was added to a tin of chopped tomatoes and a couple of teaspoons of my Nigella Lawson homemade Spaghetti Spice (see her Nigellisima book) and left to simmer gently while I cooked some penne pasta.

Last Wednesday I was knee deep in painting what with it being half term week.  My son and I had been decorating his bedroom and we needed something that was quick and easy to throw together.  Thinking of all the recipes and meals I could create with olives earlier in the week I had stocked up on some anti pasti meats, cheese and breadsticks.  I’d bought some houmous which obviously isn’t Italian but my daughter loves it.  Though when I got to get the tub out of the fridge I noticed it had already been opened!

I was a bit unsure what to do with the can of olives stuffed with anchovies.  I don’t like anchovies at all, though I wish I could eat them.  I’ve fished (sorry about the dreadful pun!!) them out of many a Salade Nicoise or pulled them off a Pisaladiere because I can’t stand them, yet I had no idea they were in tapanade!  I love tapanade too, smothered on fresh French bread. I found a recipe for tapanade and decided to have a go at my own even though I thought tapanade usually was made with black olives.  If they tasted fishy I would just leave it but I know my hubby loves anchovies.

I don’t like anchovies much but I was keen to turn these anchovy stuffed olives into a tapanade to eat with some breadsticks bought in a local deli.
The drained anchovy stuffed olives were put into a bowl with some olive oil, lemon juice, some more of my prized Nigella Lawson Spaghetti Spice and some ground pepper.
Out came my stick blender to puree the olives so that it made a green tapanade paste.
The tapanade in a bowl ready to be served at dinner with some breadsticks alongside.

I was so surprised when I tried the tapanade! It didn’t taste fishy or of anchovies at all.  I could taste the olives and the garlic and once I’d tried one mouthful then I had to have another..and another.. and another…. The crunchy breadsticks tasted absolutely divine with the tapanade.  Both my children aren’t keen on olives but my hubby and I sat there dipping away until the bowl was nearly empty!

I just love Fragata’s pouches of olives which are perfect to carry about for a snack or are useful to serve with predinner drinks.

When I see olive pouches, such as the one which came in the Fragata goodie bag I’m immediately back in Spain.  It’s a hot, sunny evening and I’m sat by the pool sipping on a pre-dinner or BBQ drink while hubby is cooking.  I’m trying my hardest to save some olives for dinner but it’s very hard. I can’t stop at one!

Anti pasti: the homemade tapanade, slices of buffalo mozzarella, breadsticks, salad, hoummous, salami, proscuitto and parma ham. All perfect for a quick, thrown together dinner after a busy day trying to decorate my son’s bedroom during half term week!
Last but not least I was keen to try out these scrumptious pimento stuffed green olives. I could eat these until the cows come home but before I could lay into them I really needed to think of a recipe I could add them to!

On Sunday I wanted to bake something using olives in it.  I thought of an olive and cheese loaf but I’m hopeless at baking bread especially where yeast is involved.  I didn’t have a lot of spare time and wanted something which wouldn’t take ages to prove.  So I thought back to a soda bread recipe in The Great British Bake Off Everyday book which used bacon. So instead of crunchy pieces of bacon in the dough I used pimento stuffed green olives.  My mum was here for the day and it was a perfect lunch along with some homemade tomato and basil soup cooked in my slow cooker.  The children loved the bread even though they fished the olives out and handed them to me!

The olive soda bread was delicious and went down well with a comforting bowl of homemade tomato and basil soup on a cold, wet February Sunday lunch.
My slice of olive soda bread. I kept wanting to pick the salty olives off the other bits of leftover bread. I’m looking forward to eating some more another day if there’s anything left!

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