Mussels with Pancetta & Olives

This delicious mussel recipe with pancetta and La Verde olives by James Strawbridge is fantastic cooked over a fire in the garden or at the beach on a balmy summer evening.

Super easy to make but a real crowd pleaser – just add a cold beer and crusty bread.

Ingredients

1 kg organic mussels
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100g pancetta
Pinch of saffron
1 tsp paprika
185g La Verde olives
200ml cider
1 red onion, roughly diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
6-8 heritage tomatoes, roughly chopped
Handful of shelled broad beans
12 basil leaves
1 tsp cracked green pepper

Method

Heat your oil in a large pan and saute the pancetta, paprika and saffron.

Add in your diced red onion and cook. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the pancetta and onion caramelise nicely.

Next add chopped tomatoes and reduce the heat slightly. Simmer for 5 minutes and when a sauce starts to form add in a tablespoon of butter, peppercorns, mussels and cider.

Stir well and place a lid over the pan and steam for 4-5 minutes until all the mussels are open and cooked.

Finish the dish by warming through the broad beans, torn basil leaves and La Verde olives.

Serve with sourdough bread.

Lamb Burgers with Tapenade

These lamb burgers by James Strawbridge are perfect on the BBQ and then served up in focaccia buns.

James is trying out one of our brand new tapenades which will be launching very soon. Keep your eyes peeled for more info shortly…

Demo

Ingredients

For the burgers:
400g lamb mince
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp shawarma spice
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp smoky harissa tapenade
1 tbsp of each mint, oregano, fennel tops or dill, finely chopped
1 preserved lemon, finely chopped 
Pinch of smoked sea salt

For the La Verde focaccia buns:
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet easy-bake dried yeast 
1 1/2 tsp salt 
1 tbsp soft butter
100g La Verde olives, sliced

For the pickled veg:
1 carrot, grated plus carrot tops
1 red onion sliced
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp smoky harissa tapenade
1 tsp olive oil

To serve:
1 peach or apricot, roughly sliced
4 focaccia or bread rolls
150g feta cheese, crumbled [optional]

Method

Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a dip in the centre of the flour and pour in almost 300ml hand warm (cool rather than hot) water and 1 tbsp olive oil, with a round-bladed knife. Then mix in enough of the remaining water and a bit more if needed, to gather up any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl, until the mixture comes together as a soft, not too sticky, dough. Gather it into a ball with your hands.

Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins until it feels smooth and elastic, only adding the minimum of extra flour if necessary to prevent the dough sticking. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with an upturned, clean, large glass bowl and leave for 45 mins-1 hr or until doubled in size and feels light and springy. Timing will depend on the warmth of the room.

Knock back the dough by gently kneading just 3-4 times. You only want to knock out any large air bubbles, so too much handling now will lose the dough’s lightness. Shape into a ball, then cover and leave for 10 mins.

Cut the dough into 10 even pieces. Shape each into a ball and sit them on 2 baking parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave for 40-45 mins, or until about doubled in size.

Finish by using your fingers press a wide indent in the middle of each roll. Scatter over the sliced olives pressing down quite firmly into the indents. Drizzle with most of the remaining oil and season.

Put a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven 20 mins before ready to bake and heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put the risen bread in the oven, carefully pour about 250ml cold water into the roasting tin (this will hiss and create a burst of steam to give you a crisp crust), then lower the heat to 200C fan. Bake for 20 mins or until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack. If you tap the underneath of the loaf if should be firm and sound hollow. When baked, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and set aside before making the burgers. 

To make the burgers, mix the lamb mince with your spices, fresh herbs and tapenade together with preserved lemon and a pinch of salt.

Form into large patties and cook on the BBQ, grill or a ridged skillet in a pizza oven for 6-8 mins. Flip halfway through cooking.

For the pickles, add grated carrot and sliced red onion to vinegar with a little spoon more of the tapenade and some carrot tops. Warm through for 4-5 mins with a little drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt.

Add your sliced stone fruit to the BBQ or grill with your patties and allow to char for 2-3 mins to soften.

Build your burger by spreading a generous amount of tapenade on the base of your focaccia bun and then adding your spiced lamb burger, some crumbled feta cheese, quick pickled veg and charred peach or apricot. 

Cauli Steaks, Charred Spring Onion & Olives

These roasted cauliflower steaks by James Strawbridge work wonderfully with the sweet charred spring onions and succulent salty olives. As well as cooking them in the oven, try these on the BBQ this summer for a real alfresco treat.

Ingredients

1 cauliflower, carved into two steaks
180g Nocellara del Belice olives
6-8 spring onions, halved 
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Romesco (roasted red peppers) sauce
Pinch of sea salt 
Handful of watercress

Method

Preheat your oven to 180˚C and start by drizzling your cauliflower steaks with oil and a pinch of sea salt. Cook in a ridged skillet and bar mark them on both sides for 2-3 mins. 

Transfer to the oven along with the cauliflower leaves. Roast for 20-25 mins until the core and stalk is tender. 

In another pan grill your spring onions and olives for 5 mins until softened and slightly charred to release the sweetness. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and finely chopped chives.

Serve the roasted cauliflower steak with roasted red pepper sauce, olives, spring onions and a generous bunch of watercress on the side.

Rustic Olive Scotch Eggs

Try these rustic olive scotch eggs for a picnic feast with a difference this summer. La Verde olives beautifully season the middle eastern inspired recipe and the aromatic spices make this an exciting new vegetarian twist on a classic scotch egg. Recipe created for us by James Strawbridge.

Demo

Ingredients

185g La Verde olives
250g chickpeas, drained
1 preserved lemon
4 tbsp cooked cous cous, bulgar wheat or pearl barley 
½ sweet potato, peeled, roasted and diced
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp shawarma spice
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sumac
½ tsp rose petals
6 boiled eggs
2 tbsp gram flour
50g panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp za’atar
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying

Method

Start by blitzing your olives, chickpeas and preserved lemon with all your spices and tahini. Also include your sweet potato and grains. 

Pulse into a coarse sausage mince texture. Next grab a handful of your spiced olive mix and coat a boiled egg to cover. Form into a ball and then roll in gram flour to coat. 

Dip into beaten egg and the coat in seasoned breadcrumbs with za’atar. Fry your olive scotch eggs in hot oil preheated to 180˚C for 3-4 minutes until crispy. Serve with a salad and some harissa mayo with extra olives on the side.

Mediterranean Rack of Lamb

This Mediterranean rack of lamb dish with a herby olive crust is inspired by James Strawbridge’s memories of traveling in Greece.

Demo

Ingredients

For the roasted vegetables:
1 pot of Nocellara del belice olives
Large bunch of vine cherry tomatoes
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
6-8 asparagus spears
1 preserved lemon, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp pink peppercorns
Pinch of sea salt

For the herby olive crust:
1 pot of La verde olives
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp dill or fennel tops
1 tbsp mint 
2 tbsp olive oil
50g panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp pine nuts
Pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp black garlic puree or Dijon mustard

For the lamb rack:
1 rack of lamb
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of thyme

Method

Remove your lamb from the fridge an hour before cooking and preheat your oven to 180˚C. Rub the rack with oil, salt and pepper and sear on all sides in a pan with garlic and thyme to brown the meat and render the fat. Then after 5-6 mins cooking place on a wire rack and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Try cooking the lamb suspended over new potatoes so that the lamb fat drips onto them as they roast.

Meanwhile make your herby olive tapenade. Blitz one pot of La verde olives in a food processor with a handful of garden herbs including: dill, mint, and parsley. Then add in 2 tbsp of anchovies, the zest of one lemon and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Toast your pine nuts and breadcrumbs and Pulse into a coarse crust and combine with breadcrumbs and toasted pine nuts for the last 30 seconds. Season to taste.

For the roasted vegetables mix all ingredients and place on a baking tray. Roast for 20-25 mins.

Once the lamb is cooked to an internal temperature of 54˚C for medium rare allow it to rest and spread some black garlic paste onto the skin. Then press the herby olive crust onto the lamb and serve.