Salted toffee bar The Highland Chocolatier

Five things we’ve eaten this week

We try lots of new things here at olive. New ingredients, new dishes, new drinks-  new anything food or drink based. Here are our favourite picks from this week. 

1. Salted toffee bar from The Highland Chocolatier. This most delicious combination: salted toffee caramel pieces scattered on top of a silky caramel milk chocolate bar left all of us wanting more.

2. Emmi Caffe Latte’s iced coffees added a refreshing kick to our mid-week afternoon in the office. We tried a range of flavours from vanilla to caramel to original latte and they were delicious (for those with a particularly sweet tooth!).

3. A box of Cameo apples arrived in the office with a sprinkling of tiny stars. These were silky and crunchy and a quintessentially autumnal English treat. We enjoyed straightaway but there are plenty of recipes on their website for the cold nights ahead.

4. We love palm oil-free peanut butters, and so often rely on a jar of Whole Earth. But now they’ve gone one step further – peanut butter PLUS sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds. With no added sugar. It’s mellow, wholesome and, despite the fact that it has ‘butter’ in the title, tastes good for us. Addictive, too – we’re eating it with a teaspoon.

5. Diplomat Earl Grey tea from Aldi. This 99p box of teabags recently beat Fortnum & Mason, Waitrose and M&S in the Which? Best Buy competition. A light and fragrant cup with citrus notes was enjoyed on a surprisingly warm Friday afternoon.

Pumpkin bellini

Halloween cocktail: pumpkin bellini

Bartender Richard Woods of Duck and Waffle is the master of creating new cocktails using imaginative, seasonal ingredients.  His autumn collection includes this wonderful pumpkin and chestnut bellini, perfect for Halloween get togethers.   You can find more of Richard’s cocktails READ MORE in the new Duck and Waffle cookbook .

  • pumpkin 1/4 peeled, chopped and put through a juicer (this will yield roughly 250ml of pumpkin juice, or enough for six servings)
  • grated nutmeg, to taste
  • maple syrup 20g
  • chestnut liqueur (Briottet or similar) prosecco 

Pumpkin BelliniAdd nutmeg to the pumpkin juice, then pass through a coffee filter or clean tea cloth. Stir in the maple syrup, decant into a bottle or jar and refrigerate – it will keep up for three days.

Per serving, put 40ml pumpkin mix, 20ml chestnut liqueur and 75ml prosecco in a cocktail tin, and stir gently (not too vigorously or the prosecco will bubble up and over the rim).

Pour into a champagne flute and serve.

Beat jack-o’-lantern food waste with our best pumpkin recipes

Wondering what to do with all those pumpkin leftovers you have from Halloween pumpkin carving?

The Pumpkin Rescue campaign has revealed that we waste 18,000 tons of pumpkin on Halloween… that’s the equivalent of 1,500 double decker buses all in the name of pumpkin carving festivities! Two in five Britons buy a pumpkin for Halloween, but the delicious orange flesh is rarely enjoyed as part of an autumnal treat for the table. Don’t neglect this versatile ingredient; after all, the carving is the hardest part of the preparation…

Top 5 pumpkin recipes

We’ve pulled together a collection of five pumpkin recipes, from pumpkin pies (sweet and savoury) to a healthy pasta, spicy soup and indulgent prawn and pumpkin curry. We’ll reveal one every so often over the course of this spooky weekend. No tricks, all treats!

1. Pumpkin soup with chilli and sour cream

Pumpkin soup with chilli and sour cream


2. Pumpkin, mushroom and brown rice bowls

Pumpkin, mushrooms and brown rice bowls


3. Pumpkin, cheese and hazelnut pie

Pumpkin, cheese and hazelnut pie


4. Prawn and pumpkin curry

Prawn and pumpkin curry


5. Pumpkin pie with maple cream

Pumpkin pie with maple cream

Pork chops with apple mash

Pork chops with apple mash

These pork chops with apple mash are a real comfort food perfect for the dark nights setting in. The apple adds a wintry warming depth of flavour to the mash.

45 minutes. Serves 2. Easy

  • floury potatoes 500g, peeled and chopped
  • Bramley apple 1 about 200g, peeled and chopped
  • Butter
  • oil for frying
  • pork chops 2 fat ones, on the bone if possible
  • onion 1 large, halved and thinly sliced
  • thyme a few sprigs
  • plain flour 1 heaped tsp
  • dry cider 250ml
  • horseradish sauce 1 tbsp
  • green beans 150g

Put the potatoes in a pan with lots of seasoning and a big knob of butter. Add enough water to just cover then bring to a boil, turn down and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Add the apple and cook until the apples and potatoes are tender (the apple will go a bit mushy as it’s a Bramley but don’t worry). Tip everything into a sieve or colander and leave to drain.

Heat a heavy frying pan until it is very hot. Rub the chops with oil and season. Using tongs, hold the chops fat side down in the pan until the fat is crisp and golden then put flat side down in the pan and sear for a few minutes on each side until well browned. Lift out then lower the heat and add the onions.

Fry for about 20 minutes until very soft and dark golden (don’t skip this step as it gives the finished sauce a really deep colour). Add the thyme and flour and stir until the flour has been soaked up. Gradually stir in the cider and bubble up ot a sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes then add back the chops and give them another 5-7 minutes in the sauce, turning until cooked through. Tip the potato and apple back into its pan and mash with another knob of butter and the horseradish. Stir until reheated. Serve the chops, sauce and mash with buttered green beans.

PER SERVING 718 kcals, protein 43g, carbs 71.5g, fat 25.8g, sat fat 9.6g, fibre 9g, salt 0.9g

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 16.48.44

Halloween ice cream

Who says ice cream is only for summer? Certainly not the Americans. Hats off to Portland-based ice cream merchants Salt & Straw for coming up with Dracula’s Blood Pudding (pictured), Chocolate Graveyard and Essence of Ghost (no, we’re not sure either) in honour of Halloween. For frozen treats closer to home this weekend, here are three reasons to scream for ice cream:

Current flavours at Manchester’s Gingers Comfort Emporium include Plum Crumble, Eccles Cake and “Chorlton Crack” (salted caramel & peanut butter).

At Ruby Violet in Kentish Town, choose from Quince with Moscato d’Asti, Flintham Damson with Sour Cream, or spicy Masala Chai.

Up in Edinburgh, meanwhile, Spiced Pumpkin ice cream and Blueberry & Cinnamon sorbet are the order of the day at Affogato.



Year of Food & Drink in Scotland

2015 is Scotland’s designated Year of Food & Drink. To mark that fact, here are three Caledonian food and drink trips we’d like to take next year. What are yours?

Never quite got to grips with malts? In April Rabbie’s Small Group Tours is launching a new Discover Malt Whisky Day Tour. Running on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Edinburgh these bitesize trips (£36pp) take in two distilleries – at Glengoyne and Deanston – as well as the spectacular scenery of Loch Lomond National Park – before returning (possibly with hiccups) to the Scottish capital.

Scotland The Best, Pete Irvine’s personal but knowledgeable guides, have long been the insider’s steering gadget of choice when planning a trip north of the border. The latest version of the guide was published earlier this month. But this one is very different to its predecessors. Titled Scotland The Best 100 Places it’s more coffee table compendium than pocket reference. With glossy photos and useful tips for visiting each of the 100 imaginative locations highlighted, it’s the ideal starting point for much more than a year of adventures across the country. Our pick? Start with the spectacular Pluscarden Abbey (and the peaceful and ethereal forest walks that surround it) and follow Pete’s suggestion to stay and eat at Boath House (pictured) in nearby Nairn.

Food writer Ghillie Başan runs Middle Eastern cooking workshops from her warm and cosy home in the Cairngorms. One day courses (£125pp) can be booked for Wednesdays and Sundays all year round but we recommend paying £60 extra and making a break of it, staying for two nights either side of the course in Ghillie’s rental cottage, next door.