Late last month my family gathered at Mum and Dad’s farm just over the Blue Mountains to help harvest the crop from their olive trees. Every year they press these olives into Kimbri Olive Oil and this year I followed the whole process from picking to the press, driving out with Dad to Billimari (home of La Barre olive oil) near Canowindra to watch and snap the guys there turn our olives, in seconds, into bright green olive oil.
The crazy grassy flavour and fluro colour of fresh, unfiltered olive oil is a beautiful thing, so of course I was more than a bit happy when Dad let me siphon some off before the rest was carefully stored before racking (filtering) and bottling.
Picking Kimbri’s olives has always been a family affair but to be honest, our little kids have, until this year, probably been more of a liability than help on the weekend in question. Now though, they are old enough to pick, even if just a little, but more importantly can play and wander between the grove and the house independently, leaving us to work undisturbed (dammit).
Here are a few pictures from last month’s gathering and picking session plus my new favourite way to enjoy fresh green olive oil, drizzled over vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with vanilla salt.
So. Bear with me. I get that this sounds ridonculous but honestly and truly it’s DELICIOUS. And if you won’t take my word for it (harrumph), trust Renee Erickson, chef and author of one of my favourite cook books, A boat a Whale and a Walrus. This is entirely Renee’s idea and it’s brilliant.
Green olive oil with vanilla ice cream and vanilla salt
This isn’t really a recipe, just a serving suggestion. But like all simple dishes, it relies completely on the best quality for every element; so of course, really great olive oil (doesn’t have to be green, just pungent and fresh), creamy homemade vanilla ice cream and vanilla salt made with good flaky sea salt and vanilla beans. For the vanilla salt, just split a vanilla pod and scrape seeds into about 3 tbsp sea salt, mixing them in with your fingertips. Mixture will keep for a couple of weeks.
So basically you make the below ice cream or buy a really nice one, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the vanilla salt and serve. It’s amazing. I promise.
Vanilla bean ice cream
This is a great base recipe for all kinds of ice cream. If you don’t have an ice cream maker follow the instructions below or just serve it as a beautiful fresh custard. Makes about one litre.
500ml thickened cream
500ml whole milk
2 vanilla pods, split (excessive I know but I just love the stuff. Feel free to knock back to one)
6 tbsp caster sugar
7 duck or 8 chook egg yolks
Place the cream and milk in a saucepan and scrape the seeds from each vanilla pod into the mixture then add the pods themselves. Gently bring just to simmering point then set aside for about an hour to infuse. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks with three tablespoons of caster sugar. In a clean saucepan, gently bring the milk and cream mixture back to heat. Whisk a little into the yolks and then pour this yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Make sure the heat isn’t too high and keep stirring all the time or you may end up with scrambled eggs. After about five minutes, you’ll notice the custard has become lovely and thick. Remove from heat, pour into a jug and pop in the fridge over night.
Churn the custard in an ice cream machine or place straight in the freezer, removing to whisk every couple of hours.
Bottles of 2015 Kimbri olive oil will be available to purchase in one fortnight. I’ll post a note when it’s live and ready to purchase online.
Ps I really love this picture of Dad cracking himself up.