Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

A Taste for all Things Italian starting with Black Olive Tapenade

Black Olive Tapenade

Last year I went through a bit of a French thing, buying up cookery books that would teach me the essence of French cuisine. This year, I’ve the Italian bug and recently bought “Southern Italian Desserts” by Rosetta Costantino and “The Food of Italy” by Claudia Roden to add to my collection which includes “Trattoria” by Ursula Ferrigno, “Bill’s Italian Food” by Bill Granger, “Venezia” and “Limoncello and Linen Water” both by Tess Kiros and “Cicchetti” by Lindy Wildsmith and Valentina Harris and well as Phaidon’s tome, “The Silver Spoon.” Phew!

I’ve Italian cousins on both my mother’s and father’s side of the family and somehow feel an urge to embrace their heritage and tackle Italian cuisine, if that’s at all possible for me!  I’ve already managed to master lasagne from the Silver Spoon as well as Trota alla Provenzale which is a lovely lunchtime fish dish to share with friends that will have them pronounce satisfaction. But for the month of May, I’ve decided to go all out Italian and have pulled recipes from the first three books mentioned above to get me started including:

  • Focaccia
  • Insalata di Uva
  • Peperonata alla Veneta
  • Ansta alla Fiorentina
  • Crocchette di Pollo
  • Vignole
  • Parmigiana de Melanzane
  • Spagetti alla Siracusana
  • Crostini con Tapenade
  • Rucola con Pinoli e Melagrano
  • Polenta Pasticciata
  • Africano
  • La Deliziosa
  • Torta Ricotta e Pere
  • Zeppole di San Giuseppe
  • Ciambella all’Arancia
  • Sospiri

Don’t you like the way I haven’t given an English translation?! I’m keeping it authentic baby, and learning to speak it as well as cook it!

As an introduction for what will undoubtedly be an interesting cooking month, I decided to cross one off the list last night and made Crostini con Tapenade or in other words, Black Olive Tapenade with Crostini! Mainly because Hubby came home with four bread batons when we only needed two! The power of a bargain deal was so appealing to him but what to do with all this extra bread??!!

The black olive tapenade recipe was adapted from Ursula Ferrigno’s recipe in “Trattoria” and is a simple blitz-it-all-together in the food processor type of recipe. Perfect! And delicious! Here’s how I made mine.


  • 1 x 130g drained weight jar of pitted black olives, drained and rinsed
  • ½ x 65g drained weight jar of capers
  • 10 sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 x 30g drained weight tin of anchovies in olive oil
  • 1 heaped dessert spoon of ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon of dried basil but a good handful of fresh basil would be far better
  • 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
  • A good grinding of black pepper


  • Drain and rinse the olives and capers.
  • Drain the sun dried tomatoes and anchovies.
  • Add all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to the desired consistency.
  • Serve on lightly toasted or grilled baguette slices.


Xx Paula

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This entry was posted on April 27, 2014 by in Starters, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , .

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