Every month I write an article and recipe for a local magazine and the theme I've chosen for this year is 'British Food Producers'. Not a particularly original theme I know but I thought it would be fun tracking down different producers for each month's article and trying a variety of products. So far I've covered The Ginger Pig, The Port of Lancaster Smokehouse and this month, Puddledub Water Buffalo.
Water buffalo farming isn't something that you'd normally associate with the UK. But, it occurred to me that I'd seen a tv programme a few years ago where the chef, Simon Rimmer visited a young water buffalo farmer in Scotland - he helped him to prepare buffalo burgers to sell at a local farmer's market. A quick google revealed several water buffalo farms in the UK and the one I was looking for in Scotland, Puddledub Buffalo. Seems like the founder, Steve Mitchell, has come a long way since that first tv appearance, read more here ...
Anyway, let's get to the olives. Olives were originally a medieval dish made from slices of beef or veal filled with a herby breadcrumb based stuffing. Bizarrely the name olives is supposed to come from the old French word alou, meaning lark because the stuffed rolls looked like small oven ready birds!
These olives aren't stuffed with breadcrumbs, instead I've used a gluten free mixture of buffalo mince (it was going to be buffalo sausagemeat until I realise the gluten free version contained soya - my mistake should've checked before ordering!), roasted pepper puree, olives and spring onions. The sauce that the olives are braised in is based on an idea from Josceline Dimbleby's Orchards in the Oasis - remember I told you that the base for the beef in chilli and chocolate sauce was an aromatic paste? Well, that's what I've used here. A paste made from hazelnuts, apricots, tomatoes, onions, garlic, orange zest and cinnamon which forms the basis of a rich sauce filling the kitchen with a gloriously aromatic aromas whilst the olives are cooking.