We were very kindly sent a hamper from Olives from Spain, in partnership with Storm Communications. Inside the hamper was a whole range of goodies, herbs, spices, oils and various other excitements, like Manchego cheese and dates. We were asked to put our creative hats on and create a tapenade from the ingredients provided. The challenge was set and we were off: the only slight issue that neither of us has a Magimix or hand blender so a smoothie maker would have to do. This explains the “roughly chopped” aspect of our tapenades.

We decided that we would create 3 tapenades in total– this gave us scope for experimentation within the concept of a tapenade itself, and allowed us to utilise more ingredients. In the end, we settled for one with green olives, lemongrass with chilli flakes and fresh chillies, one with black olives with chestnuts and balsamic vinegar; and the third was green olives and dates.

Overall, we had success with our creations. Olives and chilli make a great arrangement in any dish, but it was the combination of the bite from the fresh chilli and warmth from the chilli flakes that really made the tapenade come into its element. This ended up being fresh, light and summery.

The base of the second tapenade was chestnuts. These gave it a very sweet and creamy consistency, and necessitated the addition of balsamic vinegar to balance it out. In the end, it had a sweet nutty flavour, with an essence of rosemary and thyme to give it those warming and winter flavours.

The third one was made of dates. In retrospect, either we didn’t do our homework on dates or we had a run of bad luck, because it wasn’t a success. I think it is safe to say that we will leave attempting prune tapenade to others for the time being. Do let us know if you have any success…!

We served the tapenades with some melba-toast, and ate it with the Manchego cheese and salami from the hamper, washing it down with sparkling wine.

This was a great honour to receive this gift from Storm to get really creative with some classic Spanish ingredients and see what creative juices you can coax out. It was a wonderful ready-steady-cook style experience & we are very much hoping to get the opportunity again.