And God Created Capers



Vincent van Gogh – The Olive Orchard

Tapenade: food of the gods. Recipes vary according to taste or regional variations. Use good olives – perhaps use ones you have bought with stones in and then de-stone them yourself.  They are cheapest bought by weight from a Turkish grocer’s shop if there is one locally.


  • 9oz/250g pitted black olives
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp capers (soaked and drained)
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • Pinch of thyme
  • 2- 6 chopped canned anchovies (optional – and the quantity is yours to decide)
  • Chili powder (optional) – to taste
  • Salt and pepper


Blend as you with – you can this slightly chunky or very smooth.

Some people add sundried tomatoes or tomato purée, tuna, basil, parsley or other ingredients. As with all such melanges, tapenade is nicer when you have let it settle for a while – or overnight.

Best served with bread of whatever nice sort – maybe toasted – and/or crudités.


File:Tacuin Olive oil25.jpg

Making Olive Oil – from the Tacuinum of Paris






If you must eat raw carrots, there is no need for this to be a punishment.

A carrot salad consists of grated carrot, cumin, lemon juice, salt and pepper and herbs of your choice – I use mint and tarragon, but fennel leaves, parsley or coriander might be nice. marinate – the carrot will soften slightly.

Here is a cooked version from what was at the time time the ubiquitous travellers’ friend: “The Famous Turkish Cookery“:

  • 500gm carrot (grated or sliced)
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • salt
  • 1 dessert spoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yoghurt

Cook the carrots lightly, puree and mix with the other ingredients. Decorate with black olives.


Elizabeth David’s recipe for Carrots Vichy requires them to be boiled in Vichy water or, failing that, a pinch of bicarb. She also mentions carottes rapees, which is similar to the carrot salad recipe above.  The dish consists of finely grated  carrot, olive oil, lemon juice, ‘a small amount’ of finely chopped shallot, salt and a pinch of sugar. Quantities? Nah – this is Miss David writing here.


A large carrot costs 14p. Knock yourselves out.


Image by Jonathunder. Rights here.

Packed Lunches


I have come across this book, by David Pez of .




Mr Pez has photographed the salads he makes in his office every day – one for each working day of the year ( he apparently takes no holidays!), divided into Spring, Summer Autumn and Winter. The dishes are simple and tasty, the dressings look good and each plate is beautifully photographed. It’s an excellent concept.