BLACK OLIVE RELISH 1lb/450g olives, Kalamata if possible, stoned 2 anchovy fillets, drained from their preserving oil 1 fat clove of garlic, skinned and chopped ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional) lots of freshly ground black pepper, about 25 grinds of the pepper mill (no need to add salt - the olives will contribute this, as will the anchovy fillets) ¼ pint/140ml extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley to stir through the relish before you serve it (the relish won't keep for more than a couple of days if you include it as it is made)
Put the stoned olives, anchovy fillets, chopped garlic, chilli flakes if you are including them, and the black pepper into a food processor. Whiz, very gradually adding the olive oil. Scrape the contents of the processor into a glass jar, screw on the top and store in the fridge. Take it into room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before you want to spread it, to let the olive oil relax. Stir up the relish well to mix the olive oil through it, at the same time mixing in the finely chopped parsley.
TOMATO, CHEESE AND BLACK OLIVE TART This is ideal picnic food because it's easily transportable - and it looks and tastes so good. The cheese, by the way, is in the pastry. SERVES 6 For the pastry: 3oz/85g butter, in small bits and hard from the fridge 6oz/170g plain flour 1 teaspoon icing sugar 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder 4oz/110g grated Cheddar cheese (I use Mull Cheddar) lots of black pepper For the filling: 8 ripe tomatoes, each skinned, cut in quarters, the seeds carefully and entirely scooped away and the tomato flesh chopped 1 fat clove of garlic, skinned and chopped finely 2 anchovy fillets, drained from the preserving oil, chopped finely 12 best black olives, stoned and halved ½ pint/300ml single cream mixed well with 2 large eggs and 2 yolks ½ teaspoon salt a good grinding of black pepper
Put all the pastry ingredients into a processor and whiz till the texture of fine crumbs. Press these firmly around the sides and the base of a flan dish, about 9in/22cm in diameter. Bake straight away in a roasting temperature, 450F/220C/Gas Mark 7, setting the timer for five minutes. Take the flan dish out of the oven and, with a metal spoon, scrape the sides back up and press a neat edge around the base. Continue to bake in the same temperature, setting the timer for three minutes. You may need a minute or two longer - this is Mary Berry's wonderful way to bake pastry, so all credit to her. The pastry should be a pale biscuit colour when cooked. Take it from the oven and cool it. Put the chopped tomatoes over the base of the baked and cooled cheese pastry. Mix the chopped garlic and the chopped anchovies into the eggs and single cream, and season with salt and pepper. Pour this into the pastry case, mixing it among the chopped tomatoes. Scatter the black olive halves evenly over the surface. Bake in a moderate temperature, 350F/180C/ Gas Mark 4, until the centre of the tart barely wobbles - the middle is the last part to set. This will take about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve the tart warm or cold.
MONKFISH WITH ROAST AUBERGINES, BLACK OLIVES AND CAPERS Serves 6
2lb/900g monkfish, weighed when trimmed of membrane. Cut the monkfish into chunks about 1in/2cm in size 3 red onions, skinned and finely sliced 6 tablespoons olive oil 2 aubergines, ends cut off, each aubergine diced into thumbnail- sized pieces 18 black olives, stoned and each cut in half 2 teaspoons fat juicy capers - not the tiny ones preserved in brine lots of black pepper ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional) 1 tablespoon tomato purée mixed with 1/4 pint/140ml of near boiling water
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and fry the sliced red onions and diced aubergines for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring, over a fairly high heat. The bits of aubergines should be completely soft and turning golden at the edges. Add the chilli flakes if you are using them, and the chopped garlic, the olives and the capers, and cook for a further couple of minutes. Then add the pieces of monkfish. Cook, turning the pieces of fish over so that they cook evenly, over a moderately high heat. Then add the tomato purée and boiling water and mix in thoroughly. Season with pepper and simmer gently for a minute. Serve this hot or cold. If cold, pour a small amount- about three tablespoons - of extra virgin olive oil over the contents of the dish. Scatter, if you like, with chopped parsley.