Tasmanian olive leaf tea with confit baby fennel
One of the best things I have found about blogging is that it is so easy to connect with other bloggers all over the world.
I came across this blog Freshfield Grove, Tales of Tasmanian Adventures in Olive Oil. I have never heard of Tasmanian olive oil, perhaps not so strange as the UK is far, far away but it looks amazing.
Something that in particular caught my eye was olive leaf tea. Despite using olive oil I had never heard of this either and I got in touch to learn more. As a result I was sent a sample of the tea, it came with instructions and as a tea lover I couldn’t wait to try it.
The tea leafs
The first thing I did was a cup of tea.
I poured it and let it brew for 3-4 minutes.
I have never tasted tea like it, it has a rich flavour and you can taste the olive but it isn’t overpowering. It has savory notes and at the same time it is very soothing. I sat down to enjoy the whole cup of tea when I thought it might be interesting to use in a dish.
There are still things growing at the allotment and the the second batch of fennel is just coming through. Baby fennel is tender and delicious raw so I sliced some thinly but had so many I decided to cook some as well. I thought the fennel would be nice with the olive notes from the olive leaf tea and got to work on a fennel and olive leaf starter.
I had baby fennel for this recipe but normal sized fennel would work as well. We also picked some beetroot and spaghetti squash that I wanted to use. I decided to confit the fennel in butter. It seems like a lot in the recipe but you won’t eat all of it and you can use the flavored butter for something else later.
Confit fennel and olive leaf tea jelly
preparation time 10 minutes
cooking time 15-20 minutes + setting of the olive leaf tea gel
- 6 baby fennels, cleaned and trimmed
- 150 gr or 5.3 oz butter
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 baby beetroots (optional)
- spaghetti squash
- beetroot, boiled and cubed
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 dl or 1/2 cup of olive leaf tea
- 1.3 gr or 0.045 oz agar agar
Start with the olive leaf jelly, the day before if possible as it needs time to set. Mix the olive leaf tea and agar agar according to the package. Then pour in to a jar and leave to set in the fridge.
Prick holes in the spaghetti squash and roast in the oven until soft in the oven on 170C or 338F, it takes about 30-40 minutes. Once cooked cut it in half, remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh with a fork to get the “spaghetti” strands.
Melt the butter and place the fennel and garlic cloves in it, it should be just covered or turn it over half way through the cooking. I added the baby beetroots and let the vegetables slowly simmer away until soft.
Plate up the spaghetti squash, fennel, garlic and baby beetroot with the boiled beetroot cubes. Add extra virgin olive oil, I used olive oil from Just Olives Ltd, it has a very fresh and almost peppery taste. Last add the olive leaf tea gel and serve straight away with fennel shavings on top.
I didn’t want a hard set jelly, just enough to add some structure to the tea.
The olive notes and the fennel worked really well together and the extra virgin olive oil just lifted the dish. It is naughty to confit anything but it was so delicious I didn’t care. I saved the butter I used to confit the fennel in and pan fried some chicken in it the following day and it was so good.