Oranges, Olives and Octopus


Family Food Fare and Favourites

Join me as I dig through my memories, and recipes, to rediscover my family’s food “back in the day” and how those food habits have changed over the decades to today’s diverse and multi-cultural cuisines. This is my theme for the 2021 A to Z challenge.

THEN

Staples for generations past: Onions and Oranges – but not together! Nor do I imagine that our parents thought of some of our current food combinations with oranges eg tomato and orange soup.

So today I’m just sharing with you mum’s recipe for Orange Steamed Pudding.

Mum’s Orange Steamed Pudding

NOW

Leaping to mind immediately was the Osso Bucco we served up for one daughter’s farewell dinner as she headed off to Italy for a year to study Gastronomic Science. We had to get with the theme, after all. Do you remember when we wondered why we needed cameras in phones? Yep, how did we survive without taking food pictures!

Funnily enough, even when we holidayed at the beach we didn’t eat oysters either bought or sought. I’m let down these days because oysters are one of the few things Mr Cassmob doesn’t eat, not even when we dine at Hanuman restaurant in Darwin. Still, those trumpet mushrooms are pretty good too. I can hardly wait until next time <smile>

I enjoy oysters, but not for breakfast. At the San Miguel markets, Madrid, Easter Sunday 2018. P Cass

Eggs may have been often on the menu but I don’t recall omelettes having any profile then, let alone a recipe named “oeufs xxxx”… ooh la la!

Perhaps I’ve mentioned that I worked part-time in a Greek fruit and veg shop on the High Street at Toowong during my uni years. It was during this time that I was introduced to octopus sandwiches from the Greek fisho down the street. While I’m quite happy eating octopus, provided it’s not too tough, it’s not a priority in my food list. Living in Darwin with a large Greek community it’s hard to avoid it, especially when the Glenti festival is on. Only problem is avoiding the rosemary that accompanies so many dishes. Apparently, it’s traditional for the Darwin Greek families to gather at the picnic areas in Fannie Bay and East Point to celebrate Orthodox Easter with spit roast lamb and meals of octopus beaten on the rocks to soften them up.

This healthy fellow was a long way from Darwin, in the Borough Markets, London. Photo P Cass 2019

NEW FOOD FARE

Leading the change to new food fare would have to include olives in all sorts of manifestations. Wasn’t olive oil something that was given to people as a form of medication? Now we have it cold pressed, flavoured, light, heavy and so on.

Were you a big user of oven bags when they were introduced? I know they were in my pantry, and helped avoid oven splatter, but haven’t used them in decades.

Olives in a French market. Photo P Cass 2010

When you’re having friends over for drinks or pre-dinner nibbles you just have to include some olives. Again, all types of olives as well as marinades. They’re just a delicious food treat, and you can lay claim to being on a Mediterranean diet. They’re also excellent in a tagine….yum! I live in optimistic hope that one day my St Helena Olive Tree will burst forth with olives.

Do you eat Olives regularly or have a stash in your fridge?

Do you make desserts and cakes using oranges?

Are you a love-em or loathe-em person for Oysters? How about Octopus?

Do you serve up eggs or oeufs?


18 thoughts on “Oranges, Olives and Octopus

  1. I love oysters and used to get them off the rocks when a child, now I prefer to pay the premium for opened oysters. I am also a fan of olives and will eat octopus but I have never had an octopus sandwich. I am a great fan of duck a l’orange and crepes suzettes.

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  2. No oysters or Oeufs at our house Pauleen but three was Osso Bucco. Mum used to send us to the butcher at the corner to buy it for the cat. I grew up thinking it was pet food. I definitely don’t eat oysters or octopus! I remember the fuss over oven bags but like you haven’t used them in decades. These days I cook the roast in the barbie so I don’t have to clean the oven.

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  3. Love the Mediterranean orange cake, though it is hard to beat the tang of an orange freshly peeled. Oysters yes, we do treat ourselves with an excellent seafood providore close by. Olives I leave for my husband and guests, the texture just does not appeal.

    Ouefs oui, ouefs à la neige et omelette fine herbes.

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  4. I will eat oysters if they are put down in front of me but I can’t understand the fuss. Have fond memories of going oystering on the rocks near the beach during family holidays.

    As I read your posts I am coming to the realisation that my palate is mostly “then” but I’m happy with that. I find it frustrating when visiting some restaurants that try to be clever by mixing too many flavours in their innovative dishes, I prefer good food and ingredients unadulterated and simply presented so that I can enjoy their quality.

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    1. I think Aussies have grown so accustomed to multi-cultural food, at least in cities, that we don’t realise how adventurous our food choices are. I can see why the look of octopus puts you off though I’m surprised Scotland doesn’t do oysters more.

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  5. Great post! Oranges bring to mind Christmas morning, because my mom always put one in our stockings — where alas they were often gathering mold a week later since my sibs and I preferred the candy treats in there with them. I celebrate Greek Easter with one of my Greek-American friends. We usually have lamb — wait until I tell her about the octopus! https://mollyscanopy.com/2021/04/orange-juice-can-curlers-and-on-the-roof-suntans-atozchallenge/#comments

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  6. I have in my middle age come to appreciate olives as an ingredient (and use quite a bit of olive oil), but I can’t eat them plain. Every-so-often I’ll give them a try, but, nope, still don’t like them. I’ve had oysters once. They were…fine?

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