OLIVE MAGAZINE - July Edition
It was a surprise to receive a July edition of Olive magazine yesterday, having assumed their Summer edition, which I reviewed on 22 May, was a July replacement. Clever idea - to slot-in an extra edition between June and July!
The editorial this month focuses on Olive's 'Summer Supermarket Awards' and devotes 8 pages to providing readers with their very best summer products in 20 categories. All major stores were invited to enter, we are told, though there is no confirmation of how many actually did. The 'Olive team' decided on the categories based on the kind of summer food they like to cook for friends and the 'team' tasted them and rated each entry. So we have the 'Olive team's view and not the readers! Unsurprisingly, M&S topped the charts winning 8 categories - best Summer Dessert, Savoury Tart, Show-Off Salad, Salad Dressing, Salty Snack, Non-Alcoholic Drink, Meal Under 400 Cals, and Wild Card (Scallops). Morrisons won in 3 categories (best Show-Off Product -Tiger Prawns, Summer Bread, and Picnic Pie), Tesco in 2 (best Meze/Tapas Product and Gluten-Free Product), Sainsbury's in 3 (best Veggie Burger, Veggie Sausage and Ice Cream) and Aldi in 1 (best BBQ Burger). The commentary to each winner is concise and includes prices, so you know what you are paying for the 'Olive teams' favourite food. Sadly the photos of the best products are poor (below)and printed on low quality paper, unlike the rest of the magazine. Why is this, I ask myself?
Similarly, the cover photo of Spiced Lamb with saffron yoghurt looks uninspiring, like most of those offered in the sizzling BBQ feature. The meat looks greasy as does the Malay-grilled aubergines. However, there are some exciting new 'Peaches' recipes - I loved the look of the Peach, halloumi and green bean salad (below) and the Peach, sesame and yoghurt semi-feddo. Ideal summer recipes I must try!
The regular 'What's In Season' section features runner beans, aubergine, beetroot, peppers and pak choy, while the Menu of the Month' highlights a low carb selection that includes a main of sea bass and a dessert of passion fruit. 'Cooking Everyday', '3 Ways with Chorizo' and 'Summer Dinners' make up over 85 recipes in this edition of Olive. There is a summer dish for everyone there.
I have to remind the 'Olive team' again that good food, good chefs and good restaurants don't end at Watford, as they churn out features on London chefs Cyrus Todiwala, Carl Clarke and Tyler Martin and London eateries, Manuka Kitchen, Port House and Edwins. Cleverly, the latter was named Olive's Restaurant of the Month, but the feature failed to identify where it was. Not surprisingly, my internet research revealed it to be another London restaurant!
I was consoled to some extent this month by the 'Pro versus Punter' article which tasted food at Liverpool's splendid Salt House (below). I can thoroughly recommend this restaurant on Hanover Street and it was good to see that the Pro, Manchester journalist Tony Naylor agreed with me. I also enjoyed the feature 'Everyone but the chef'- a look at restaurant insiders who strive to make our dining experience perfect. Interior designers, a manager, a cheese supplier, proprietors, a sommelier and a waitress all get a photo and plenty of text. Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdery owners of Volta in Manchester stand out as dedicated proprietors. They say of Volta, ''It's informal. It gets loud. You can spend £100 on a feast, or just have a pint.'' That's my kind of place.
'Bitesize breaks' provides readers with Grape escapes this month and takes dedicated vinophiles to some of the best places for wine in Europe. Northern Greece, The Dordogne, Veneto and Galicia make up the offering. Being a slave to a good Prosecco, I am a frequent visitor to Veneto (below) and cannot fault the hospitality, good food and quality sparkling wine that the region offers. Likewise, the feature on Sardinia entitled 'Cook like a local' brought back happy memories of my trips to Italy's second largest island. The Ricotta cheesecake is amazing and as for Sardinian pasta - it is very different from the mainland variety, a very fine fedelini.
'Weekender' takes readers to Alicante, the home of Iberico ham and bargain tapas, while this month's main food city is Portland, which we are told is packed with thriving street -food stalls, gourmet coffee shops and experimental restaurants. Flights to Portland, USA from the UK start from £700 - too expensive for many readers, I suspect, so why feature it?
There are certainly some entertaining 'fillers' in this month's Olive and are well worth a look - 'Trends I Like', Wine Buyers' Picks' and 'Meat-Free Entertaining caught my eye. Finally, Salmon en croute is a regular dish in our household, but if you've never tried it, Olive provides a very detailed step-by-step guide to preparing this delicious dinner party classic (below).