My antipasto

This is an easy way to start a dinner party with a heap of friends, or is just as good as a summer dinner with your family, but is definitely at it’s very finest when served with any good company and a few too many glasses of cheap vino.

The three recipes that follow are my antipasto staples.
The olives should always be about cos they last for pretty much ever. Get a mix of you favourites or just one type.
The feta is good for a coupla weeks at least. You should try to get hold of a soft sheep’s feta. I think you could get Bulgarian from most supermarkets. It’s cheap to buy and tastes delicious in the marinade.
The pumpkin dip will last a week or just halve the batch if you’re cooking for a few people.

Now all you need is some nice salami or lonza or bresola or grilled chorizo or some white anchovies or all of the above, maybe a few cherry tomatoes and radishes, heaps of crusty bread and some grissini or crackers, and that cheap vino I spoke of earlier.

CARAMELISED PUMPKIN AND MACADAMIA DIP (for my friend Amanda)

1 butternut pumpkin, peeled, med dice
1 brown onion, med dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½-1 tspn dried chilli flakes
2 cups macadamias
olive oil (or macadamia oil if you have some) to cook

In a pan big enough to fit everything without over crowding, cook the pumpkin over a med-high heat until it starts to caramelise.
Add the onion, macadamia’s, garlic and chilli and turn the heat to med-low, sweat off until onion is starting to caramelise and pumpkin is really soft.
Deglaze with ½ cup water.
Blitz until smooth.
Add extra water if needed to reach desired consistency. It will thicken a bit on standing because of the nuts in it.
Season with salt and pepper.

MARINATED SHEEP’S FETA per kg (ish)

1 Tbls dried oregano
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
5 cloves garlic, bruised with the flat of a knife
½ bunch thyme
250ml each olive and vegetable oils

All in and marinate for at least 1 hour.

MARINATED OLIVES per kg (ish)

5 cloves garlic, bruised with the flat of a knife
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 long red chilli, chopped roughly
zest ½ orange
250ml each olive and vegetable oils

All ingredients into pot on a med heat until just getting hot. Remember you are not deep frying the marinade, we only want to infuse the flavours.
Put olives in a jar or bowl, cover with marinade and leave to get to know each other for at least a day.

MARINATED ME

At least 2 bottles of wine or half a carton of beer.