Can the smell of rosemary improve memory? Yes, apparently it can. I’m enjoying Trust Me, I’m a Doctor – a show where a team of medical experts cover a whole range of health topics. A recent episode focused on dementia and featured an experiment that revealed how being in a rosemary scented room can strengthen memory. Rosmarinus officinalis, or rosemary to me and you, is a long treasured herb. The Ancient Greeks valued rosemary for it’s memory aiding powers – indeed they would wear necklaces of rosemary during tests for this reason. A little online research also suggests greater memory recognition could result from rosemary increasing blood flow to the brain.
Now I’m not about to provide instructions for making a rosemary necklace, nor I am suggesting this recipe, which includes rosemary, will improve your memory. But I wanted to showcase a simple way to get a a hit of my most accessible herb. A neighbouring street to me is packed with wild rosemary shrubs – so I typically pick off a few sprigs when walking by. I’m always discreet and tell myself I’m providing a free pruning service, just in case a neighbour appears and claims the shrub as their own!
Here I’m adapting a recipe for marinated olives from Going Paleo, a book I included in a recent post on my top cookbooks. Olives are packed with healthy mono-unsaturated fats – the type that play a key role in the Mediterranean diet. They’re also the type found in avocados.
Olives marinated in rosemary & spices
It’s common to see olives marinated in olive oil with orange or lemon zest. But what I love about this recipe is the inclusion of extra spices and chilli as well as raw garlic. The original recipe calls for thyme but, with my free supply to hand, of course I used rosemary instead.
- 300g olives, drained (I used Sicilian but you could also try kalamata or a mixture of types)
- 2 tsp each of fennel seeds & coriander or cumin seeds
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp each of salt & pepper
- 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed
- 50ml sherry vinegar
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil (note)
- Zest of 1 lemon, sliced into strips
- Add the seeds to a dry pan and heat for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Place all of the other ingredients into a glass bowl and then add the toasted seeds.
- Cover and marinated for a couple of hours (or ideally overnight in the fridge).
- Serve the olives at room temperature or very lightly heat them in a saucepan and serve warmed.
Note – if you’re marinating the olives for several days or more add 200ml oil to ensure they’re submersed.
Once you’ve finished the olives don’t throw away any marinade that remains – it makes a fantastic salad dressing.
Laura (Feast Wisely)
You may also like:
- Artichoke & spinach dip
- Blue cheese & pumpkin dip (GF)
- Dukkah – with pistachios & macadamia nuts
- Ricotta – salted & whipped into a citrus dip