Homemade Christmas Gifts – Olive Tapenade


How is the Christmas shopping going?  Or is it not going?  I try to avoid going into shopping malls from 1 December onwards; I find it saves me lots of sanity.   If you don’t want to venture out into the craziness of shopping malls, I have a treat for you – an edible Christmas gift from Beck aka In Search of Golden Pudding.

Beck is an amazing cook. I have been following her blog for years, and have noticed lately some amazing Christmas baking going on.  With this in mind, I asked her if she would do a guest blog post for The Joyful Frugalista to help those of us who are interested in a no-spend Christmas.

I especially like this recipe for tapenade because, not only is it fabulously French, but I can use up all of my homemade olives with it.  I still have rather a lot of homemade black olives, and I am always looking for good ideas of what to do with them.

“Gifts and entertaining are two of the constants of Christmas and the best recipes allows you to cover both. I really like giving homemade gifts, and regularly bake up a storm at Christmas to make goodies for sharing with friends and colleagues.

Sometimes though, it’s nice to give or share something savoury, and tapenade is an incredibly easy last minute gift, as well as something you can pull out to make quick canapés or add to meals. Tapenade is great tossed through pasta and on sandwiches, dolloped on pizza or served with crackers or bread. I often serve platters of croutons or baguette slices, half topped with tapenade and half with artichoke paste.

I make olive tapenade most often, but you can also make with sun-dried tomatoes or capsicum (see substitutions below) which are both particularly good for adding an extra punch of flavour to pasta sauces or tomato based casseroles.

Because tapenade is so strongly flavoured, you don’t need a lot – I put the batch above into 2 x 240ml (1 cup) jars, but a jar probably half that size would be a fine gift. It’s also quite economical. I’m not sure why tapenade is so expensive to buy, but you could easily make 4 x 125ml jars for about $6 (including the jars if you get them from a $1 shop!).

Olive tapenade

  • 250g pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 heaped tablespoon capers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs olive oil, plus extra to top


  1. Quickly check olives for any remaining pieces of pit before adding to bowl of food processor (I press each one to feel for hard bits as I add to the processor).
  2. Add capers and peeled and roughly chopped garlic. Briefly blitz until well chopped. Scrape down the sides and add lemon juice and olive oil. Blitz again for about 30 seconds until smooth.
  3. Fill small sterilised jars (I just run through the dishwasher), tapping on the counter to ensure jars are filled without air bubbles. Cover surface with extra oil, seal and store in the fridge.

Ingredients for sun-dried tomato or capsicum tapenade

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomato or capsicum
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a large handful of basil (use parsley plus a sliced spring onion for sun-dried capsicum)
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbs olive oil, plus extra to top

Method is the same – blitz solid ingredients before adding sauce and oil.

Beck Drew (aka insearchofgoldenpudding) is a local food blogger and passionate cook, focussed on family food culture, baking and preserving. She may or may not have fed her colleagues for a month on the multiple variations involved in perfecting chocolate chip cookies, and rarely lets visitors leave the house without a jar of jam.


    1. Indeed, it can be frugal:) I always thought this was something that was super expensive and gourmet. Thank you for changing my perspective, and thank you especially for the blog post.

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