I was convinced I had written about one of most used ingredients in my kitchen, something that adds so much to salads, roasted veg, and for cooking too… I am talking about OIL. Rapeseed, coconut, olive, linseed so many types and so many benefits.
Summer food is always associated with extra virgin olive oil and as I am having a quick break in Italy – I know it will be what I drizzle on pretty much everything I eat there! It really is the most delicious on fish, cold meats, vegetables and salads, enhancing the flavours and just makes me think ‘sunshine’. The best olive oil will have a pure, intense flavour, slightly fruity. The colour will depend on the variety, but generally ranges from greenish yellow to intense green. A really important point is good extra virgin olive oil should never cost less than £8 per 500ml.
Rapeseed oil has many health benefits, including the following:
- It is high in the essential fatty acids omegas 3, 6, and 9.
- Its omega 3 level is 10 times that of olive oil.
- It has the lowest saturated fat levels of any oil, half that of olive oil.
- It is an excellent source of vitamins E and K.
- It has virtually no trans-fats.
- It has no artificial preservatives.
- It is not genetically modified.
Since rapeseed oil has an exceptionally high smoke/burn point, it can be used to cook food at very high temperatures. My favourite local producer of rapeseed oil is Kentish Oils. “Kentish Oils was begun 6 years ago when, based on the Quex Park Estate in East Kent our oils unit was built, dedicated to producing cold pressed, extra virgin rapeseed oil using rapeseed grown on the fields literally overlooking the unit! The oil is pressed, filtered and bottled in our unit and as well as the original flavour we produce 3 rapeseed oil blends being Garlic & Herb, Lemon, and Jalapeno Chilli.”
Coconut oil is purchased in a little tub and in a more solid form than for pouring but is brilliant for baking, and cooking with. The health benefits of coconut oil are too many to list, a versatile ‘superfood’ ingredient also brilliant for hair, skin and joints.. add a spoon to cook with your curry or better still a spoon raw for ‘energy balls’.
Linseed or flaxseed oil is another alternative and farmed and produced here in the south east, Horsham, Sussex. I have chatted to the Linseed Farm at shows and events and again love the fact I am supporting local but this oil, still quite new is hugely beneficial. Not suitable for cooking but perfect for drizzling over our summer recipes and an alternative I recommend trying! To read the health benefits and find out more about the Linseed Farm click here.