Saturday, 26 October 2013

Intro to my cooking oils 2/ 2

Part 2/2 Hazelnut, Walnut, Almond, sesame seeds, ground nut, palm oil.

Hazelnut oil… The thing with this oil is that it always reminds me of a Starbucks coffee I used to love… If I am not careful, I will end up drinking this oil like wine… the taste of hazelnut is so strong, it is amazing. This is probably due to the quality of the oil. I got this one from Marks and Spencer’s. It is great for baking (used as a replacement for butter). ; It can also be used to drizzle on Salads if you are using chopped nuts and flash frying. Hazelnuts are apparently rich in vitamin B6, B and proteins… suppa duppa. I like that! Try it in your homemade pesto the next time… fry you pancakes with it… so yummy!

Walnut oil. I was really surprised to find this one, again from Marks and spencer’s. The taste isn’t that strong and I rather use it in Salads. The taste of walnut is so light that and heating it might just lose it. So, I just use it raw and … sparingly. 250ml costs between £2.00 and £5.00 depending where you shop. It is worth having it handy. The bottle can last up to six months if you are being really economical with it.

Almond oil. Growing up, I used this oil to moisturise. When I saw it on the food aisle it was a “ding” moment… I love almonds, but I was disappointed by the oil… I can’t taste the nuttiness in it. Not sure it really plays role in my collection of oils, but it is a worthy replacement for vegetable oil or rapeseed oil. It is not as expensive as the hazelnut or walnut oil, but, it is not available everywhere either. The Turkish shop and the Indian shop round the corner will have it in stock.

Toasted sesame oil. Now I love sesame, and if I could I would include it in all my baking and salads. But, for the sake of diversity…, I swap it for poppy seeds. Been a fan of this tiny little seed for ages. It was only natural that its oil should be included in my collection. The toasted sesame oil REALLY does tastes like TOASTED sesame… the taste is so strong, it would be a pity to heat it up for frying and lose all that taste. I recommend using it to finish off vegetable dishes and salads. It is widely used in south India, and I am sure that you have spotted it In the Japan centre in regent Street London.
Ground nut oil. That is peanut oil or monkey nuts oil… not sure why this one has so many names… This oil is widely used in Asia and West Africa and is great for deep frying… Doughnuts and French fries. I bet this oil is much cheaper in Africa than it is here. I use it very sparingly in most cooking. I will not us it for deep frying because of its cost. It is apparently used as a biodiesel in some countries. It is a good one to have in the collection.

Palm Oil. Get this, you can find palm oil in Nutella and a lot of Palmolive products! Did you know that? I love the taste of this oil but, regular consumption of it isn’t recommended in this British climate which is very cold at times. This oil tends to coagulate very easily and is best suitable for really hot climates... Asia, south American and Africa.
It really really taste nutty, has the colour of saffron and colours everything it comes in contact with. If you are reading this based in the UK, you will not find it in supermarkets unless they have a world foods aisle like big Tesco supermarkets. Otherwise you may find it again, in the Turkish and Indian shops. I recommend the Nigerian variety as its colour seem to be the best and it stays liquidly for longer.  This oil is suitable for types of cooking and stews in particular. Do not use it for salads as it will coagulate as it get in contact with cold items. This oil is amazing and contains a whole lot of goodness including Q10, Carotene and vitamin B6…
That it is, this is my collection of oil. I did came across corn oil and rice bran oils in the shop too. They sound amazing, but I am running out of space in my kitchen for now…
All those oils seem to be full of great things… how amazing. Just with this I might manage to stay away from my doctor for the next 12 months.
I really hope that you will try some of these oils. Do come back and let me know what you think.

Hey do not try any of it if you are allergic to NUTS!

See you soon!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Intro to my cooking oils 1/2

Part 1/2 Mustard, Sunflower, Coconut, Olive & rapeseeds oil.

If just looking at oils makes you put on weight, better not read this post… IT AIN’T RECOMMENDED for you.
I have recently taken stock of my collection of oils. It turns out I am a collector… I would have preferred a wine collection to be honest, but there is only so much cooking that you can do with wine. Besides, I am really proud to be a collector of OILS… I don’t know anyone who collects them... Do you?

I am writing this post just to tell you about my oil collection and would like to invite you to try some of them… or should I say “dare you”.
I am going to start with the love of my life… Mustard oil! Mustard oil can be used for cooking although heating it up to fry onion for example might lose the oil’s Omega3 content. I like using it to finish a dish or on salads.
This oil is the bomb! If poured on a hot dish, you better step away as the heat/fumes from it will make your eyes water. This oil is as hot as chilli pepper and apparently it is really good for your health too. The last time I used it, it was do make a vinaigrette; getting the mustard taste and heat with actually using mustard. This oil can be expensive for every day cooking. So, use sparingly. 250 ml of this oil costs from £2.00 to £5.00

The next oil is Sunflower oil… every one’s got this in their kitchen. It is good for general cooking, frying and Also salads. Nothing to write home about. You will usually be able to buy a litter between £1.15 and £2.99.

Coconut oil. I bought this one because it sounded great but I am not that impressed with it. I have used it to cook soups, broths and sauces. I have then had to top them with coconut cream to feel the full hit of coconut. This oil is also used as a biofuel in some country ahaha. … Fear not! It is totally edible. It is also used as a moisturiser for dry skins and as a hair product… It coagulates quite easily (like butter) and has to be placed in a very warm environment before using. I do not recommend buying in bottle format, but in jar. That way, you can just spoon the quantity needed as in when.

Olive oil. Every one rants about this oil and it is almost as if other oils do not exist. And just because it is so widely used, it isn’t my favourite… I love being contrary. Yes I know it is great for health, but here in the UK, we are not in the freakin’ Mediterranean country and we should moderate our consumption… Chefs in UK TV cooking shows pour this oil on their dishes as if it was water… DO NOT COPY THEM! We do not share the same climate. God wasn’t a fool when he placed olive trees in the Middle East and Mediterranean!!!


Rapeseed oil. I quite like this one! It sounds great and make some wicked potatoes chips/French fried. I started using it because of it name and the 99p store used to sell a litre of it for £0.99p. Now, they sell it at the same price, but the bottle is much smaller (500ml)… Can’t fill my chip pan with this all the time… need to cut down on chips then.

See you next week for part with Hazelnut, Walnut, Almond, sesame seeds, ground nut, and palm oil.


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Marrow / potatoes layer with beet and sweet corn stir

Marrow & potatoes layer with beet and sweet corn stir

Serves 3

Ingredients for the layer:
600grs Marrow
2 medium potatoes
3 medium firm tomatoes
100grs Tofu sliced and deep-fried to give it texture
1 small red onion (optional)
3 cloves of garlic
30grs butter (dairy free)
100ml Alpro single cream
50grs Flour
Vegetable stock cube
White pepper

1 - Peel the marrow and keep the skin strips for decoration. Now slice the peeled marrow in 1cm width and set aside. Peel the potatoes and cut in slices about the size as the marrow. set aside. Now do the same thing for the tomato and red onion. Make sure that your Tofu is deep-fried as it will give texture to your dish. Set aside.

2 – for the batter: Melt about 25grs of the butter and crush the whole stock cube in it to melt it. Add the cream to the mix then add the flour and the finely chopped garlic. Mix well, add salt and white pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.

Layer ready for the oven
Butter a regular size loaf tin, place 1 layer of potatoes, then marrow, then onion, then tomatoes, then tofu.  Dust with a pinch of salt and white pepper. Then repeat the process. If you can, make sure that a layer of potato is at the top of the dish simply because you will use it as indicator to judge if the dish it cooked.

The dark green strips you see on this photo are strips of peels from the marrow that I am using to decorate my dish. The strips were placed on the bottom of the baking tin, then folded over the dish and held with tooth pick just before placing it in the oven.
Once the layers are done. Stir the batter previously prepared and pour it, not on top, but on the sides of the layers.

Now place your dish in the oven for 1hr 20 minutes.

Now time to prepare the accompaniment.

Beet & corn stir
For this, you will need:
1 big fresh sweet corn
1 precooked beetroot or a fresh one if you can find it
1 yellow sweet pepper
1 very small red onion
50grs roughly crush walnut
2 twigs of thyme
Fresh parsley
25grs Butter (dairy free)
Black pepper & salt obviously
Start by shelling the corn kernels from the cob or simply go through the cob with the knife like I did.

Chop separately all the elements of your dish then set aside.

Now, in a frying pan, melt the butter and fry the chopped onions and thyme until brown. Now, add the sweet corn and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the sweet pepper in the mix, stir for 2 minutes, add the beetroot and the fresh parsley, stir well for 1 minute and add the crushed walnut. Season with salt and pepper, Mix, cover and remove from the stove. It is ready.
Time to check on your layers in the oven. The hardest ingredient in the dish is the potato. If you put a knife through the dish and it goes through smoothly, and comes up just slightly moist, then your dish is ready. if not, add cooking time to your oven.
Please note: not all oven perform with the same power

Leave your dish to cool for few minutes then, serve.

Serving suggestion
Don’t forget to post a comment!

Bon app├ętit. 



Saturday, 5 October 2013

Nutty spinach with wedges

Alt name: Mouth-watering Hazelnut & Almonds spinach with potatoes wedges

Serving suggestion
Lunch for 1

200 grs whole spinach leaves
½ a medium red onion - roughly cut
2 garlic cloves - minced
Salt & Pepper
8 pieces of sundried tomatoes - finely chopped
25grs dairy free butter
3 whole raw hazelnuts and 3 whole raw almonds – finely chopped

In a deep pan, melt the butter and brown the onion and garlic for 2 minutes.

Add in the chopped sundried tomatoes and the chopped nuts stir until brown for 3 minutes on medium heat.

Now add the spinach with salt and white pepper. Mix-stir for about 3 minutes until the spinach is completely wilted.

Remove from heat and cover.

Now, time to cook your potato wedges. Just follow the instructions on the package. It shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to get your chips or wedges ready once the chip oil or oven is ready.

The spinach can be eaten on their own. This dish tastes as good as it looks and is full of moisture.
this tastes soooo good!