Norfolk’s “Liquid Gold” – A Review Of Crush Foods’ Rapeseed Oil

Continuing my series of articles on independent Norfolk food producers, I headed for a pot of liquid gold that’s found in a quiet corner of North Norfolk.

As a keen cook I was delighted to find a culinary oil that offers a healthier option than many on the market as well as a range of innovative associated products, look no further than North Norfolk based Crush Foods.

Operating since 2010, the company uses only Norfolk grown oil seed rape in its products as it firmly believes in the importance of supporting local growers. Crush Foods’ rapeseed oil is unrefined due to being cold-pressed mechanically on-site. It’s then triple-filtered which makes it extra light and a crystal clear golden yellow colour. All Crush products are produced in Salle, Norfolk by a small, dedicated team of people who ensure that high standards are always met. Rapeseed oil contains half the saturated fat of extra virgin olive oil and is high in Omegas 3, 6 and 9 which are essential for healthy bones and joints, brain function, heart health and balanced cholesterol.

As well as the original cold-pressed rapeseed oil, Crush now offers a range of infused oils including smoked chipotle chilli, garlic and “feisty” chilli as well as an incredibly flavoursome lemongrass, garlic, ginger & chilli stir fry oil. Dressings and sauces were added to the product list and currently include a tangy honey and mustard sauce, a zingy lemon dressing and a honey and balsamic dipping oil. Crush has also developed an exceptional selection of granola cereals: who wouldn’t be tempted by a breakfast consisting of honey, apple and cranberry or chocolate and hazelnut granola, to mention just two flavours? From March 2017 the entire granola range became gluten-free to make it accessible to a wider customer base. Earlier, in February 2017, Crush unveiled its egg-free (and vegan friendly) mayonnaise and there are currently two flavours available: garlic and chipotle.

Crush Foods retails in many farm shops, delis and other independent retailers across East Anglia and selected sellers in London and Kent. You can also order the products online via the website: http://www.crush-foods.com

 

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Scarlett & Mustard product reviews with recipes

I was asked by ‘My Foodie Heaven’ to try out and review some products made by Scarlett & Mustard. I’d already heard of the company and had seen some of their products with their quirky labelling in the shops so I was keen to see what they were like.

I received a parcel containing the delightfully named ‘Rudolph’s Left Overs Curry Sauce’, an English rapeseed oil flavoured with truffle (oil, not chocolates!) and a blackcurrant and star anise curd.

When I’m asked to review any food product, rather than just sticking my finger in the jar, tasting it and rating it out of ten, where possible I try to create a recipe that will really bring out the flavour. At the moment, we’re in the middle of moving from Surrey to Norfolk and so it’s slightly chaotic in our house . However, we still need to eat but as my kitchen facilities are now rather basic, any food I prepare has to be quick and easy.

With that in mind, I came up with two recipes using the Left Overs Curry Sauce and the truffle rapeseed oil and decided to test the blackcurrant and star anise curd out as part of a traditional afternoon tea.

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‘Rudolph’s Left Overs Curry Sauce’ is an oil free dressing full of fruity, tangy flavours and it will, quite simply, transform your left overs from one meal into a tasty dish for another. You don’t have to limit yourself to using it for left overs though: I used it to make a light ‘coronation’ style sauce to have with chicken which was delicious. By mixing Greek yoghurt with Rudolph’s in a 2:1 ratio, I had a simple sauce which was far superior to the heavy ‘coronation chicken’ dish I recall from the 1970s (which was basically curry powder mixed with mayonnaise). What I liked about Rudolph’s is that you could actually taste the fruit in it (mango chutney, apricots and sultanas) and the heat from the ginger and curry powder was subtle.

Coronation chicken S and M

 

Scarlett & Mustard also recommend Rudolph’s with roasts (including your Christmas bird if you plan to have one), on rice and peas, on potatoes and even on salads. What you do with it is only limited by your imagination. I’m sorry the photo of my chicken dish isn’t brilliant – my ‘staging’ props for my photos have been packed away but you get the idea.

 

For the English truffle rapeseed oil, I thought a potato recipe would be in order as it would be blending two wonderfully earthy flavours together. Readers of this blog will be aware from previous posts that I love the versatility of the humble spud and for this recipe I turned once again to Maris Pipers but you could use any floury potato for this dish.

 

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Truffled Crushed Potatoes

Ingredients – for 2 servings

300g Maris Piper potatoes

150mls semi skimmed milk (or use soya milk for vegan option)

I twig of fresh rosemary

1 tbsp Scarlett & Mustard English Rapeseed Truffle Oil

3 tbsp single cream (or use vegan cream)

 

Method

  1. Cut the potatoes into chunks and put in a large saucepan with the milk and add a little water to cover. Season with a little salt if required. Once boiling, allow to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until tender. Add the rosemary twig about 5 minutes before the end so it infuses the cooking liquid.
  2. Drain the potatoes leaving a little of the cooking liquid but throw away the rosemary.
  3. Using a potato masher, gently crush the potatoes to break them up. You aren’t looking for mashed potatoes so go carefully!
  4. Add the truffle oil and the cream to the potatoes and turn them gently to coat.
  5. Tip the potatoes into an ovenproof dish and place under a hot grill for a few minutes to brown the top.
  6. If you’ve made the potatoes to eat later, you can reheat them in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes at 180 C / 200 C fan or gas mark 6 until the top goes golden.
  7. Eat and enjoy.

I’m afraid there isn’t a photo of this dish as it was demolished as soon as it came out of the oven!

 

Finally, for the blackcurrant and star anise curd, I used it to fill Viennese whirls and I also sampled it on a scone with butter. I was apprehensive about how the star anise would affect the flavour of the blackcurrant but I have to say that it’s an inspired combination. The blackcurrant is not over-sweet or sugary and the star anise gives it a real warmth without overshadowing the fruity flavour.

 

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I used my friend Kevin’s recipe for the Viennese whirls – you can find it on his blog www.thecraftylarder.co.uk – and dipped them in white chocolate and sprinkles. Bit of a girly moment!

 

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I can confirm that based on my tasting of the products I was sent, Scarlett & Mustard are purveyors of excellent foodie items and I recommend you look out for them in your local shops. They’d make ideal Christmas presents and would look particularly stylish in an elegant hamper.

 

All Scarlett & Mustard products can be found on their website: www.scarlettandmustard.co.uk

 

 

Disclaimer: I was sent a package of Scarlett & Mustard goods to review and I was not paid. My review reflects my honest opinion of the items I was given.

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Borderfields Rapeseed Oils – A review with recipes

image1 - Copy (25)When I was growing up in the 1970s, the only cooking oil I remember my mother using was an unnamed generic vegetable oil that was pale yellow, rather ‘thin’ in consistency and very bland.

Fortunately culinary oils have moved on in the past few years and now there is a huge variety available which then begs the question, which one do you choose? As we don’t fry food in our house and my husband has a heart condition, he likes extra virgin olive oil and swears by its healthy properties i.e. the Mediterranean diet. I find olive oil too rich and so I hunted around for an alternative: a lighter oil that was also good for you. What I eventually chose after some research (how did we ever manage without Google?) was gloriously golden rapeseed oil, which has less than half the saturated fat of olive oil. I’ve tried a few brands over the years and personally prefer it now to olive oil.

I was therefore very pleased to be asked by ‘My Foodie Heaven’, the Artisan & Speciality Food online magazine, to review ‘Borderfields’ cold pressed British rapeseed oil and a couple of their infused rapeseed oils. I was provided with a selection of oils and asked to review them honestly and come up with a couple of recipes if I was happy with the product. Luckily, I loved the product and had a lot of fun creating recipes with it.

Firstly, I’ll cover the technical stuff: Borderfields has a near perfect blend of Omega 3 and 6 which are considered to be essential fatty acids because the body cannot manufacture them, plus Omega 9. In fact the omega 3 content is ten times more than you find in olive oil. Borderfields is also a good source of Vitamin E which is known for its antioxidant properties. Borderfields rapeseed oil can be used as a healthy replacement for butter and when baking as well as for dressings, dips, roasts and stir fries.

image2 - Copy (19)I was keen to devise some recipes which would allow the flavour of the oil to shine through without overpowering the other ingredients so what I did first was to test out the garlic infused rapeseed oil on the humble potato. Many people swear by using goose fat for the best roast potatoes but of course vegetarians and vegans can’t eat that and even though I eat meat, for some reason I’m a little squeamish about using goose fat.

So last weekend, I part boiled some Maris Piper potatoes, cut them into chunks and tipped them into a baking tray of hot garlic infused rapeseed oil, tossed them around and put them in a 200 degree C / Gas mark 7 / 400 degree F for 30 minutes. I then turned them over in the pan and put them back in the oven for another half hour. The result was the perfect roastie: soft and fluffy inside and crispy on the outside with a beautiful golden colour and a buttery taste that make you want to dive right in.

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Later in the week, I made spicy garlic potato wedges, also using the garlic infused rapeseed oil. Again, I part boiled the potatoes and cut them into chunky wedges, placed them in a tray of hot oil then sprinkled Barbecue Spice and chilli flakes (from the supermarket) over the top. These needed less time in the oven (same temperatures as for the roast potatoes) so I gave them 20 minutes, then turned them, then gave them 20 minutes more. These definitely had a kick to them and were crunchy and delicious. I found it hard not to keep taking one to ‘test’!

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One evening, we weren’t particularly hungry but fancied something light and flavoursome to eat. I thought a simple bruschetta would be a good idea as we were somewhat overwhelmed with tomatoes in our kitchen and we had some French bread that needed using up. Here’s what I came up with using Borderfields basil infused rapeseed oil:

‘BORDERFIELDS BRUSCHETTA’

image3 - Copy (6)Half a French stick, cut diagonally into 1 cm pieces

I clove of garlic, peeled and left whole

Borderfields basil infused rapeseed oil

3 large, ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped

I small red onion, peeled and finely chopped

I small red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)

½ teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes

½ teaspoon caster sugar

Salt and black pepper to taste

A few small leaves of fresh basil

  1. Mix the tomatoes, red onion, red pepper (if using), chilli flakes, caster sugar and salt and pepper together in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend
  2. Toast the French bread slices and when slightly cooled, rub the clove of garlic over one side of each slice. Place 3 or 4 slices of the toast on a plate and drizzle a little of the infused basil oil over them
  3. Spoon some of the tomato mixture onto each slice in a little pile and drizzle over a little more of the basil oil.
  4. Artfully place two or three small basil leaves on or around the bruschetta to garnish then serve.

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The infused basil oil in this recipe adds a subtle basil flavour to the dish and enhances the flavours of the rest of the ingredients. Basil and tomatoes is a traditional combination but the addition of some chilli gives the dish a little twist. The bruschetta is great on its own as a grab and go snack but if you add some Italian cold meats and a glass of wine like we did, it’s even better!

Finally, to continue the Italian theme, I decided to create a pesto sauce with the Borderfields cold pressed British rapeseed oil. I like making things that can be kept in the fridge for a while and whipped out to make a fast and tasty meal, as I’m usually pretty pooped by the time I get home from work. Most pesto recipes require you to use pine nuts, which are lovely but expensive and also a bit ‘fatty’ in taste. Also, if you keep them a little too long in the cupboard, they go rancid. I therefore chose to use walnuts as a lot of people are likely to have them in their food cupboards and they are reasonably cheap.

‘BORDERFIELDS BASIL & WALNUT PESTO’

40g walnuts (halves or pieces)

2 medium cloves of garlic, peeled

35g grated parmesan cheese

25g fresh basil leaves

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp salt

175mls Borderfields cold pressed British rapeseed oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  1. Place walnuts and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped
  2. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper and pulse again until finely chopped
  3. With the food processor running at a low speed, slowly add the rapeseed oil through the feeder tube until incorporated. Turn food processor off.
  4. Add the grated parmesan cheese and the lemon juice and pulse a few times until blended in. You should have a reasonably thick pesto sauce that has a bit of texture.
  5. Put the pesto mix into a small glass jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

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You can use the pesto on pasta, tomato and mozzarella salad, potatoes and anything else you fancy!

You’ll see that I had a great time trying out the Borderfields rapeseed oils and I’d certainly recommend them for both flavour and versatility. It’s also great that they are produced in the UK and available all year round.

You can find out more information about Borderfields products (including other infused rapeseed oils like chilli and lemon)  on their website: http://www.borderfields.co.uk.

You can find out more about ‘My Foodie Heaven’ at their website – do go and have a look: http://www.myfoodieheaven.co.uk

Disclaimer: although I was given samples of Borderfields products to review, my opinions represent my honest feedback on the goods provided.  I was not paid to write the review nor did I receive any other financial incentives.