Our lovely stay in France at the beginning of September marked the end of all but short periods of travel until early next year. Visits to great restaurants have provided us with wonderful taste experiences and given me plenty of food for thought. With autumn making its presence felt, we will now be settling in and entertaining friends and family from our home. Always silly enough to have a go and present something never previously attempted, I’ve been poring over my cookbooks, making notes and putting together ideas for a variety of menus. More on those decisions in other posts. But before that I want to pass on information which I have only just found out.
As you might expect, I turned to the writings of David Everitt-Matthias for at least some inspiration in the meal planning. There, all the way from 2006, in the first few pages of ‘essence’ is his recommendation for rapeseed oil. Rapeseed is the oil which I use more than any other in my cooking and dressings. Olive oil is terrific and has marvellous flavour profiles and butter will give a finish like little else… but rapeseed is my bottled kitchen workhorse which is perfectly happy plodding, trotting and galloping through my cooking. It is not a one trick pony… and can match pressed olives from Spain and Italy for flavour.
That flavour is only revealed by a producer who understands something more than commercial aspects and can give us true quality which is worth paying for. Which is why I finally followed up the advice of one of our finest chefs and telephoned R-oil today. Straight through to Hamish Campbell who is clearly still a good friend of David’s. Alerted to my search for the best way to source his product, he asked if I was close to a Sainsbury's store. Their British Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, Taste the Difference is his own. I took hold of the bottle at the ready for tonight’s haddock and chips and recognised that I had bought the very thing last month and had already enjoyed starting to use it! Sainsbury's references to nut and asparagus are spot on.
I refuse to be precious and say you’d be daft not to use this Cotswolds oil but I would certainly recommend it. At least for a while discard supermarket vegetable oils (rapeseed from a lower league) and explore the superior British cold pressed oils on offer now.
I’ll be sticking (and cooking!) with Hamish’s in future.
Update: I've just poured 120ml of this oil into my batch of wholemeal bread dough mix. I'm sure the commercial arm of Sainsbury's think they know what they are doing but I really take issue with the selection of packaging. The bottle looks for all the world like so many of those racked up on the olive oil shelves with a murky green hiding its contents. Why? As well as offering a fine cooking ingredient R-Oil have produced liquid sunshine. Clear glass, please... the colour is glorious!