In the world of ethical living it can be hard to keep up. Not long ago rapeseed was one of the bad guys, but things have changed and they have changed for the better. Forget the hay fever twitching in your nose when those yellow flowers are in bloom. Forget the ugly subsidy system and rapeseed biodiesel. Didn’t you know? Rapeseed is ethical, not evil. Over the past five or six years, rapeseed oil has repackaged itself as the ultimate local, healthy food.
Cotswold Gold Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil is made from Oilseed Rape that is grown on their farm in the glorious Cotswolds. Cotswold Gold brings a healthy alternative cooking oil for all your culinary needs. This is now my preferred oil of choice for everything to do with food preparation, and I hope to convince you to try some and taste the difference!
Rapeseed (Brassica napus), also known as rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi, rapaseed (and, in the case of one particular group of cultivars, canola), is a bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family). The name derives from the Latin for turnip, rāpa or rāpum, and is first recorded in English at the end of the 14th century.
Rapeseed oil was produced in the 19th century as a source of a lubricant for steam engines. It was less useful as food for animals or humans because it has a bitter taste due to high levels of glucosinolates. Varieties have now been bred to reduce the content of glucosinolates, producing a more palatable oil.
I have for a long time now been a convert to Rapeseed oil and have tried many of the different products available from all over the UK. I was always a big fan of Olive Oil for many years and spent quite a lot of money on oils from superb producers from all over the world. It was not unknown for me to spend £30 plus for a good quality extra virgin olive oil for use in salad dressings and recipes which call for the best oil available. Believe me, you can spend hundreds of pounds on quality olive oil and until around two years ago I had probably spent in excess of many thousands of pounds and what I now know was an inferior product to Rapeseed Oil.
Rapeseed oil entered into my kitchen quite slowly at first, but the more I used it, the more I converted from olive oil. I dabbled for a while ordering oils from the south of the country right the way up to Scotland and liked what I was getting. I started to become somewhat of a connoisseur as like wine, Rapeseed oil has individual tastes which are determined by location, regional climate, pressing and bottling methods. In fact, as with wine making, Rapeseed oil production can be an exact science. My journey to find the ultimate in flavour and performance ended last week when I discovered Cotswold Gold Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil, the search is over and I am staying with this truly amazing product. This outstanding product was awarded a gold star at the Great Taste Awards in 2010 for their cold pressed rapeseed, and a further gold award a year later for their rapeseed infused with dill. With other awards including food Producer of the year 2011 and Cotswold Life Food Produce of the year 2012, to name a few, this is clear proof that these products can stand head and shoulders above competitors.
Cotswold Gold Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil is fantastic for cooking with and imparts its own unique flavour. When used as a base to any salad dressing, the results are amazing, in my opinion, better than I had previously experienced from olive oil. Not only that, Cotswold Gold has some terrific health benefits as well as a uniquely amazing taste.
With less than half the saturated fat of olive oil, you are immediately helping your heart without loosing any of the cooking benefits from oil. The same is true for marinating and the use for salad dressings.
Rapeseed oil is low in cholesterol.
It is GM free
It is a good source of Omega 3, 6 & 9
It is a great natural source of Vitamin E
Not only are there amazing health benefits, but it is 100% British, it also has low food miles as it is grown and bottled on the Cotswold Gold farm, it has a vibrant golden colour and is suitable for cooking at high temperatures due to a far higher burning point than olive oil. Cotswold Gold is not only good for you; it’s good for the environment as well.
The taste test;
Cotswold Gold is a Natural Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil, extracted using traditional cold pressing. On first tasting a teaspoon of the oil straight from the newly opened bottle, it was almost neutral, but by the time I had tasted a second spoonful, it was pretty obvious that like a fine wine, this amazing rapeseed oil needed a slight airing. I am a fan of using oil pouring devices (the ones that fit snugly in the bottle after the inner cap is removed) which allows for the oil to flow and replaces the space with air. This will aerate the oil so I would recommend you use a pouring device or transfer the contents of the full bottle into your favourite oil bottle. It’s certainly not vital, so don’t go out and spend a fortune on a kitchen gadget, just use the original bottle if you prefer.
The first thing you notice is the incredibly clean and fresh taste with a gentle hint of nut and pepper which hits the palate and mellows away to leave a smooth sensation. There is also a hint of mustard on the tongue but without the burn! The most amazing rich and earthy taste sensation sits right at the back of the mouth and once again this mellows away over a few seconds.
This is low in acidity, tremendously so compared to extra virgin olive oil, and this is obvious in the taste test. Cotswold Gold has such a tremendous flavour burst on the palate, but it doesn’t linger, another positive in comparison to the heavier, lingering extra virgin olive oils.
This is truly liquid gold in a bottle!
Cotswold Gold also offers an ‘Infusions’ range, where the flavours are naturally infused to give a fresh flavour and to enhance your chosen dish. These include; Basil, Cumin, Chilli, Dill, Garlic, Lemon, Rosemary and Dill. The Chilli and Garlic are my favourites to date, but for Sunday dinner this week, I will be using the Rosemary on a rather nice leg of Lamb.
Why don’t you treat yourself to some of this outstanding oil, maybe splash out on a few flavoured oils? I would love to hear how you find the taste and whether you convert as I did. Try adding it to a Hollandaise sauce as in the recipe below, controversial? Maybe, but one tablespoon will really lift your sauce in a way you never thought possible.
Perfect Eggs Benedict with Cotswold Gold Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil.
This will serve four.
8 Large Eggs
4 English Muffins halved
50g Butter, for spreading
2 large organic free range egg yolks
1 dessert spoon of lemon juice
1 dessert spoon of white wine vinegar
90g of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of Cotswold Gold extra virgin rapeseed oil
Salt and ground black pepper to season
8 slices of crisped good quality bacon or Parma ham
Hollandaise sauce, warmed
Chopped chives for garnish
For the Hollandaise sauce;
Begin by placing the egg yolks in a small bowl and season them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then place them in a food processor or blender and blend them thoroughly for about 1 minute.
After that, heat the lemon juice and white wine vinegar in a small saucepan until the mixture starts to bubble and simmer. Switch the processor or blender on again and pour the hot liquid on to the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream. After that, switch the processor or blender off.
Now, using the same saucepan, melt the butter over a gentle heat, being very careful not to let it brown. When the butter is foaming, add a tablespoon of Cotswold Gold extra virgin rapeseed oil, switch the processor or blender on once more and pour in the butter and oil in a thin, slow, steady trickle; the slower you add it the better. (If it helps you to use a jug and not pour from the saucepan, warm a jug with boiling water, discard the boiling water and then pour the butter and oil mixture into that first.)
When all the butter has been incorporated, wipe around the sides of the processor bowl or blender with a spatula to incorporate all the sauce, then give the sauce one more quick burst and you should end up with a lovely, smooth, thick, buttery sauce.
For the eggs;
Fill 2 large saucepans with boiling water to a depth of about 2 inches When tiny bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, carefully crack 4 eggs into each pan.
Leave the pans on the heat for 1 minute, then remove and let the eggs sit in the hot water for exactly 6 minutes. Remove the eggs, using a slotted spoon, and drain on kitchen paper. You can trim them at this point for presentation purposes.
While the eggs are standing for 6 minutes preheat the grill on its highest setting, place the bacon or Parma on a baking tray and grill both sides until crispy. Remove the bacon and keep to one side to cool slightly.
Then split each muffin in half, and toast both sides.
Butter each muffin half and place 2 on each serving plate. Top each half with 2 pieces of bacon or Parma then a poached egg and spoon the Hollandaise over the top. A small twist of black pepper and a sprinkling of chives to garnish.