A brief review of three speciality nut oils from Cooks & Co. You’ll also find flavoured vinegars from Skylark Far and some nutty hot sauces from Potash Farm. If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll also find a few ideas for recipes to use them in.
Speciality Nut Oils
As my regular readers will know, I am a big fan of butter, so my baking doesn’t feature oil very often. However, when I was offered the chance to try some speciality nut oils, it seemed like a good opportunity to be adventurous. R H Amar & Co sent me three 250ml bottles of Cooks & Co oil to review.
Produced in France, these would be good for adding a bit of Gallic sophistication to a meal. The bottles were glass, what a relief. I’m really not a fan of plastic food bottles and much prefer to have glass.
All in all, I’m impressed with these speciality nut oils. My only quibble, is the usual one – I would prefer them to be organic. They all taste of the nuts they’re made of and all add a distinctive nutty quality to the dishes I’ve created so far. I’m looking forward to trying out some more.
Hazelnut Speciality Nut Oil
Extracted entirely from hazelnuts, this oil is the one I was most excited about. And I was right to be so, it’s delicious. It really does smell and taste of hazelnuts. I added some of this to the chocolate hazelnut cake truffles I made last month and it really did help to bring out the flavour of the hazelnuts in the cake. I’m looking forward to trying this baked in a plain chocolate cake next where I think it would give an added depth and complexity of flavour. (RSP £3.99)
Walnut Infused Speciality Nut Oil
Made of rapeseed, but with an addition of walnut extract. This is another flavoursome oil, though less distinctive than the hazelnut. I used some to make this parsnip and walnut cake.
Suffice it to say, I really liked the flavour of the oil; the cake tasted of walnuts, but not overly so. One of the best salad dressings I remember from my time living in Switzerland was one made with walnut oil, so I’m looking forward to the weather warming up and my lettuce seeds germinating. Walnut salad here I come! (RSP £2.85)
Roasted Peanut Speciality Nut Oil
As the name suggests, this one is made from 100% roasted peanuts. And guess what, it tastes just like roasted peanuts. I have baking plans for it, but shhh. Don’t tell, I’m going to use them to make peanut butter brownies. I have used it in a stir fry, however and it worked brilliantly well. I was able to get the oil nice and hot without any sign of burning and the final dish had just enough of a suggestion of peanut to make it interesting without overwhelming the other flavours. (RSP £3.39)
Potash Farm Sauces
Whilst it’s always sad to see summer go, I do love autumn. It’s the time of mists, falling leaves, burnished colours and bountiful harvests including one of my favourite nuts, hazelnuts. As well as the wild hazels which grow copiously around here, but whose nuts the squirrels get to before ever I can, there are also the cultivated varieties, cobnuts and filberts.
They’re known for being particularly nutritious and apparently six cobnuts offer the equivalent iron and protein of ½ lb of red meat. Potash Farm are well known for growing Kentish cobnuts. They don’t just grow and harvest them however, they also use some of their harvest to make a variety of creative products.
The 250ml bottles are available from the Potash farm website and cost £6.95 each or two for £12. However, Tin and Thyme readers can get a 10% discount by using the following code: TANDT2015
Smokey Roasted Pepper Sauce with Kentish Cobnuts
I’ve not come across nuts in this type of hot sauce before, so I was intrigued to try it. Inspired by the flavours of Morocco, the smokey roasted pepper sauce is made with chillies, sherry vinegar and various other spices as well as the headline smokey roasted peppers and cobnuts. It has a dark rusty red colour which make it a good fit for autumn. It’s not only the colour however, the smokey notes are warming and make me think of bonfires.
It’s slightly sweet, spicy with a bit of a chilli kick and surprisingly, the flavour of hazelnuts really comes through. They provided a bit of added texture as well as flavour and the consistency is definitely sauce rather than ketchup. You therefore need to take care when you pour it from the bottle. I got rather more than I bargained for with my first attempt.
It’s a very tasty and unusual sauce and I found it goes particularly well with eggs. Drizzled over a fresh herb omelette made for a most satisfying lunch, as you can see from the picture above.
Thai Chilli Sauce with Kentish Cobnuts
As you’d expect with a Thai sauce, this had more than just a kick. It’s simpler than the roasted pepper sauce in terms of ingredients, but also much punchier. Flavoured with limes, ginger, garlic, soya sauce and cider vinegar as well as chillies of course, the cobnut flavour was less pronounced. It’s a brighter red than the pepper sauce, but also fits in with classic autumnal colours.
It makes for a good dipping sauce, but as it’s quite sweet, I found it goes really well with tomatoes. I made a quick chilli tomato chutney by frying up some spring onions, garlic and herbs with tomatoes and adding a dash of this sauce. It was delicious and made a nice accompaniment to the omelette in the earlier photo.
Skylark Farm Vinegars
From one farm to another. Skylark Farm is a smallholding based in Suffolk. As well as looking after a herd of goats and flock of chickens, they also produce a number of hand crafted items including some rather special flavoured vinegars from their Fancy Pantry.
On checking the website just now, it’s unclear quite what is going on with availability of these vinegars, so I do apologise if you are now desperate to get hold of them.
Choc What! Chocolate Vinegar
Made with organic cocoa powder, sugar and a combination of malt and white wine vinegars, this is fantastic drizzled over ice-cream and other desserts. I’ve also added it to dark gravy like sauces with great effect. It worked wonderfully with the strawberry blancmange I made back in July, contrasting nicely with the sweet creaminess of this classic dessert.
This not only smells of raspberries, but it tastes of them too. Much like my blackcurrant vinegar, it makes an intriguing salad dressing and is also very good as a refreshing drink when added to water.
Vee Vee Vanilla Vinegar
Infused with real vanilla pods, this slightly sweetened vinegar has a heady aroma. I’ve been using it in baking recently instead of vanilla extract as it gives the flavour, but also reacts with bicarbonate of soda to give a good rise. These retro apricot vanilla buns were one such bake.
Lime, Chilli & Coriander Vinegar
This vinegar also smells delightful. It makes for an excellent salad dressing; the flavours are clean, fresh and zesty. It also has a bit of a chilli after kick to it, which I’m all in favour of.
Stay in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try any of these speciality nut oils, vinegars or sauces, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.