A variety of cooking oils for all your cooking needs
Olive oil is the most used oil in my kitchen. The ‘Don’ of oil has a dark green colour and is richly robust in flavour. Generally I have two types in my cupboard, extra virgin olive oil and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Here in Italy olive oil is inexpensive to buy. However you can pay a lot for cold pressed olive oil but worth the extra coinage if you feel like indulging. On the scale of things there is a something to suit all budgets.
Cold pressed olive oil should be consumed raw such as in a dressing or on salads. Mainly because you retain the flavour but also because it’s much healthier for you as your sure not to lose the nutritional benefits.
Extra virgin olive oil is not advised for cooking on a high heat as it has a low enough smoke point at around 190˚c.
In my case I’m very lucky as my parents have a country house here in Italy with lots of olive trees. Every year they kindly give me an abundant amount of there own organic olive oil fresh from the garden.
Peanut oil is light in colour and has a high smoke point at around 230˚c this makes it great for cooking food on a high heat. It has quite a nutty scent and has the added benefit of not absorbing the flavour of other foods.
Peanut oil is great for cooking Chinese food and stir fries because of its nutty flavour and high smoke point.
Sunflower oil is very light in colour and has virtually no taste. Its considered good for frying at a high heat as its smoke point is about 225˚c. Having said that I do try to limit its use as it doesn’t have the same health benefits as other oils.
Frying on a high heat such as deep frying homemade chips or fritti (suppli,anancini,crocchetta which are very popular here in Rome) I also use sunflower oil for making Homemade Mayonnaise and my Chilli Oil
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature so it must be heated for use. It has quite a high smoke point at around 350˚c. If you’re not a fan of coconut then I wouldn’t recommend using it, due to its distinctive taste. Coconut oil has a lot of health benefits as it’s high in natural saturated fats.
Personally I am not a fan of coconut oil in cooking savoury food as I think the flavour overpowers the other ingredients. This is why I save it for baking. I find it works really well in cakes and biscuits. One recipe that Coconut Oil blends well with, is my homemade Granola.
Coconut oil can also be used on the body such as moisturiser for dry skin, body scrubs, lip treatments and even cuticle oil.
Toasted Sesame Oil
Toasted sesame oil is dark in colour and has a beautiful roasted sesame flavour. Modern medical research has shown that the consumption of sesame oil can lower cholesterol and is beneficial for the heart and kidneys.
Toasted sesame oil should only be eaten raw. It’s great for dressings and salads. I also drizzle a little bit just before serving some Chinese dishes. It can be used practically like a seasoning.