Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spiced Orange Oil

Though it is a simple thing these days to buy flavoured oils it is difficult to find ones that are exceptional, or even particularly interesting. It is also a simple thing to make this spiced orange oil and it doesn't fail on either of the other two counts, being intense and complex with what can only be described as a long finish. I made my first batch a couple of years ago and was smitten. It's easy to make - just bung everything into a pot and warm gently for fifteen or twenty minutes then allow it to steep while it cools. Decant back into the bottles the oil came from and voila! what was pale and inconspicuous is now a rich gold and tasting fabulous. It is a great base for salad dressings and stir fries, marinades and rubs. I use it any time I want to add a little kick to a dish.

The recipe comes from Spice, the quite wonderful book by Christine Manfield. She now makes a range of spiced products selling widely in Australia and available at Harvey Nicks in London but this oil is not amongst them.

Spiced Orange Oil
4 pieces of dried orange peel, broken up into smaller pieces
10 large dried chillies, crumbled
4 fresh small chillies, sliced
Zest of 3 oranges
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced
1 litre vegetable oil or light olive oil
150 ml sesame oi

Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan and heat gently for 20 minutes without boiling. Allow to cool completely - if you leave it overnight the flavour develops further. Pour through a fine mesh and decant back into the original bottles. Some of the oil is absorbed into the dry ingredients so you end up with about a litre.

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