Now that it’s December we can officially think about Christmas. Of course, we’ve unofficially been thinking about Christmas since Halloween, but that’s because we’re big kids. But it’s allowed now. We love nothing more than finding the perfect gift for our friends and loved ones, and it’s even better if that gift is homemade. So, today we’re sharing a couple of recipes that will make the perfect gift for your favourite foodie. These simple home-infused oils are quick and easy to do, and will spruce up even the most boring salad!
Smoked Garlic Oil
Tea-smoking is a terrific way to flavour foods. It is often used to smoke salmon or duck, but works well here with the garlic. You will need to double line the wok with foil and open a window when you are smoking foods as the aroma is quite pungent.
8 tablespoons soft brown sugar
8 tablespoons long grain rice
8 tablespoons tea leaves
1 head garlic
250 ml/1 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
salt and pepper
Makes 300 ml/1¼ cups
Line a wok with a double sheet of foil and combine the brown sugar, rice and tea leaves in the bottom. Place a small rack or griddle over the smoking mixture (making sure the two don’t touch) and lay the garlic on the rack.
Place the wok over a high heat and, as soon as the mixture starts to smoke, top the wok with a tight-fitting lid. Lower the heat and cook gently for 15 minutes until the garlic turns a deep brown. Allow to cool.
Place the unpeeled garlic in a bottle or jar, add the oil and allow to infuse for 1 week. Drain and use the oil to make a dressing, adding vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Great with a beef carpaccio or a charred lamb salad.
Bay And Thyme Oil
Bay and thyme give the oil a mellow flavour and, once strained, it is perfectly enhanced with a light vinegar, such as Chinese black vinegar or rice wine vinegar.
6 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper
150 ml/⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
1–2 tablespoons vinegar of your choice
Makes 200 ml/1 scant cup
Place the bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper in a pestle and mortar and pound gently to bash up the herbs. Transfer to a jar, add the oil and marinate for 5 days.
Strain the oil into a jar, add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and serve.
This dressing is great served over salad leaves or shaved courgettes/zucchini.