The Great Stonesoup Oil Crisis(Are You using the Wrong Oil?)

Pregnant Lady Mayo-2

You know that uneasy feeling you get when something isn’t right? But for whatever reason you keep pushing the feeling away with your best ostrich-head-in-the-sand impersonation.

For ages I had that feeling about my cooking oils.

Back in the day, I used to keep two oils in the house. An expensive extra virgin olive oil for salads and drizzling and a cheap olive oil for cooking.

It was simple and pretty economical. Life was good.

Then I started reading about olive oil having a low smoke point. Which means it breaks down at high temperatures releasing free radicals and other nasties. Not great for cooking.

So I did some research and switched my cooking oil to rice bran oil.

Why rice bran oil?

It has a nice high smoke point. So stable for cooking with. And I could get it in bulk at the supermarket so it’s not prohibitively expensive. Plus is doesn’t have much flavour so I could use it for my mayo too.

Back to the good life. Or so I thought…

Over time I started to learn about omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s are the ones that come to mind when you think of the benefits or fish oils. Omega-6s, tend to be found in vegetable oils and unlike omega-3s they aren’t great for your health. Mainly because they promote inflammation.

Wasn’t rice bran oil really a type of vegetable oil?

That nagging thought tried to push through but I just buried my head a little deeper in the sand. And as any good ostrich knows it’s pretty difficult to hear much less think down there.

But since I’ve been experimenting with eating MORE fat. I had to let the thought through.

And wouldn’t you know it? Rice bran oil has virtually no omega-3s and loads of omega-6 fatty acids. Not good.

More research…

I tried coconut oil but wasn’t a fan of the flavour in all situations. I tried macadamia oil but the flavour didn’t work so well and besides I couldn’t afford more than a tiny bottle. Avocado oil didn’t work on both flavour and smoke point grounds. Peanut oil was just as bad as rice bran from a fatty acid perspective. And I already knew to avoid canola or any other ‘vegetable oil’.

What did that leave?

Olive oil, duck fat (delicious but expensive) or clarified butter / ghee (tasty but some work required).

So I looked further into the olive oil thing. And finally got some good news.

Extra virgin olive oil did indeed have a low smoke point (160C / 320F). But refined olive oil, my old favourite ‘cheap’ oil, had a respectable smoke point (200C / 400F). Surely I wasn’t often exposing my food to temperatures higher than that?

So I started checking the temperatures as I was cooking with (luckily my Irishman has a ‘thing’ for temperature probes so we own a laser temperature gun). And the actual food wasn’t getting that hot. Phew.

The great Stonesoup Oil Crisis was resolved.

I went back to using two olives oils plus a few more. Here’s where I’m at today…

My Current Fats & Oils Collection

1. Extra virgin olive oil.
For salad dressings and drizzling.

2. Extra light olive oil.
For every day cooking such as pan frying and roasting. And making mayo as in the recipe below.

3. Coconut Oil.
For baking sweet treats, cooking stir frys and curries. I love the sweet flavour it gives to cakes but not so keen on it with my breakfast fried eggs and kale.

4. Salted Butter.
Our favourite is Kerrygold the Irish butter. Butter from grass fed cows is preferable because the type of feed influences the types of fatty acids in the butter. So grass-fed = more beneficial omega-3s. I actually came home with 6kg (12lb) Kerrygold in my suitcase on our recent trip to Ireland.

5. Unsalted Butter.
For baking cakes etc. I use it when I don’t want the flavour of coconut oil to come through.

6. Duck Fat.
This saturated fat is really stable so great for roasting at high temps. It’s also super delicious especially on roast potatoes. Expensive though.

7. Rice Bran Oil.
On the odd occasion that I deep fry food, rice bran oil is my go-to because it is stable at high temps. Since I’m not frying very often I figure the exposure to the extra omega-6s isn’t going to cause a big problem.

What about you?

What oils do you use for cooking? Are you having your own great oil crisis? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

Pregnant Lady Mayo

By using boiling water you can ‘pasteurize’ your egg yolks and make safe mayo for pregnant ladies… hooray! Also much safer for everyone else. Will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

This recipe can be halved, but if your food processor is very large you’ll need to be extra careful when adding your oil to make sure it doesn’t split. And I like the flavour that onion powder gives but it’s totally optional.

I used to not like using olive oil for mayo because I found it gave a bitter taste. But there’s a food science solution to this! Just be sure to be generous when seasoning with salt because salt helps to mask bitter flavours. It really makes a huge difference.

makes: 3 cups
takes: 15 minutes
2 egg yolks at room temperature
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice, sherry or white wine vinegar
1 scant teaspoon onion powder (optional)
3 cups extra light olive oil or other neutral flavoured oil

1. Whizz egg yolks and boiling water together in your food processor with a big pinch of salt. Add mustard and vinegar and whizz again.

2. With the motor still running, add the oil a few drops at a time, then build up to a thin stream and then a slightly more daring stream until most of the oil is incorporated.

3. Taste and season, adding the onion powder now (if using). Feel free to add more vinegar, onion powder or mustard if you like. Whizz to combine.

4. If the mayo is a little too runny, add the remaining oil. Too firm, add a little cold water.

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Variations

no mustard – just skip it!

herby – stir chopped herbs like chives, dill, parsley or basil through your finished mayo.

garlicky – add a clove or two of crushed garlic.

lemony – replace vinegar with lemon juice and add the zest of 1 lemon.

limey – replace vinegar with lime juice and add the zest of 1 lime.

no food processor – just whisk by hand. Will work just as well and give you good arm muscles at the same time!

Big love,
Jules x

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ps. I’m in the process of moving to a new email service provider. Apologies for any weird ‘confirmation’ emails or any email double ups over the next few weeks. And if you stop hearing from me, you might need to resubscribe over here.

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Hearty Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad

This roasted butternut squash and apple is a meal in itself! Arugula, wheat berries and gingery dressing round out the dish. - cookieandkate.com

Can you tell that I just barely had enough light left to photograph this salad? Imagine me in the backyard, trying to stand very still (like, don’t-breathe still) over a plate of salad while Cookie chased squirrels away. Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click, and after all that, I only got a few photos that weren’t blurry.

Granted, I had all weekend to make this salad, but I just had to wait until mid-afternoon on Sunday to get to work on them. I miss long summer days.

butternut and apples

At least my cooking efforts were rewarded with one epic fall/winter salad. I modeled it after my current favorite restaurant salad from The Mixx in Kansas City. I went there for a late lunch after my return flight home from NYC and ordered this beaut.

I took notes on the flavors and on how they don’t peel the butternut squash before roasting—a major time saver. Who likes to peel butternut squash? No one! The skin helps the butternut retain its shape while roasting, but I couldn’t tell that I was eating butternut peel.

I also loved the roasted apples in the salad, which lie somewhere between fresh and dried on the flavor/texture spectrum. They’re a little dehydrated and concentrated in tart Granny Smith flavor. It took me a couple of tries to get those right at home. The trick is to roast them just long enough to make them tender, but not so long that they pop open.

Continue to the recipe…

The post Hearty Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

2015 Holiday Gift Guide

2015 gift guide from Cookie and Kate! Find Kate's favorite clothes and accessories, skin care products, kitchen itools and more. cookieandkate.com

The holidays are here! How did that happen? I’m starting to make my list of gifts to buy for loved ones, so I thought I’d round up a few of my favorite things that you might like to give to your family and friends. I’m just as particular about the items in my home as I am my recipes, which is to say very particular.

Here are some of my tried-and-true favorites, from clothing and accessories that are worth every penny, to natural skin-care products that work, to my favorite non-fiction read of the year and the ten-dollar gold earrings I can’t stop wearing. You might find a few new favorites to add to your own wish list, too!

For even more ideas, check out my kitchen essentials, as well as my favorite cookbooks and last year’s holiday gift guide. Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission if you purchase through my links (at no cost to you, of course). Thank you for supporting Cookie and Kate!

clothing recommendations

Tad Coleman Field Print: If you’re curious about the blue print behind my little tree, you can get a better look at it here. It’s made by a local Kansas City illustrator and available for purchase online, along with lots of other fun prints.

J.Crew Stadium Cloth Cocoon Coat: This warm, classic coat is one of my favorite purchases of all time. I call it my Princess Kate coat. The eye-catching color brightens up cold winter days and I get compliments on it everywhere I go. I bought this coat a couple of seasons ago, so it’s no longer available in royal blue, but it comes in a ton of other bright colors this year.

Everlane Casual Petra Bag: Everlane makes the most amazing clothing and accessories for men and women, with total transparency on where the items are made and how much they cost to make them. I treat their leather tote bag like my briefcase. My 15″ MacBook fits perfectly inside, even in its neoprene case. The quality of this bag is far superior to the similar totes at J.Crew and Madewell. I don’t think I’ll ever need another one!

Frye Melissa Tab Knee-High Boot in redwood vintage leather: This year, I splurged on the most gorgeous pair of brown riding boots. I’m still wearing my first pair of riding boots, ten years later, and I intend to wear these for at least as long. They’re also available in black and in wide-calf sizes as well. If you can’t find your size, check Zappos.

Continue to the recipe…

The post 2015 Holiday Gift Guide appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

13 Favourite Cookbooks of 2015

Heidi's Red Lentil Hummus-2

Like any good addict, I have little stashes all over the house…

There’s a stack on my bedside table, on the bookshelf in my studio, in the lounge room. But it’s my kitchen stash of cookbooks (pictured above) that really tells the tale.

Why?

Because these are the ones that I’ve actually cooked something from recently.

I love cookbooks. I never get tired of flipping through the pages, reading every detail. Getting inspired. Getting hungry.

Here are my current faves. (ie. the ones in the kitchen squashed in next to my toaster).

13 Favourite Cookbooks of 2015

1. My New Roots by Sarah Britton
You wouldn’t think a ‘plant based’ book would be helpful for someone who was experimenting with eating ‘full Paleo’. But back in September when I was such an experimenter I found Sarah’s book really useful for alternatives to dairy. If you have any interest in creative ways to cook more veg this beautiful, vegetable-focused book is a winner. Checkout Sarah’s blog for a taste of what’s in store.

2. Mr Hong by Dan Hong
I can’t help but think of Dan Hong as Sydney’s answer to David Chang, the chef behind the Momofuku empire. This is the book I reach for when I’m after some serious deliciousness. From ‘secret’ tacos to amazing curries I love Hong’s work. Definitely a lot more than 5 ingredients though.

3. Near & Far by Heidi Swanson
A girl after my own heart, Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks loves food and travel. She’s combined both passions in this stunning book. I especially enjoyed reading about her travels in Japan, Morocco and India and the accompanying recipes. Lots of tasty new vegetarian ideas including the Red Lentil Hummus recipe below.

4. Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward
Another plant based blogger, it’s hard not to be caught up with Ella’s enthusiasm for veggies and real food. A self-taught cook Ella’s recipes err on the side of simplicity that I like.

5. Four Kitchens by Colin Fassnidge
Speaking of the word simplicity, it doesn’t really seem to be in Dublin / Sydney chef Colin Fassnidge’s vocabulary. That being said, I’ve loved this book as inspiration for my more extravagant weekend cooking. Especially when entertaining. There’s lots of effort required but sometimes even I enjoy making more complicated dishes as long as the deliciousness factor is there.

6. Kitchen by Mike by Mike McEnearney
I was devoed (that’s devestated in case you’re wondering) when I found that the Kitchen by Mike restaurant in Sydney had closed. But thankfully I had Mikes book which is a lovely tribute to the seasons with a balance between health and deliciousness that not many chefs get right. Good news is he’s opening in new digs in 2016.

7. Going Paleo by Pete Evans
This was an impulse purchase that inspired me to experiment with a month of eating ‘full paleo’ back in September. Not for everyone. But I did find some good ideas for making the paleo transition. And in case you’re wondering, I’ve gone back to eating what I call ‘mostly paleo’ so including legumes and dairy because I didn’t feel any extra benefits with the extra restriction. And boy did I miss my cheese.

8. Recipes for a Good Time by Ben Milgate and Elvis
I was going to write, ‘another Sydney chef book’ but these aren’t just any Sydney chefs. They own Porteno, the restaurant where my Irishman and I had our wedding ceremony and reception. So these guys hold a very special place in my heart. While there’s a lot of amazing meat recipes, it’s worth buying just to find out their secret to their amazing brussels sprouts with lentils.

9. A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes by David Tanis
OK confession time. SO I had a plan to cook every meal from David Tanis’ poetic book this year. And while I did make it half way through, I had to quit. As much as I loved the food, the multi course meals were too much for me to attempt, even on a Saturday night once I got pregnant and started going to bed at nanna o’clock.

10. In Search of Perfection by Heston Blumenthal
This might seem like the odd one out given that Heston and I fall at the completely opposite ends of the simple-complex cooking range. While I haven’t cooked anything from this book exactly, I have taken some inspiration from it. And my Irishman uses it to make his killer spaghetti bolognese. I do love Heston and the fact that he’s made food science sexy.

11. The Agrarian Kitchen by Rodney Dunn
If you’re ever thinking of visiting Tasmania, make sure you book in for a cooking class at the Agrarian Kitchen. My Irishman and I have done their chacuterie course and another on cooking with fire and loved every minute. It also helps that Rodney is one of the nicest guys ever. Love his paddock to plate approach to cooking.

12. River Cottage Australia by Paul West
I’m a huge huge fan of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the original River Cottage series so I wasn’t sure how I would find an Australian version. Truth is I love it! The recipes tend to be your classics in a made-from-scratch way. If you’re looking for inspiration and new ideas you might not find them here. Although I have book marked the cheese making section to try one day.

13. The Blue Ducks Real Food by Mark Labrooy & Darren Robertson
My Irishman gave me a copy of the Blue Duck’s latest book for my birthday and I’ve loved everything I’ve made from it so far. The focus on real food is really refreshing. And I love that there’s a section devoted to fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.

Looking for a delicious Christmas gift?

Since we’re talking cookbooks, I couldn’t not mention my own print book, 5 Ingredients 10 Minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve spoken about it but when I was in London in June I had coffee with my publisher and was very excited to learn that they had recently done a second print run!

And to give you an extra incentive to grab a copy (or a few), I’ve brought back the bonus Online Cooking Classes to accompany the book.

For more details go to:
www.5ingredients10minutes.com/bonus510/

NOTE: Bonues end 23rd December 2015.
_____

Heidi's Red Lentil Hummus

Heidi’s Red Lentil Hummus

As much as I love playing around with different versions of hummus, AND as much as I adore red lentils, I can’t believe I hadn’t ever thought to put the two together. As soon as I read Heidi’s recipe I was itching to try it. While similar to hummus made from chickpeas, there’s a subtle difference in flavour. But the best part is it only takes a few minutes to cook the lentils unlike chickpeas which need soaking and long simmering. I might even go as far as to say this is my new go-to hummus recipe.

makes: about 3 cups
takes: 25 minutes
250g (9oz) red lentils
2/3 cup tahini
3-4 tablespoons lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed

1. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add lentils and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until just tender. Drain really well and allow to cool.

2. Whizz lentils, tahini, lemon and garlic in a food processor until really smooth. Give it a good 5 minutes.

3. Taste and season generously with salt. Heidi calls for xx teaspoons. If the hummus is too thick add a little water, whey or extra lemon. If too runny (like mine was) add more tahini. Whizz and taste again and adjust as needed until you’re happy.

4. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil anywhere you’d normally serve chickpea hummus.

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Variations

no tahini – the purists won’t like it but cashew or almond butter works fine instead.

milder – skip the garlic.

other legumes – use xx cups cooked chickpeas, white beans or other lentils.

paleo – replace lentils with cooked root veg. Roast sweet potato is especially delish. No need to simmer of course.

Big love,
Jules x

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ps. And a BIG thanks for all the lovely comments and messages about my gestational diabetes diagnosis last week.

I really appreciate your kind thoughts. And the good news is, I’m actually finding it fascinating to be checking my blood sugar after every single meal. So enlightening to be putting my nutritional theories to the test on a day to day basis.

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