Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Borderfields Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oils

I get excited when I see the produce I am growing in my allotment (half plot size) so try to imagine the sight of the 15 acre Innovation Garden on the Hammond Food Oils and Hammond Produce's trial garden!

I was taken to a marquee in the middle of this 15 acres thinking this was a sort of Great British Bake Off but with veggies! I was there to learn about their cold pressed rapeseed oil branded as Borderfields.
At their Innovation Gardens, a 15 acre site they grow vegetables on a small scale trial basis to see if they are the sort of plant they want to grow commercially.  We were shown around the rows of beautiful and colourful vegetables.

But we were really there to learn all about their range of cold pressed rapeseed oils.
Rapeseed oil can be used instead of any oil for any purpose such as frying, baking, stir frying except deep fat frying.  It has a high smoke point allowing its use with higher heats before it burns.  It has half the saturated fat than olive oils, is high in Omega 3 & 6 (vital for good health and brain function) and high in Vitamin E.

You can easily trade across and use cold pressed rapeseed oil instead of olive oil and trade up replacing vegetable or sunflower oils for cold pressed rapeseed oil.

Borderfields currently have 25% of the cold pressed rapeseed oil market but there is scope for a lot of growth in this area. They currently produce 1,500 bottles per hour and are enlarging their range of flavour infused oils which currently includes Chili, garlic, lemon, garlic and ginger (a stir fry's best friend!), basil and original, pure cold pressed rapeseed oil.
I have rainbow chard on my allotment but these were amazing and beautiful.  Chef Philippe Wavrin demonstrated three recipes each using the Borderfields cold pressed rapeseed oil.
This mayonnaise was so easy to make that I will definitely be giving it a try.  Note the beautiful golden colour that comes from the oil.  You can add fresh herbs, lemon zest or other subtle flavourings.
I tried a vegetable I had seen but never tried before called kohlrabi.  It is a relative of the turnip family and I naturally assummed it would be bitter. It is really mild with a slightly sweet taste and perfect to cut into thin match sticks and dress with the rapeseed oil mayo above.
The winds were howling and the skies were grey but between showers we got out into the fields to find out just exactly what was growing.
Even the weather couldn't keep us from the vegetable patch.
Wish my cabbages had grown so beautifully! I think the wind in the fields blew all the bugs away!
Phil the head gardener of this project picked samples and told us all about them before slicing thin strips for is to taste.  You cannot beat the taste of a radish just pulled from the soil!
The only rainbow wasn't in the sky but the different collections of vegetables and in ths case the beetroot.
Or the cauliflower collection!!
After our brisk walk around the rows of vegetables we went inside the marquee for a colourful, healthy and delicious lunch all based on the vegetables growing outside and using Borderfields cold pressed rapeseed oil.

Jaipur Slaw
Baked Beets with Pomegranate, Orange, Basil & Feta
Fennel Risotto with Ricotta & Dried Chilli
Lemon & Garlic Rainbow Chard
Mixed Cauliflower Rice
Even the serviettes had vegetable on them!
After a delicious and healthy lunch we had Purple Carrot Cheesecakes! There is not a child on this planet that could detect this was made with carrots!  It was really creamy, tasty and beautiful.
A cup of coffee, wellies off and we were ready to get our trains home.  Armed with some fresh veg and a range of the rapeseed oils we left planning to switch to a healthier oil!

I was a guest of Borderfields and Hammond Food Oils to visit their Innovation Garden outside Nottingham.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions and photos are my own.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Mexico City: Contemporary, Vibrant and Colourful City -Part 1

Rising from the ruins of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan – Mexico City has museums both contemporary and historic as well as world class restaurants and vibrant parks making it the colourful, vibrant, cultural and contemporary city that it is today.
When I arrived at the airport in Mexico City and I must admit that I was expecting a poor city with plenty of people on the street, poor housing and as the Minister of Culture said to us at breakfast on our last day, I expected to see men with donkeys hanging around wearing sombreros!

Breaking News!! Mexico City is nothing like I imagined!!

We arrived at 04:30 in the morning in the dark, waking up to a beautiful sunny day and fountains in the square opposite our first hotel.  Three hours sleep, quick shower, breakfast and the start of a full packed week getting to know the best of Mexico City!

Here is a quick roundup of our trip.  Many of the places will be followed up in detailed blog posts to come:-
The breakfast terrace at Casa de la Condesa hotel in Colonia Roma
My first Mexican breakfast, simple and plain but lovely and tasty!
Statue in the gardens of the Dolores Olmeda museum
One is a statue and the other four are live 'naked' dogs!
Beautiful tiled kitchen and crock in the kitchen at Dolores Olmeda museum
Frida Khalo's painting
Frida Khalo
Spices and chillis in a market we took a short cut through
Bronze statue in Coyocan Square
Sweetcorn street food, fresh, simple and delicious with a hint of chilli!
A bright and colourful trajinera at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Xochimilco
An alter in the Metropolitan Cathederal
Standing in front of one of the huge murals by Diego Rivera in The Old Mayor's Palace.
A quick trip out of the city, about 30 miles north east to the State of Mexico (Estado de Mexico) we arrived at the archaeological site of the Teotihuacan Pyramids, large stone pyramid shapes dating back to approx 300-600 AD in what was called The City of The Gods. 
We looked around a tequila museum, had a private Mariachi band play to us, discovered the Mercado de Carmelo as well as experienced some great restaurants and we were only half way through our visit.

Part two of my Mexico City round up will follow shortly. Keep your eyes out to find out what else we discovered.

I was the guest of The Mexico City Tourist Board

Friday, 28 August 2015

Noodle and Vegetable Stir Fry - Quick and Healthy Supper

You know the song 'It started with a Kiss' well our supper tonight started with a courgette!

It was going to be courgette and vegetable stir fry with noodles but ended up more like noodle and vegetable stir fry.

After meeting a fellow blogger in Soho I popped into a Chinese supermarket, bought some fresh bok choi, oyster sauce, ho fan noodles and egg noodles and a couple of lovely Chinese plates.
I alway prep all my vegetables first and try to cut them to similar size so that they can go into the wok in the right order and appropriate time so that everything is cooked to perfection. For this time I used the thinnest setting on my mandaline slicer.

Into the wok I added some cold pressed rapeseed oil I have from Borderfields oils. When this was very hot I added:-
One thinly sliced red onion
Two thinly sliced celery stalks
Three crushed garlic cloves
About 2" piece of peeled and grated ginger
One thinly sliced yellow pepper
One thinly sliced large courgette
Bottom of three small bok choi finely sliced
Lastly add the thinly sliced bok choi leaves

One small packet of ho fan noodles and one of egg noodles, rinsed in cold water and drained.
4 tablespoons of oyster sauce (bought in the Chinese supermarket).

Fry in the oil, stirring frequently.
When the vegetables are nearly cooked add the noodles and continue to stir until they are hot and taking some of the colour of the stir fry.  Add the oyster sauce and heat through.

Place in a pile on a pretty plate and serve!  Enjoy.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Literary Corner - Summer 2015 Book Reviews

Here are some of the books I have been sent recently for review:-

Daily Greens 4-Day Cleanse by Shauna Martin

I have become very aware lately how important it is to consume your fruit and vegetables in juice or smoothie form each day to give you body that boost of much needed nutrients.  This book will give you a great 'spring clean' without having to give up your favourite healthy food. 
The juices are naturally vegan, naturally gluten-free, dairy and soy free and taste fantastic.  The recipes are selected to coincide with seasonal produce. Most of the recipes, the core recipes, are green but they all taste clean and refreshing.
The book is published by Race Point Publishing an imprint of the Quarto Publishing Group

Easy Indian Cookbook by Manju Malhi
I recently met Manju Malhi and her enthusiasm for simple, easy recipes for the reader to be able to create at home was overwhelming in a good way!

The dishes are simple, the text easy to read and the photos area clear and invite you to make the dish and taste it.
Manju has written two other cookbooks and has appeared on several television cookery shows. The book is published by Duncan Baird Publishers

The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Amy Riolo
They say the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest on the planet.  This book will give you some science behind the diet, a way to integrate this eating culture into your lifestyle and still enjoy all of the good, fresh food available just about everywhere now.
The photographs are bright like they were taken in the full Mediterranean sunshine and the recipes in chapters such as Plant-based foods, Fish & Seafood as well as Dairy & Poultry
This book is published by Fair Winds Press, a member of the Quarto Publishing Group

I was sent a copy of all of the books to review. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Mexico City: The Naked Dogs

While we were visiting the home of Dolores Olmedo (see more of this visit in a forthcoming post) in Mexico City recently our guide pointed out a stature of a local breed of dog known locally as the 'naked dog' called Xoloitzcuintle or Xolo for short. The weird thing was that around the statue were 5 or 6 real hairless dogs just sitting motionless by the statue!  We initially thought that they were all statues until a couple of them moved!
They had a sort of cuteness about them and soon we were all saying how we would like to take one home!
The Mexican hairless dog has been known in Mexico for around 3,000 years, sometimes living as hunting companions and other times being used for food!  They have appeared in art and artifacts since the Aztec civilisations.
We saw a couple of these dogs in the street with their owners, being kept as pets - they are really friendly and kind of cute!
I visited Mexico City as a guest of The Mexico City Tourist Board. I was not required to write a positive review and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.