“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Produced in Kent

Well, this is going to be an interesting one. I am simultaneously writing and taste-testing food. I was at work today, and a foodie event took place that I had wanted to go to, but my Sis, Mum and step-dad Chris went in my stead, and brought me back a couple of lovely goodies.

The event in question was The 4th Taste the Best of Produced In Kent, which is a bit of a mouthful (no pun intended) which took place at Biddenden Vineyards. It was a charity event to raise funds for Kent Air Ambulance, a worthwhile and life-saving cause. Evidently there were quite a few exhibitors there, over 20 in fact. One exhibitor was Quex Foods whose main product is rapeseed oil and foods that are made using it. This is why I have in front of me now a bag of potato crisps, slightly salted, from Quex Foods, made using rapeseed oil. What is rapeseed oil? It is oil made from rapeseed (duh). Otherwise known as oilseed rape or brassica napus, it is a bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family). The name derives from the Latin for turnip, rāpum or rāpa, and is first recorded in English at the end of the 14th century. Another member of this plant family is canola (Canola actually stands for Canadian Oilseed, Low Acid). It grows in great big fields all over Kent, and when in full flower the views of the patchwork of bright yellow squares are spectacular.
Rape! Rape!
Evidently the nutritional properties of cold pressed rapeseed oil have been shown to help reduce high cholesterol which can cause heart disease, when included in a balanced diet. Its high burning point makes it ideal for roasting, stir-frying or sauteing.  There are benefits of using rapeseed oil instead of olive oil for cooking because of the antioxidant properties being maintained at a higher cooking temperature.  In stir-fries the oil heats well, without smoking, and lends a pleasant background note.Cold pressed rapeseed oil contains a natural balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 oils, making it a good source for these essential fatty acids.  "Good oils" are essential in bodily functions, including aiding cholesterol reduction and maintaining a healthy heart.
 Cold pressed rapeseed oil contains natural Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant.  This is used by the body to fight against the effects of free radicals (ageing toxins), keeping us fresh and full of energy.

Well, enough of the blurb. What do these potato crisps (that's chips for you all across the pond) taste like?
Here goes...

 Hmm. Quite delicious. Not exactly different, but well-made chips, slightly thicker than your average mass-produced ones, very crunchy with a lovely nutty flavour and not too much salt. Reminiscent of Tim's Cascade Chips or Zapp's. But even if they don't taste really different, that's not the point, is it? The point is that they are at least a little bit healthier.

 Next in my goody bag is a sweet treat from Head In The Clouds, who make meringues in a bewildering array of flavours, including such out-there tastes as Cumin, White Rum & Coconut, Whisky & Marmalade, Cardamom & Orange Blossom and Lavender. The one I have here is Cinnamon & Hazelnut. They're made in Kent using only free range egg whites, Fair Trade sugar and whatever flavouring is required. They do all kinds of speciality and seasonal ones, too. Alright, I'm opening the exquisitely wrapped package now...
Well, the cinnamon flavour is definitely there, it's noticeable without being overpowering or worse, too weak. When making a cinnamon/sugar product it is all too easy to let one flavour dominate the other, but this manages to be cinnamony and sugary without being sickly. The hazelnuts sprinkled on top manage to get themselves heard, too, and the inside of the meringue is still a bit soft and gooey which is lovely. Some meringues I've had have been way too sugary and dry as a bone all the way through, but this is delightful... (bite, chew) yummm, this gets better the further into it you get. I cannot wait to try some of their other flavours...
I can't believe I ate the whole thing!

See? None left. I do believe this dessert earns a whacking 5 yums out of 5!

À votre santé!

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