How to make the best ingredients in your own kitchen: infused oil, ‘canned’ tomatoes.

…..continued from previous post

Flavoured oil: Indian spice infused olive oil You get a lot of flavoured oils, and I love them but they are so bloody expensive! And I’ve never seen spiced oil other than chili or pepper oils. And who me one person who doesn’t love Indian flavours, right? And this is the oil I’d like to buy. But I can’t and quite honestly I’d rather do it myself.

What do you need?

  • 750 ml of oilve oil

  • 5 bay leaves

  • 8 curry leaves

  • 3 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 tsp of cardamom

  • 4 star anise

  • 1/2 tsp of cloves

  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp of whole black peppercorns

  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds

  • 1/2 tsp of black mustard seeds

  • 1/2 tsp of yellow mustard seeds

  • 3 tsp of chili flakes.


imageIn a hot pot at high heat, add all the spices. Let them roast dry for 10 minutes, to release all the natural oils that’ll flavour our oil. After 10 minutes add 750 ml of extra virgin olive oil or whatever oil you’d like to flavour. Decrease the heat to level 4 on an electric stove, for the oil to simmer and slowly infuse in the spices( simmering means low enough heat not to bubble but still hot, so it’s about the balance) Let this infuse for at least 2 hrs. Then off the heat, cool, sieve the spices and pour back into the bottle. Now you’ve transformed your oil to add spicy delicious Indian flavours to an meal.

Next is the canned tomatoes.

How many times have you bought canned tomatoes, especially to cook Italian food. I do understand how we rationalise it as home cooks, even chefs. Because the recipe says Italian canned tomatoes or Spanish. But do you know we also grow Italian and fresh tomatoes in South Africa? You don’t need to buy processed with all kinds of preservatives and additives to keep it edible when it gets to your kitchen from Italy and Spain. Note: edible not fresh.

And how much of those even really come from those countries? Not a lot, most are packaged and processed in South Africa to serve to South Africans. Why put your body through that when you get the real deal? So I’m making peeled and ‘ canned’ for another day tomatoes using my home grown tomatoes. I’ve been forced to harvest before they’re properly ripe because they’re in my house’s outside parking lot and someone keeps pinching them.

I must say though, regardless of wanting a garden and not having space, I planted my tomatoes in the parking lot mosly because I didn’t have a lot of faith that’d amount to anything. To my surprise, they have done nothing but flourish with very limited care and watering. They’ve just done their own thing without me.


What do you need?

  • fresh tomatoes

  • red wine vinegar

  • olive oil

  • salt & pepper

So let’s begin. Boil the tomatoes in salted water. When the skin starts to peel, take off the stove and drain the excess water.

image imageimage imageThen peel the skin, this should now be easy.

Season the peeled tomatoes with pepper, then into the glass jar or container with a lid. After the tomatoes, add 25 ml of olive oil and mix.

Then 50ml of red wine vinegar, this will serve to preserve our tomatoes so they don’t go off like they would fresh normally. Mix all of this, close the lid and refrigerate.

You need to use this within 3-4 weeks. You can use this to make any of your tomato sauces Italian etc, check out my prior blog: 2 minute Italian tomato sauce.

And this opens another world of possibilities. You can also make a lot of French sauces with this, add it into a French curry: add into any of your curries for that tomato favour and some thickening, bolognaise, Tomato is really one of those ingredients you can do a lot of things with and not have a monotonous tone to your food. It picks up flavour very quickly, making it different everytime, but still adding the rich, earthiness into your dish. There’s something very comforting about tomatoes.

And they help you go healthier, very simple and very quick, but makes a huge difference in your flavor profiles.

Hope you try it and find it useful!

Author: preciousgarnett

I'm a multi-faceted young woman. I'm a proud mom to a now 8 year old 😜. I'm a daughter, I'm a sister and a friend to an amazing circle of powerful people ❤️ I'm a medical doctor, public health specialist currently in marketing I live food, from cooking to finding the best spots in town and in my travels for a good meal. Health, Fitness and Nutrition fanatic. I live by a few beliefs...: 1. Before I do anything whether related to food or not, I ask myself ' Is it worth the calories?' Whether literally or figuratively( i.e. Is the decision worth the stress, effort, investment) 2. What you put in must come out! If you don't let it out, it settles on your tummy and hips. 3. 'Everything happens for a reason'. I try reflect on situations I find myself in, whether by choice or not. And look for Lessons I'm meant to learn from them, in order to grow.

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