Cooking with Essential Oils

Articles, Food | 20th May 2016 | By

Essential oils are precious and concentrated, extracted from known medicinal flowers and herbs. The result? Aromatic, potent drops of joy, which can be used in your beauty regimes, and your cooking too.

They offer a wealth of healing benefits and are recognised by the most discerning of critics (my sister included) as a unique way of perfuming and enhancing your most prized dishes.

Though essential oils are not just for top chefs; they also feature in every savvy woman’s home kitchen cupboard, for their beautifying properties and therapeutic powers, which can calm the system and create a sense of wellbeing. I cant rate them more highly. Adding them to your dishes creates original recipes with added medicinal qualities. Ready to get this show on the road? Good, so am I.

So what’s in it for my health?
As stimulants of the immune defences with antimicrobial, anti-parasitic and antiviral effects, essential oils have serious therapeutic powers. Ginger for example, a powerful anti-inflammatory, packs a youth boosting punch. It’s widely accepted that chronic inflammation is major cause of aging. Ginger lends a fresh yet warming taste to foods, enjoy with your seaweed salad for a warming, Asian inspired dressing. A drop or two added to a hot drink with honey is as an excellent decongestant, punching out that grimy cold. Lavender, thyme, and rosemary are known for their antiseptic properties, and basil and bergamot are both fantastic digestive aids. The next time you’re having trouble dropping off, try a drop or two of neroli, a natural sedative, in your bed-time drink. Essential oils perfume and intensify the flavour of foods, lending a lighter hand to seasoning with salt, butters and creams. This can go a long way helping you to continue looking the best version of yourself!

How do I use them, which food combinations work best?
There are no set rules cooking with essential oils; the trick is to get creative! I would recommend diluting them in a neutral cold-pressed oil, such as olive or rapeseed, which you can easily mix at home. Remember essential oils are by nature very concentrated! 1-2 drops too many and your dish will be ready for la poubelle (that’s a nice French sounding word for what is essentially the bin.) A kitchen pipette is a wise culinary investment if you’re starting out. In terms of amount, 1-2 drops per 4-5 servings and you should be on the right track. Below are some partnership suggestions for you to experiment with chez toi. Happy cooking! You’re welcome.

Peppermint: Chocolate mouse, vinaigrettes for salad or peas, courgettes.
Bergamot: Glazed fruit cakes, shortbread biscuits, pear or apricot jams.
Lemon: Yoghurt, tagines, vinaigrettes, rice pudding, cakes.
Geranium: summer berry smoothie, rice pudding.
Thyme: Ratatouille, gazpacho, fish en papillotte.
Lavender: Vanilla infused dishes, strawberry salad, berry-jelly.
Basil: Pasta Salad, tomato sauces, stir-fried chicken.
Cinnamon: Oven baked apples/ plums, pear jam.
Sage: Pasta, white meats, boiled eggs, fish.

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