Flavoured Oils and Vinegars are easy to make and can be used for all sorts of flavour hits in the kitchen.

Use flavoured oils when browning or basting meat for stews or roasts. Toss over vegetables either after steaming or before roasting. Use them to sautee or drizzle over fish to add character. A few drops in a dressing or directly over leaves will give a different dimension to a salad.

Use flavoured vinegars in a salad dressing or a sauce to give an aromatic back note to dishes.

They also make great, inexpensive presents, given a little forward thinking, some pretty bottles and a bit of ribbon!

Click HERE for a downloadable pdf of the recipes below.

How to Make Your Own Flavoured Oils

Use a light flavoured oil here such as sunflower or rapeseed rather than your best cold pressed. You want the flavours of whatever you’re marinating to shine out, rather than be dominated by the original flavour of the oil. This is a good method for spices, chillis, garlic or herbs.

Chilli oil – use 6 or 8 red chillies, either dried or fresh, put into a jar with a teaspoon of black peppercorns or garlic. Pour over 500ml oil which has been warmed to just above blood heat. Cover, leave to infuse for 2 weeks, then strain and re bottle. Keep in a cool, dark place. Use within 6 months.

Spice oil – toast about 4 tablespoons of your favourite spices (cumin, coriander, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, fennel etc) crush them in a mortar & pestle, put into a jar and cover with 500ml oil, cover and leave to infuse for 22 weeks before straining and re bottling. Keep in a cool, dark place, use with 6 months.

Herb oil – loosely fill a jar with your chosen herbs, choose the stronger flavoured ones such as thyme, rosemary, tarragon, basil, sage, oregano. Pour over the oil to cover and leave for 2 weeks before straining, re bottling and storing in a cool, dark place. Use within 6 months.

How to make your own flavoured vinegar

Fruit Vinegar

Depending on how strong a flavour you would like, put between 50g and 225g fruit (raspberries, strawberries, black currants, brambles, chillis etc) in a large jar. Crush to release the juices and pour over 450ml white wine or cider vinegar. Cover and leave on a sunny window sill to infuse for about a week. Strain, pour into a sterilised bottle and store in a cool dark place. Use in salad dressings or sauces within a year.

Sweet Fruit Vinegar

These were originally made for their medicinal qualities, mainly to relieve coughs and colds. It can be drizzled neat over salads, cheese, pancakes or ice cream or a couple of tablespoonfuls diluted with soda or tonic water and served with ice.

Sweet raspberry vinegar is particularly delicious, the method below can also be used with strawberries, blackcurrants or brambles.

Take 1 Kg raspberries, crush them a bit and put into a non-metallic bowl with 600ml cider or wine vinegar. Stir, cover and leave to steep for a week, stirring every day.

Strain through a muslin or jelly bag overnight into a clean bowl and measure the juice the next day. For every 600ml juice, add 450g granulated sugar. Heat gently over a low heat to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil for 10 minutes, skimming any froth that rises.

Herb Vinegar

Use about 4 heaped tablespoons of dry, roughly chopped herb eg. tarragon, chives, mint, rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic. to 450ml wine or cider vinegar. Put the herbs in a jar, pour over the vinegar, cover and allow to sit for 2 – 3 weeks before straining into a sterile bottle and storing in a cool, dark place. Use withing a year.