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Chilli Calamari & Spicy Spanish Bean Stew

The rise of the rapeseed…

The last couple of weeks have been somewhat hectic, but exciting to say the least – hence the lack of blogging!  Now in my new role at Fussels Fine Foods, I am travelling the country on a weekly basis, selling to, and educating, festival goers the wonders of rapeseed.

Now that my life regularly evolves around all things rapeseed, it is difficult not to incorporate into my everyday cooking – thats when I have five minutes to throw something together.  The good thing is, rapeseed oil lends itself to fast-paced cooking, perfect for stir frying and as a flavour enhancer for sometimes mundane meals.

I will spare you the sales patter (this is not my style), but rather gently introduce you to the wonders of this fantastic oil.  Although, working for Fussels it could be argued I am incredibly bias, speaking as a cook, blogger and full-on foodie, I would sing its praises regardless.  As well as being an oil with one of the lowest levels of saturated fats, it potentially one of the most versatile oils I have come across.  With its subtle yet distinct nutty flavour, and earthy undertones, it is a fantastic oil to dress salads, stir into pasta or simply to dip bread.  But with its high burning point, and capability to deal with high temperatures, it has swiftly become my number one ‘go-to’ for all forms of cooking.

Capable of reaching very hot temperatures, rapeseed allows you to achieve fantastic results when a crispy finish is what you are looking for.  For a healthy alternative, rapeseed is perfect for cooking your roasted potatoes – fluffy in the middle and crispy and golden on the outside!  Also fantastic for shallow or deep frying, I found it fantastic for achieving the finest results when cooking crispy squid for my Chilli Calamari and Spicy Spanish Bean Stew recipe.

Additionally, I found it the perfect oil to brown off meat, allowing the meat to caramelise on the outside sealing in delicious flavour, rather than stewing in its own fat.  This helped to add incredible depth of flavour to my Curried Pork Goulash, especially with the extra kick from Fussels’ infused garlic variety.

There is arguably a place and purpose for other beautifully produced oils, such as classic olive and sesame – to add interest and vibrancy to all forms of cuisine and cooking styles – but on terms of versatility, rapeseed for me wins hands-down, and has quickly become my store cupboard staple.

Chilli Calamari & Spicy Spanish Bean Stew
  1. Chilli rapeseed oil
  2. 1 red onion
  3. 1 pepper
  4. 1 carrot
  5. 1 fresh tomato
  6. 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  7. 1 tin Kidney beans
  8. 1 tin cannellini beans
  9. 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  10. 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  11. Handful of spinach
  12. Prepared squid (around 100g per person)
  13. 1 tbsp plain flour
  14. Pinch of sea salt
  15. Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Finely chop the onion, pepper and carrot before placing in the pan. Lightly fry until soft before adding the tomatoes, beans, sweet chilli sauce and cayenne. Turn down the heat and allow to very lightly simmer whilst you prepare the squid.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry the squid. Place in a bowl along with the flour, salt and pepper before tossing to ensure the squid is fully coated. In a substantial pan, heat the chilli oil – this needs to be a depth of about 5-6cm. Test the oil is heated by dropping a small piece in the pan before carefully placing all the coated squid in the oil – be very careful of the hot oil!
  3. Cook the squid on high heat for 4-5minutes or until the coating appears crispy – be careful not to overcook the squid as it will turn rubbery.
  4. Remove squid from the oil using a slotted spoon, and place on kitchen roll to remove excess oil. Before serving, stir in a handful of fresh spinach into the bean stew and allow to wilt slightly. Serve whilst the squid is still hot and enjoy with a side of vegetables.
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