Tonight's challenge was to use the final foodie spoil from this weekends Cornucopia, Pumpkin Oil. I knew that there would be a pumpkin oil vendor at the event from the pre-show media but I wasn't ready for how good it is. I was expecting something on the lines of Rape Seed Oil.
We all know rape seed oil is sustainable, good for you and locally produced. But it is pricey and it doesn't really taste as inspiring as such an expensive product should. I was right on a few of these points. Pumpkin oil is sustainable, although it is imported from Slovenia, so if you're on a local food diet it's not for you. It is good for you, high in those important Omega oils that we don't eat enough of. It is pricey. £4.50 for 100ml is more than I would normally pay for any oil. Yet I still bought a bottle and it was well worth the cash.
I bought a bottle due to the incredible nutty favour. If you have ever put roasted pumpkin seeds into a salad then you will have tasted something similar, but nowhere near as intense. It is almost like liquid toast with peanut butter. Forget the fact that it manages to be both red and green at the same time, that's just witchcraft.
When trying a new ingredient it's often easiest to use it in something that you can cook with your eyes closed, for me that means risotto. I tried to keep the flavour of the risotto simple. I used a light vegetable stock, an onion and half a small butternut squash so that the sweetness of the pumpkin was through the dish. I used the oil as a dressing along with some pumpkin seeds. I am not exaggerating when I say a little goes a long way. The nutty flavour really shone and the risotto was the best I had cooked for a long time.