15 April 2007

Mandarin Orange Infused Olive Oil

I have no idea when it really started, but I find myself receiving random sms-es from friends and family once in a while asking for recommendations to restaurants and cafes given a particular context. This could be for a special date, an anniversary dinner, a casual gathering, a girly catch up, a formal business lunch or simply for the sudden need to pamper oneself. I guess that's what I get for making it so obvious that I have this (unhealthy) obsession with the preparation and enjoyment of food. Of course, I try my very best to help in whatever way I can with whatever limited knowledge and experience, but when I can't offer something suitable, is when I feel terribly bad.

An extremely positive spin off though, is that friends almost always know exactly what makes me happy. April had just returned to Singapore for a short 3 week break (making Gabe an extremely happy man) and had gone on a tour of Europe before flying home. On one of her stopovers, she picked up a gorgeous metal tin of Mandarin Orange Infused Olive Oil that has the beautiful aroma and taste of Mandarin Oranges, from O&Co. I find their packaging novel and ergonomic with its easy-pour pop up spout.

Incidentally, they had a shop in London that I chanced upon, just around Spitalfields Market. When I was last there (which is such a long time ago), I had purchased some white truffle oil that though pricey, is better than some other brands of truffle oil that I have since tried. I regretted not getting more, or other types of oil that they stocked. So when April presented me with the O&Co paper bag, I couldn't be happier! Actually I did feel even happier when I saw that it was exotically infused with Mandarin Oranges, indulging my perpetual craving for unusual flavours.

For a little 'snack' this weekend, I decided to try it out by adulterating the typical Aglio Olio. Suffice to say, I went back into the kitchen to make another serving promptly after finishing my first. I don't think that tin of oil will last very long in my kitchen.

Typically I would have chosen linguine for this, but I desperately wanted to try out my not-so-recently purchased Yellow Label Sgambaro Mille Righe pasta, made purely out of durum wheat and using bronze dies. I was trying to kill time when I walked into a wine shop. Yet the thing that caught my eye was a crate of dried pasta right in the front of the store. The brand was totally foreign to me, but the pastas' slightly rough quality appealed to me. I was out of the shop with two packets in hand, and eager to try these out.

So fast forward a few months (!!) and here I am. They softened under the generously salted boiling water into floppy short, large tubes. They also did a great job in letting the oil stick to it. So even as I took my time taking a photo of it, they did not dry out and stick to each other. This was a problem I encountered before and always thought it was just a problem with the sauce I had made. This revelation is a helpful boost to my confidence in preparing pasta. Now my only difficulty would be finding the wine shop that I had so randomly wandered into, and hope that they would still have stocked up on these.


Little Nutbrown Hare said...

Oh I didn't know that there is an O&co store in London, will check it out, thanks!

Anonymous said...

No problem, its a beautiful shop along the row of shops flanking the path from the tube station to Spitalfields market. Hope you'll find it easily and get something from there! Request to try the truffle oil if you'd like since they (understandably) don't pour out any for sampling.

aPril said...

hey daffy! glad you enjoyed the mandarin olive oil, so sorry we couldn't come for dinner yest, gabe had to take out one of his wisdom tooth in the end so he couldn't eat much :P will meet up the next time i'm back (july) ya! :)