One of my stocking fillers this year was an empty glass bottle with the words ‘Home-infused Olive Oil’ on it. Right, better get to it then. I decided to use the classic combination of punchy raw garlic and fragrant rosemary. The scent of rosemary is evocative, for me, of childhood summers spent running around the garden, pulling up reams of herbs and flowers in a very destructive manner.
The herb pot outside the back door has been stripped of its overflowing summer bounty by the inclement weather. However, the woody rosemary clings stubbornly on, its tough stems bracing against the fierce winter wind. I plucked the reluctant leaves from the plant, gave them a wash and squeezed them to release their aroma.
This is only one possible ‘infusion’- I have also tried chilli oil, where one or two (depending on your spice threshold) dried chillis are added to the oil. You could also try another herb, such as basil, oregano or thyme. The oil is best if left for at least a day to let the flavours infuse. As it is used, keep topping up with more oil, giving it a good shake, and it might even last until next Christmas.
3 large garlic cloves
A handful of rosemary leaves, stalks removed
250ml extra-virgin olive oil
You will need some sort of receptacle to hold the oil in – any sort of glass bottle or jar will be fine.
Wash the rosemary and squeeze the excess water out. Peel and crush the garlic. Put both into your chosen receptacle, and pour enough olive oil over to fill to the top. Give the bottle good shake, and leave for at least 24 hours to infuse. Use like regular olive oil – to fry bacon, drizzle on bread etc.