Monday, 28 May 2012

Product Review : Duchess Oil (Natural Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil)

Duchess Oil (Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil)

From Brigitte’s perspective

Danielle and I had the pleasure of going to Foxholes Farm Shop in Hertford on Saturday morning to take part in a tasting of Duchess Oil , natural extra virgin rapeseed oil.  We had never tried it before and were keen to see if it would be a good alternative to olive oil.  The idea being that we would rather purchase products that are grown and produced locally.  We were greeted by the farmer himself Oscar Harding, what a delightful man, surprisingly young for a farmer.  Oscar was enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about his product (which he should be ...).  We had a lovely chat and tasted the oil on its own on a small piece of bread, I was amazed and how pleasant it smelt, alluding to a faintly cabbage smell, which comes with being a member of the brassica family.  Rapeseed is not one of those oils that has not had all the aroma and flavour refined out of it like sunflower oil and nor is it peppery or fruity like olive oil.  However Duchess Oil has a lovely aroma and reminds me of corn on the cob.  He also had a mayonnaise (see recipe below) which was lovely and creamy and not overpowering as it can be if you use olive oil, and there was a lovely rapeseeddressing (recipe below) as well.  We bought a 500ml bottle for £4.95 and took it home to try out.  Danielle made us a lovely pasta salad for lunch and drizzled the oil over as a dressing.   It took the salad to another level.  If I had covered the salad with olive oil it would have been overpowered and you would not have been able to appreciate the other ingredients in the salad.  Rapeseed oil not only enhances the other flavours, it is as I have been reading much better for your health. 

Duchess Oil is a cold-pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil that is grown, harvested, pressed and bottled on Oscar Harding’s farm in Hertfordshire.  Duchess Oil is packed full of Omega 3 and Vitamin E, and contains half the saturated fat of olive oil.

From Danielle’s perspective

Duchess Rapeseed oil is delicious. It has a lovely taste and really makes wonderful mayo! (What  helped was that the farmer was very adorable!) I think I am a convert from olive oil as this has so much more positives. It goes to a higher temp, nice taste, much healthier and is not a crazy price. (So yeah I hope my parents buy it more often.) I prefer the colour of this oil compared to the rapeseed oil you see in Tesco (which in my opinion just looks like normal sunflower seed oil).  As said by my Mum when I made the pasta salad and you drizzled the rapeseed oil over it, it really enhanced the flavour and didn’t add to many calories like olive oil would do!

Cost comparison between other suppliers for 500ml:

Duchess Oil        
Yellow Fields
Bather Harvest Rapeseed Oils
Border Fields    

Link to Duchess Oil:

About Rapeseed Oil

Those bright yellow fields that colour the countryside in the spring are the source of seed that gives us the oil.  Planted in the late summer, the rapeseed crop, a relative of cabbages and cauliflowers, overwinters and grows rapidly in the spring and may reach 1.8 metres high.  It sets its tiny black seed in pods after flowering and ripens ready for harvest in late July or early August.  It can be harvested like cereal crops with a combine harvester and then dried and stored.  The seed contains over 40% oil but the cold pressing which retains the goodness of the natural oil can only extract a proportion of this.  The name is derived from the Old English term for turnip rapum.

Cold pressed means that the composition of the oil isn’t altered by heating.  It isn’t the most efficient process but this oil isn’t about efficiency, it’s about taste and purity.

The seed husk that is left over is called cake and this is mixed with other cereals into a sage and nutritious animal feed or some people use it in their solid fuel burners, since it is a very low carbon renewable fuel.

Compared to olive oil it has half of the saturat4ed fat and a much higher natural omega 3 content, Many people are drawn to rapeseed oil by its subtle, nutty taste, but first-timers with particularly sensitive noses might well recoil from some varieties. Yet there really is more to rapeseed oil than patriotism.  Unlike olive oil, which can turn toxic when overheated, rapeseed oil has a high flashpoint.  It will not overwhelm a mayonnaise as olive oil can.  The cold-pressed variety that makes such a delicate dressing will not burn or transmute when used to fry or roast.   It makes wonderful golden roast potatoes and sauté potatoes.   It can even be used in baking as a butter substitute.   The oil has considerable health benefits, with half the saturated fat of olive oil and lots of omegas. Although rapeseed oil still represents only a small part of the market, I predict it will soon be used by far more consumers as an alternative to olive oil and at the same time will help boost our GDP.  Britain could literally be sitting on a harvest with the potential of Tuscan olive groves.

So could rapeseed oil challenge olive oil as our healthy fat of choice?

 Good Fat Bad Fat

·         Cold pressed rapeseed oil contains half the saturated fat of olive oil.
·         Cold pressed rapeseed oil is high in unsaturated fat.
·         There are no trans-fats in cold pressed rapeseed oil.

What about Omega 3?

You are probably as confused about omega 3 as the rest of us, have a look at this link to find out more about omega 3.

Cold pressed rapeseed oil is especially high in omega 3.  In fact rapeseed oil contains ten times more omega 3 then olive oil.  Cold pressed rapeseed oil also contains natural vitamin E, this is an antioxidant which works to keep the oil fresh.
Cold pressing

You just squeeze the seed and out comes the pure oil, fully intact with all the natural nutrients, colour and delicious flavour.  Unlike industrial oil extraction they do not pre-heat the seeds, nor do they use any chemicals, this would yield more oil but would seriously lower the quality.

Rapeseed Oil compared to Olive Oil


Nutritional Value 
per 100 g
Saturated Fat
of which

Omega 3

of which

Omega 3 SDA Stereadonic Acid
of which

Omega 6

of which
Omega 6 GLA
Gamma Linoleic Acid
Omega 6 / Omega 3 Ratio

(Ideally between 2:1 and 4:1)
Olive Oil
10.7 : 1
Rapeseed Oil
2.1 : 1


2 Medium egg yolks
1 Table spoon of dijon mustard
300 ml of Duchess Rapeseed oil
1 Good squeeze of fresh lemon juice

  • Put the egg yolks into a large bowl
  • Add a tablespoon of dijon mustard along with a little seasoning
  • Whisk well until completely smooth
  • Gradually add the Duchess oil in a steady fashion whilst whisking
  • Once you have a relatively thick and smooth mayonnaise add the lemon juice and briefly whisk again
  • It will keep in the fridge for 3 - 4 days


Balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Creamy honey
Duchess Rapeseed Oil

  • 1 tsp of Duchess oil
  • 1 tsp of Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of creamy honey
  • 1 good pinch of salt & pepper
  • Then give it a good mix
  • (measurements per serving)
  • Add water to control intensity if needed

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Review: Loch Fyne (Hertford, Hertfordshire)

Loch Fyne

 (Hertford, Hertfordshire)

Star Rating:  Food : 4 Stars  Service : 4.5 Stars

Hygiene Rating: 5

From Brigitte’s perspective

David had taken the day off work and Danielle had just written her GCSE English Literature exam that morning.  So we decided it was time to try Loch Fyne in Fore Street, Hertford, as since it’s opening in 2009 we had not gone there yet.  We were running late and only got there just after 2pm, delighted that they were still serving food.  The Hungarian waiter made us feel right at home and let us choose where we wanted to sit.  The decor is clean, fresh and welcoming.  I like the fact that the kitchen is open plan for you to see and they display their fish.  Our drinks orders were taken promptly and we were shown the specials board and had it explained to us (as the handwriting was a bit hard to read).  The waiter offered advice on what we would perhaps like and there were even a few selections of non fishy food (especially for me, as I still need some convincing to turn to the fishy side).

David ordered the Whole Grilled South Coast Plaice at £13.45, I had the Scottish Aberdeen Angus Char-grilled burger at £10.95 and Danielle had the Shell Fish Platter for one at £18.50 (trust the teenager to choose the most expensive item on the menu) and we ordered one Cranachan dessert to share .   We also made use of their online offer of a £15 off voucher if you spend more than £50 and this along with the drinks brought our bill to £55.90.  Although they are a bit pricey, the atmosphere, service and food make it worthwhile. 

David thoroughly enjoyed his plaice and it was served with boiled new potatoes.  He said it was one of the best he had ever eaten.

Even though they are a fish restaurant, I was served one of the yummiest burgers ever.  I would definitely recommend it, the patty was lovely and meaty and it had a thick slice of proper cheese (not processed rubbish). 

We decided to only order one dessert as we were already full up from all the lovely food.  So we went for something traditionally Scottish, the Cranachan with whiskey.    Needles to say we fought over every mouthful, so Danielle found a recipe and we stopped and bought the ingredients so she could make it for our afters at dinner time.  She did a top job and it tasted as good if not a bit better than the one at Loch Fyne.

From Danielle’s perspective

From the minute I walked through the doors the atmosphere felt very pleasant, the place didn’t stink of rotting fish at all. I loved the fact that they had a selection of the fresh fish open to see, and from my perspective it all looked amazing. I felt like having a sample of many different types of seafood, so I ordered the platter (even though it was rather pricey). When it arrived I was shocked at the size and variety of seafood and it all looked absolutely wonderful (if you don’t like fishy items, well it would look terrifying...). There was such an assortment that I honestly didn’t know where to start! Somehow I managed to eat the whole thing (of course with a little help from my dad, who also loves seafood). All the seafood was very fresh and extremely tasty! I would love to go back to The Loch Fyne in the very, very near future, the only down side being the price as it was a tad on the pricey side.

Overall Experience

We all loved it, and left in a good mood.   To top it off they gave us a voucher for a free bottle of house wine for our next visit.   I would definitely recommend Loch Fyne and will be making a swift return to them in the near future.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Review: Temple Bar & Restaurant (Ware, Hertfordshire)

Temple Bar & Restaurant  (Ware, Hertfordshire)

Star Rating:  Food : 4 Stars  Service : 4 Stars

Indian Fusion; The Temple Bar & Restaurant offers diners a unique culinary experience.  Their extensive menu features an exciting selection of classic fusion dishes from India, Bangladesh and Nepal.  They offer a fresh contemporary look with rich vibrant colours and a stylish interior to match.

After my husband had been there on numerous occasions with a group of lads for their random curry nights, he and our neighbour suggested that we, their wives, should go one Friday night.  From the moment we walked in we were welcomed by the friendly staff and made to feel at home.  The decor is lovely and clean, just newly decorated, lovely large bar area, relaxed atmosphere.

offered drinks and poppadoms .    The staff were attentive, not once making you feel rushed and provided plenty of advice on the menu.  I ordered the Chicken Korma, which I must say was one of the best Korma’s I have ever eaten.  My husband had the Chicken Tandoori and enjoyed every mouth full. At the end of the meal, for four of us with wine and beer the bill came to just under £100.

I have no hesitation of recommending Temple Bar & Restaurant and it is up there in my top five Indian Restaurants.

Temple Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Rating Guide

5 Stars - Perfect
4.5 Stars - Exceptional
4 Stars - Excellent
3.5 Stars - Very good
3 Stars - Good
2.5 Stars - Average
2 Stars - Bad
1.5 Stars - Very bad
1 Star - Dire

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The first of many posts

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to our blog.  You will find all sorts of foodie news  as well as restaurant reviews.  We have also added a directory page and will start to list various restaurants by location with basic contact information.  Should you as a restaurant wish to have a link to your website and perhaps a photo we will charge £5 per annum.  Once we start to add our reviews and star ratings they will also be linked to the restaurants.  We will be rating on both service and food.

Rating Guide

5 Stars - Perfect
4.5 Stars - Exceptional
4 Stars - Excellent
3.5 Stars - Very good
3 Stars - Good
2.5 Stars - Average
2 Stars - Bad
1.5 Stars - Very bad
1 Star - Dire

Keep an eye open for our first review coming up this week.