I have recently been rereading Elizabeth David’s books. ow she would have loved the abundance and generosity of Willow Creek Oils. Written mainly in the 50s and 60s of the last century her seminal books on European Cookery contain recipes which are heavily olive oil based. And this at a time when the UK was still under food rationing, which lasted for some 9 years after World War 2. And at a time when olive oil was kept in a little bottle in the medicine cabinet to pour into your ear when a moth flew in!
Those who followed her, Robert Carrier, Elisabeth Luard, Anna del Conte, Margaret Costa, Claudia Roden and others slowly adopted the more Mediterranean oil based cuisines rather than the goose fat and butter of more northerly European countries.
I grew up on my parent’s farm which had a 50-hectare olive oil orchard. My father used to sell the olives to a family in Paarl which had an olive preserving business and we received some oil as a gift each year. In our house olive oil had moved from the medicine cupboard into the kitchen cupboard.
At home, we eat salad every day. I used to make it in a jam jar, then discovered a ‘squeezy’ bottle from our restaurant days in a cupboard and hauled it out to do service again in our kitchen.
I am particularly fond of the delicate and fruity Willow Creek Nuy Valley Extra virgin Olive Oil, it acts as a perfect platform any other flavours.
As you can see from the photograph above, I took a marker pen and made the marks for the vinegar and olive oil levels.
The perfect Salad Dressing
What you’ll need
80ml Willow Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Balsamic Vinegar
you can use lemon juice, wine vinegar, rice or apple cider vinegar
320ml Willow Creek Nuy Valley Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon Mustard
you can use one teaspoon each of Dijon and Wholegrain Mustard
1 heaped teaspoon aromatic honey – fynbos, wild flower, eucalyptus
you can use Agave syrup, Moskonfyt or pomegranate syrup
Sea Salt flakes to taste
About 20 turns from a black pepper mill
What you’ll do
Starting with the vinegar, follow with the olive oil. If you don’t have a ‘squeezy’ bottle, which you can buy at supermarkets, you can use a glass jar. Add the remaining ingredients, close the container and shake well. Taste for seasoning, reseason if necessary.
We don’t keep the bottle in the fridge, as it tends to get a bit thick. It will settle out, so you need to give it a good shake each time you use it.
For delicate salads, use a white vinegar as suggested. You can also use Xylitol as an alternative sweetener. While I have no connection to the company, I always use Maille Mustards. If you use English Mustard be careful with the heat.
I also use the infused Willow Creek Olive Oils as seasoning. You can replace some of the olive oil, about 3Tbs or so with the Willow Creek lemon, garlic or jalapeño oils which will add interest to your flavours.
Read more about Willow Creek Olive Oil of Origin – CLICK HERE