Gone are the days where you cook in lard and lard only, though try telling my Gran that, she bulk buys the stuff, convinced the shops are still going to run out ‘at any given minute’. Nowadays there are a large choice of oils you can use for cooking, the most common being olive oil and sunflower oil, both really good for everyday recipes and salad dressings.
However, there is a new kid on the block (I say new, but what I mean is, people have been using it for centuries in India and Asia). Coconut oil is currently growing in popularity due to its health benefits and versatility.
There has been debate over coconut oil in the past as it is a saturated fat, however, not all saturated fat is the same and sometimes the old adage ‘everything in moderation’ is appropriate for something that has other health benefits, which coconut oil does.
For the record, most detrimental reviews of coconut oil come from tests done to partially dehydrated coconut oil which increases trans fats, virgin coconut oil is a different story, it maintains all the health benefits of the oil such as essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
So what about cooking with the stuff? Well let me tell you, cooking with coconut oil is just heavenly and if you are a vegan, this really is the way forward for baking without butter.
The taste of coconut oil in scones, pies and even cakes is delicious. It’s kind of nutty, kind of vanilla like, as rich as butter but no bitterness. Coconut oil is also solid at room temperature so is perfect for creating flaky pastry – did I just see all our vegan readers swoon?
We’ve converted to coconut oil, though we still use a good virgin olive oil for salad dressings, but virgin coconut oil for everything else is our new must have. You can try coconut oil now from amazon.co.uk, it’s the brand we use and I can vouch for its really smooth taste and texture.