Wash your hands well & make sure all ingredients & work surfaces are as clean as they can be! ..get a grown up to help whenever you are working in the kitchen.
My dad often springs surprises on me when I come back from school, or if the weather is bad, for us to do & make "stuff"
This time he said that as I make the best pork crackling on a pork roast, (see other "made by me's" in the site search box) we ought to make flavoured oil to get more flavour & enjoyment out of food we love.
It couldn't be easier & only takes a few minutes, plus a little time in the cupboard before you use it first time.
Dad saves balsamic vinegar bottles with a crafty eye to re-using & recycling some, so he had previously washed & sterilised (in the oven after baking some bread) the bottles we were about to use.
When they were cool we simply looked at what was around, ..some fresh rosemary from a 10p herb plant, cut gently with scissors, rinsed it under tap water & gently dried it by shaking off the excess water & patting it dry with kitchen paper & popped into one of the bottles, then filled with olive oil & the cap replaced or use a cork stopper to seal it before placing it back on the shelf to "infuse" ..meaning allowing the ingredients to combine & share their flavours.
We did the same with some wine vinegar, just because we had some...
Then we peeled & crushed some of dads smoked garlic (any real garlic cloves will do) & again popped it in with another top up of olive oil.
NOTE: you will probably use fresh bulb garlic which needs to be peeled then cleaned thoroughly , & dried properly, failing to clean foodstuffs could make you sick, our smoked garlic is safer because smoke kills bacteria, another reason to use properly sterilised jars is to limit the amount of bacteria getting into ANY food, don't ever take chances, do it properly, because anything that has been grown in soil for instance has lots of microbes present, especially vegetables like garlic, Clean & dry properly, overnight if necessary! ...safety first!
TIP you don't need the most expensive olive oil in a shop when you make flavoured oils, this is because we want the flavour of the added ingredient (the rosemary OR the garlic) to be the biggest flavour in the bottle.
Rosemary, when stuffed into the bottle takes a minimum of 14 days to start to change the flavour of the olive oil, but leaving it longer means MORE flavour....
The crushed garlic (or thinly sliced if you dont have a garlic crusher, will only take a few days to really start tasting garlicy, but again the longer you leave it (shake the bottles to mix it up) the more rich in flavour the olive oil becomes.
You can do this with whole or halved chilli's if you see them cheap on a late night supermarket hunt, & it's a great way of using up food that might otherwise go in the bin. ..especially good for parents & carers who like their pizza or pasta with a bit of heat!
Because we cook alot we will have several litres of olive oil in our cupboard, which isn't typical, so we have also found this handy link which compares some popular olive oils & their prices ...we like finding a bargain & have used a few of the brands, but common sense says if you are going to change the flavour of olive oil as much as we do, buy the cheapest, ..that was Lidl (a German company with supermarkets over here) See the results HERE
SO if you wanted to make some small bottles to try out or as a present for someone (because if bought from a shop flavoured oils can be REALLY expensive) ..then Lidls £1.99 for 750ml could make you three small bottles or several larger ones.
Flavoured olive oil can really help with the end result of your food (or whilst cooking) ,try to keep it in a dark cupboard afterwards, & no you don't have to remove the rosemary sprigs or other flavouring ingredients, though you can remove the sprigs if you like, but they simply keep adding extra flavour the longer they sit, we pour straight from the bottle, but you could strain it through into smaller & prettier looking bottles if you need to.
Total time making this!? 10 minutes ...easy!
No special storage required, back of the cupboard.
use sparingly on meats prior to roasting, or as a drizzle for pizza toppings.
Be adventurous, be a food explorer & try it on new potatoes to be roasted off in the oven.
A really handy cooking ingredient to have around.
Because "Cubs CAN cook"
Our costs for this were.
£0.10p for the "reduced price" fresh rosemary plant (still growing) using 2-3 sprigs per large 750ml bottle.
£0.00p our bottles were recycled, (dark bottles are better for storing), so even a clean & sterilised beer bottle could be used with a cork that fits.
£0.40p for a garlic bulb from which we used 3 clove portions for a full large bottle of olive oil. ..the rest was used for cooking.
£1.99 for 750 ml of Lidl Olive oil (that's a lot of olive oil) which you could use for 3 smaller 250ml bottles of different flavoured olive oil.
Make as much or as little as you want but fill each of your bottles so there is minimal air at the top, enough space to shake & "infuse" your ingredients occasionally.
plenty of herbs can be used in the same way to produce different flavoured cooking oils which work well at home or on the bbq, or at camp, so give it a go! ..it doesn't get simpler than this.