Now’s for another food gift that you can get made ahead easing some of the pressure in the lead up to Christmas! The sooner you make this, the more infused and delicious it will be by the time you give it as a gift.
Be sure to make an extra bottle for yourself. This oil is wonderful drizzled over roasted squash or Brussels sprouts and walnuts.
I used some chilli’s I dried hanging in the airing cupboard since summer plus I topped the bottles up with some packaged dried chilli’s as they have an almost smoky fragrance that makes the oil extra special. Use any dried chilli or mixture you like, just make sure they are dried and not fresh or your chilli oil will only last a couple of weeks.
Remember, the longer you leave it the hotter it will be, so always test it before you use it if you are cautious about spice level. If after a few weeks you want to hold it at a certain heat level, simply strain the chilli out and re-bottle it. Or, you can keep topping the oil up as you use it to keep you in chilli oil for many months to come!
You can reuse a glass oil bottle, buy bottle or use jars to store this. Be careful sterilising bottles with plastic parts – do not put them in the oven! I did this by mistake and melted the plastic toppers all over my oven! Now I only sterilise using boiling which I think is safer anyway. Boil your bottles or jars fully covered in fast boiling water for 15 minutes. Add lids just for the final 5 minutes so as not to damage any seals. Remove with tongs onto paper towels to air dry (do not touch the inside with the tongs or your hands). You can keep the jars in the water for an hour after the heat has been turned off, after this time they will need to be re-boiled.
To replace the plastic toppers I melted, I placed pretty buttons on top of the rubber bottle stoppers and I’m actually really glad it happened as they now look really cute and more homemade! Now I’ve been purposely pulling the toppers off to replace with pretty buttons!
Ingredients: Per 250ml/1 cup of oil – multiply as necessary
- 4 whole dried chilli’s
- 1 tsp crushed dried chilli flakes and seeds
- 250 ml/1 cup vegetable oil (such as rapeseed or non-virgin olive)
- Extra large whole dried chilli for bottling (optional)
- Gently warm the oil in a saucepan on a medium-low heat until it loosens. Add the dried chilli flakes and whole chillies to the oil and heat for 3-4 minutes. Do not let the oil begin to sizzle. Remove from the heat and leave the oil to cool slightly.
- When the oil has cooled slightly, carefully pour it into sterilised glass bottles or jars using a funnel or jug.
- Add the chilli flakes and dried chillies from the pan to the bottle and add an extra large dried chilli to the bottle neck for decoration if you wish. Seal the bottle securely.
- Keep the bottles in a cool, dark place, shaking the bottles once a week. The oil will get hotter and more coloured in time.