I have to admit that I’ve always been a teensy bit prejudiced about rape. The seed (not the crime) has always rather annoyed me ever since a farmer suddenly surrounded a house where I was living with the stuff. Suddenly from living in a green, bucolic, Garden of England, I was wincing in a day glow yellow world that hurt the eyes and drove any visitors away with streaming noses. Not being a hay fever sufferer myself that part didn’t bother me, but I did bitterly resent the loss of my lovely view.

What was the point of the stuff, I often wondered. I even asked a few farmers what it was for, but in those days’ farmers didn’t like students very much and any forays down their long driveways normally ended with some crazed dog on a long leash trying to eat bits out of you. They didn’t actually shout ‘gerrof my laaaaandddd’ but you felt they might at any moment and follow it up with a blast from a twelve bore.

So a bottle of Hillfarm Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil on the desk didn’t excite me too much. But we had tested the Good Oil’s Hemp oil and found it very nice indeed, so seemed only fair to try a bit of rape as well as dope.

Like the hemp oil rapeseed oil is rich in Omega 3, as well as 6 and 9, and 3 is supposed to build brains, so that’s a plus, and the label claims you can roast, fry, dress and bake with it. The label falls short of saying you can run your car on it, but maybe one day you’ll be able to do that too. Or will have to.

What we did that evening was oil up some chicken breasts for the BBQ and I have to say whether it was the oil or just luck, they were superb. The oiled skin crisped up beautifully, perhaps due to the higher burn point of rapeseed oil, making it much better than usual, and the ‘nuttiness’ of the oil seemed to imbue extra flavour. As a dressing it worked well too. Much as I love my olive oils, they can get a bit samey and sometimes a salad needs a new twist. The rapeseed oil reminded me of walnut oil, but at a much lower cost and without the viciousness that walnut oil often catches the throat with. And of course it’s locally produced by a family in Suffolk

It’s a low saturated fat oil too, so good for general purpose frying where again the high burn point comes in useful and I imagine its good for roast potatoes, although I haven’t tried owing to lack of suitable spuds at this time of year.

At around £7.99 for a 750ml bottle it’s reasonably priced against the better olive oils and is more versatile. And while I am still not happy at the yellowfication of our once green and pleasant land, I can at least say this particular Rape product makes some of it well worthwhile.

The website has plenty more info and some cracking recipes too.