Recipe: Two ways to use local rapeseed oil

A rapeseed field in Colstishall Norfolk

A rapeseed field in Colstishall - Credit: Archant

Rapeseed. The harbinger of summer. Growing in vast swathes across our landscape, the honey butter-scented, delicate yellow blooms are a cheery sight on a drive or walk through East Anglia throughout May and early June. 

After a gruelling winter, one marked by lockdowns and social distancing, they’re a bright reminder that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Before they give way to scarlet fields of poppies, rapeseed flowers provide much-needed fodder for our bee and insect population. And farmers will be hurriedly gathering the crops for our consumption too – with the region being renowned for its award-winning cold-pressed rapeseed oils. 

If you’ve never tried it before, reach for a bottle this weekend – most of the local brands will be available in your local farm shop, deli or East of England Co-op store. 

Benefits include: 

The packaging is largely glass and recyclable. 

It’s a local product with a very low carbon footprint. 

It’s very high in heart-healthy Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils. 

Most Read

Rapeseed oil is a rich source of Vitamin E. 

It has one of the lowest amounts of saturated fats of all oils – even olive oil. 

Rapeseed oil has a much higher burning point. You can use it safely for baking and high temperature wok frying. 

Rapeseed fields support British wildlife. 

It’s delicious. 

Oil seed rape fields in full bloom near Debenham

Oil seed rape fields in full bloom near Debenham - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Yare Valley Oils 

The patchwork of fields belonging to this Great Taste Award-winning producer paint the Norfolk Broads at Surlingham a glorious shade in late spring. You can pop over to the farm for a visit, where there’s a unique self-service farm shop on site...and the very good Teles Patisserie café, serving breakfast, lunches and enormous French/Portuguese style afternoon teas. 

Taking their cold-pressed, twice-filtered oil as a base, Yare Valley have created a range of sauces, dressings and infusions – including a popular truffle oil. 

Their latest invention is a Honey Harissa. Stir it into pasta or rice. Jazz up roast potatoes. Use it in a glaze over chicken, white fish, pork or sausages. Or make the farm’s own bean recipe. 

Yare Valley harissa baked beans 

(serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side) 


2.5tbsps Yare Valley Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil 

1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped 

½ small onion, peeled and finely chopped 

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1tbsp Yare Valley Honey Harissa 

1/2tsp balsamic vinegar 

1/2tbsp soy sauce 

1 tin of your favourite beans 

Salt and pepper to taste 


Place a pan on a low heat. Add the oil, garlic, onion, salt and pepper and cook gently for 12 to 15 minutes until soft and golden. 

Add the tomatoes, honey, vinegar and soy sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer. 

Add the drained beans to the sauce and combine. Cook on a low heat for 30 minutes. If it looks like it’s drying out add a splash of water.  

Enjoy on toasted bread with a sprinkling of feta and flat leaf parsley, in a jacket potato, alongside a larger breakfast, or as a meat-free alternative for tacos or fajitas. Have a go and tag in @yarevalleyoils on social media. You can buy the Honey Harissa and the rest of the range at 

Hillfarm Oils 

The Fairs family’s farming heritage in Suffolk goes back more than 50 years, and in 2004 Sam Fairs was the first British farmer to grow, cold press and bottle his own extra virgin rapeseed oil. Today three generations of the family work on the farm, crafting single estate, fully traceable, sustainable oil. Over the years the business has grown to produce a variety of rapeseed-based products, from mayonnaise to body lotions and potions. And Hillfarm Bee Farm was created five years ago, placing 200 hives (and 14 million bees) across crops and woodlands – the farm jars its own runny and set raw honey. 

Newly launched is the range of Hillfarm flavoured oils, designed during lockdown in collaboration with London chefs. They can be used for frying, roasting, baking, marinades and dressings, and include Oak and Applewood Smoked Oil, which is imparted with the sweetness of applewood, and is actually smoked, not infused. This has just won a star in the Great Taste Awards. 

Then there’s White Garlic Oil, Smoked Chilli Oil and Black Truffle Oil. Hillfarm is offering our readers 15 per cent off their Flavoured Oil Selection box online at with the code ARCHANT15 at checkout. The offer is valid until June 30. 

If you pick up a bottle of their regular oil this weekend, try making the farm’s easy vanilla sponge cake. 

A Victoria sponge made with rapeseed oil

Hillfarm Oils' Victoria sponge cake made with rapeseed oil - Credit: Jemma Watts Photography

Hillfarm Victoria sponge 


220g self-raising flour 

2tsps baking powder 

160ml Hillfarm rapeseed oil 

220g caster sugar 

4 large free-range eggs 

4-6 drops vanilla extract 

3tbsps jam and whipped cream for filling 


Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line two 20cm round cake tins. 

Put all the ingredients except the jam and cream in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer to a smooth, dropping consistency.  

Divide equally between the tins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and lightly golden.  

Allow to cool, then fill with the cream and jam.