Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Burnt Bangers Not Enough' As BBQs Go Gourmet

New research has discovered that a charcoaled sausage is no longer enough to cut the mustard among BBQ loving Britons - with 61% of UK adults now making the effort to marinate their food before their BBQ. A growing number of us are becoming more adventurous with our BBQ menus with over a third saying that steak, pork and lamb steaks are our meat of choice.

The survey, commissioned by Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), the organisation responsible for promoting Welsh Lamb, also revealed that almost a third of us take up to a week to plan for a BBQ - with Londoners taking alfresco dining the most seriously.

As we dust off the BBQ and dig out the deck chairs in the hope of sunny bank holiday spent cooking and eating in the garden, it seems that the Great British BBQ is growing in popularity - on average people are having BBQs eight times a year, with the biggest BBQ lovers found in East Anglia where 10% of people pack in a whopping 16 a year. And they're not small affairs either, with the majority of people (52%) hosting up to 10 guests every time they BBQ, and 11% saying they cooked for up to 20 at their average BBQ.

Myrddin Davies, Welsh farmer and Face of Welsh Lamb, said: "It's really encouraging to see more people taking the time to put extra love and attention into their BBQ food this summer by cooking different meats and using marinades. Although we all still enjoy a sausage from the BBQ, it's important to try new cuts of meat in new ways. Welsh Lamb for example is often associated with Sunday lunch or a dinner party treat however, mouth-watering lamb steaks can be popped on the BBQ and served in a matter of minutes. BBQing is a great way to enjoy good home-cooked food with all the family."

Red meat is still the way to a man's heart with 40% of them preferring to eat red meat to chicken and fish (30%) and 70% of them prefer cooking it to white meat on the BBQ.

90% of Britons said that the BBQ is still a man's world. Both men and women confessed to preferring food cooked on a BBQ by a man, regardless of what they were serving up.

And if the sun doesn't shine this weekend - it won't hamper the BBQ fun for resilient Britons, almost 80% stick out the showers and carry on grilling instead of retreating to the kitchen when the rain starts!

Why not try making delicious Welsh Lamb and apricot burgers for your bank holiday BBQ?
Welsh Lamb and Apricot Burgers
Ingredients
o 450g (1lb) lean Welsh Lamb mince
o 5ml (1tsp) oil
o 1 small onion, peeled and finely sliced
o 5ml (1tsp) mild curry powder
o 50g (2oz) dried apricots, roughly chopped.
Heat oil in a small pan and lightly cook onions. Add curry powder and gently cook for 1-2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

Place lamb mince and apricots into a large bowl and add slightly cooled onions.

Mix well together and divide the mixture into 4 or 6 and shape into burgers.

Place under a preheated grill or on a hot barbecue for 8-12 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked thoroughly.

Serve with curried mayo and spicy couscous.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Wing Yip nail Tesco deal



Wing Yip stir-fry sauces
Leading Oriental grocer Wing Yip has secured listings for four of its stir-fry sauces in Tesco following significant investment in consumer research and new look packaging.

The four 185ml sauces; Black Bean; Kung Po; Spicy Szechuan and Chow Mein sauce were rolled out in 300 Tesco stores, recently.

Wing Yip undertook extensive research with consumer focus groups to explore buying patterns, perceptions of the Oriental food category and attitudes towards current product branding, before the labelling was redesigned and the listing secured.

Wing Yip Director, Brian Yip said: “The Wing Yip sauce range uses traditional recipes and quality ingredients to create an authentic Chinese taste. Consumers are thinking more about ingredients and provenance and we are delighted to be able to offer this range to Tesco customers.

“This new look range is the result of in-depth research with target consumers and we believe the refreshed packaging will create real stand out in the cooking sauce aisle. These are the first Wing Yip stir-fry sauces to be stocked by Tesco. If they prove popular, we anticipate the range will be extended to a further 200 Tesco stores. This builds on our well established relationship and expands our existing produce range within the store,” added Brian Yip.

That's Christmas: Nudo Olive Oil with much more

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Let Diet Chef help you out this Christmas!

Two words: Christmas party - enough to put the fear into even the most preened and pampered women. (EDITOR: And some chaps, too!)

But here's another two words: Diet Chef - the easy weight loss plan here to help you get you into your LBD and party the festive season away.

Diet Chef is here to support women in the lead up to Christmas as the one stop solution for losing weight sensibly. Enough time is wasted in the kitchen over the festive period preparing for Christmas parties and dinners without the added hassle of having to calorie count too. So imagine if you had your own personal chef who planned your meals, measured out the portions, did all the cooking for you and delivered it to your door.

Executive Chef Alan Mathieson has created a whole range of delicious and mouth-watering meals that come in 1,200 calorie a day hampers (mainly for women) and 1,500 calorie a day hampers (mainly for men). It’s the easiest way to stick to a calorie-controlled diet that is actually enjoyable and packed full of flavour.

In the Diet Chef range you’ll find all your winter warming favorites including porridge and soups in a variety of flavours and a scrumptious ready meal for dinner. You can also choose a snack a day from a selection of bars, biscuits, oat bites or popcorn to keep hunger at bay.

The nutritionally balanced menu means Diet Chef delivers a healthy pace of weight loss, which will be much easier to keep off! So you will be eating real, tasty food with healthy ingredients and losing weight – the icing on the cake for anyone’s Christmas.

Diet Chef Founder Kevin Dorren, says: “At this time of year everyone is counting the pennies, and at Diet Chef it’s no exception. We’ve ensured that our delicious diet delicacies are affordable for everyone at only £5.57 per day which is what the average Londoner usually spends on lunch alone!”

Jenny, 36, Norwich, says: “I’m really excited about getting my LBD out for Christmas, it’s only my first week on Diet Chef and I’ve already lost 5lbs. The food is truly delicious, easy to make and you even get online support to help you keep track of your weight loss and gain tips on a healthier lifestyle.”

For more details or to sign up to a trial, visit http://www.dietchef.co.uk/

FACTFILE:
The price of £5.57 per day price is based on the Diet Chef 1200 programme on Pay Monthly.

Taste test results: The Lasagne was very filling and the soups tasted home-made.

Sugar free does not have to be taste free if you use SPLENDA

Some people cannot tolerate sugar due to health issues, others cannot use sugar because they are watching their weight as part of a calorie controlled diet.

But what alternatives are there to sugar? There is saccharine. To be honest, with its horribly bitter taste, it's a wonder it every caught on as a sugar substitute! And there are a variety of other artificial sweeteners, some which cannot really be used in cooking as they do not tolerate heat, whilst there are others that are liquid so not as useful in all applications as they might be. And they can impart a different taste to a recipe that is not always welcome.

SPLENDA is different. It can be used as a direct replacement for sugar in many recipes (it's granulated) and it is actually made using sugar.

SPLENDA is recommended by the new Atkins-Advantage plan as 'a low-carb alternative to sugar'

Sucralose is not recognised by the body as a carbohydrate, thus making it suitable for people with diabetes. When it comes to carbohydrate, SPLENDA Granular has just 0.5g per teaspoon and SPLENDA® tablets are virtually free.

This means that people with diabetes can now look forward to a whole new world of cooking, baking and dining opportunities with SPLENDA. Meaning they do not have to feel left out at Christmas time.

SPLENDA Granulated and SPLENDA Sweet Minis are available across all good retailers.

For cooking and baking tips on how to incorporate SPLENDA Granular into your favourite recipes – please visit www.splenda.co.uk

Sunday, 28 August 2011

That's Christmas: Wines for Christmas

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Sunday, 21 August 2011

Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar first at Foursquare

Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar is the first cheese brand to exploit the location-based social network Foursquare.
Wales’ award-winning cheese brand enjoys strong customer loyalty and was one of the first cheese brands to embrace social media channels like Twitter and Facebook to engage with its customers.

Foursquare allows users to share their location with friends by “checking in” to attractions, shops, restaurants and pubs via their mobile devices, and sharing “tips” or recommendations. They earn points for checking in and the highest number of “check ins” can lead to them being made the “Mayor” of the venue.

Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar, which is made in North Wales, is urging its Foursquare friends to “check in” at top Welsh tourist venues to discover the Welsh heritage that inspired the award-winning cheese.

“We think it is important to have a two-way communication with our customers,” says Darren Gough, brand ambassador for Collier’s, "and word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool."

Foursquare is essentially like word of mouth with people 'talking' via mobile phone and social media.

Says Darren, “I love using Twitter to keep in touch with what’s going on and have my say. And now we have another way to reach the people who are interested in our cheese when they are on the move.”

Visit Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar on Foursquare at https://foursquare.com/collierscheese

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Gordon Ramsay Electric Slow Cooker & Tagine

He is, without doubt, one of the world’s top chefs. But Gordon Ramsay is more than that. He is also a seasoned traveller, and his many cooking experiences take him around the globe learning about local cooking methods and techniques.

One of Gordon’s favourite types of cuisine is the traditional slow cooking method of a Tagine – which takes in the wonderfully aromatic dishes of Morocco. Now, you can enjoy this delicious style of cooking with Gordon’s new Electric Slow Cooker & Tagine, a unique product that cleverly combines a Tagine Cooking pot and a Slow Cooker to give you the best of both worlds!

The new Gordon Ramsay Compact Tagine and Slow Cooker will create authentic tagine cooking and a myriad of favourite slow cooking recipes with the minimum of fuss! Its versatility allows you to cook everything in the one pot. You can sear meat and vegetables and add the remaining ingredients without the need for additional frying pans. And if you are out during the day, just assemble the recipe in the morning, turn it on and leave to cook all day on a low setting – and serve up a delicious meal on your return home!

This compact machine has a 1.5 Litre capacity which will comfortably feed up to four people and it’s economical to run. The cooker comes with both a Slow Cooker and Tagine lid so that you can create both types of dishes in the one unit. There are four settings High – Low – Keep Warm – and Off - with a handy Searing Setting for browning meat and vegetables first – simply adjust the temperature control knob accordingly. The temperature probe which houses the control dial, can be removed at the end of cooking ready to take to the table for serving.

Other features include: a removable Cooking Bowl; ceramic Tagine Lid; tempered Glass Lid for the Slow Cooker and Cool Touch Base. And for added inspiration there are some great recipes to get you started.

FACTFILE:

Slow Cooking food is one of the best ways to prepare nutritious meals with ease – whether it is soups, stews, casseroles or curries. The longer the cooking time the more the flavours will develop and infuse. Your Slow Cooker is also ideal for cooking cheaper cuts of meat, the slow cooking process allowing meat to tenderise and the food to become full of flavour. Using the Tagine Lid helps you create more authentic Moroccan dishes – the shape of the lid promotes the return of condensation back into the dish keeping it juicy and mouth-wateringly succulent.

Compact Slow Cooker & Tagine

• RRP £39.99
• 1.5 Litre Capacity
• Detachable Cooking Bowl
• Ceramic Tagine Lid
• Tempered Glass Lid for Slow Cooker mode
• Cool Touch Base
• Temperature Probe
• Control Dial – Sear/High/Low/Keep Warm/Off
• Power Light

Gordon Ramsay Product Range

Glass Jug Blender (With Fruit Filter) - £44.99
3-in-1 Hand Blender - £39.99
Professional Waffle Maker - £44.99
Digital Slow Cooker - £44.99
Party Slow Cooker - £74.99
Slow Cooker & Tagine - £39.99
Stand Mixer - £160.00

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Chicago Rib Shack Announce New Stratford, London, Site

The Chicago Rib Shack are delighted to announce the arrival of “Baby Rib Shack”, the company’s first Cafe Court venue, in the brand new Westfield, Stratford City, alongside the magnificent Olympic Park and overlooking the Olympic Stadium and Aquatic Park.

The site opens on September 13th and shoppers will be tempted by a stripped down menu of popular dishes including burgers, wings, cheesecakes and of course their famous baby back ribs alongside the brand new Chicago Style Hot Dog. The family restaurant have a delicious choice of kids dishes too , all served with the popular “Paint Your Own Pig” colouring competition to keep them occupied. For a sneak preview of the site and the full menu check www.thechicagoribshack.co.uk/stratford.

Christian Arden, Director of The Chicago Rib Shack says “The Westfield project is an incredibly exciting one for The Chicago Rib Shack. It is not only a privilege to be associated with the Stratford development for the 2012 Olympics, but this also provides us with the ideal showcase for the future expansion of the brand.”

The management are seeking motivated and experienced staff for this new project and welcome any CV’s to jobs@thechicagoribshack.co.uk .

The flagship restaurant in Knightsbridge is going from strength to strength and following a busy summer with tourists, families and regulars flowing through the famous revolving doors, they are now preparing for Christmas, with a mouth-watering set menu starting from just £30 per head. Book now on 020 7591 4664.

To keep up to date with the latest information and offers from The Chicago Rib Shack you can join the mailing list via www.thechicagoribshack.co.uk or sign-up for a Chicago Rib Shack Gold Card for special monthly offers at both venues.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tea & Coffee Festival to make welcome return to Southbank Centre


Rose Events

Tea & Coffee Festival
Southbank Centre Square,
Friday 18 – Sunday 20 November 2011
FREE Admission

The Event

Following the success of the first Tea & Coffee Festival in May 2011, the event returns to Southbank Centre for a winter extravaganza of the nation’s favourite beverages. The festival promises to have more companies showcasing their unique high-quality products and an ever-growing schedule of fascinating demonstrations, talks and tutored tastings.

Demonstrations and Tastings

Whether you are a confirmed tea connoisseur, a seasoned coffee drinker or even a caffeine-free individual you are bound to find demonstrations and products to pique your interest and tantalise your taste buds. Come along to witness a traditional tea or coffee ceremony; enjoy a coffee roasting demonstration; take part in a tutored tasting or even take part in the amateur Latte Art Competition.

Exhibitors and Stallholders

The Winter Tea & Coffee Festival 2011 is bringing some of the finest, and most discerning, tea and coffee providers and specialists together to showcase their wares and share their knowledge. The perfect cuppa often requires a suitable accompaniment and the festival will also offer complementary foods and desserts such as tea and coffee flavoured cheese cakes, coffee smoked beef baps and more.

Organiser Mrs Yael Rose explains: “I am really excited to be organising the second Tea & Coffee Festival. It promises to be the ideal place to learn more about these delicious beverage, discover new small companies and products and meet the passionate people behind them.”



FACTFILE:
* The event takes place from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th November 2011, 11am – 8pm daily (6pm on Sunday) at Southbank Centre Square. The venue is five minutes walk from Waterloo & Embankment tube stations and various bus routes. Admission is free.

* Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sites in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection.

* Rose Events have been running events for 10 years and are currently managing The Cheese & Wine Festival (www.cheesewinefestival.com ) and The Chocolate Festivals in London, Oxford and Brighton (www.festivalchocolate.co.uk) as well as the Tea & Coffee Festival. For more information about Rose Events please contact Yael Rose (Mrs) on +44 (0)7898 681573 / teacoffeefestival@yahoo.co.uk

Sunday, 14 August 2011

That's Health: Weight loss. It's not rocket science!

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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Mint Hotel Creates The 45-Minute Lunch Hour for a Tenner!


Mint Hotel, the award-winning city-centre hotel brand, is celebrating summer in novel style by launching a 45-minute express lunch, available from just £10 per person, across the group’s City Café restaurants.

For that amazing price guests get to enjoy two-courses from the restaurant’s Market Menu coupled with a drink, including any house wine, spirit and mixer, beer or soft drink – all of which the group pledges to serve within 45 minutes.

The £10 ‘Fresh this Summer’ offer is available in City Café restaurants at Mint Hotel Glasgow, Mint Hotel Birmingham, Mint Hotel Bristol, Mint Hotel Leeds and Mint Hotel Manchester. In London, the offer is priced at £10.95 at Mint Hotel Westminster and £12.50 at the new Mint Hotel Tower of London. At Mint Hotel Amsterdam, which opened its doors in June, the express lunch offer is priced at just €15.00.

Guests choosing the ‘Fresh this Summer’ offer will also be handed a City Café loyalty card, entitling them to receive a complimentary two-course lunch (exclusive of drinks), after five return visits to the restaurants – a great excuse to keep coming back. What’s more, the loyalty card can be used through across all City Café restaurants in the Mint Hotel group, and lasts until 30 March 2012.

The fantastic lunch offers are available between 12–1 pm weekdays, and 12.30–3pm on Saturdays, with the promotion lasting until 3 September 2011.

City Café offers diners a modern European cuisine experience with the Market Menu focusing on locally sourced, seasonal produce, all created under the careful guidance of group executive chef Scott Macdonald. Summer dishes in the offer include breast of chicken with roast pumpkin, curly kale and caper jus, or fillet of mackerel, steamed bok choi, spring onion, red watercress, grapefruit and ginger reduction. As City Café’s Market Menus change weekly, regular diners can expect new dishes based on the freshest seasonal, regional ingredients throughout the summer.

The offer guarantees that guests will be wined and dined within a 45-minute time window – ideal for busy city workers, locals and visitors wishing to sample the delicious cuisine of City Café. Mint’s 45-minute pledge does not apply to diners who wish to add a third course to their meal, available for an additional £3.

Mint Hotels is dedicated to creating fresh, contemporary hotels thoughtfully designed to blend with each property’s cityscape. The group has eight properties - seven in the UK and its first international location in Amsterdam. People are put at the heart of each Mint hotel, with the customer truly coming first and Mint’s staff empowered to deliver memorable service.

Please visit www.minthotel.com/freshsummer for further information.


(EDITOR: Right! The That's Food and Drink team know where WE are going to be dining when we next visit the big city!)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Loseley Summer Meadow Butter takes Blackberry and Apple Oat Crumble and makes it better with butter!

Loseley
Delicious autumn fruits are given a healthy wholemeal treatment along with long lasting oats, and creamy Loseley Summer Meadow Butter.

The porridge oats not only add extra crunch but also an added bonus to those bored of using them for breakfast. The crumble will keep you full and satisfied for longer than traditional mixes.

Cooking apples 680g (1½ lbs), peeled and sliced
Blackberries 200g (7oz)
Granulated sugar 100g (4oz)
Wholemeal flour 100g (3½ oz)
Loseley Summer Meadow Butter 90g (3½ oz)
Light Muscovado sugar 50g (2 oz)
Porridge Oats 100g (3½ oz)

1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C/ 375˚F/ Gas 5 and put the fruit into a 1.25 litre (2 pints) ovenproof dish in layers with the granulated sugar.
2. Place the flour in a separate bowl and rub in the Loseley Summer Meadow Butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the brown sugar and porridge oats.
3. Sprinkle the crumble mixture thickly and evenly over the fruit, pressing down lightly.
4. Place the crumble on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180 ˚C/ 350˚F/ Gas 4 and continue cooking for a further 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Serve the crumble hot with custard.

Cooks' Tip

If you pick wild blackberries from the hedgerows, be sure to pick those that are well away from any busy main roads to ensure they are not contaminated by car exhaust fumes, and wash them well before eating.

10 minutes preparation time
1 hour cooking time
371 Kcal per portion
13.4g fat per portion
8g is saturated
6 servings
Suitable for vegetarians

Loseley Summer Meadow Butter is packed in a 250g tub and costs £1.29p.

Loseley Chilled Foods are available from the chilled cabinet of local independent grocers, Morrisons and Waitrose. Visit www.loseley.com for more information.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Group buy out the entire inventory of high class gorcery store

On May 20th, 2011 a group called the Store Buyout Team walked into Hercules’ Fancy Grocery in West Village New York City and bought everything in the store. The purchase created a sales receipt in excess of 57 feet long with over 3,000 individually entered items, which the group reasonably believes to be the world's longest receipt.

"We are submitting the facts and video evidence to the Guinness World Records for confirmation, but we've never heard of another group buying out an entire store before," points out Kyle MacDonald, a member of the Store Buyout Team.

The group learned that Hercules Fancy Grocery was going through landlord troubles and was being forced to relocate. So they raised $20,000, walked into the store unannounced, and proceeded to buy everything in the store.

"We wanted to give Hercules (the owner) his best sales day ever" says Jody Gnant, a team member.

Retail items from the store are being resold on the group's website, www.storebuyout.com to recuperate costs and help raise funds to help Hercules Dimitratos through his rough spell.

The original purchase receipt is now being auctioned on eBay.

http://storebuyout.com/ebay

With over 34 bids cast, the 57 foot long piece of paper is up to more than $1,025 with a reserve price set at the actual total dollar figure it cost to buyout the store.

Says Kyle MacDonald, "The reserve price is top secret, but is in the $18,000 - $20,000 range. We've kept it secret so only the person who wins the auction will know the actual price."

The auction ends on Aug 9.

But if you can't wait for this artefact of pop culture, if you are not patient enough, you can always pull out your wallet and Buy-it-Now for $1 Million.

The receipt also includes "free delivery to any location on earth" and "an interactive speaking engagement" by members of the Store Buyout Team.

Says team member Matt Fidler, "We will use profits from the sale of this receipt to help find Hercules the store of his dreams."

But a million dollars?

"Hercules is an institution in the West Village. He's been there for 40 years. He's got lots of friends and people spend large amounts of money on collectible artefacts all the time. Who's to say somebody won't come through and make this dream of ours a reality? If you never try something, you'll never find out if it's possible!"

For more information, please contact Kyle MacDonald at One Red Paperclip, Inc. by phone by email (email@storebuyout.com)

eBay auction: www.storebuyout.com/ebay

Chak 89 Wins English Curry Awards Caterer of the Year

On Monday 25th July, The Sheridian Suite in Manchester hosted the first English Curry Awards aimed at recognising and reward the curry industry

Hosted by Jeff Mirza, it was no surprise that once again CHAK 89 was called up on to the stage as the winners of The Caterer of the Year Award for its achievements in the catering industry.

Shortlisted with 5 of the best caterers in England, Chak 89 are proud to be named as the English Curry Awards Caterer of the Year.

Mr Frank Khalid relished the occasion with a speech in which he thanked the nominators, the judges and more importantly the public in having the faith and trust in Chak 89 and its services.

Providing fresh, quality cooked food for any event is a principle that Chak 89 adheres to rigorously and by delivering this principle Chak 89 has reaped the rewards by being voted English Curry Awards Caterer of the Year 2011 to sit alongside many other Awards won by Chak 89.

Chak89 are not only the best Indian restaurant in London but they are perfect for all types of wedding celebrations and a great Indian wedding venue, they can accommodate and cater for up to 650 guests in two adjoining banquet halls.

Also perfect for business conferences, or let them bring the CHAK89 experience to you by allowing their Indian caterers to stage your special day at any venue of your choice.


A Titantic Menu

With 2012 being the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, a cookery course based around some of the ship’s incredible menus is proving to be a huge draw.

Dordogne-based cookery school, CookInFrance, developed the Titanic idea as part of its Last Suppers themed courses.

Brainchild of British chef and CookInFrance owner, Jim Fisher, the Titanic courses are almost completely booked until the end of the year.Although creating a ten-course banquet might seem a little daunting for some, the course is suitable for everyone whatever their level of experience.

As with all of CookInFrance courses, a range of techniques will be incorporated including knife skills and bread making.

The Titanic Courses begin in Autumn 2011 and more information on this and Jim’s other courses can be found on www.cookinfrance.com

Cost are €130 EUR for a day’s course (per day for 1 or 2 days excludes accommodation) and €795.00 EUR for the full, all-inclusive five nights.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

New Company, Jealous, Launches Sweet Range For All

Sweet lovers in the UK now have more choice to enjoy as a new range of high-end boxed sweets, made purely from natural ingredients and suitable for people with dietary or ethical requirements, has launched.

The initial range of sweet-gifts from the Jealous collection has been available to buy from Selfridge’s flagship Oxford Street store from 27th July and online at www.thejealouslife.com.

Beautifully arranged in striking presentation boxes, Jealous sweets make the perfect gift for a sweet lover and as an alternative to the traditional box of chocolates.

The halal sweets, which boast no artificial colours or flavours, are also suitable for vegetarians and contain no alcohol or gelatine. Presented in 400g gift boxes, the selection includes Sinfully Sour, Gummy Heaven and Paradise Lost all of which retail at £13.99. The Enchanted Eden selection, which is also produced using purely organic products, completes the initial range and is priced at £14.99.

Says Imran Ali Merza, managing director at Jealous: “Sweets are immensely popular among almost everyone, but confectionery gifts are largely chocolate based, meaning there are no real gift options for sweet lovers. Sweets are bought in packets or at a pick and mix store, but not really given as gifts. We wanted to change this and bring candy gifts out as equals to chocolates – standing the humble gummy bear alongside the praline with pride.”

“We also wanted to ensure they could be enjoyed by all, hence our ranges are made free from artificial enhancements, are gluten and gelatine free and also suitable for vegetarians. They come stunningly boxed and in ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ ranges – providing a gorgeous gift for any occasion. We’ve had a great deal of interest in the range so far and anticipate strong sales at Selfridges, which is famed for its well-stocked confectionery department,” he added.

For those who like their sweets to have a bit of a kick, Sinfully Sour is a must and includes cola rock, tropical tang, sour sensations and just peachy. To really get those taste buds tantalising, Paradise Lost offers a mix of flavours such as fruitilicious, sour sensations, gummy bears and tropical tang.

Go to Gummy Heaven and enjoy sweet favourites from gummy bears, wild cherries, strawberry drops and fruitilicious, while the organic Enchanted Eden selection comprises sour worms, sugar bears, fruit cocktail and jelly bears.

For further information about Jealous’ sweet boxes visit www.thejealouslife.com or get involved by following @thejealouslife and www.facebook.com/JealousSweets.

(EDITOR: This is great! My wife has a chocolate allergy so buying sweets for her is not easy, as she ponits out: “Everything is always covered in chocolate!” But not with Jealous, thank goodness!)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Cryogenics: The secret to a sharper and everlasting knife


Taking Heston Blumenthal’s use of liquid nitrogen one step further, manufacturer JML has created a set of kitchen knives. This process creates a sharper and longer lasting knife.

Everyone knows that the boldest chefs use liquid nitrogen to cook up recipes, and in the same vein, every adventurous kitchen should be equipped with this year’s must-have – knives made using liquid nitrogen. They are manufactured using cryogenics, the science behind preserving bodies and many a creaky science fiction plot.

Deep-freeze technology is used to produce the blades. They are made by heating steel up to 1100°C . The temperature is then gently reduced to room temperature for 7 hours. And then they are cryogenically treated at -200°C for 4 hours using liquid nitrogen.

This means that you are left with a knife that can slice through butternut squash and pumpkins instantly. Scientists at the Cutlery Research Association in Sheffield used a cutting test and found that Cryotex Knives are twice as sharp and three times more resistant than several other blades.

Cryotex Knives are available from www.JMLdirect.com and telephone number 0871 2222 631. Priced at £39.99 for a set, including a chef’s knife, a fillet knife and a paring knife.

Dearbhla MacFadden, JML’s Brand Manager says: “When it comes to knives JML really knows its onions. Using this Heston Blumenthalesque method means we can produce something that’s a slice above the rest. It’s ideal when customers want to freeze their spending habits.”

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Flavour Fortnight 2011 Programme Launched

The full programme for Flavour Fortnight 2011, Dumfries & Galloway’s region-wide celebration of local food and drink, has been released with 92 events taking place across 16 days. The programme spans the entire food and drink experience, from farming and food production to fine dining, and it includes a diverse range of events.

Some of the more unusual experiences on offer include a wild food forage around an art gallery, a jazz themed afternoon of jam, a literary celebration of food in a bookshop, a Greek mezze made with local food, an opportunity to enjoy the first tilapia harvest from Scotland’s first aquaponics project, a gastronomic quiz event, a multi-location menu plus touring routes designed for motorbikes, a menu showcasing Robert Burns’ favourite meals, a gourmet shooting experience, an opportunity to meet majestic Highland Cattle and full day butchery demonstrations.

Liz Ramsay of Savour the Flavours, Dumfries & Galloway’s regional food organisation, points out:
“Flavour Fortnight began last year with modest ambitions, we challenged local businesses to connect with consumers by doing something a bit different during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight and we were absolutely overwhelmed by the support from our local food and drink industry. They put together a spectacular programme of events stretching from Langholm in the east to Portpatrick in the west and for 2011 Flavour Fortnight is twice as big and twice as impressive.

“The programme this year is full of fantastic ideas and local businesses have put tremendous effort, innovation and creativity into their event development. It’s been a joy to watch these ideas evolve into fascinating events and I’m very much looking forward to seeing local people and visitors sharing in our region’s passion for local food and drink during Flavour Fortnight.”

Running from 3-18th September 2011 Flavour Fortnight is timed to parallel the national celebration of Scotland’s larder, Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight. The Dumfries & Galloway event is led by Savour the Flavours of Dumfries & Galloway and is funded by LEADER and Dumfries & Galloway Council. Each of the 92 events included within the Flavour Fortnight programme are organised by people working within Dumfries & Galloway’s food and drink industry, and they have been designed to encourage people to engage with and enjoy the quality produce available in the region.

Ros Halley, Rural Development Manager of Dumfries & Galloway LEADER Programme adds:
“D&G LEADER Programme is delighted to support Flavour Fortnight. The programme provides opportunities for locals and visitors to experience top quality foods from across the region, builds links between producers and encourages innovation. The food industry in Dumfries & Galloway plays an important role in creating vibrant, interesting and sustainable rural communities and over two weeks the event will provide a boost to the local economy and create many opportunities to celebrate and enjoy our region.”

Councillor Roger Grant, Chair of Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Planning, Housing and Environment Committee said: “I am delighted Flavour Fortnight is going from strength to strength. This event is a fantastic opportunity for local producers and retailers to showcase our region’s food and drink and I would encourage people to get involved and experience a taste of Dumfries and Galloway.”

Preparation and planning is already underway for a number of events. On Sunday 31st July Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods led a group of local artists and their friends on a woodland wild food forage to inspire them to create works of art for an event called ‘The Art of Fungi’. Mark said: “We went to one of Dumfries and Galloway's many beautiful hidden nooks and found a wealth of delicious and interesting plants and fungi, including an enormous 2lb cep - the King of Mushrooms, a treasure trove of golden chanterelles and even some very early hedgehog mushrooms.

"This was an unusual foray as the artists were every bit as interested in the inedible and poisonous species we found as the delicious ones! Dumfries and Galloway is such an inspiring place, and connecting its fabulous array of wild foods with its physical beauty through this project is really exciting. I can't wait to see the paintings that come out of it!”

The Flavour Fortnight programme of events can be seen on www.flavourfortnight.co.uk the printed programme of events will be available within the next week.

(EDITOR: Everyone involved in this project deserves praise for what they have done. Could you suggest a food festival where you live? I am going to be firing off an email to my local town council to see if we can do something like that where I live! This is truly an inspirational idea!)

Parsnip and Apple Soup with Loseley Summer Meadow Butter

Sweet parsnip and tart cooking apples form the perfect partnership for a tasty soup fit for bracing winter temperatures.

With only 10 minutes preparation time, this warming soup also offers a low calorie option or a creamy comparison dependent on the mood.

INGREDIENTS

Loseley Summer Meadow Butter 50g (2oz)
Dessert Apple 1, cored, peeled and sliced
Parsnips 680g (1½ lb), peeled and sliced
Bramley cooking apple 1, cored, peeled and sliced
Vegetable stock 1¼ litres (2 pints)
Sage leaves 4, plus extra to garnish
Whole cloves 2
Single cream 150ml (¼ pint)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

1. Melt the half butter in a large saucepan and add the dessert apple slices. Sauté until lightly browned, remove and set aside. Melt the remaining Loseley Summer Meadow Butter and add the parsnips and cooking apple. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour the stock into the saucepan and add the sage and cloves. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 30 minutes, until the parsnip is softened.
3. Remove the sage leaves and cloves, then puree in a blender or food processor. Return to the saucepan and reheat gently with the cream. Season to taste. Serve hot, garnished with the sage leaves and apple slices and serve with granary bread.

10 minutes preparation time
40 minutes cooking time
172 Kcal per portion
10g fat per portion of which
5.2g is saturated
6 servings
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

Cooks Tip

If you prefer, use ½ tsp of dried sage when cooking the parsnips. For a lower fat version, simply omit the cream – the soup still tastes really good.

Loseley Summer Meadow Butter is packed in a 250g tub and costs £1.29p.

Loseley Chilled Foods are available from the chilled cabinet of local independent grocers, Morrisons and Waitrose. Visit www.loseley.com for more information.

(EDITOR: This sounds delicious!)

Monday, 1 August 2011

Strawberry Shortcakes with Loseley Summer Meadow Butter

Strawberry Shortcakes with Loseley Summer Meadow Butter
The very essence of an English summer presented on a plate. By you! Melt-in-the-mouth shortcake with whipped cream and sweet strawberries – bliss.

INGREDIENTS:

Loseley Summer Meadow Butter 225g (8oz), softened
Caster sugar 110g (4 oz)
Plain Flour 300g (11 oz)
Ground Almonds 50g (2 oz)
Small strawberries 225g (8 oz)
Whipping Cream 300ml (1/2 pint)
Strawberry jam 2 tbsp, soft-set
Caster Sugar for dusting

METHOD:

1. Firstly make the shortcakes. Cream together the Loseley Summer Meadow Butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in the flour, salt and ground almonds until the mixture clings together to form a dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth.
2. Lightly press and roll the dough to flatten it to a thickness of 6mm (¼ inch) and, using a 7.5cm (3in) round cutter, stamp out as many shapes as you can. Re-roll the dough and continue stamping out shapes until all the dough is used up. You should end up with about 20 circles.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the shortcake circles on the sheet. Prick with a fork and chill for 40 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/ 350˚F/ Gas 4 and bake the shortcake biscuits for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
5. To finish, wash the strawberries and hull and slice them. Whisk the cream into soft peaks, and then spoon onto half the shortcake biscuits. Top with a few strawberry slices and drizzle of jam. Add a small dollop of cream and then sandwich a plain shortcake on top. Dust very lightly with sugar and serve immediately.

Cook’s Tip

Try using different fruits such as raspberries and use the same-flavour jam.

For a romantic supper-time dessert, cut heart shaped shortcakes.

20 minutes preparation time plus chilling and cooling
20 minutes cooking time
472 Kcal per portion
33.4g fat per portion
19.4g saturated fat
Makes 10 shortcakes
Biscuits are suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

Loseley Summer Meadow Butter is packed in a 250g tub and costs £1.29p.

Loseley Chilled Foods are available from the chilled cabinet of local independent grocers, Morrisons and Waitrose. Visit www.loseley.com for more information.