Monday, 30 April 2012

Bargain Restaurant Deals for Spring Available on

Discounts available at Toby Carvery, La Tasca and Pizza Express on a budget this April and May

Saving money on dining out is always popular with UK consumers - and voucher codes website has introduced new deals to help UK consumers do just that this spring. Among the deals redeemable at more than 800 stores are deals for money off at La Tasca, Pizza Express and Toby Carvery.

Great Italian meals can be enjoyed on a budget thanks to the new round of deals available on the website. Pizza Express has branches throughout the country and can be enjoyed for less via right now - the site is carrying Pizza Express voucher choices offering 3 courses for £12.95 and 25% Off Your Food Bill.

Great Spanish food is available on a budget this spring too through the website - with a choice of deals available for use at La Tasca. Consumers can log on right now and use new La Tasca vouchers to enjoy Buy 1 Get 1 FREE on Tapas to share.

Dining out on quality roast dinners can be done on a budget this spring thanks to the latest offers sourced and offered on the site. By logging onto the website UK diners can get hold of new Toby Carvery vouchers which they can exchange for 2 Daytime Carveries for £10 and Free Dairy Ice Cream with any Carvery Meal.

Doug Scott, managing director of, commented, “Dining out at top UK restaurants can be expensive as every Brit knows, so we're pleased to offer a helping hand this spring. New vouchers available on our site can help people eat out on a budget at places like Toby Carvery, Pizza Express and La Tasca." offers consumers money saving deals at major high street brands and specialist retailers, including stores like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Travelodge, First Choice, and Boden.

For more information visit

Are we more selfish? Fudges says "yes"

We may be in the middle of a recession, but a new survey has revealed we Brits are as self-serving as ever, with one in ten admitting to becoming more selfish since the downturn first bit five years ago.

The study found that almost one in five Brits are more concerned with looking after number one when it comes to their eating habits in particular. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed confessed to never sharing food with friends or family members, with more than a third blaming this on ever-soaring food prices.

Those aged 18-24 were found to be the worst culprits when it comes to putting themselves first – one in ten admitted to always nabbing the larger piece when sharing food, with a small percentage even going to extreme lengths such as eating in private to avoid sharing in the first place.

Nevertheless, Fudges, who commissioned the research exposing the selfish traits of modern Britain, is backing the camp of Brits who remain steadfast in their generosity, and claim to still share food at least once a week despite the tightening grip of the recession. The Dorset-based biscuit makers is launching a campaign designed to encourage even the most miserable amongst us to spend more time with friends and family by breaking a biccie. This is kicking off with the launch of a limited-edition biscuit ‘sharing tin’ later this year.

“I always think of Britain as a nation of sharers so it’s surprising to think that the reality is we’re just getting more selfish. The tradition of ‘breaking bread’ goes back thousands of years and is a way of expressing how the simple act of sharing food brings people together. Our campaign is designed to remind Britain to do just that… but, of course, with a biscuit,” said Steve Fudge, Managing Director of Fudges.

Pitting the nation against one another, the survey found that people in Wales are the least generous with their food, with one in three revealing that they never share a meal with friends or family either in or out of the home. Conversely, those in London and Northern Ireland are the nation’s biggest sharers, with more than two thirds sharing food at least once a week.

Meanwhile, while women did emerge as the more generous of the sexes, one in four confessed to feeling angry when people assume they can take things off their plate, compared to just one in three men.

• Fudges was founded by Percy Fudge in 1926 and the family has worked hard to preserve his legacy, adapting his award-winning savoury and sweet biscuits, delicious luxury cakes and indulgent treats to suit today’s discerning tastes.
• Fudges’ range of sweet and savoury biscuits, cakes and flatbreads is available from most major supermarkets, delis and farm shops.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Pub Pie Wins Supreme At Pie Awards 2012

A  Pub Pie created by Dunkleys has been crowned the Supreme Champion at the British Pie Awards held at St Mary's Church in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire today (25th April 2012).  The winning Pie competed in the contest of a record number of 900 Pies created by professional bakers and butchers at this year's event organised and hosted by the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association.  Dunkley's winning pub pie contains chicken, ham, mushroom and buttered leeks encased in a suet pastry.

The Pies, submitted in 18 Classes, underwent a stringent judging process by 93 food experts and celebrity chefs led by Andrew Chisholm. The panel, which included top food critic Charles Campion and food writer Xanthe Clay, TV chefs Rachel Green and Phil Vickery, scored the Pies on a range of criteria including appearance, and texture and  taste of both pastry and filling

The producer of the winning Pie, Mark Beeston who is Dunkleys pie ambassador, received a trophy and £1,000 prize commented: "We are absolutely thrilled that our Pub Pie has been crowned the Supreme Champion at these highly prestigious and creditable Awards. We don't compromise on the quality of the Pies which we have been making with care and passion for sixty years and to win against so many excellent bakers is an absolute joy!"

Matthew O'Callaghan, Chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, added: "Pies are one of our nation's favourite traditional foods and we organise this event to celebrate the quality and heritage of these iconic products. This year's event was a resounding success and yet again we were impressed with the high quality of the Pies entered by passionate Pie makers. Our Judges, who faced the difficult task of choosing the winning Pie out of 900 entries, did a superb job. It is fantastic to see that the value of these Awards is recognised not only by large Pie makers but also by small producers who submitted over 70% of entries."

For more details please visit   or @britishpies

Here are the winners:-

Class 1 - Melton Mowbray Pork Pie (cold) Winner: Walker & Son with their Large Melton Mowbray Pork Pie

Class 2 - Pork Pie (cold) Winner: Walker & Son with their Large Pork Pie

Class 3 - Steak & Kidney Pie (hot) Winner: Pieminister

Class 4 - Beef & any flavour combination (hot) Winner: Rose Cottages Pies with their Beef & Mushroom Pie

Class 5 - Beef & Ale Pie (hot) Winner: Brocklebys

Class 6 - Lamb Pie (Hot) Winner: lamb, Mint & Rosemary Pie Winner: Robert Bowning Farmer & Butchers

Class 7 - Chicken & any flavour (hot) Winner: Chicken & Bacon from Pieminister

Class 8 - Other meat pie (hot) Winner: Pork, Apple & Cider Pie from Morecambe FC

Class 9 - Savoury pie (cold) Winner: chicken & Ham hock pie from Stuart Smith & Sons Butchers

Class 10 - Fish pie (hot) Winner: smoked fish, salmon & prawn pie Great Walshingham Barns Cafe

Class 11 - Vegetarian Pie (hot) Winner: Butter Pie from Morecambe FC

Class 12 - Cornish Pasty (cold) Winner: Chough Bakery

Class 13 - Other pasty (cold) Winner: chicken & smoked bacon pasty from Chough Bakery

Class 14 - Dessert Pie (cold) Winner: Cherry Pie from Kensey Foods

Class 15 - Pub Pie (hot) Winner: chicken ham mushroom buttered leeks suet pastry pie from Dunkleys

Class 16 - Football Pie (hot) Winner: Beef steak & ale pie from Morecambe FC

Class 17 - Celebration Pie (hot/cold) Winner: Trio of mini pies (venison pie, chicken & mushroom pie & steak pasty from Dunkleys

Class 18 - Bramley Apple Pie (cold) Winner: Kensy Foods

Supreme Champion 2012: Class 15 - Pub Pie (hot) Winner: chicken, ham, mushroom, buttered leeks & suet pastry pie from Dunkleys

Small Producer Award: Morecambe FC

A full list of judges at the British Pie Awards can be found at

Saturday, 28 April 2012

That's Entertainment News: Recession? Let's fix it with a laugh!

That's Entertainment News: Recession? Let's fix it with a laugh!: Michael McIntyre tops the poll as the UK’s most popular lunch guest. As news headlines continue to be dominated by doom and gloom recessio...

Red Tractor to pull gold for the Olympics

#TeamRT Red Tractor showcasing journey
The Olympic Games is fast approaching, and to celebrate being an integral part of LOCOG’s Food Vision for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Red Tractor is launching Team Red Tractor (‘Team RT’).

Team RT covers Red Tractor farmers, processors and packers, wholesalers and contract caterers that will feed the Olympic athletes, coaches, officials and millions of visitors to the event.

Next week, commencing 30th April, Red Tractor is introducing Team RT’s 7 champion farmers in a 5-day UK tour aimed at school children. The tour will educate local school children on how food is produced and how it makes its way to the 31 Olympic venues providing 14 million meals at the event under the Red Tractor scheme. The farmers cover different sectors including; Dairy, Beef and Lamb, Poultry, Fresh Produce, Crops and Pigs.

[Throughout the 31 competition venues, Red Tractor food will be served to around 23,900 athletes and team officials, 20,600 broadcasters and press and over 9 million visitors. Across the London 2012 Games LOCOG estimate that the athletes and visitors will eat;

• 25,000 loaves of bread, 31 tonnes of poultry items
• More than 100 tonnes of meat
• 75,000 litres of milk, 21 tonnes of cheese
• More than 330 tonnes of fruit and vegetables, and 232 tonnes of potatoes
Richard Cattell, Head of Marketing and Communications at Red Tractor Assurance, the UK’s leading quality food assurance mark, said: “We are extremely proud to be part of the largest peace-time catering operation in the world. We want to increase national awareness of Red Tractor farmers and establish a food legacy which helps to educate children so that they understand where their food comes from.”

Lee Woodger, Head of Food Chain Unit at the NFU said: “The eyes of the world are on our athletes and our farmers. This is an important milestone for Red Tractor and the perfect time to showcase the hard work that UK farmers, growers, food service operators and retailers put into delivering quality food under the Red Tractor scheme all year round. We hope businesses and consumers will support and purchase Red Tractor food as we embrace sustainable catering standards for the future.”

Red Tractor will be launching a Team RT microsite, and throughout the week will be uploading fun and interesting facts, educational resources for schools and daily activity posts and vox-pops via their social media platforms; Facebook ‘Red Tractor’ and Twitter ‘@RedTractorFood’. Team RT is also showcasing industry experts to advise on various aspects of farming standards and food. (Please see notes to editors for expert details).

For the public attending one of the many events or watching it from the comfort of their home, it’s good to know the Olympic organisers have committed to sourcing quality food with strict standards of production from farm to venue under the Red Tractor Scheme. This means that athletes and visitors alike will be consuming good food that guarantees food safety, quality and traceability.

11bn worth of food is produced under the Red Tractor scheme every year and is available in supermarkets, restaurants, cafes as well as schools, hospitals and defence sites across the UK.
For more information please visit

Monday, 23 April 2012

Ethical Food Firm Redwood Sponsors Europe's Biggest Veggie Event

Award-winning ethical food firm The Redwood Wholefood Company is sponsoring VegfestUK Bristol, Europe’s biggest veggie event. This outdoor eco-friendly festival with admission FREE to the public takes place from 25th-27th May and is expected to attract crowds of up to 15,000 people.

Redwood, the main sponsor of the festival, will be giving away thousands of free tasters of its veggie and vegan foods throughout the event, as well as selling its range at discounted prices. There will also be a Redwood pop-up takeaway, with delicious gourmet meat-free hotdogs, burgers, Cornish-style pasties, sausage rolls and much more on sale.

New lines making an appearance in the South-West for the first time include Redwood’s fabulous new gourmet fish-free ‘fish’ cakes and ‘fish’ steaks, delicious new vegan pizzas, tasty parmesan-style dairy-free ‘cheese’, delectable strawberry ‘Wot No Dairy’ desserts and mini ‘pork’ style sausages.

As well as cookery demos and ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ style competitions with local chefs, VegfestUK Bristol will also feature The Great Veggie Sausage and Burger competitions and kids cookery classes.

There will be a comedy hour each day, crazy golf and an acoustic stage with headline acts from Finley Quaye, Neville Staple of The Specials and Johnny Clarke.

“This is a perfect opportunity for everyone to come along, have a great day out and find out how delicious veggie and vegan food can be,” said Lee Rockingham of Redwood.

All Redwood foods are made from natural plant-based ingredients so free from animal products and derivatives as well as cholesterol, artificial colours/preservatives, lactose, hydrogenated fats and GMOs.

This makes them suitable not just for vegetarians and vegans, but also for people suffering from lactose or casein intolerance and anyone looking for a healthier and more ethical lifestyle. Redwood products are also kosher certified and the company itself is halal process certified.

According to The Ethical Company Organisation and The Good Shopping Guide, Redwood is the UK’s most ethical vegetarian foods firm. Find out more at For details of VegFestUK Bristol, which takes place at the Amphitheatre and Waterfront Square, Harbourside, Bristol, visit

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Get Creative In The Kitchen With Gluten-Free Grains

Being gluten intolerant need not mean limiting your culinary creativity. Join Leiths this June for an inspiring one-day workshop designed to enhance your kitchen confidence and skills when cooking without wheat.

Adriana Rabinovich, Leiths Diploma graduate and author of 'The Gluten-free Cookbook for Kids', will be leading this informative and hands-on one day class. Drawing on her wealth of knowledge and experience in baking, Adriana has devised a selection of recipes, which make the most of a range of wheat-free flours offering diverse textures and tastes. Adriana will show that sticking to a gluten-free diet can in fact uncover a fulfilling feast of wholesome and tasty possibilities.

Focusing on the wealth of different gluten-free flours and grains available, this workshop will explore how to use these ingredients to maximum effect in your cooking.  With an emphasis on baking, the course will cover the different properties of non-wheat flours like teff, chickpea and sorghum, using them in creative ways to develop healthy and tasty gluten-free goodies, from a moist American corn bread to delicate little amaretti biscuits. This course is ideal for those seeking inspiring ways to enjoy a healthier gluten-free diet.

Sample recipes include: Teff Bread, American Style Corn Bread, Potato Gnocchi, Buckwheat Cheese Straws, Cecina (a savoury chickpea cake), Amaretti Biscuits and a Hazelnut Cake.

Creative Gluten Free Cooking Thursday 14th June 2012 10.00-4.00 Price: £165

Leiths School of Food and Wine is a genuinely first-class training school for chefs, attracting students of all ages from all over the world. With its dedicated teaching and friendly atmosphere, Leiths' guiding principle is to impart enthusiasm for the trade and instil a lasting love of good food and wine. This is not restricted to career cooks - many enthusiastic amateurs attend the varied programme of courses and diverse range of special events, from food and wine matching evenings to chocolate workshops and carving demonstrations.

For those with professional ambitions, the Leiths Diploma in Food and Wine is highly respected in the culinary world and can be achieved in three terms, starting in September of each year, or in two terms, starting in January.  Students learn menu planning, budgeting and wine appreciation and attend daily demonstrations and practical classes, as well as lectures by leading gastronomic celebrities, famous retailers and head chefs from leading hotels and restaurants.

Throughout the year, visits are organised and students get the chance to undertake work experience in leading London restaurants.  For those keen to learn the basic skills needed to become a confident, capable, efficient cook in just four weeks, the Leiths Essential Certificate takes place late summer every year, making it especially suitable as a summer course for amateur cooks at the start of a gap year.

Leiths excels on both the theoretical and the practical sides of cookery, benefiting from over 35 years' experience, whilst remaining fully abreast of contemporary techniques, styles and methods.  Leiths is run by Managing Director Camilla Schneideman and is owned by Sir Christopher Bland.

For further information please visit

Get Barbecue Season Off To A Sizzling Start With Primula's NEW Limited Edition Burger Cheese

Primula, the uniquely squeezy cheese, is firing up for barbecue season and national barbecue week (28 May - 3 June 2012) with the launch of an exciting new burger cheese variety to add a touch of spice to their popular product range.

The new limited edition Primula Burger Cheese is destined to be this summer's taste sensation, with its refreshing combination of hot and tangy flavours.  It kicks up the heat with a hint of red peppers, chillies and dill to help add some zing to well-loved barbecue favourites this summer.

Primula Burger Cheese can be used instead of conventional cheese slices and easily squeezed onto burgers, sausages and steaks or used as a potato topping or for a spicy cheesy sauce, making it a versatile zesty addition to any summer barbecue or picnic treat.

Primula Burger Cheese is targeted at younger audiences, with a focus on summer dining, but will also appeal to Primula's existing loyal fans looking to spice up their favourite seasonal recipes.

Craig Brooks, Marketing Director for Primula said: "We're really excited about the launch of our new limited edition Burger Cheese in time for barbecue season, as well as for some of this summer's biggest celebrations, including the Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics in London.

"Primula Burger Cheese will help the nation celebrate the 'Best of British' by adding a spicy and versatile twist to any summer dining occasion. We're confident that it will offer a completely new taste sensation to existing Primula fans, as well as to those who simply love barbecues and burgers."

As with all the Primula range, the new Primula Burger Cheese contains more real cheese than any other leading brand and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

The new Primula Burger Cheese must be kept refrigerated and stays fresh for up to 14 days after opening.  It's gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and is high in protein. A 25g squeeze of Primula Burger Cheese contains 12.5% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth. Primula Burger Cheese is pasteurised, so is also suitable for mums to be.

Primula Burger Cheese tubes (100g) will be stocked in Sainsbury's and Morrisons stores nationwide from May, priced around £1.
For more information on Primula including a huge range of recipe and snack ideas please visit or

Report: Carbonostics Democratising Product Lifecycle Assessment for Food Sector

Carbonostics is contributing to the growth of the product LCA market in Europe, which independent analyst firm reports will hit $103.3 million by 2015.

Carbonostics, the online product lifecycle assessment (pLCA) application for the food sector, participated in the latest report from independent analyst firm Verdantix, European Product LCA Market Forecast 2011-2015, published in March 2012.

The latest research from Verdantix reviews the barriers and drivers influencing the penetration of pLCA per industry to size, and forecast that the European market is set to reach $40.5 million in 2012 and more than double over the next three years hitting $103.3 million by 2015. The report takes into consideration software, implementation and support budgets while detailing spend in European countries including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. This research follows on from a previous report Smart Innovators: Product LCA Software that reviewed usage scenarios and solutions available on the market, which also included Carbonostics.

The research found that over the past three years, the choice of LCA tools on the market has increased with new entrants popularizing LCA. Furthermore, the report states that simplified interfaces designed for specific product categories or industries, such as food and beverage industry focused software Carbonostics, are supporting the uptake of LCA in new industries and for new usage scenarios by making LCA accessible to non-experts.

Carbonostics (cost + carbon + nutrition) was launched over three years ago and continues to be a pioneering force in food product sustainability with its triple-bottom-line approach. It delivers product lifecycle assessment, hot-spot screening and product portfolio analysis via an online tool that includes a built-in, comprehensive database with over 2500 emission factors relevant to the food industry.

“Carbonostics is driving the growth of product LCA applications and software in Europe and beyond by delivering a new approach to product sustainability and lifecycle assessment. Carbonostics is the fruit of our vision to build the bridge between science and practical world business needs in order to make LCA accessible to all companies in the food sector, whether big or small. Our goal is to equip all companies with accurate, intelligent, and actionable information with which to make strategic sustainability decisions,” Bluehorse president Sara Pax explains.

“We are proud that our commitment to bringing LCA to the business world is being recognised by the food industry as well as in this report,” she adds.

The Carbonostics tool is used by large and small food manufacturers and foodservice suppliers in order to reduce carbon, cost and waste, identify supply chain efficiencies, improve supplier relationships and support new product design and R&D.

Verdantix industry analyst Emily Beauchamp says, “In this report, we clearly see that the market for pLCA software provides an indication of the uptake of life cycle thinking in product development and supply chain management. This market evolution will lead new firms to adopt pLCA and encourage existing users to expand their use of this type of metric across their teams.”

To enquire about the European Product LCA Market Forecast 2011-2015 research from Verdantix, please visit

To learn more about how Carbonostics is transforming businesses and products in the food sector, visit Carbonostics or reach us at or by calling +33/ for France or at +1/312-565-9967 for the US.

Afternoon Tea. Are we being ripped off?

Joe Ellis of the Joe EllisAfternoon tea in establishments including The Ritz and London’s Lanesborough have been slated recently by Which?, who have declared they are among Britain’s most expensive for consumers. 
Even the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms in Yorkshire charge in excess of £30.00 which seems a lot to many of us. So, do these higher end establishments serve a better afternoon tea than the typical town or country tea room?

Joe Ellis, the somewhat controversial reviewer of the Joe Ellis Tea Room Guide website thinks not. His passion is not for the ‘cuppa’ tea itself, but for the tea room: the ambience, the staff friendliness, and the attention to detail of both what is served and the environment. He is also sceptical of the need for Tea Guild endorsement.

There is no doubt that the high end establishments pay attention to detail; but sadly this may well be what we pay the high price for.

Ellis advocates supporting the more traditional tea rooms; painted pretty colours, with lace tablecloths and pretty china; and staff who get to know their customers.

Ellis says ‘ a posh hotel does not automatically make for a better afternoon tea experience; in fact you will be more sure of a hearty welcome and value for money at some of the beautiful little tea rooms around England, that I have visited’

Ellis goes on ‘I realise that many of these high end places have the Tea Guild accreditation, but they have to pay for this so-called privilege each year and this surely bumps up their costs before they start. I have been to many tea rooms including Miss Mollett’s High Class Tea Room in Appledore, the Mad Hatter Tea Room in Margate and Harriet’s of Peterborough where the experience you will receive will allow you a delicious afternoon tea in a friendly and cosy atmosphere.’

Statistics show that 15 traditional English tea rooms are closing down every week, and really need our support to keep going.

An afternoon tea should not need to cost the earth and all the time we keep on paying these extortionate costs, establishments will continue to charge us.

Ellis continues, I have been to Tea Guild establishments and to non Tea Guild establishments, and I can honestly say in many cases, the latter have provided a better experience overall: they may not have the choice in teas, but as the Tea Guild pointed out recently, it is about the handmade pastries as much as the tea itself’.

‘I really don’t think the Tea Guild are living in the real world these days; financial struggles of late determine where we spend our money, and we should be encouraged to support local businesses and enjoy a cost effective and enjoyable experience’.

Joe Ellis’ website is very popular and he receives good feedback on the tea rooms he visits daily. He is also editor of the Time for Tea magazine which can be subscribed to via the site at

(EDITOR: My wife and I had afternoon tea at one one London's most exclusive hotel tearooms. My wife's job involves inspecting hygiene standards at a large hospital. Her verdict on the tearoom? "Filthy, dirty and a food safety disaster waiting to happen." Needless to say, we will not be taking tea there again, any time soon.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Graphics and Print - Proud Sponsors of the Heart of England fine foods Awards

For a number of years Graphics and Print, the award winning Telford based commercial printers have not only provided design and print for Heart of England fine foods but have also sponsored their annual awards evening. The 2012 Diamond Awards take place on Saturday 12 May at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, NEC and Graphics and Print are once again proud sponsors at this event.

Managing Director, Martin Kells, explains why the Telford-based printers are proud to be a part of these awards: “Graphics and Print started in Telford in 1980 as a small family-run business, and we know how important it is to have local support in order to succeed. Despite our rapid growth, we have managed to maintain a ‘family’ atmosphere during our growth journey, creating our own internal company community.

"This sense of valuing our people is expressed through our interaction with the wider society. We believe passionately at Graphics and Print in giving something back to our community. We have a strong commitment to the communities in which we operate, and we are one of the few print companies to make a commitment that every one of our employees will spend a minimum of two days per year, during work time, supporting the local community.

"This often involves helping disadvantaged people in having a better life. We are proud of the work that the Heart of England fine foods (HEFF) does as they look to support small to medium sized food businesses and whilst we aren’t a food business, we support this industry and understand the challenges which small and medium sized businesses face, being a small to medium sized business ourselves. We are therefore only too pleased to support HEFF as they support the same community that we do - Birmingham & the Black Country, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.”

Graphics and Print are dedicated towards establishing relationships with organisations in the local area to help strengthen the community infrastructure. They aim to use local suppliers where possible to help support neighbouring businesses, and encourage employees to actively get involved with charitable events across the region. Graphics and Print regularly offer work experience opportunities to nearby schools and colleges as well as the mentoring of university students who wish to pursue a career in print. They support staff participation in local or community-based charitable events through a staff-managed charitable fund. This can consist of paying for entry fees, matching sponsorship raised or indeed simply a donation.

Flavour Taster - May Bank Holiday Food Festival

The full programme of events for the inaugural Flavour Taster food festival has been confirmed. Taking place over May Bank Holiday weekend, from 4th – 7th May, at venues across Dumfries & Galloway in south west Scotland, Flavour Taster encourages people to discover the region’s artisan food and drink produce this spring.

Flavour Taster has been developed by Savour the Flavours to give visitors to Dumfries & Galloway a bite sized taste of popular autumn food festival Flavour Fortnight (25 Aug – 9 Sep 2012). Dumfries & Galloway is increasingly becoming known as an artisan food destination and the 39 events taking place during Flavour Taster will give visitors the opportunity to connect with local produce and the people who create it in a variety of ways.

Liz Ramsay, Project Manager of Savour the Flavours, said: “We're encouraging people to take a bite out of Dumfries & Galloway this May. Flavour Taster will help introduce foodies to Dumfries & Galloway and encourage visitors who are already here to discover the flavours of our region, and we hope it will encourage more visitors to return for longer breaks in the autumn to enjoy Flavour Fortnight. I’m thrilled that our local food businesses are supporting this new festival by hosting such a delicious range of quality experiences, each of which has local produce at its heart.”

Programme highlights include Lambing Live in Portpatrick where there’s a good chance of seeing a ewe giving birth as well as finding out about pedigree lamb and beef; a Spring Forage with Gourmet Wild Food Tasting menu with an experienced forager and wild food chef; a Harbour Festival in Annan; an introduction to fish with talks, demonstrations and cookery class at world renowned Penninghame House; a local food themed tapas at National Trust for Scotland’s Threave Gardens; workshops on confectionary making and artisan bread baking; Masterchef Masterclass a full day of training in a professional kitchen; an immersive farm tour and butchery day and a myriad of sampling and tasting opportunities, chef demonstrations, farmers' markets and special menus across south west Scotland.

Savour the Flavours is funded by LEADER and Dumfries & Galloway Council, and Dumfries & Galloway Council have provided extra funding for Flavour Taster through the South of Scotland Business Competitive Project, a new European funded project that supports local businesses and promotes economic growth.

For more information visit .

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

COOKS&CO’s Hearts of Palm add a delicious, nutritious twist to slimming summer salads

COOKS&CO, the must-have fine food range for the discerning home cook, has the perfect tasty and healthy ingredient for summer salads with a difference – Hearts of Palm.

Harvested from the soft core of the palm tree, COOKS&CO Hearts of Palm add a delicious crunch to any dish and are packed with healthy nutrients. As well as being very low in cholesterol, they are a great source of protein and fibre, are very high in calcium, iron, Vitamin C, and much more besides. And containing just 25 kcal per 100g, they make an excellent snacking alternative for the health or weight conscious shopper.

Meanwhile, the unique flavour and texture of COOKS&CO Hearts of Palm make them a surprisingly versatile food in a range of dishes. For a quick appetiser add a simple vinaigrette dressing, or wrap in smoked salmon or Parma ham for a more luxurious treat. Alternatively, slice them to make a delicious addition to your summer salads, pizzas, quiches and tarts.

Or try them in a delicious ‘Millionaire’s Salad’, so called because it is full of delicious and luxurious ingredients that are bound to leave anyone who tries it feeling like a millionaire!

390g can COOKS&CO Artichoke Hearts, quartered
400g can COOKS&CO Hearts of Palm, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
290g jar COOKS&CO Pitted Kalamata Olives, sliced in half
60g COOKS&CO Roasted Red Peppers
450g fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp pepper

Drain the artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, olives and roasted red peppers. Add mushrooms. Combine other ingredients. Mix with vegetables. Allow to stand in refrigerator overnight.

COOKS&CO Hearts of Palm (RSP: £1.99, 400g) are very low in low in Cholesterol and a good source of Protein, Riboflavin and Potassium, as well as Dietary Fibre, Vitamin C, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.

COOKS&CO foods are available in key retailers including Tesco, Asda, Ocado, Budgens and Booths. Its extensive range of fine food products are designed for people who appreciate good food and fantastic flavours. Providing high quality at affordable prices, COOKS&CO offers delicious ingredients which are sourced from producers whose focus is on delivering products of exceptional flavour and quality.

Celebrate National Stilton Week in style, with Long Clawson

As a nation of cheese lovers, the UK is celebrating National Stilton Week (15th – 21st April) with a chunky slice of the traditional blue cheese.

In 1911, 12 farmers from the Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire, formed a co-operative to produce Stilton cheese in the village of Long Clawson – and Long Clawson Dairy was founded.

Over 100 years later, Long Clawson Dairy is famous for its Stilton and is one of only five dairies in the world licensed to produce it.

Cook up a cheese storm which a Long Clawson Stilton recipe:

(Serves 4 as a main)
8 Cumberland sausages
3 tbsp olive oil
6 large potatoes
300g Long Clawson Blue Stilton, crumbled
4 tbsp double cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Onion gravy (optional):
Oil for frying
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
500ml beef stock

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the sausages and fry for 10 minutes over a medium heat, until golden- brown on all sides and cooked through.

Cook the peeled and chopped potato in boiling water until tender.
Drain well and mash with the Blue Stilton and cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, pile the mash onto a serving plate and top with the Cumberland sausages.
To make the onion gravy place oil in a non-stick pan, heat and then add the sliced red onion and cook over a gentle heat. Once the onions have started to caramelize and soften add the beef stock and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the gravy thickens and reaches the preferred consistency.

Sweat off the onions in the oil with the garlic, thyme and oregano until soft and opaque.

For more information visit

How are the new meals at Sizzling Pubs? Sizzling!

On April 25, Sizzling Pubs brand new summer menu launches across all their 220 locations nationwide. With tasty new dishes and deals for all the family, the menu is set to go down a storm and offer something for every taste and wallet.

With a range of new additions and the return of some old favourites, customers can expect to find the usual classic and traditional dishes, friendly service and a warm welcome to make them feel at home but now with that little bit extra.

For adults, the new menu sees the all-new, Season N Shake Chicken, which is a bit of food theatre on your plate. Customers get their choice of a Sizzling chicken combo and a selection of delicious seasonings; they then simply shake it up for themselves at the table to create their own tasty dish.

Also for adults the new menu sees new dishes such as crispy chicken noodles, which is from Sizzling Pubs “Create A Dish” initiative. Sizzling Pubs chefs across the country get to come up with dishes and this meal was made by Tracey Rayner from the Greville Arms in Birmingham. Plus there is also a range of new pies and salads plus a brand new weekend offer. All day Saturday and Sunday, two can dine for just £20. The offer includes two courses, choosing from a starter, main and dessert, plus a bottle of wine, so why not take your loved one out for a bargain bite to eat and save on the washing up.

There’s a brand new Sizzling Kids menu with a three-step format, making little ones’ decisions on their food much easier. Simply pick a main, a type of potato and a veg option – all priced at just £2.99. Why not take advantage of the kids bundle deal where you can get a main, pudding and a drink, just for £4.50.

For those with a sweet tooth, the brand new Lightly Lemon Ice Cream Cake and Chocolate Fudge Sundae are sure winners. Both priced at just £2.99 why not indulge in a post meal treat or two.

With the return of great weekday offers like Curry Night, Grill Night and Kids Eat for £1, Sizzling Pubs is the best place for the whole family every night of the week this summer.

With locations nationwide, Sizzling Pubs serves almost a quarter of a million meals each week. Check out to find your nearest location and information on all their mouth-watering offers and dishes.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Husband & Wife Team Launch a Titanic Cookery Course to Celebrate the Centenary

Cookery school hosts, Jim and Lucy Fisher, have launched a unique course to celebrate the centenary of the Titanic and its sumptuous, Escoffier-inspired menus.

Quail Eggs Benedict with Smoked Duck Breast and Waldorf Pudding with French Ice Cream are just two of the dishes Jim and Lucy will teach their guests at their Dordogne-based cookery school.

Throughout the week, a host of techniques will be taught all of which culminate in the creation of a 10-course Titanic Banquet on the final night of the course.

The pair came up with the idea as a tribute. Jim discovered he had a relative who died in the tragedy when researching his family history. Jim, a former policeman, was a BBC Masterchef finalist and has since worked with Rick Stein, Tony Tobin and Alistair Little. He met his wife Lucy when she was working in the City and instantly fell in love with her when he discovered she was also a butcher.

They now run their own school in the Dordogne and are adamant they can turn the most inept cook into a chef in just five days.

For more information on the Titanic Cookery Course as well as Jim and Lucy’s other courses please visit

Cost for the Titanic Cookery courses are €845.00 EUR for the full, all-inclusive five night experience.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Popcorn Done Properly

New British brand, PROPERCORN, offers a guilt-free, tasty snack made from authentic flavours and natural ingredients.

PROPERCORN, the newly launched gourmet, British, popcorn brand is ready to show the nation how popcorn is done properly. Following secret recipes that use only the most authentic ingredients (including garden chives, roasted onions, sun-dried tomatoes and crème fraiche), the freshly popped butterfly corn is delicately tumbled to create a delicious, guilt-free snack.

Created by young entrepreneur Cassandra Stavrou, she founded PROPERCORN with fond childhood memories of cooking popcorn with her father and developed the recipes from scratch. The result is a delicious and full-flavoured product without the synthetic tastes found in other brands. It is no wonder that in a blind taste test 92% of people preferred PROPERCORN to other popular popcorn brands! It is also good for you; high in fibre, 100% wholegrain and less than 100 calories per pack.

Munched on by politicians at The Houses of Parliament through to the creative geniuses over at Google, this light and satisfying snack is perfect to see you through the day and comes in four delicious flavours: Fiery Worcester Sauce & Sun Dried Tomato, Sweet & Salty, Sour Cream & Chive, and Lightly Sea Salted - with more exciting flavours to follow soon.

PROPERCORN is available now from retailers nationwide (RRP 95p), including Harvey Nichols, BENUGO, LEON, POD, Chop'd, Abokado and Peyton and Byrne, it is also the snack of choice in work places including Google, The Houses of Parliament, SONY and The Guardian HQ!

- Available nationwide in Waitroses, Harvey Nichols; London, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Leeds and Dublin.

- Available from selected retailers including LEON, POD, Peyton and Byrne, Chop'd, Abokado, and all BENUGO cafés as well as iconic landmarks, museums and galleries such as the Natural History Museum and The National Gallery.

- Available as a snack of choice in work places including Google, The Houses of Parliament, The Cabinet Office, Bloomberg, The Guardian HQ, Herbert Smith, Credit Suisse, SONY BMG HQ, and JWT.

- Available on all Eurostar routes to cities across the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland.

- RRP 95p for a 20g packet.

- Follow PROPERCORN on Twitter ( and Facebook (

Rare Rare Breed Saddleback Pork Available At Cranston

This April and May, Cranstons are offering customers the chance to try traditionally-reared Saddleback Pork. Local rare breed farmer Sarah Harden of Brougham Hall Farm, Penrith, ensures her pigs are outside all year and mature more slowly than modern commercial breeds, giving the meat a unique flavour, deep colour, and succulent texture.

Sarah has a small herd of Saddlebacks and is as passionate advocate of the need to support Britain's traditional pig breeds. She is confident that Cranstons customers will notice the difference when compared to commercial breeds, as her pigs are matured slowly for a minimum of six months and are fed on a cereal-based nut, supplemented by farm haylage and seasonal fruit, adding to the pigs' flavour.

Sarah says, "My herd is reared as nature intends. They live outdoors for three hundred and sixty five days of the year in arcs or shelters in large paddocks, and this allows them to live as naturally as possible, rooting, wallowing, and lying out in the sun. Combined with the fact that they are slow-grown and fed a traditional diet, this gives the pork a wonderful taste--it tastes like pork used to taste!"

With the growth of high yield commercial pork breeds in the 1960's Britain's traditional pork breeds fell into decline. The decision of key rare breed society members in the 1980s to start selling rare breed meat ('conservation by consumption') has been fundamental in rescuing breeds like the Saddleback. Specialist food shops have found a real demand amongst customers for rare breed meat, with its depth of flavour. This renewed demand which has made it commercially viable to rear rare breeds, returning national herd numbers to healthy levels.

Saddleback Pork is the latest 'speciality meat' to be promoted by Cranstons, following the success of other meats such as Herdwick Lamb and Salt Marsh Lamb.

Roger Cranston said, 'Alongside our standard locally sourced meats, Cranstons feature a number of regional specialities throughout the year, giving our customers the chance to try something a bit different. We are particularly excited to be working with Sarah to bring our customers traditional Saddleback pork. Alongside the traditional roasting and frying cuts, we will be producing a highly-spiced, "old-Fashioned Saddleback Pork Cumberland Sausage."'

Brougham Hall Farm Saddleback Pork is now available at Cranstons flagship Cumbrian Food Hall, as well as via their website,

A Taste Of India This Summer With Anjum Anand

We may not have the white sands of Goa or the tropical lagoons of Kerala but you can easily create your very own Indian Summer here in the UK thanks to some quick hints and tips from TV chef and cookery writer, Anjum Anand.

King of the grill...

"No barbecue is complete without burgers so why not try these succulent chicken burgers with an Indian twist? The coriander, cumin and chillies add a delicious spice and depth of flavour and the burgers taste great with chutney flavoured mayonnaise or simply with ketchup.

Chicken Burgers
Makes 4
400g chicken mince
6g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
10g garlic (approximately 3 large cloves), peeled and finely chopped
1 small onion, peeled, half finely chopped (for the burgers) and half sliced into rings (for serving)
large handful of fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp salt
3⁄4 tsp garam masala
11⁄2 slices of medium-cut bread, crumbed
1 egg
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 green chillies (optional), chopped and seeded
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for oiling the pan

To serve
7 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 tsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1-2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
salt, to taste
1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
4 burger buns, halved
lettuce leaves, shredded
1 beef tomato, sliced

Mix together all the ingredients for the burgers, leaving out the onion rings. Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Mould the mince into four burgers and place on an oiled baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.

Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise with the coriander and mint leaves, lemon, salt and pepper. Warm the burger buns in the oven for the final 2 minutes of cooking time.

Place a small handful of the lettuce on the bottom of each bun with the sliced tomato and onion rings and a good dollop of the herbed mayonnaise. Top with the hot burgers and finish off with the top half of the bun.

Don't forget a veggie option!
Vegetarians often get a raw deal at barbecues: a side salad just isn't enough! The Indian cheese paneer is very versatile, tastes great grilled, tandoori-style and is now widely available in supermarkets. These Paneer and Vegetable Skewers are full flavoured, have lots of texture and are very satisfying regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or not. Tandoori food is often served with sliced or chopped tomatoes, red onions and cucumbers seasoned and drizzled in lemon juice, and some green chutney.

Paneer and Vegetable Skewers
Makes 6 skewers
300g paneer, cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 green and 1 red pepper, cored and cut into 2.5cm cubes
Vegetable oil, for greasing
6 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
2 tbsp melted butter
Chaat masala, to sprinkle

125ml Greek-style yoghurt
5g fresh ginger, peeled
10g garlic (approximately 3 large cloves), peeled
Salt, to taste
¼ - ½ tsp chilli powder, or to taste
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp gram flour
1 tsp cumin powder
Seeds of 6 cardamom pods, powdered with a pestle and mortar

Purée all the marinade ingredients until smooth, then place in a non-metallic bowl. Add the paneer and vegetables and allow them to soak up the flavours for 30 - 40 minutes or longer in the fridge.

Thread the vegetables and paneer alternatively onto the skewers. Grill for 7 minutes on a hot barbecue, drizzle over the melted butter, turn and cook for another 2-4 minutes or until charred at the edges. (Alternatively cook in an oven preheated to 200 C/ 400 F / gars mark 6 for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway). Sprinkle the skewers liberally with chaat masala and serve with bread.

A bit on the side
A salad is essential at a barbecues, giving some lightness to the heavier meat dishes. This Indian chopped salad usually accompanies a curry but tastes just as good with grilled meats and vegetables.

Indian Chopped Salad (kachumber)
Serves 4
2 ripe vine tomatoes
120g cucumber (I keep the skin on)
4 small radishes
½ small onion, finely
1 - 2 green chillies, seeded and chopped (optional)
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
1/3 roasted cumin powder
Handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves

Chop the tomatoes into small dice. Slice the cucumbers lengthways, discard the seeds and cut into small cubes the same size as the tomatoes. Do the same with the radishes.

Toss together all the vegetables and chillies (if using), season, stir through the lemon juice, roasted cumin powder and chopped coriander, and serve, or keep at room temperature until you are ready to eat.

Keep the drink flowing

If it's hot outside you need to keep hydrated and lassis are the perfect accompaniment to Indian flavours. My blackberry lassi is light and refreshing - served over ice it's an ideal barbecue drink.

Blackberry lassi
Serves 2

300g blackberries
200ml natural yoghurt
½ tsp lemon juice

1 ½ - 2 ½ tbsp sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries)
Ice cubes and mint leaves, to serve

Purée the berries, yoghurt, lemon and most of the sugar with 140ml water. Sweeten to taste. Pour through a sieve into glasses to remove the seeds. Serve chilled over ice cubes, with a mint leaf on top for colour and freshness.

And what if the weather's bad?

We can never predict or guarantee the British weather, so if the heavens do open or if it's too cold to set outside, you need a back up plan. My range of cooking sauces, The Spice Tailor, allows you to cook authentic and delicious curries at home in just 10 minutes. With seven in the range, Rustic Rogan Josh, Delicate Korma, Spiced Spinach Curry, Keralan Coconut Curry, Punjabi Tomato Curry, Original Tikka Masala and Mangalore Herb Curry, there's one to suit every taste. The Spice Tailor is available to buy in Waitrose stores nationwide and online at

Here's to a long and glorious Summer - Indian style!

The Spice Tailor range is available to buy in Waitrose and online at

There are seven varieties to be enjoyed in The Spice Tailor range: earthy and robust Punjabi Tomato Curry, nutty and aromatic Delicate Korma Curry, deep & hearty Rustic Rogan Josh, balanced and mellow Keralan Coconut Curry, fragrant and zingy Mangalore Herb Curry, distinctive and bold Original Tikka Masala and smooth and bright Spicy Spinach Curry Sauce.

In total, Anjum Anand has written five books (four focused specifically on Indian food), generating sales in excess of 500,000. The books are Indian Every Day (2003), Indian Food Made Easy (2007), Anjum's New Indian (2008), Eat Right for Your Body Type (2010) and her very latest book 'I Love Curry' (2010)

In 2007, Anjum first appeared on our television screens with her series Indian Food Made Easy on BBC 2. In 2008 a second series was commissioned and was watched by over 3 million viewers. Both series have aired around the world and established Anjum as an empathetic, warm, confident and capable presenter, with the knowledge and expertise of a top class chef.

For more information visit The Spice Tailor website:

Tuesday, 3 April 2012