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22 December 2015

Stay food safe this Christmas

Christmas is a time when a lot of food is bought and consumed, sometimes rather too much of it too. We're often faced with the prospect of cooking unfamiliar things, after all it's not everyday we cook a huge turkey or rib of beef. And then there's the issue of all the surplus - what to do with all the leftovers.

Ultimately there is pressure on us to become the ultimate domestic goddess or even god – but what food safety issues do we need to think about?

Sarah Daniels of The Red Cat Partnership has given us a few simple tips to follow to ensure your Christmas is a merry one.

Buying and storing food
Firstly do not buy or prepare food too far in advance.
When buying food you must consider the use by date – this is the date the manufacturer/ producer can guarantee that if we have stored it correctly
(in the fridge) that it is safe to eat.

Do not buy food that you cannot eat before the end of this use by period.
You will also need to be mindful of the ‘once open consume within’ guidance given – this will over ride the shelf life and may only be 2 days.
So do not buy your perishable foods too far in advance. If you need to buy early then freeze as soon as you can after purchasing – more on defrosting later.

Best before dates are just that. The food tastes best before that date – it won’t harm you afterwards, though it may not taste as good as it should.

Keep perishable foods in the fridge and do not overload the fridge.
I know we want a chilled beer or glass of wine, but the foodstuffs that support nasty bacteria growing need to be kept refrigerated to ensure the food is safe to eat.

Also we should not overload our fridges – if air cannot circulate this can cause a rise in temperature which can cause a dangerous growth of bacteria.

Also we need to keep raw and ready-to-eat foods apart.
Keep raw meats/ fish/ eggs and veg, particularly soily veg at the bottom of the fridge.

Preparing food
When preparing foods, this too, must not be done too far in advance.
If you're still eating the turkey on New Year’s day it is pushing it from a food safety perspective – prepare what you can eat within 2 –3 days.

If you are not going to eat it, portion it up and freeze as soon after cooking as you can.
Do cool foods quickly by portioning them, or taking them out of their cooking container as this will prevent nasty poisons / toxins developing.

Preparing the festive bird
There is no need to wash the bird – this can cause bacteria to be splashed and therefore spread around the kitchen. Those stomach upsetting bugs will be killed if the bird is cooked thoroughly.

Cooking and defrosting
If you need to defrost foods, do it in the fridge. This will take longer but it is safer. If there is no room in the fridge do it overnight whilst the central heating is off.
Ensure that all foods are thoroughly defrosted before cooking, otherwise the oven temperature will just defrost the meat and not cook it thoroughly.

Allow enough time for the cooking process.
Be mindful of how much food you need to cook at once and the order it needs to be cooked in. Most shops and magazines have countdown guides.
I would rather have a delayed festive meal than food poisoning, or a hard potato rather than an undercooked pink turkey!

Always check that poultry is cooked thoroughly – you do not need a probe – but pierce the bird/dish at the thickest point and ensure that juices are clear and the food is piping hot.

And lastly enjoy without the fear of a festive food poisoning!

Sarah Daniels is director of  The Red Cat Partnership a health and safety consultancy based in Norwich.
Courses are available covering food safety with a team of chartered environmental health practitioners.

21 December 2015

How to carve a turkey

So you've bought the best turkey and cooked it to perfection, so what's the best way to carve it?
This step-by-step guide should put you on the right track to getting those lovely slices of meat off the bird that you'll be proud to serve to your family and guests.

Step 1
With a sharp knife, cut the skin between leg and breast.
Bend leg outwards and cut straight through the joint, removing the whole leg. Repeat on the other side. If the turkey is properly cooked, the legs will fall away easily. Do the same with each wing, leaving the breast meat intact.

Step 2
With the legs removed, slice horizontally at the base of the breast until your knife reaches the carcass. Do this on both sides. Then, slice downwards in neat, even slices.

Step 3
Slice the dark meat off the legs (hold the drumstick with a piece of kitchen paper if this makes it easier). Arrange round the edge of the serving platter. Pile the slices of white meat in the centre and carry into the dining room.

Step-by-step, photos and illustrations reproduced
with kind permission of British Turkey

20 December 2015

How to make perfect roast potatoes

Photo: © childsdesign
To be served a roast dinner without roast potatoes would be a serious misdemeanour. The meal would not be complete without these heavenly golden crunchy caskets encasing the fluffy potato within.

You can never make too many either as we don't know anyone who doesn't love a roast potato, so they're bound to want second helpings!

For the best results you will need floury potatoes such as Maris Piper, King Edward or Desiree.

How to make perfect roast potatoes
Peel your potatoes, removing any eyes or blemishes and cut the potatoes into halves. Put into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil.

Add about half a teaspoon of salt. Don't skip this part as the salt the allows the potato's cells to crumble which will give a crunchier texture.

Parboil the potatoes for 7 minutes if the chunks are large or 5 minutes if they are small. Drain into a colander and leave to allow the steam to evaporate off and dry out.

Give your potatoes a good shake in the colander to break up their surfaces, but be careful that you don't smash them completely to bits. The fluffy surface you have created will crisp up when roasted.

There are various approaches to the next stage – adding the fat.
You can choose from a variety of fats and oils – it's up to you. Some people swear by goose or duck fat, pork lard or even beef dripping for that traditional old fashioned flavour but you could you use olive oil, but we like to use cold pressed rapeseed oil for ours (see below for producers).
Many cooks heat the fat in the tray before adding the potatoes, but we've found that by coating the potatoes in the cold oil first then tipping them into a very hot tray produces a good thick crunchy crust.

You'll need to get your oven good and hot, 220C / Gas 7, to heat the tray. Once you place the tray of potatoes into the oven turn down the heat to
190C / Gas 5. This works best as some fats are prone to spoiling at very high heats. Put your potatoes on the top shelf and roast for about an hour. Sprinkle them with a little flaked sea salt, and if you like, add some sprigs of rosemary or thyme. Turn the potatoes twice throughout their cooking time. You should get nice evenly roasted potatoes with a golden colour and thick crust.

Once cooked remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon and keep warm in a serving dish. Don't leave the potatoes sitting in the cooking fat. They should stay crisp for at least 20 minutes, but the sooner you get them on the plate
the better.

Cold pressed rapeseed oil producers:
Yare Valley Oils
Filbert's Fine Foods
The Artisan Smokehouse – produce a smoked version

18 December 2015

Tips and recipes for great Christmas stuffing

You can make your turkey even more special with some tasty stuffing by stuffing the neck end of the bird right before cooking and seal by tucking in the skin. Make sure you weigh the turkey after stuffing to calculate the correct cooking time. Alternatively spoon into a dish and cook separately.

Here are some tips and recipes for great homemade stuffing:
  1. You can prepare the stuffing a few weeks beforehand and freeze, and then allow to thaw completely before using. Or prepare on Christmas Eve, allow to cool and store covered in the fridge. Always allow the stuffing to come back to room temperature before using to ensure the cooking times are not affected. 
  2. Turkeys should be stuffed just before cooking. Do not stuff the night before as this can be a breeding ground for bacteria. 
  3. Only stuff the neck cavity – never the body cavity – the body cavity can have sliced onion or lemon or orange and fresh herbs placed inside to infuse the meat with additional flavours. 
  4. Spoon stuffing into the neck cavity and seal the end by tucking in the skin and securing with cocktail sticks or darning needle and thread. Bread based stuffings tend to swell up slightly so do not pack in too tightly. Generally 350g will be enough for a 4.5-5kg bird. 
  5. Weigh the turkey after stuffing to calculate cooking time. If the bird is under 4kg allow 20 minutes per kg + 70 minutes. If the bird is over 4kg allow 20 minutes per kg + 90 minutes. 
  6. If you do not want to stuff the bird or have leftover stuffing mixture simply roll into little balls (use wet hands to make this easier). Brush with oil and bake for 20-30 minutes at the end of the turkey cooking time. Alternatively, spread stuffing mixture in a baking dish, bake for 30 minutes and serve cut into squares.

Green Herb, Lemon & Onion Stuffing

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 250g fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
  • 125g shredded suet
  • 2 lemons, grated rind of one and juice of two
  • 4 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped marjoram, or 1 tbsp dried
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped dill, or 1 tsp dried
  • 75g chopped walnuts, optional
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • stock or white wine to mix
  • salt and ground black pepper

Boil the onions in a little stock or water for 5 minutes, then chop, reserving the liquid for use later.
Mix with all the other ingredients until you have a firm, moist mixture, using the reserved liquid or wine to moisten if necessary. Season well and chill until required.

Fruit & Roasted Nut Stuffing

  • 125g dried, stoned prunes
  • 75g dried apricots
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium cooking apple, peeled and grated
  • 50g butter
  • liver of turkey, finely chopped
  • 125g fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
  • 50g roasted chopped hazelnuts or almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and ground black pepper

Chop prunes and apricots finely and soak for at least an hour in hot water, then drain, reserving some of the liquid. Fry celery, onion and apple in the butter for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally then add liver and fry for a further 3 minutes until firm and cooked.
Put crumbs and nuts in large bowl and stir in fried mixture together with fruit, egg and seasoning, moistening with some reserved liquid, if necessary. Allow to cool before using.

Mushroom & Bacon Stuffing

  • 175g mushrooms, wiped and chopped
  • 175g streaky bacon, de-rinded and chopped
  • 175g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50-75g butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 medium eggs

Mix the mushrooms, bacon, breadcrumbs, onions, herbs and seasoning together in a bowl
Stir in the melted butter or margarine and sufficient egg to bind the mixture together.
Use to stuff the neck cavity only. Cook any remaining stuffing separately.

Oatey Apple & Cranberry Stuffing

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, diced
  • 450g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 175g fine oatmeal
  • 175g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 75g dried cranberries
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and bacon and sauté for 5 mins until pale golden. Transfer to a bowl and cool slightly.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Season with a little salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
You can make this stuffing the day before required if liked. Simply cover the bowl with clear film and refrigerate until required.
Use the stuffing to fill the neck of turkey. Roll the remainder into balls and roast in the oven alongside the turkey for 20 mins or until golden.
Makes enough to fill the neck cavity of a 2.2kg (10lb) turkey.

Sausage, Chestnut & Bacon Stuffing

  • 50g streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 250g good sausagemeat
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage or 1 tsp dried
  • 75g fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
  • 125g canned chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • grated rind 1 lemon
  • salt and ground black pepper

Dry fry bacon in a small frying pan until the fat runs, then fry the onion in the juices for about 3 minutes.
Add sherry and cook until evaporated. Remove, tip into a big bowl and allow to cool. Mix in sausagemeat, sage, breadcrumbs, chestnuts, lemon rind and seasoning.
Chill and stuff before roasting.

Tips, photos and recipes reproduced
with kind permission of British Turkey

16 December 2015

A very important customer for Norfolk pork pies

We like to share good news especially when it comes to members of
The Artisan Food Trail, so when pork pie maker, Sarah Pettegree of
Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies dropped us an email telling us about her little
(yet no less significant) triumph, of course we were happy to broadcast it…

North Norfolk based, award winning, Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies had a most unexpected and exciting customer recently (5th December 2015) at the bustling Creake Abbey Farmers’ Market. Legendary celebrity chef, Albert Roux OBE, father of Masterchef’s Michel Roux Jnr, tasted some of the pork pies and liked them so much he promptly bought four.

Sarah Pettegree, who runs the business from Bayfield Brecks near Holt in North Norfolk said:
“I was amazed to see him standing in front of my stall and just delighted 
that someone so hugely important in the food world, and a real hero 
of mine, wanted to buy our pies. It took me quite a while to compose 
myself afterwards”

“It’s a real triumph for Norfolk’s great food producers that he came to the farmers market on a shopping expedition.”

French born, multi Michelin star restaurateur, Albert Roux also bought a jar of chutney and a bottle of cider from other local producers at the market.

Sarah, who has previously served her pork pies to a glittering array of famous names including Heston Blumenthal said:
“It sounded like a perfect Norfolk lunch in the making! Curiously, we have developed a core of French fans of our pork pies. I think it’s because they are very different to supermarket pork pies and have a complex seasoning that people compare to the classic French delicatessen specialty, pâté en croûte”

Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies are sold in independent farm shops, pubs and delicatessens around the UK and every month (except January) at Creake Abbey Farmer’s Market in North Norfolk and at The Norfolk Diet Farmers’ Market at The Forum Norwich.

To find out more about Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here

28 October 2015

Hibiscus Lily's superb spicy, sticky, tangy chutney

Photo: © Hibiscus Lily
A good dollop of chutney is always an essential companion to cheeses and meats, hot or cold. A piquant tang of sweet and sour will enliven many foods as well as rev up the taste buds.

Kanwal Pattar, owner of Hibiscus Lily has created an array of chutneys to appeal to many palates and complement a wide variety of foods.
She makes sure that traditional methods are used for all her recipes, some of which have been passed down through the generations and no additives or artificial preservatives can be found in any of the jars, they are also gluten free.

We tried the Hot and Spicy Date & Tamarind Chutney, a sumptuously
sticky concoction filled with rich sweet, delicious dates and tangy tamarind
with a kick of warmth coming from a myriad of spices alluding to Kanwal’s Punjabi heritage.
Hibiscus Lily may be based in Hertfordshire but the products bring the authentic essence of India to you.

Did you know?
Tamarind is a natural preservative due to its high acid content giving it the ability to inhibit bacterial growth.

We enjoyed the chutney as a simple side accompaniment and also discovered its versatility as a cooking ingredient as you can see in the photograph below.
Just cut some chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl with a good dollop or two of the Hot and Spicy Date & Tamarind Chutney, give it a good stir to coat all the chicken and leave to marinate for an hour or two. Thread on to skewers, drizzle with oil and place under a hot grill until cooked through and caramelised (slightly blackened).
The chicken is delicious and sticky with irresistible crunchy bits.

Photo: © childsdesign


We are pleased to award Hibiscus Lily our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Hot and Spicy Date & Tamarind Chutney.

To find out more about Hibiscus Lily visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here where you’ll find a link to their website for further information.

14 October 2015

Small business, small budget, no problem

If you’re visiting the Rural Entrepreneur Show at the NEC, Birmingham in November and are interested in getting the best out of your limited marketing budget, we invite you to attend the Small Business Marketing On An Even Smaller Budget seminar.

Graham Childs, co-founder of The Artisan Food Trail will be talking about how getting your name out there should be your first priority.
Surprisingly this part is often forgotten about and barely budgeted for in a new business, so how do you get people beating a path to your door?

The seminar will look at how online marketing and social media can get you seen by your prospective customers and clients, helping to build your brand’s recognition.
Your business can hold its own amongst much bigger businesses with much bigger budgets.
All it takes is a little time and effort, a simple strategy and a want to win.

When The Artisan Food Trail began back in 2011 it was a seed of an idea with a starting budget of less then £50 plus lots of creativity and tenacity!

The seminar takes place on Wednesday 11th November in Seminar Hall 5 at 2.45pm. The seminar is completely free to attend but spaces are limited so arrive early to secure your seat.

Tickets to the Rural Entrepreneur show are FREE just register to attend on the website: www.ruralentrepreneur.co.uk

9 October 2015

Nordic cultural exchange in food

Photo: © childsdesign
If you love food and are looking to broaden your taste horizons towards northern latitudes, you absolutely must get down to The Icelandic Pantry at Borough Market now for the final two days of their residency, the last day being Saturday 10th October.

The Icelandic Pantry is a collection of 14 artisan producers from all over Iceland who have brought their wares to our own fair capital.
There are lots of opportunities to taste before you buy and really get to know the people that make the products.

Before we go any further we want to reassure you that The Artisan Food Trail is still very much focussed on British food and drink producers. This post is about one of our outings where we have an opportunity to meet new people, spread the word about what we do and hopefully pick up a few useful pointers on the way – a learning experience for all businesses involved.

You may or may not know that we are lovers of Iceland, having been to the country repeatedly since 2001. During that time we have seen the nation’s food culture change radically.
The Icelandic Pantry’s organiser and owner of Búrið in Reykjavík, Eirný Ósk Sigurðardóttir has been following The Artisan Food Trail for some time and we are very flattered to learn that she has found it an inspiration.
As a result, we were invited to the special drinks reception last night and can say that we had a most enjoyable time. It was really good to talk to Eirný and also Áslaug Guðjónsdóttir (project manager, food, fisheries and agriculture of Íslandsstofa – Promote Iceland) about what we do and why we do it. Not only that but also to find out about them too.
We got to speak to many of the producers who are so enthusiastic about what they do, which is always exciting for us.

We were so impressed with the produce on offer that we bought rather a lot! Oops! But we know it is worth every penny.

Photo © childsdesign

These are the producers:
Hundastapi – Mutton fillet cured in salt, dill and spices
Sólsker – Variety of line-caught fish including smoked trout, ocean perch and mackerel, also cod roe and mackerel pâté
Hvannarlamb (Ytri Fagridalur) – Angelica-seasoned lamb
Íslandus – a beverage made from farm-direct whey, berries and herbs
Móðir Jörð – Pickled and lacto-feremented vegetables
Rabarbía – Handmade rhubarb brittle, jams and jellies
Omnom Chocolate – Handmade bean-to-bar organic fair-trade chocolate
Ósnes – Marinated herring based on an old family recipe
Seglbúðir – The farm’s own fresh lamb, cured mutton, smoked and dried meat.
Sandholt Bakery –real artisan bread, handmade cakes and pastries – try a just-cooked kleina, an Icelandic twisted doughnut, while you’re there!
Bjarteyjarsandur – Double-smoked mutton which is soaked in homemade blueberry syrup and Icelandic mutton sausages.
Saltverk – Flaky Icelandic sea salt available in several varieties such as birch smoked, liquorice, arctic thyme and black lava.
iCan – Arctic foie gras: fresh cod liver smoked over beech wood
Búrið – A cheese shop in Reykjavík but will is showcasing its angelica products; jams, chutneys soup concentrate, seeds and tea. They also have Iceland’s famous dairy product Skyr.

We hope you can make it along – just mention that we sent you!

Photo: © childsdesign

7 October 2015

Come and see us at the Rural Entrepreneur show

We’re looking forward to exhibiting at the Rural Entrepreneur show in November and with just five weeks to go we’re busy preparing everything we need for the two day event on 11th – 12th November at the NEC, Birmingham.

The Rural Entrepreneur is actually a combination of three shows (all in the one place) – Farm Business Innovation, Country House Business Innovation and Holiday Park & Resort Innovation.

The show is aimed at a variety of people primarily in the rural sector
looking to bring in more money, either from their land or property and much more besides.
The Artisan Food Trail sits nicely into this area which is the reason that the show organisers asked us to team up with them and become a media partner.

Not only will there be over 300 suppliers exhibiting but also over 150 free seminars all with your business in mind. Our very own co-founder Graham Childs will be talking on the first day and you can find out more in our article here.

Who should visit The Artisan Food Trail stand?

The Artisan Food Trail promotes and champions small and artisan food and drink producers throughout the United Kingdom. We create awareness of your brand and your produce.
By supporting your businesses with a number of member benefits we can help make running your business easier and more cost effective.


  • have a small artisan food or drink business or are thinking of starting one (you could become a member)
  • are looking for a branding and design service
  • need a website
  • need help with social media
  • need professional photography (food, product and reportage are our speciality)
  • have a farm shop and are looking for suppliers to complement your own products
  • own a restaurant, café etc. and are looking for suppliers of top quality products with provenance
  • run (or thinking of opening) a cookery school (you could also be a member and benefit from promotion as well as help with equipment)

As you can see, we offer a wide range of services and you don’t need to be a member of The Artisan Food Trail to take advantage of them.
Even if you don’t see exactly the thing that fits your description above, you can still come and talk to us. We’ve found out ourselves, that you never know who you’re going to meet at these types of events and often a conversation can lead to positive results.

Visit us on stand 282 to find out how we can help you

The show is completely FREE to attend and all you need to do is register for
your ticket.
Visit the website for the show you are interested in where you’ll find a link
to register.

18 September 2015

A scrum-ptious Rugby World Cup offer from Blossoms Syrup

To kick off the Rugby World Cup in style, Blossoms Syrup have a great offer on their 500ml bottles of Blackcurrant Syrup.

Buy one and get the second half price!

Join in the Rugby World Cup celebrations with a special drink – add the Blackcurrant Syrup to sparkling wine or even add a splash to a glass of Guinness.

Blossoms Syrup is all completely natural and made with real fruit and can be used in in so many ways, not only for drinks. Try drizzled over desserts, in marinades or even on your morning porridge.

Make sure your Rugby World Cup celebrations are truly scrum-ptious and place your order today on the Blossoms Syrup website here.

This offer ends 31st October 2015

1 September 2015

Meet the expert: Graham Childs of The Artisan Food Trail

To give you a little more insight into the experts that are part of the live panel for our Pitch to the Experts competition, we are introducing each of the four members over the coming days…

Graham Childs
Graham is one of the co-founders of the multi award winning Artisan Food Trail and creative director of design agency, childsdesign and has worked in design and marketing for nearly 30 years. He’s worked with some of the biggest brands around and brings his experiences with them to smaller businesses, helping them to refine their brand offering with limited budgets, create customer visibility online and offline and increasing their sales.

Through the Artisan Food Trail, Graham and his co-founder, partner and wife, Lisa, help promote small artisan food businesses to potential customers, they work with a number of then on their brand development and support through other important business services. Their own multi award winning business started on a budget of less than £50!

For more information about the Pitch to the Experts competition read our article where you will also find the links to submit your pitch to win up to £10,000 worth of help and advice for your food business.

A refreshing change: Tg hot green teas

Photo: © childsdesign
A short while ago we tested out Tg Green Teas Iced Teas which won our approval and now it’s time to put the kettle on and brew up their hot teas.

There are three flavour variations, each in neat pyramid bags which are filled with good quality tea leaves. There’s nothing at all dusty about these and the leaves are of a good size and smell wonderful. It might sound usual, and you may disagree, but we thought the dry leaves had an almost chocolatey aroma.

After some careful tea making (more about that later) we made some good tasting drinks. To be honest it has taken us a while to get into drinking green tea mainly because it has been a long journey in finding a good green tea. Some have either been too insipid or had a strange seaweed-like flavour.
Not so with Tg. It is has a refined flavour.

Let’s look at the flavours individually…

Green Tea
This is green tea in its purest and exceptional from. It brews to a delicate golden colour and has a nutty aroma. The flavour has notes of hazelnut which is initially smooth with a slightly tangy dry finish. A sipping tea for some relax and contemplation time.

Green Tea with Ginger & Lemon Zest
The lemon smell is wonderful and certainly not overpoweringly ‘unreal’ which can often be the case in some mainstream brands. A light golden brew delivers a fresh enlivening flavour with a hint of warm ginger tingle. A mood lifting, head clearing drink ideal to enjoy first thing in the morning.

Green Tea with Jujube & Osmanthus
This tea has a more pronounced fruity flavour from the jujube (Chinese red date) and a slight raisin-like sweetness. The Osmanthus flowers imbue a gentle fragrance. The colour is a little darker than the others. Treat yourself with this rich smooth-tasting tea.

The teabags come in a resealable pouch which will keep the tea fresh, perfect for those who don’t have an airtight caddy to store them in. Fifteen bags may not seem many but the beauty of this tea is that a bag can be brewed for a second time and maybe even at a push, a third!

Perfecting the art of brewing green tea
Green tea has to be treated with respect to get the best from it. Remember, it is not your average everyday dunk-and-drink cuppa or a mug of ‘builder’s’.

Water temperature is very important Whatever you do, don’t use just-boiled water from the kettle – it is too hot! The optimum temperature for green tea is 80°C, anything hotter will cause bitterness to be released from the naturally occurring tannins which can be unpleasant.

Take your time and leave the kettle to stand for 5 minutes or if you’re very particular, pour the water into a jug and use a temperature probe to check it reaches the essential 80°C. We know it seems pedantic but we’ve found it very effective especially if your kettle is well insulated.

Now you can make your tea. Drop the tea bag into a cup and pour on the water and leave to steep for up to 3 minutes. We like ours at the 2 minute mark.
Do not be tempted to mash the bag about with a teaspoon and do not squeeze it either as this will also release the bitter tannins. A gentle swish will suffice, then when your preferred flavour is achieved lift out the bag and put it on to a saucer to be used again.

We are pleased to award Tg Green Teas our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Green Tea, Green Tea with Ginger & Lemon Zest and Green Tea with Jujube & Osmanthus.

To find out more about Tg Green Teas visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here where you’ll find a link to their website for further information.

28 August 2015

Meet the expert: Martin Jinks of Roythornes Solicitors

To give you a little more insight into the experts that are part of the live panel for our Pitch to the Experts competition, we are introducing each of the four members over the coming days…

Martin Jinks
Martin is a partner of Roythornes and a corporate and commercial lawyer with significant experience of both transactional and non-transactional work. As part of Roythornes Food and Drink team he advises food businesses on a wide range of issues from contract negotiations to corporate restructures.

Blending a commercial approach with a detailed knowledge of the law he has a particular knowledge of business structures and helping businesses decide which is the most suited to match their growth plans. This work involves advising on joint ventures, private equity investment and disputes.

As food businesses grow they often need to consider out-sourcing elements of their production or other aspects of manufacture. Martin helps to ensure that the agreements in place protect the food business itself and have the flexibility to adapt to changing market demands.

For more information about the Pitch to the Experts competition read our article where you will also find the links to submit your pitch to win up to £10,000 worth of help and advice for your food business.

27 August 2015

Meet the expert: Andrew Watkin of Assynt Corporate Finance Limited

To give you a little more insight into the experts that are part of the live panel for our Pitch to the Experts competition, we are introducing each of the four members over the coming days…

Andrew Watkin
Andrew was made a partner in 1987 and became involved in more special one-off pieces of work for clients including the buying and selling of businesses. He was soon able to appreciate the commercial skills needed to run a practice.

Formed in 2013 Assynt Corporate Finance Limited is a new generation of advisory chartered accountancy practice providing only corporate finance services:

On a sale of a business you want to maximise the value you receive.
On a purchase of a business you want to know what you are buying.

On raising funds you want it to be quick, simple and cost effective.
Andrew can add value from his practical experience that will support you and the aim is to provide you with advice over the long term that will help you to build and realise value in your business.

For more information about the Pitch to the Experts competition read our article where you will also find the links to submit your pitch to win up to £10,000 worth of help and advice for your food business.

26 August 2015

Meet the expert: John F Kettley of The Sales Masters Guild

To give you a little more insight into the experts that are part of the live panel for our Pitch to the Experts competition, we are introducing each of the four members over the coming days…

John F Kettley
John is fast becoming known as one of the UK’s top inspirational speakers on how to achieve your true potential in building a high income wealth creating business.

Having started built and sold a number of his own businesses in multiple market sectors, John has experienced just about every challenge a business owner will ever face, which is why his presentations and business development seminars are so valuable to hear and learn from.

As a serial entrepreneur and business investor, John has invested in, built and sold a diverse range of companies, accruing business knowledge and interests in the UK, Ireland, Spain and the USA.

In 2009 John founded the Sales Masters Guild, a profit share organisation whose mission is to inspire educate and support business owners to grow solid profit orientated businesses that work.

For more information about the Pitch to the Experts competition read our article where you will also find the links to submit your pitch to win up to £10,000 worth of help and advice for your food business.

25 August 2015

Womersley Foods exhibiting at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2015

The Speciality & Fine Food Fair is coming to London, Olympia on 6th – 8th September 2015 and there will be a number of Artisan Food Trail members exhibiting at the trade show.

Womersley Foods will be on stand V58 showcasing their 'Drop dead gorgeous' fruit and herb vinegars.

Whilst the making of fruit vinegars is a fine old British tradition, Womersley we are proud to say that they have perfected recipes which will delight and surprise you. The recent popularity of drinking vinegars has further increased the profile of Womersley fruit vinegars.
Their multi-award winning vinegars all contain generous quantities of the rich fruits which give them a luxurious finish.
Visit their stand to try the new fruitier recipes to discover how delicious they are and why they are a must for all fine food outlets.

More information about Womersley Foods here
Find them on Stand V58 at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair

23 August 2015

Spiced Mackerel with Fennel Slaw

Photo: © childsdesign
We are certainly enjoying the abundance of fresh mackerel at the moment –
it is reasonably priced and readily available.
Our second mackerel recipe includes some interesting flavours for a light and healthy meal which is good any day of the week.

Fennel is one of our favourite vegetables with its fresh aniseed flavour and,
in our opinion, so much nicer than cabbage in a slaw.
Although we have little success in growing bulb fennel, we have no trouble
with herb fennel. As well as the leaves, the flowers are very edible and release an intense burst of aniseed flavour in the mouth – something to try, if you haven’t already.

If you want to make a more substantial meal, simply serve with some boiled new potatoes or some buttered crusty bread.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • ¼ tsp ground cumin*
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander*
  • pinch chilli powder*
  • 4 fresh mackerel fillets, pin boned
  • salt and pepper

For the fennel slaw

  • 150g low fat natural yogurt
  • 2-3 tsp creamed horseradish sauce
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • a few fennel leaves to garnish
  • fennel flowers to garnish (optional)

First prepare the mackerel.
In a bowl, mix together the ground cumin and coriander. Sprinkle the spice mix over the flesh side of the mackerel fillets, and rub in the spices a little. Season lightly with salt and pepper and put on a plate in the refrigerator while you prepare the fennel slaw.

To make the fennel slaw, mix the yogurt and horseradish in a bowl, then add the fennel, apple and carrot and stir to mix making sure that everything is coated well. Leave for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat.
Place the mackerel fillets skin side up on a lightly oiled baking sheet and grill for 4 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the fish
is cooked through.

Spoon the fennel slaw on to plates and place on the mackerel fillets. Scatter over a few fennel leaves and add a fennel flower.

* Notes on ingredients                                                                                            
Ground cumin, coriander and chilli powder is available from Spice Kitchen and can be ordered online from their website here.

22 August 2015

Grilled Mackerel with Pepper Salad

Photo: © childsdesign
Mackerel is at its seasonal best and widely available at the moment, so make the most of it.
A rich oily fish packed with omega-3 goodness it is perfect cooked on the grill until its beautiful shiny skin turns crisp.
Lightly seasoned with a smoked paprika oil, we’ve paired the mackerel with a tangy and fruity pepper salad to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to the table.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika*
  • 4 fresh mackerel fillets, pin-boned
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread

For the pepper salad
  • 2 red and 2 yellow peppers, halved lengthwise, seed core removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 90g pimento-stuffed olives, halved
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp Ale-Gar* or red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely crushed

First make the salad. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Put the peppers skin-side up on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and grill for 15 minutes until they become charred. Place in a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to cool and then peel of the skin. Chop the peppers into chunks.
Place in a large bowl then add the olives and basil.

Put the chopped onion in a sieve and run under cold water, drain and then add to the bowl. Mix together the extra virgin olive oil, Ale-Gar (or red wine vinegar) and garlic. Pour over the salad and stir well. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Mix 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the paprika together. Slash the fish skin, diagonally at 2cm intervals. Brush on the paprika oil mixture and season the fillets with salt and pepper. Place them skin-side up on a baking tray.
Grill for 4-5 minutes until the skin is crisp and the fish is just cooked.

Drizzle the bread with the remaining oil and toast each side until golden.
Place a slice of toast on each plate and spoon over some pepper salad onto each of them. Top with the grilled mackerel.

* Notes on ingredients                                                                                            
Although smoked paprika is widely available, we can recommend using the one from The Artisan Smokehouse. It has a wonderful colour and aroma and sweet delicate smoke flavour from being smoked over maple wood. You can buy directly from their website here.

Ale-Gar is a kind of British balsamic created by Alan Coxon based on a medieval recipe. It has a truly unique flavour and is a versatile ingredient which should be in everyone’s kitchen. You can buy directly from his 
website here.

21 August 2015

Pitch to the Experts to receive help in approaching retail buyers

The Artisan Food Trail has put together a panel of experts that could help you get that ‘leg-up’ with your food business.
Pitch to the Experts is a competition where the winning food business will receive up to a total of £10,000 worth of expert advice and help from the 10 members of the panel.

We’d like to introduce each of the panel members individually to give you a better understanding of their businesses and how they could help you.
There are also details of the prize they are offering to the Pitch to the Experts winner.

Today we introduce Fresh Perspective, helping you to be more successful when approaching retail buyers…

Understanding how buyers think is crucial for getting and keeping your products on the shelves of your chosen customers and Hazel Stride from Fresh Perspective is an expert in knowing how buyers think, how to approach them and successfully get your products listed.

Have you experienced the following?

  • You find it difficult engaging with retail buyers
  • You hit a wall of silence when following up on leads you have from the trade shows
  • You have a successful first meeting with the buyer only to never hear from them again

If you can answer yes to any of these questions then read on…

Fresh Perspective is the only specialist consultancy that provides insight with the authority of having actually worked for two of the UK’s largest multiple retailers. They specialise in advising FMCG blue chip and artisan food producers on how to win with their retail customers.

Hazel Stride founded Fresh Perspective after identifying the need for businesses to think and talk like their customers enabling them to be more successful in getting, keeping and growing their business in the retail market.

Having sat on the ‘dark side’ of the desk for many years as a buyer for one of the UK’s largest retailers, Hazel has seen the good, bad and ugly of companies trying to sell their products.

With this knowledge Hazel guides companies on their route to market offering unique insight into what it is like to be a buyer, how to pitch your offer to engage with your audience, negotiation skills and lots more.

Hazel has spent all her career in the food industry and has a rare ability to understand the whole supply chain from ‘plough to plate’.

She has worked with some established branded and private label manufacturers that include Weetabix and Müller Dairy and in addition she has recently spent time working with the food team at Selfridges helping to launch their new range of ‘Selfridges Selection’ products.

Fresh Perspective is delighted to be working in collaboration with the Artisan Food Trail and each of the panel of experts to provide a truly unique and valuable prize, which can help you and your business be more successful.

The Prize

  • Pitch your product to Hazel in a ‘safe’ environment as if you were delivering your pitch to a ‘buyer’ and get the all-important feedback. Hazel will then work with you to build on and improve your approach so you are ready to tackle the ‘real thing’.

Web: www.fresh-perspective.co.uk
Email: info@fresh-perspective.co.uk
Tel: 07836 352068
Twitter: @HazelFreshP
Linkedin: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hazelstride

For more information about the Pitch to the Experts competition read our article where you will also find the links to submit your pitch to win up to £10,000 worth of help and advice for your food business.

20 August 2015

Pitch to the Experts for advice on developing your kitchen facility

The Artisan Food Trail has put together a panel of experts that could help you get that ‘leg-up’ with your food business.
Pitch to the Experts is a competition where the winning food business will receive up to a total of £10,000 worth of expert advice and help from the 10 members of the panel.

We’d like to introduce each of the panel members individually to give you a better understanding of their businesses and how they could help you.
There are also details of the prize they are offering to the Pitch to the Experts winner.

Today we introduce Eco Catering Equipment, suppliers of leading commercial catering equipment to the catering, hospitality and food production industries…

The Artisan Food Trail has a created a great community and resource to enable the independent producers and newcomers to share, develop and grow. Eco Catering is proud to be associated with them and do our part to assist in any way we can, whether it be the supply of equipment or some industry advice.

It is important when you purchase any equipment that it is suitable for the environment in which it is to operate. Eco Catering helps you meet those needs by supplying proven industry leading products, helping to maximise your return on your investment.

Venturing into the world of commercial kitchen equipment can be a daunting experience, so we help to guide you in making the right choices. Whether you’re looking to replace existing equipment or needing a completely new set up, we will assist you through the whole process.

Even the smallest production facilities can benefit significantly from purchasing the correct equipment to help their company perform and grow. Quality equipment is not just for the big names.There is equipment available to suit every production requirement and budget.

This equipment will invariably form the heart of your production operation and to have it fail or not perform can have significant financial implications.
It is vital that our customers experience the very best level of support. From the first time they contact with us, through to the final purchasing decision, we provide relevant advice detailing the benefits and features of our products. We will help guide you so you can make an informed choice and be confident you will have a performing production facility.

We can consult on your production and budgetary requirements, not only making sure you create a facility that can handle the workload now but for any future expansion plans. We also focus on the hidden costs. Utility bills, which are always on the increase, are often overlooked but there are significant running cost implications and potential savings to be made. We will consider and advise on the life expectancy and future service and parts support of any equipment.

You are our highest priority, our team fully understands this and our customer support ensures clients always purchase with confidence.

The Prize
  • Advice and consultancy on the development of your kitchen or production facility.
  • If you do decide to purchase any equipment through us, you will be entitled to the AFT member’s discount.

Web: www.eco-catering-equipment.co.uk
Email: info@eco-catering-equipment.co.uk
Tel: 01582 865050
Twitter: @Eco_Catering
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eco-Catering-Equipment/212549602109241

For more information about the Pitch to the Experts competition read our article where you will also find the links to submit your pitch to win up to £10,000 worth of help and advice for your food business.

Make way for new superfruit jujube! – Tg Green Teas launches new hot and iced teas

Tg Green Teas, a new brand of hot and iced teas will ‘officially’ launch from stand 4468 at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair, Olympia, London: 6th – 8th September 2015.

The brand won a gold star for two of its hot blends – Green Tea and Green Tea with Jujube & Osmanthus.

Hua and Sophia, co-founders of the new London-based beverage company Tg Green Teas are very pleased to have been awarded the gold stars, saying,
“One of the most exciting aspects of our win is the discovery by the Great Taste Award judges of a delicious new superfruit”

So, just what is Jujube?
Tg Green Teas explain:
  • Jujube fruit or Chinese red date (hong zao 红枣) – pronounced “joo-joob” – has been cultivated in China for more than 4,000 years
  • Jujubes taste of sweet plums
  • Considered the ‘King of Vitamin C’, Jujubes have been used over centuries to help enhance health and vitality in so many ways it’s earned the title of ‘superfruit’ across Asia
  • Collagen-rich ‘beauty drinks’ don’t do much for you apart from loading you up with more sugar as the collagen in the drink will never reach the skin but be broken down in the stomach as more energy – better to consume food & drink naturally containing vitamin C and drink lots of water
  • We say ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. The Chinese say ‘three jujubes a day keeps the medicine man at bay’

Tg are urging consumers to banish stale bags of bitter green tea dust and say no to pricey plant sap or high sugar drinks. This is Tg. Hot and iced green tea as it’s meant to be – smart! sassy! social! and full of delicious goodness just right at mealtime or anytime pick-me-up. Inspired by ancient wellness traditions from the Middle Kingdom, designed and developed in London.

Hua and Sophia look forward to welcoming you into the refreshingly delicious world of Tg Green Teas  Available soon in the USA, the Middle East, and in food and drink shops right here in the UK. In the meantime, you can try their hot and iced green teas via their e-shop shop.drinktg.com or Amazon (UK) before the rest of the UK begins to discover them. You’ll always be able to say to your friends “I tried them before you”.

Tg Green Teas exhibiting at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2015

The Speciality & Fine Food Fair is coming to London, Olympia on 6th – 8th September 2015 and there will be a number of Artisan Food Trail members exhibiting at the trade show.

Tg Green Teas will be on stand 4468 showcasing their refreshingly delicious new range of hot and iced green teas.

Ancient green tea and wellness traditions, blended into refreshing hot and chilled brews. Deliciously natural energy infusions using good-for-you ingredients, some borrowed some new. Inspired by the Middle Kingdom, designed and developed in Britain. Great taste and “responsible sugar levels”, because both matter.
Smart. Sassy. Social. Tg Green Tea. Drinkup.

Have you heard about the superfruit jujube?
Tg have added it to their teas – Read more about it here.

More information about Tg Green Teas here
Find them on Stand 4468 at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair