It’s English Tourism Week!

english tourism weekWe think of ourselves as extremely lucky to live and work in this beautiful county full of stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and best of all for us, fantastic producers of delicious food. To celebrate English Tourism Week we thought we’d highlight some of the best local producers from Devon including Sutton Lucy Dairy, Waterhouse Fayre and Chunk of Devon who provide a good reason for tourists to flock here all year round!

sutton lucy dairySutton Lucy Dairy
These are a fairly new supplier to us but so far we are receiving some great feedback from our customers. Based near Honiton in East Devon Sutton Lucy Dairy was established in 2017 by husband and wife team Rebecca and Philip Cooke after the closure of two local dairies resulted in their farm shop having to stock Cornish milk and creams. They now produce a variety of yogurts and creams made using the milk from their own herd of Jersey and Holstein cows which we think are delicious – particularly the raspberry and the toffee yogurts which seem to disappear soon after delivery…

waterhouse fayreWaterhouse Fayre
We have been stocking Waterhouse Fayre jams and chutneys for a long time now and the range keeps extending! Made by the lovely Ann Stallard and team in their custom built facilities near Tiverton in Mid Devon, the Waterhouse Fayre products have won many awards including a number of gold and silver at the prestigious Taste of the West Awards. It’s hard to single out a particular favourite but the classic Raspberry jam is always a winner and the Exmoor Pond Weed made with under-ripened green tomatoes and chillies is delicious with some cured meats out in the sunshine!

Chunk of Devon
Chunk of Devon are producers of delicious pies and pasties based in Ottery Stchunk of devon logo Mary and firmly established since 2006. Made using as locally sourced ingredients as possible by a team of passionate ‘hunks’, their pies and pasties have won numerous awards including the controversial Britain’s Best Cornish Pasty in 2009! We love their new addition Spicy Jack pie which is full of nutritious veg, coconut milk and curried spices – we promise you won’t miss the meat with this one!

This is a no means exhaustive list of the fantastic producers we have here in Devon and we are proud to be able to stock their vast array of products. For any more info on these or any of our other suppliers please get in touch!

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Mother’s Day Foodie Inspiration

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and if you’ve yet to plan something for your amazing mum don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Why not try making your own delicious homemade foodie treats to spoil her rotten from breakfast through to afternoon tea?

breakfastWe’ve got all the best bits required to treat your mum to a delicious, indulgent breakfast from the traditional full English to more delicate smoked salmon and poached eggs, the choice is yours.
Chinn’s sausages are made in Crediton using locally sourced meat and techniques established over forty years ago. Their flavours range from traditional pork and cumberland to more exotic combinations such as pork & chorizo, spring onion and soy and, our favourite for breakfast, pork & cranberry. These are available to order Monday-Wednesday and are available in packs of 225g (average of 4 sausages per pack) and 450g (average of 8 per pack).
Devon Choice in Teignmouth have been providing our bacon for too long for ussmoked bacon to remember, locally sourced and cured on their own premises, their bacon is delicious. We particularly like their smoked English cured bacon which is available in 2.27kg catering and 200g pre-packs.
Sliced black pudding from the Bury Black Pudding Co. is one of our bestsellers. It is made to a recipe dating back almost 100 years and is available in packs of 3/4 slices and also as the whole 1.3kg stick.
Add some grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, some sauteed potatoes or hash browns and a slice or two of toast and you’ve got a restaurant quality breakfast.

5b057383-dbb8-4659-8b30-a73800a70a0f_800x800If your mum is more ‘less is more’ at breakfast why not treat her to some delicate smoked salmon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce? This light breakfast is utterly delicious and it’s well worth making your own sauce, the smoked salmon for us has be the delicious John Ross Smoked Salmon which is available in 100g packs. If this isn’t your thing a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel with some fresh, peppery rocket is always a winner that mum will love.

A Devonian cream tea on it’s own or as part of a larger afternoon tea spread is almost ubiquitous with Mother’s Day. Waterhouse Fayre was established in 2004 imagesusing their own surplus fruit in South Molton, today they produce a variety of delicious jams and chutneys in their custom built facilities. Try a cream tea with traditional strawberry jam or really push the boat out and try raspberry instead! All of the Waterhouse Fayre jams are available in 320g jars.
200g-clotted-webLangage Farm have been producing their award-winning creams and yogurts since 1980 and today they are well regarded throughout the county. We think the 200g clotted cream pot made using the milk from Jersey and Guernsey cattle would be perfect as part of a cream tea, but there are also individual 57g and 113g clotted cream pots available and the 907g catering size would be perfect for larger parties.

If you have more time (and patience!) available it is much nicer to make yourHoneyRoastHam_c470-f8 own classic afternoon tea. Think dainty finger sandwiches, mini cakes and savoury treats; best of all you can tailor your flavours to your mum’s taste and really make her day. For the finger sandwiches the opportunities are endless, pick your mum’s favourites and make a tiny sandwich – easy as that! What about a classic thick cut Devon ham and Waterhouse Fayre chutney? Or a local Devon Cheddar such as Taw Valley Tickler or a Quicke’s Mature with pickle or tomato? Taw Valley Creamery is based in North Tawton and all of their cheeses are handmade by master tawvalleyrange_ck6q-r8cheesemakers using locally sourced milk. The Quicke’s have been producing their traditional cloth-bound cheeses for the last 500 years using recipes passed down through the generations.
For some savoury treats try some mini tartlets with creamy Somerset Brie, parma ham and rocket or perhaps cheese scones, pastrami and horseradish canapes or all of the above!

We wish all the fantastic mum’s out there a Happy Mother’s Day and hope you get well and truly spoilt this Sunday!

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Cheese Showcase – Garlic Yarg

This Garlic Yarg from Lynher Dairies in Ponsanooth Cornwall is made to the same recipe as traditonal Yarg with the only difference being that instead of wrapped in nettles it is wrapped in wild garlic leaves.

Foraging in far flung places as untouched by humans as possible, the skilled leaf-picking team select only the best pungent leaves to encase the cheese. The team look for vibrant green leaves which are not torn or trodden on and of the right size – if the leaves are too small the tight, concentric circles needed to wrap the cheese are almost impossible to achieve. All of this means that the pickers have a very small time frame in which to collect the leaves, usually from mid-March to the end of April.

The wild leaves impart a gentle garlicky flavour into the cheese and their moisture also results in a slightly firmer texture than traditional Yarg. It is delicate and fresh with a lovely subtle creaminess that perfectly embodies this time of year. Try it as a twist to traditional cheese scones or it is equally delicious as part of a cheeseboard.

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Pancake Day!

Can you believe it’s Pancake Day next week? Already the year is absolutely flying by and in celebration of Shrove Tuesday we’ve got some recipe ideas for some delicious pancake fillings/toppings.

We’re not being purist here so if you’re a simple lemon and sugar fan you’re looking in the wrong place; instead why not mix things up with the classic American sweet/savoury combination of bacon and maple syrup, delicate and fresh smoked salmon with some creme fraiche or go completely off piste with a Mexican quesadilla style pancake? We promise they are all delicious!

PPStreakyAll of our pancake inspirations use a simple pancake batter base made using eggs, plain flour and milk. For this sweet and savoury classic we’ve used Devon Choice smoked streaky bacon and Canadian maple syrup for the delicious mix of salt and sugar combined with the soft, fluffy texture of pancakes. Pile your toppings onto warm pancakes for a simple yet decadent breakfast or brunch.

With this one the blanched spinach is added to the pancake batter before frying; this gives them a lovely green colour and delicious flavour. Once each pancake is cooked place in a low heat oven to keep warm while you fry the rest. Top the5b057383-dbb8-4659-8b30-a73800a70a0f_800x800 pancakes with as much smoked salmon – we love the delicate John Ross smoked salmon for this – creme fraiche and dill as you like and add a squeeze of lemon juice for freshness.

This recipe is more of a brunch than breakfast but it’s perfect for meat and flavour lovers. The filling needs to cook for a while but trust us it’s worth it! Use good quality chorizo for that lovely smoky flavour and trimmed belly pork and cook with chopped tomatoes, paprika and chorizosartachipotle chilli flakes for around two hours or until the pork can be pulled apart with a fork. Load your pancakes with the filling and maybe some creme fraiche or sour cream.

We’re loving the flavours of Mexico at the moment so we thought why not extend this to pancakes? Made using traditional pancake batter, scatter chopped peppers, coriander, avocado, chillies and crumbled mozzerella over a pancake and cover with another pancake. Transfer to a baking tray and cook at 180 degrees for five minutes until the mozzerella begins to melt. If you prefer you can use feta cheese or any good cheese really, we found the gooey, creaminess of the mozzerella really worked with the hot chilli flavour.

We’re not sure yet which one of these we’ll make for the big day, perhaps all four and a traditional lemon and sugar for dessert if we’re not sick of pancakes by then!

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Half Term Days Out

Here at Isca Foods we are proud supporters of keeping things local, after all some of the best things can be found on your own doorstep. This February half term why not take the kids to one of our many amazing local attractions where there’s plenty to keep them entertained and work off some of that boundless energy!

Pecorama
Set on the hillside above the pretty East Devon village of Beer Pecorama is home to the famous PECO Model Railway Exhibition and the Beer Heights Light Railway complete with fully operational miniature steam locomotives. The train line now runs for one mile around the park with spectacular views over Lyme imagesBay and the Jurassic Coast. When the weather turns against you the Play Station – an indoor 3-storey soft play area – will definitely be a hit with the kids, it also boasts a lovely little café serving homemade cakes, traditional Devonshire cream teas and barista-style coffee which we’re sure will be more of a hit for you! Check out their website for opening times as well as special half term activities http://www.pecorama.co.uk/.

Greendale Farm Shop
Just off of the main Sidmouth Road outside Exeter this farm shop is a great way of getting the kids out of the house and engaging with farm animals this half term. As well as a thriving shop boasting fresh, locally sourced meat, fish andoutside vegetables there are a host of pigs, sheep and chickens roaming the fields around the farm. After looking at all that local produce you may have worked up an appetite. Don’t worry there is a fantastic on-site café with an extensive menu showcasing the best the South West has to offer and catering to a range of tastes including vegetarian and gluten-free options. For more info and opening times visit their website here: https://www.greendale.com/.

Beaches
019191Don’t worry we’ve not gone mad, we know it’s only February and much too cold to fully appreciate a dip in the sea, but Devon is home to some of the best beaches in the country so grab the bucket and spades and enjoy a fun-filled day out at your local beach. Many beach side attractions and, perhaps most importantly, beachfront cafés will be open for the half term trade so let the kids run off some steam while you warm up with a coffee and cake.

Whatever you do this week we hope you have a lovely half term!

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Valentines Home-Cooked Food Ideas

sketchy-hearts-579be9955f9b589aa98c282dSometimes it just makes more sense to have a romantic, cosy night in for Valentines Day. With overcrowded restaurants, overpriced food and the cost of getting a babysitter in for the evening or a taxi home later on as well as gifts and cards for your significant other, it can be a less than relaxing evening. Instead, take your pick of one of these delicious menu ideas, grab a good bottle of fizz and take to the kitchen. A lot of these ideas can be prepared in advance or take little time to cook so you can simply enjoy each others company.

Starters
We’ve said it before and I’m sure we’ll be saying it many more times to come – we love a baked Camembert. Easy to prepare and deliciously naughty, we love it with some fresh, crusty bread and a balsamic glaze but you can jazz it up as cricket-st-thomas-camembert-220gmuch as you like. Score the top of the cheese and add some fresh rosemary and garlic before baking, pair with a variety of chutneys, add some finely chopped bacon – the opportunities for this baked box of goodness are endless. Why not try this Somerset Camembert made by Lubborn Cheese at Cricket St Thomas, Somerset full of delicious buttery flavours and a soft, edible white rind?

pateA simple starter that requires no preparation and is ready in the time it takes to burn some toast, this rich paté with some fruity chutney and peppery rocket is sure to hit the spot. Try our coarse cut duck paté  with orange zest and mixed herbs, paired with a Waterhouse Fayre handmade chutney for a truly delicious starter.

Mains
Create a restaurant style dish at home with cod lointhis baked cod loin wrapped in proscuitto ham full of the flavours of summer. We like this with some roasted Mediterranean vegetables and sauteed potatoes but if you’re feeling more adventurous, or really want to bring out those fishy flavours, try making a creamy crab risotto to go with it and we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Steak is becoming more of a staple for home stilton3cooked Valentines dinners and we can see the appeal – ready in minutes and with lots of sides to tempt you it’s the perfect meal to indulge and treat yourself and your partner. Serve with chunky, thick cut chips, roasted tomato and crunchy onion rings. We like experimenting with sauces so instead of traditional peppercorn why not try a luxurious Stilton sauce instead made with the rich and creamy Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton?

Dessert
To be honest we’re not really dessert people so forgoing dessert we’ve chosen a locally sourced cheeseboard with crisp crackers, grapes, apple and chutneys 486-1instead. This is something you can pick at later in the evening after a few glasses of wine when you’re not feeling quite so full and the fresh fruit and maybe a few sticks of celery will make you feel not quite so decadent. How about a classic, rich mature Cheddar from Quicke’s, smooth and creamy Cornish Brie from Trevarrian Creamery, fresh tasting Devon Blue from Ticklemore Cheese and deliciously flavoured with pungent garlic leaves Lynher Dairies Garlic Yarg? Of course a cheeseboard can be filled with any of your favourite cheeses and these are just a few of those we think would work together, experiment and see what works for you.

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Warming Winter Recipe Ideas

It’s that time of year again; Christmas is over, it’s still cold and summer seems like a long way away. What we need right now is some comforting, hearty food to see us through until spring – at the very least until next week. We’ve come up with some great tasting menu ideas for a mid-week dinner that’ll have you feeling brighter in no time.

Chorizo and Butter Bean Stew
This chorizo and butter bean stew is rich and hearty – perfect for these cold winter nights and bursting with smoky, flavours and a slight kick from the paprika and chilli powder. This is surprisingly filling and delightfully warming. We love it hot pot style with some thinly sliced potatoes on top but it would also be great with some jacket potatoes for lunch or even some rice or pasta.

Ingredients:chorizosarta
1 tbsp oil
200g diced chorizo
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tin butter beans, rinsed
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tin chopped tomatoes

Method:
1: Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook until beginning to soften.
2: Add the chorizo, paprika and chilli powder and cook for 2-3 minutes.
3: Add the chopped tomatoes, butter beans and parsley and bring to the boil.
4: Turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for 30-40 minutes and it’s ready, if you’re adding the hotpot topping, peel and thinly slice 900g potatoes, transfer the stew to a casserole dish and top with the potatoes. Drizzle with some melted butter and cook at 200C for 1½ hours until the potatoes are cooked through.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese
A comforting winter staple that is beautifully gooey and more-ish. We’ve kept things simple with only one type of cheese but with the complex richness of Quicke’s mature Cheddar we don’t think it needed any more. The crunchy breadcrumb and Parmesan topping adds delicious variety and texture that we could happily eat all winter – if only our waistlines agreed!

quicke matureIngredients:
100g butter
100g plain flour
400g Quicke’s Mature Cheddar, grated
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 pint milk
500g dried macaroni, or other tubular pasta
60g breadcrumbs
50g Grana Padano, grated

Method:
1: Heat the butter in a large saucepan until melted then add the plain flour and cook for 1 minute until combined thoroughly.
2: Add the mustard and remove from the heat.
3: Whisk in the milk and put back on the heat. Stir continuously until the sauce thickens.
4: Add the Cheddar and stir until it has melted into the sauce then remove from the heat.
5: Boil the macaroni in salted water for 10-12 minutes, or until al dente and drain.
6: Butter an oven-proof dish and pre-heat the oven to 200C.
7: Stir the macaroni into the sauce and pour everything into the buttered dish.
8: Mix the breadcrumbs and Grana Padano together with some black pepper and scatter over the top of the pasta. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.

Chicken & Smoky Bacon Pie
Pie is the ultimate comfort food and we think this version really hits the spot. The smokiness of the bacon is delicious with the rich and creamy sauce – not for the January dieters among us! We used the cheats version of shortcrust pastry but if you have the time it’s great to make your own, if not this works just as well. Serve with some chunky chips and greens or buttery mash and gravy for extra decadence.

Ingredients:smoked bacon
225g ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 tbsp oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
250g smoked bacon (about 7 rashers), cut into small pieces
100ml white wine
2 tsp fresh thyme
100ml water
50ml double cream
1 medium egg, beaten

Method:
1: Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
2: Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the chicken and bacon.
3: Add the wine, water and thyme and season with black pepper.
4: Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid has significantly reduced.
5: Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in the cream until combined.
6: Pour the filling into your pie dish and roll out the pastry for the lid.
7: Lay the pastry over the pie dish and trim the edges – remember to make a hole in the middle for steam to escape, seal and brush with the beaten egg.
8: Cook for 25-30 minutes until golden.

These dishes would make delicious mid-week winter meals, let us know how yours turn out!

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Source Trade Show 2019!

source tradeWe are excited to be exhibiting again at this years Source Trade Show held at Westpoint Arena, Exeter from 6th-7th February! Showcasing the best from local food producers, hospitality and the catering sector, this is a great show for seeing a wide range of what the South West has to offer – we certainly think so as this is currently the only show we attend.

We will be bringing a wide selection of our products to display as well as showcasing some new products for this year. One of these is a new range of frozen, home cooked ready meals from Olive’s Kitchen. Originally established in 2013 as a deli, demand for their own cooked frozen meals soon overtook freshChocolate Brownie Pack produce and as a result the deli closed in 2016 to allow them to fully concentrate on Olive’s Kitchen. Today they use traditional family methods and home-cooking techniques to produce genuinely delicious food. We can’t wait for you to try their Lamb Navarin – a take on the French classic of slow cooked lamb with root vegetables and tomatoes and for dessert why not try the Chocolate Brownie Pudding, deliciously decadent with a rich and indulgent melt-in-the-middle centre – perfect with a spoonful of equally indulgent clotted cream.

Alongside these new products we will also sampling from Curworthy Cheese. Made on the same farm for the last 25 years, we stock a variety of their cheeses including the sibling to the original Curworthy recipe Devon Oke. This is a full-fat hard cheese matured for six months, during which time it develops its belstonecharacteristic buttery, creamy flavour and smooth texture similar to Gouda. A more recent addition to their repertoire is the Dartmoor Chilli which is made to the traditional Curworthy recipe but with the addition of fresh Ring of Fire chillies sourced from the nearby Dartmoor Chilli Farm. This cheese is matured for only 6-8 weeks which leaves a mellow, slightly sweet cheese able to take the heat of the chillies.

We will also be offering on the day deals on selected bacon, hams and cheeses, however as these will not be revealed until the day you’ll have to come and see us on Stand G31 to grab a bargain!

We hope to see you there!

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New Year New You?

It’s that time of year again. A clean slate, fresh start, the start of 2019 brings about the chance to start again but whether it’s trying something new, cutting down after the indulgence of the festive season or vowing to quit that lifelong habit, it can be daunting to begin with many of us giving up before the end of the month.

Quality_StreetThe majority of new years resolutions probably have something to do with getting healthier, be it trying to lose weight or a resolve to get more exercise. After sometimes a week or more of over indulgence you can almost feel your body craving for something other than chocolate for breakfast. However it can be daunting cutting out absolutely everything so to minimise the shock to the system gently replacing those Christmas treats with some healthier alternatives.

Replenish some of those vitamins with one of Rod & Ben’s deliciously warming Spiced Lentilsoups. Choose from a variety of flavours including their Spiced Lentil with turmeric and cumin, Rustic Chicken Broth with potatoes, carrots and onions and classic Tomato and Basil. Made using organic, fresh and seasonal produce these soups are full of natural goodness and flavour and who doesn’t love a soup during these cold winter months?
Dorset_Blue_Vinny02Although not strictly healthy Dorset Blue Vinny is much lower in fat than its blue cheese counterparts and can still be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Made using the ‘leftover’ milk after the cream has been skimmed off for butter-making it retains a creamy, subtle flavour and slightly crumbly flavour. Made by the same family for the last 40 years, each cheese takes 24 hours to make and up to 20 weeks of maturation but it is definitely worth the wait. Top your crackers to your hearts content, just don’t add too much butter!

The recent rise in people participating in ‘Veganuary’ means that getting yourSquash_Curry_3_(1_of_1) five-a-day has never been easier. Whether or not you have decided to give it a try, there is no denying that some extra veg never hurt anyone. Slightly different from the traditional Boxing Day turkey curry, this butternut squash version from Lodge Farm Kitchen is packed with nutrients as well as being deliciously tasty. They are passionate about delivering great quality gourmet ready meals using the finest local produce and tried and tested home-cooking methods. This curry is made using locally sourced squash, coconut milk and fresh coriander and makes a hearty lunch sure to fill you up until dinner time.

Whatever your new years resolutions we wish you all the best, if all else fails, try again in 2020!

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The Rise of the Gourmet Ready Meal

tv dinnerReady meals conjure up images of tasteless, bland food; the traditional TV dinner served in foil trays and often left, congealing and discarded on the coffee table. These days however, the ready meal has come into its own. With societies increasingly hectic schedules, longer working hours and increasing commuting times, getting in from a long day at work to a home cooked meal is often not a reality for most people. Recent market research found that the UK currently spends £4.7 billion on ready to eat convenience food each year and an increase in consumer demands for good quality food means that the humble ready meal has never been better – the rise of the gourmet ready meal is happening. An emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, expertly cooked and free from the traditional additives and preservatives means that they can be as good in quality as genuine home cooked meals.

lodge farm (2)Lodge Farm Kitchen are producers of gourmet ready meals based in beautiful Ross-on-Wye. A family business established in 2009 on their own farm they used home grown vegetables and beef from their own herd of Dexter cattle. With the expansion of the business and relocation to new premises, they now rely on produce sourced from the surrounding area and are proud to support local farmers. The meals themselves are prepared by expert, creative chefs who are passionate about creating great quality meals. Once cooked the meals are blast frozen to lock in the flavour and nutrients, meaning there is no need to add the Fish pie Pie- final Hi res (1 of 1)artificial preservatives often found in ready meals. There is lots of variety to choose from so you’re not stuck for choice! Their luxury fishpie is made with poached haddock and salmon in a creamy parsley sauce and topped with mashed potato, the Thai green chicken curry is made using free range British chicken and homemade Thai sauce with chillies, lemongrass, cumin and coriander and their roasted vegetable lasagne made with slow cooked tomato concasse, courgettes, aubergines, peppers and mushrooms layered with pasta and bechamel sauce and topped with mature Cheddar cheese is absolutely delicious! None of those take your fancy? The full range is available to view here: http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/lodge-farm-kitchen/.

Ready meals are continuing to evolve with the times with many companies now1 Fish Cakes Double cottoning on to the big business of gourmet frozen meals made with locally sourced, fresh ingredients and perfectly cooked. Many companies are now reducing the amount of plastic used in the production of their frozen meals including Lodge Farm Kitchen who ensure that all of their packaging can be re-used. This evolutionary business means that there is now a tasty, viable alternative to traditional TV dinners.

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