Midweek Meals

We don’t know about you but we struggle cooking fresh, healthy meals during the week. We get home from work late and feel daunted by the idea of cooking dinner from scratch. For many of us, this often leads to over indulging in take-away and pre-cooked ready meals or simply surviving on snacks and nibbles in the evenings which, as we all know, isn’t good for us. The solution could be preparing ahead, investing in a slow cooker which allows the prep to be done either the day before or in the morning before work or finding a few quick and easy recipes that are also tasty and nutritious and can be cooked throughout the week with both ease and convenience.

gnocchi (2)Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Cornish Blue (serves 2)
This is undoubtedly one of our favourite midweek meals, delicious roasted butternut squash, wilted spinach and creamy blue cheese served with fresh potato gnocchi, this dish full of texture and bursting with flavour. The chilli flakes give the squash a bit of a kick while the Cornish Blue provides a rich creaminess. Try for yourselves following the recipe below:

Ingredients:cornish blue (2)
½ butternut squash, peeled and cut in cubes,
1 pack fresh spinach leaves
½ onion, sliced into wedges
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g Cornish Blue
300g fresh gnocchi
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper

Method:
1: Heat the oven to 220C, Gas Mark 7 and add the olive oil to a baking tray.
2: Once pre-heated add the squash, garlic and onion to the prepared baking tray and add the chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly for an even coating of spices and roast for 30-40 minutes or until lightly coloured.
3: Turn off the oven and remove the baking tray then add the spinach and stir through until mixed with the squash.
4: Return the baking tray to the oven for 4-5 minutes.
5: Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, once boiling add the gnocchi and cook for 2-4 minutes or until all of the gnocchi floats to the top of the water.
6: Serve the gnocchi immediately and top with the squash mix. Crumble over the Cornish Blue and add a drizzle of olive oil (we like to substitute this for balsamic glaze and truffle oil if we’re feeling decadent!)

salmonTeriyaki Salmon with Pak Choi and Noodles (serves 2)
This oriental inspired dish is full of flavour but quick and easy to prepare using store cupboard ingredients. The oily rich salmon is perfectly complimented by the sweet, salty sauce and the pak choi adds a delicious crunchy texture. Find the recipe for this dish below:

Ingredients:
2 salmon filletsSmokedSalmonFillets
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp mirrin or dry sherry
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
2 pak choi, leaves separated
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 pack fresh egg noodles

Method:
1: Heat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6 and place the salmon fillets in a baking tray.
2: Mix 1tbsp vegetable oil, chilli flakes, honey, mirrin or dry sherry, 2 tbsp soy sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Pour over the salmon making sure it is completely covered and bake for 10 minutes.
3: Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a wok and add the garlic. Stir until softened then add the pak choi leaves and fry until starting to wilt.
4: Add the noodles and remaining soy sauce and cook for 5 minutes, taking care not to let the noodles stick.
5: Serve the pak choi and noodles in shallow bowls and top with the salmon, spooning over the remaining liquid from the baking tray.

halloumiBaked Halloumi with Harissa & Honey (serves 2)
This recipe is a new addition to our repertoire but is already a firm favourite. It has everything your taste buds want: salty halloumi, tangy lime, sweet honey and spicy harissa and we love coming home to a cooked meal ready in only 20 minutes. Serve with some fresh crusty bread or traditional Middle Eastern flatbreads; this is a guarantee of smiles all round. Find the recipe below:

Ingredients:halloumi 2 (2)
2 250g portions of Halloumi
2 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp harissa
juice of 2 limes

Method:
1: Heat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper leaving enough to wrap over the tray. Place the Halloumi in the middle of the baking tray.
2: Mix together the honey, harissa and lime juice in a small bowl, pour over the halloumi making sure to cover completely.
3: Cover with the remaining parchment paper
4: Bake for 15-20 minutes.
5: Serve immediately with crusty bread

Tried any of these recipes? Tag us in your midweek meal creations on social media via the pages below :)

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The Great West Country Dairy

devonCheese has been made in Britain for thousands of years; our moderate climate, year round rain and lush rolling landscape make the country – and more importantly for us the West Country – ideal for dairy farming. As wine is renowned for its ‘terroir’ so cheese develops flavours unique to the grass, soil and climate in/on which the animals graze. In small scale dairies this results in cheeses with different depths of flavour dependent upon these factors which sets them apart from manufactured cheese and production line dairies. In the following blog we explore three West Country dairies and the delicious cheeses that they produce.barbers

The Barber family have been producing their traditional farmhouse cheddar since 1833, making them the world’s oldest surviving cheddar-makers. Daniel Barber began making cheese on Maryland Farm in rural Somerset mainly for his family and farm workers using milk from his own herd of cows. However as demand for the cheese grew more milk was needed and by the 1950’s the family were working with surrounding farms to barbers maturekeep up production.
Today the farm is still very much a family business who have not lost their passion for cheese-making. Time honoured techniques and recipes passed down through the generations combined with modern technology have ensured the longevity of this traditional cheddar. We stock a wide range of Barber’s cheeses including the Vintage Reserve 1833, the Mellow cheddar and the Haystack Tasty as well as their Red Leicester and Double Gloucester cheeses. Click here to view the whole Barber’s lynher dairiesrange.

Lynher Dairies are producers of the award-winning Cornish Yarg cheese. First made in the 1980s on Bodmin Moor by Alan Grey, who found the 17th century recipe for nettle-wrapped cheese in his attic, Yarg is now made by Catherine Mead at their custom built dairy near Truro. Other cheeses include a Garlic Yarg, Stithians cheese and the Cornish Kern which won Supreme Champion at the World Cheese Awards in 2017. The yargrich Cornish milk used in the cheese-making process comes from their own herd of Aryshire cows and is also sourced from nearby farms. This coupled with the cheese-makers’ experience and expertise results in some truly delicious cheeses. We currently stock the classic Yarg and the Garlic version.

Robin Congdon was the original pioneer behind ticklemore cheeseTicklemore Cheese Dairy. In the 1970’s he began reviving the tradition of sheep milking in the UK and, with thirty sheep on a smallholding near Exeter, began producing yogurt and soft cheeses. Soon he and his partner Maurice Ash expanded the business to a larger farm on the banks of the River Dart where the Beenleigh Blue and later Harbourne Blue and Devon Beenleigh3Blue cheeses were developed. The 1980’s were an exciting time for producing speciality cheeses and a larger dairy was built to accommodate new varieties including Ticklemore Goat and Devon Rustic – both of which were given to Sharpham Creamery once production needed to be simplified. We stock their Devon Blue and Beenleigh Blue cheeses.

There are many more dairies and cheeses that we could have mentioned here which proves just how lucky we are to live and work in this beautiful county. The hard work of dairy owners and the expertise of its cheese-makers ensures that the West Country cheese remains a renowned speciality.

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Valentines Cheeses

It will soon be Valentines Day, the most commercialised saints day in modern culture. A day when couples exchange throwaway gifts of teddies, petrol station flowers and cheap chocolates to show their love for one another.

godminsterThis year we too have succumbed to stocking some Valentines gift ideas but in the form of some delicious cheeses – so it’s alright. The Godminster Organic Heart is most often used to top wedding cheese cakes. Made in Somerset using organic milk from the farms own dairy herd, this cheese is matured for up to 12 months during which time it develops a rich and creamy flavour and smooth texture. It is then covered in an attractive burgundy wax and cut into the distinctive heart shape.

The Sharpham Hart is a heart shaped version of their award-winning brie-stylesharpham hart (2) soft cheese. Made on the Sharpham Estate using unpasteurised milk from their own Jersey herd the cheese has a distinct buttery flavour and soft, creamy texture. The unusual spelling of ‘Hart’ comes from the emblem of Dartington Hall – a white hart with which the Sharpham Estate is connected.

Both of these cheeses are available in individual 200g hearts for a limited time, call us now to order yours!

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Extended Delivery Routes!

This year we are all about extensions; following recent building work we have been able to extend our fridge space meaning that we can stock more products and supply to more customers. Our office space is also currently undergoing work which will improve the day to day running of the business.

The result of all this work is that we are now excited to be able to extend our delivery routes to include more areas and ultimately supply to more customers; from small village stores and community shops to cafes, farm shops and delis.

Currently the extended routes are in Somerset, Cornwall and Mid Devon but we hope to be able to extend all routes in the coming months. Click here to see when we are able to deliver in your area or give us a call on 01392 661001.

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Local Producers – Curworthy Cheese

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Curworthy Cheese.curworthy

Curworthy Cheese was established almost 30 years ago on Stockbeare Farm near Okehampton. Using milk from her own herd and from local dairy farms Rachel Stephens and her terms of expert cheesemakers produce their distinctive Devonshire cheeses.belstone (2)

The range includes the bestselling Devon Oke, a full-fat, mellow cheese made to a recipe dating back to the 17th century. It is typically matured for 5-6 months during which time the cheese develops a buttery, almost nutty flavour and delicious creamy texture.
Other cheeses include the Curworthy Meldon – a traditional Cheddar blended with Chiltern Ale,  mustard and garlic and encased in yellow wax, the Belstone – a version of the Devon Oke made using vegetarian rennet and the Chipple – mild Cheddar blended with fresh spring onions and encased in green wax.devon oke
The latest addition to the Curworthy family is the Dartmoor Chilli, a traditional Cheddar blended with chillies sourced from nearby Dartmoor Chilli Farm. The recipe has been changed for 2020 and the cheese is now made using Fatalli chillies for extra heat which perfectly compliments its natural mellow, sweetness.

The Curworthy cheeses are all available in both catering, bulk sizes and retail, ready to sell packs. Click here to view the entire range.

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Orchardlea Occasion Foods

This year we are excited to introduce another side to the business with the launch of Orchardlea Occasion Foods. Supplying a wide range of buffet foods including pies, pasta and rice salads, artisan cheeses, deli products and more Orchardlea Occasion Foods offers a bespoke, fully-tailored service and are able to cater for all occasions from christenings and business events to children’s parties and funerals.orchardlea foods

For all enquiries visit their Facebook page, email info@orchardleaoccasionfoods.co.uk or call on 01392 661001.

 

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Local Producers – Taw Valley Creamery

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Taw Valley Creamery.taw valley creamery (2)Taw Valley Creamery have been producing their award-winning cheeses since 1974. Situated in the beautiful countryside around the town of North Tawton, the creamery produce Cheddar, Red Leicester and Double Gloucester cheeses using traditional cheese-making techniques and fresh, high quality milk sourced from surrounding farms. Part of the Arla Foods group, Taw Valley are passionate about producing the highest quality cheeses for their customers.

We stock a range of Taw Valley products including the delicious Taw Valley Tickler. To reach the Tickler range the cheese is graded throughout its maturation process to ensure it meets the right criteria. This extra mature cheese tawvalleyrange_ck6q-r8is strong and robust in flavour with distinctive salt crystals, giving it a wonderful crunchy texture. We also stock the delightfully creamy Taw Valley Mature which is strong and full-bodied with a slight sweetness and the mellow and smooth Taw Valley Mild with a firm, texture. All of the Taw Valley cheeses are available in 5kg and 2.5kg blocks as well as 200g and 400g retail packs. View the whole Taw Valley range here.

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Cheese Showcase: Blue Cheese

It seems that the origin of most innovative creations come from human error. Take the story of how blue cheese came into being; it is thought that a drunken cheese maker left behind a half eaten loaf of bread in moist cheese caves. On his return he discovered the mold covering the bread had transformed it into a blue cheese and the rest is history! Today this naturally occurring mold has been refined and cultivated and almost all blue cheeses are now made by adding this to milk during the cheese making process. The cheese is pierced during maturation which allows air to react with the mold and results in the characteristic blue veining common in most blue cheeses.
Blue cheese is one of our favourite varieties with flavour profiles ranging from mellow and creamy to sharp and tangy, below we explore some of our bestselling blue cheeses.

stilton 2 (2)Stilton
Perhaps one of the best known of the blue cheeses our Stilton is produced by the Tuxford & Tebbutt Creamery, one of only six creameries in the UK permitted under the EU Protected Designation of Origin status to produce traditional Blue Stilton. It is a rich, complex cheese with a smooth creaminess when young developing into a tangy sharpness when mature. The texture is light and crumbly with a straw-like colour and dark blue veining throughout. We like this crumbled over salads with pear and walnuts or stirred into creamy pasta with some mushrooms or bacon. The cheese is available in whole 4kg rounds and 200g retail packs, click here for more info.

Dorset Blue Vinny
Dorset Blue Vinny was once made in almost every farmhouse in Dorset until the Second World War when production died out. The cheese was resurrected in the 1980’s using a 300 year old recipe and is today made on Woodbridge Farm by dorset blue (2)Michael Davies. This is a lovely, mellow blue cheese with a creamy, crumbly texture. Due to its artisan production the colour varies greatly from cheese to cheese, typically it is a deep yellow on the outside with a much lighter, creamy colouring towards the centre and dark blue/green veining throughout. Try this in a creamy leek and potato soup or on some crackers with a light, fruity chutney. The Blue Vinny is available in whole 3kg rounds and 150g retail packs, click here for more info.

Devon Blue
Made by Robin Congden of Ticklemore Cheese in Totnes, the Devon Blue is produced by hand using cows’ milk sourced from a local farmers co-operative. devon blue (2)This is a moist, crumbly cheese with buttery, clean flavours and soft texture. As the cheese matures it develops slightly sweet, caramel tones resulting in an intriguing, complex cheese. The colour of Devon Blue is pale and creamy with subtle blue veining throughout. Try this in a savoury cheesecake with walnuts and rosemary or in a warming blue cheese and broccoli soup with chunky bread. Devon Blue is available in whole 3.5kg rounds and 130g retail packs, click here for more info.

Blue cheeses are wildly different and their astonishing range of flavours mean we will never tire of trying new ones.

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Local Producers – Brookes Bacon

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Brookes Bacon.brookesBrookes Bacon began in the mid 1980’s when the company supplied ham, cheese and pre-packed cooked meats to mainly wholesale and catering customers. In 1994 demand for sliced and pre-packed bacon from their customers increased and the business began to focus purely on bacon and gammon products.

smoked streaky baconBased in Dorset, Brookes Bacon are passionate about providing high quality European and British bacon and use modern technologies and the latest equipment to maintain the excellent and consistent quality that their customers expect.

We currently stock a wide range of Brookes bacon including catering packs of both smoked and unsmoked as well as streaky and smoked streaky bacon, all of which are available in individual packs of 2.25kg and cases of four 2.25kg packs. We also stock their back baconretail smoked and unsmoked bacon packs which are available in individual 450g and cases of 15x 450g packs. Their thick-cut gammon steaks are becoming increasingly popular and are available in 450g packs with two gammon steaks per pack and the thickly cut ribfree bacon is another great quality product, it is available in catering 2.25kg packs. Click here to view the full bacon range and discover your new favourite bacon.

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Shop Local: Community Shops

Community shops have been on the rise for a number of years; in 1994 there were just 27 registered community shops while in 2016 this number had risen to 348. Community shops are owned and funded by the local community often in rural areas without access to other means of provision. These shops are able to compete with their bigger, nationwide counterparts by focusing on maintaining a loyal customer base, staffing their shops with a mostly volunteer workforce and often providing other community activities including workshops, craft schemes and cafe facilities. Here we explore a few of our local community shops and the work that they do.

ide commIde Community Shop was opened in 2013 following the closure of the village post office. A temporary shop was housed in a portable cabin but after a fundraising effort by local residents, permanent premises were purchased and today the shop is a thriving business. Staffed by 50 volunteers the shop sells a range of locally sourced produce including artisan cheeses, Chunk of Devon pies and pasties and a variety of sliced meats as well as locally made cakes, chocolates and ice creams. Following growing awareness to the dangers of single use plastics the shop has committed to reducing its own plastic waste and in an innovative move  now stock reusable cotton bags made by local residents. These pretty, colourful bags make a refreshing change to flimsy plastic bags and can be used again and again.

Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has similar origins to those just described; in 2016 the owners of the village shop and post office retired and the shop had to close. Local residents became concerned that the loss of the shop as a community hub would be keenly felt and a small group began researching the idea of re-opening. In May 2017 that idea was realised. The community shop is currently housed in a temporary building adjacent to the Methodist Chapel while the cheriton fitznecessary planning permissions and building work continue for permanent premises. The management team focuses on providing the best produce possible for their customers sourced from local producers including bacon, sausages, pies, pasties and savouries, cheese, dips and olives, chocolates, jams and chutneys as well as everyday staples such as bread, eggs and milk. Run by a small army of volunteers the Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has also become a local hub promoting locally run events, displaying public notices and functioning as a place for people to meet.

Otterton’s last convenience shop closed its doors in 2004 despite efforts to try and save it by the local community. In the intervening years residents began canvassing opinion from local residents as to whether to open a community run shop. Over a three year period this group of volunteers hosted fundraising events, scouted for premises and finally obtained planning permission to refurbish the snooker hall and the current otterton commcommunity shop opened in 2014. Staffed by a majority of volunteers the shops mission is to cater to the needs of local people, providing not only everyday staples such as milk, bread and cereal but also locally sourced meat, fish, pies and pasties, wine, beer and liqueurs and frozen, high quality ready meals. The shop is able to compete with its larger, national counterparts by competitive pricing and a focus on local produce.

These three community shops are linked by their stringent sense and love of community; each is run by a group of volunteers willing to give up their time and expertise to the project and provide the best service possible to their local residents. In an era filled with convenience deliveries and big business, we are happy to see these small, local focused shops succeed and wish them all the best of luck for the coming year.

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