It’s Picnic Season!

This month marks National Picnic Month and with the gorgeous weather we’re having at the moment there is no better time to grab a hamper and head outside!

We love celebrating the best in local produce which is why we try to stock as many locally sourced products as possible including artisan cheeses, pies, pasties and savouries, creams and dairy, bacon, fresh fish and more – because local definitely tastes better!

picnic spotsHere in Devon we are also incredibly lucky that there are so many beauty spots to discover and marvel at as you sit down to eat your delicious, locally sourced picnic food. There are plenty of beautiful beaches, rolling hills, endless moors and meandering rivers which make ideal picnic spots.

For many of us picnic food means simple, easy to eat finger food and with this in mind try our small or medium sized hand raised pork pies made with crispy hot water pastry, delicious hard boiled scotch eggs, sausage rolls made by hand using locally sourced pork and slices of Mediterranean style quiche with mixed peppers, basil and mature cheddar cheese.

Sandwiches are always a hit with kids and so quick and easy to make; go for fillings that won’t go soggy or limp after a few hours in a hamper or rucksack. chunk pork pieYou might like to play it safe with the classic Devon cured ham with English mustard or honeyroast ham and mature cheddar cheese or mix things up with chicken breast and sliced chorizo with chipotle mayo or a falafel wrap with minty yogurt sauce.

Finger food doesn’t have to be boring and for something a little different on your next picnic why not try some marinated chicken skewers with haloumi and peppers (leave out the chicken for veggies or replace it with chunks of tofu), chopped veggies such as carrots, cucumber or courgettes with some creamy lemon houmous or plain houmous and maybe even some arancini risotto balls with mushroom, white wine and mozzerella – suprisingly easy to make but look ham and cheese sandwichlike you’ve spent hours on them – good to impress! All of these are great being transported in a picnic basket and will be as good when you arrive as when you left the house.

Wherever you decide to stage your picnic we hope you enjoy this National Picnic Month!

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Devon Day!

It’s Devon Day, originally the feast day of St Petroc, to whom the Devon flag is dedicated, and more recently a chance to celebrate the best that our beautiful county has to offer including – most importantly to us – local produce and producers.

Devonshire Tea
devonshire teaBased in Axminster, East Devon and established in 2015, Devonshire Tea are a small independent company creating simple blended teas using the finest ethically sourced ingredients. All of their teabags are plastic free and hand stitched rather than heat sealed and are custom blended to their own recipes. Flavours include the bestselling Classic Breakfast, fragrant Earl Grey and delicate Delightful Afternoon varieties. All of these are available in individual cartons of 20 teabags, cases of six cartons and foodservice catering boxes of 200 individual teabags.

Taw Valley Cheese
The Taw Valley Creamery is situated in the beautiful countryside surroundingtaw valley range North Tawton in the western part of the county. Their master cheesemakers produce excellent quality cheeses using traditional methods and fresh, quality milk from local farms. Their range includes the bestselling Taw Valley Tickler cheddar with superb depth of flavour and distinctive salt crystals giving it a slightly crunchy texture and the Taw Valley Mature which is lovely and creamy with rich and complex flavours. All of the Taw Valley range is available in both retail packs and catering sizes.

Chunk of Devon
Based in Ottery St Mary in East Devon Chunk are one of our longest running lines. Using locally sourced ingredients and traditional pastry skills their ‘hunks’ produce a variety of pies, pasties and savoury snacks which have won many awards including Taste of the West Gold. Their range includes the Kickin Chicken Kickin_chicken_pieCurry Pie made with lightly spiced chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers in a creamy curry sauce and wrapped in buttery pastry, the new veggie Spicy Jack Pasty made with delicious jackfruit, squash, peppers and sweet potato mixed with spices and wrapped in traditional shortcrust pastry and the original Chunki Sausage Roll made using pork seasoned with sage and onion and wrapped in buttery puff pastry. All are available in individual retail packs, deli-unwrapped cases and frozen un-baked cases.

We hope you enjoy celebrating Devon Day!

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Cheese Showcase – Cornish Blue

This Cornish Blue cheese is made by the Cornish Cheese Co. on Stansfield’s Farm on the edge of Bodmin Moor. Established in 2001 founders Philip and Carol Stansfield were facing falling milk prices and in a search of a new revenue came up with the initiative of moving to cheesemaking. The only problem was that neither of them knew how to make cheese; Phillip promptly enrolled on a cheesemaking course at Cheshire College of Agriculture and the reality of Cornish Blue was born.

cornish blue (2)

Made using the milk from their own herd on the family farm, the milk is immediately taken to cheese production – only travelling a few yards to do so. Once the cheese is produced it moves to the maturing room where unlike traditional English blues, it only stays for between 12-14 weeks. This makes it a delightfully creamy and gently sweet cheese with none of the saltiness commonly found in blues. It has a dense, moist texture and its mellow flavour makes it very versatile in cooking or as part of a cheeseboard.

Cornish Blue became internationally renowned after it was named Champion at the World Cheese Awards in 2010 and since then won a string of awards including Best Blue and Best English Cheese.

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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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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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Smoking for Foodies

smokingWe have been smoking food for generations; using it to preserve food for long periods of time and for its tenderising and flavour carrying properties. It has been suggested that the recent resurgence of smoking food comes from a primeval attraction to fire and the memories it evokes, the smell of meat roasting on a BBQ is probably the modern equivalent of this as we imagine the delicious, tender meat we are about to eat. Cold smoking is generally used to smoke cured meats and fish as the temperature is usually kept to between 20-30bbq degrees meaning that the food being smoked is not cooked but merely infused with the smoky flavours. Hot smoking exposes the food to both heat and smoke and this is used to fully cook foods, creating moist meat and full, smoky flavours.
We stock a variety of smoked foods including the traditional cheese, fish, bacon and meats and we’ve listed some of our favourites below.

s9090Smoked Fish
Our John Ross smoked salmon is cold smoked over oak chips in the same red brick kilns used in the 19th century. The smoking process produces succulent flavours and a tender texture in the salmon which is sustainably farmed in the pure, clear waters of Scotland. This is available in 100g packs ideal for 1-2 people. We source the rest of our smoked fish range from Jacksons Fishmongers of Newton Abbot who prepare and smoke the fish sourced from Brixham fish market in their own kiln. We currently stock their rich and meaty smoked mackerel, smoked mackerel with crushed black peppercorns, lightly smoked trout and the classic Victorian breakfast dish, butterflied smoked kippers.

Smoked Cheese
We currently stock a variety of smoked cheeses all with varying degrees ofsmoked smokiness and flavour. Based in the lush valley of Newton St Cyres near Exeter the Quicke’s Oak Smoked cloth-bound cheddar is one of our favourites. It is naturally cold smoked over oak chips from their own trees for up to four hours, creating a subtle smokiness that compliments the cheeses’ buttery flavours.  Windyridge Cheese are artisan cheese makers based in Wincanton, Somerset. Their Bonfire Smoked cheese is made with smooth, creamy mature cheddar which is infused with rich, smoky flavours and dusted with paprika. The Dorset Red is made by Ford Farm Cheesemakers in Dorset. Their traditional mature cheddar is cold smoked over oak chips overnight which results in its distinctive smoky flavour and rich amber colour.

englishcuresmokedbackSmoked Meats
Our English cured smoked bacon is sourced from Devon Choice of Teignmouth, their bacon is full and rich in strong, smoky flavours which are great in pies, bacon sandwiches or a quiche Lorraine. The majority of our cured salamis are also lightly smoked including Danish, peppered and chorizo – our chorizo is also coated in smoked paprika for extra flavour.

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Winter Party Food Ideas

This festive season we’ve got everything you need to ensure your dinner party, work buffet or simply an evening with friends goes off without a hitch, well the food at least! This time of year is the perfect excuse to show off your culinary skills and create mouth-wateringly good food using the finest ingredients.

5b057383-dbb8-4659-8b30-a73800a70a0f_800x800A simple classic some smoked salmon and cream cheese canapés will go a long way to pleasing your guests. Try them on some bought in crispbreads with some chive if you’re short on time or try making your own potato cakes with some dill and lemon for extra flourish. Our John Ross smoked salmon is cold smoked over oak chips using the same techniques passed down since the 19th century and is deliciously light and delicate with subtle smoky flavours and goes beautifully with cream cheese.

Another crowd-pleaser and Christmas staple is some baked camembert. This can1h4a9552_28727765675_o-1 be made really easy by simply baking the camembert as is and adding some garlic bread or crackers and a nice chutney – we recommend the Pear & Walnut chutney from Waterhouse Fayre as the flavours really compliment the cheese. However if you fancy making more of a centrepiece try baking a tear and share dough ball platter with some rosemary, thyme and cranberries. The dough helps the camembert to keep its shape as well as taking on some of the oozey cheese as it bakes – delicious!

BasilA classic meat and cheese platter is the perfect prepare ahead party option. Mix and match with the meat: some prosciutto, salamis, chorizo, pastrami – anything you and your guests will like. For the cheese we advise to pick a variety of different textures and varieties, a soft creamy brie, firm vintage, tangy blue and a sheeps, cow and goats cheese for a range of different flavours. Add some  sunripened tomatoes, salty olives – try some from the Cornish Olive Stall range – grapes and of course some warm crusty bread and you’re good to go.

For a buffet style dinner party the opportunities are endless, hot, cold, meat andChunk-Pork-Apple-Scrumpy-Sausage-Roll-600x630 vegetarian there are so many options. For the meat eaters try some festive pork and cranberry chipolatas from W F Chinn’s or their pigs in blankets are equally delicious. Chunk of Devon sausage rolls and pork pies in buttery pastry are a must as well as traditional honey-roasted gammon hot or cold from Kittos of Plymouth. For the vegetarians how about an Indian treat with some crispy vegetable samosas or deliciously creamy blue stilton and broccoli quiche.

We hope this has given you some ideas for the festive season, for more info on any of the products we’ve mentioned head over to our website.

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