British Pie Week: Chunk of Devon

Chunk logoWe couldn’t get through a whole British Pie Week without mentioning Chunk of Devon. These pie and savoury producers have been making their award-winning pies since 2006 at ‘the pie factory’ in Ottery St Mary. The combination of locally sourced ingredients and rich, buttery pastry results in some truly delicious pies. We asked members of the Isca Foods team what their favourite pies in the range were:

chicken & baconLiam – Managing Director – Chicken & Bacon Pie
This creamy chicken pie is a classic favourite among our staff and indeed the nation. In a study conducted by Jus-Rol last year to find out Britain’s favourite pies the Chicken & Bacon came in at number 9. Succulent chicken breast and thigh combined with smoked bacon and leeks in a creamy white wine sauce make this pie a delicious treat.

spicy jackTracey – Food Picker – Spicy Jack Pie
The Spicy Jack Pie is the newest addition to the Chunk range. Packed with jack fruit, squash, peppers and sweet potato this lightly spiced pie is bursting with flavour and, now wrapped in wholewheat pastry, is suitable for vegans!

 

steak & stiltonKarl – Floor Supervisor – Steak and Stilton Pie
The Steak & Stilton has already been mentioned this week so it’s no surprise that it comes up as one of our staff favourites. This pie is made with quality beef, tangy Stilton and buttery garlic mushrooms and is wrapped in delicious short crust pastry. What more could you want from a pie?

Bethany – Administrator – Kickin’ Chicken Curry Kickin_chicken_piePie
This pie has been a huge hit with our customers since its introduction a few years ago. Tender chicken chunks are cooked in a light and creamy curry sauce with onions, peppers and potato and wrapped in buttery shortcrust pastry. The filling is full of flavour with a slight kick for lovers of spicy curries!

For the whole of March we will be running a promotion on the Chunk of Devon Homity pies to celebrate Pie Week! This delicious vegetarian pie is filled with potato, mature Cheddar cheese, onion and garlic and topped with more West Country Cheddar cheese. Get in touch for full details!

Click here to view the whole Chunk of Devon range of pies, pasties and savouries. Happy Pie Week!

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British Pie Week: Steak & Stilton

It’s British Pie Week! To celebrate we are posting recipes for our five favourite pie fillings all this week from Steak & Stilton to Goats Cheese & Butternut Squash. Today’s pie is a classic Steak & Stilton.

This is a classic for a reason, tender steak, hearty gravy and tangy blue Stilton all wrapped in buttery pastry. This is a comforting winter dish, guaranteed to warm you up this week.

Ingredients (serves 4):
400g braising steak, cut into cubes
25g plain flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, dicedstilton
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried thyme
400ml beef stock, made using 1 stock cube
150g Stilton
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 pack ready made puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper

Method:
1: Put the steak in a bowl and toss together with the flour.
2: Heat the oil in a non stick sauce pan and fry until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
3: Add more oil to the pan if necessary and fry the onion and garlic until softened.
4: Return the beef to the pan and add the stock, bay leaf, thyme and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hr 30 minutes or until the beef is tender. This can be done in advance.
5: Remove the bay leaf and crumble in the Stilton.
6: Pre heat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6.
7: Prepare a floured surface. Halve the pastry and roll into 2 balls. Take 1 and roll it out to the thickness of a £1 coin and the correct size diameter for your pie dish. Do the same for the lid.
8: Line your pie dish with the pastry and spoon in the filling, brush the rim with egg and add the lid. Trim the edges and crimp together to seal. Make a small hole in the centre and brush with the remaining egg.
9: Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Tried this recipe? Tag us in your foodie creations via our social media pages below :)

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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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Cheese Showcase: Fruity Cheeses

Cheese and fruit have been paired together for centuries, the Romans blended their cheeses with fruit and herbs, the Dutch began adding cumin to their Gouda in the 17th century and today creameries regularly experiment with an assortment of wensleydale-with-cranberries-2flavours from Sticky Toffee Cheddar to festive Wensleydale & Cranberry, traditional Sage Derby to Stilton with Strawberries and Champagne. We explore our favourite fruity cheeses below.

Perhaps the most popular flavoured cheese is the Wensleydale & Cranberry. Many varieties of this classic can be found throughout the country and our version is made by Ford Farm in Dorset. The creamy, slightly crumbly Wensleydale provides the perfect base for the sweet and sharp contrast of cranberries and is Ford Farm’s take on the original Yorkshire recipe. This cheese is available in both catering 1.5kg half-moons and 150g retail packs.

stilton date & orange (2)The White Stilton with Date & Orange was recently our cheese of the week, it’s soft autumnal colours perfectly lending it to the season. Made by the Cropwell Bishop Creamery as part of their Speciality range, this is a mild, creamy cheese infused with tangy orange and sweet dates. We would recommend this as an alternative to dessert or as part of an after dinner cheeseboard. It is available in 1kg half-moon as well as 120g pre-packs.

The Snowdonia Cheese Company’s waxed truckles soar in popularity at this time of year. The Nature’s Nectar orange waxed cheese is a personal favourite, bursting with figs, honey and rich, fruity dark rum it makes a delicious and unique addition to any cheeseboard and is available in 200g waNatures_Nectarxed truckles.

Discover something new for your festive cheeseboard (or just for your Friday night cheese fix!) and browse our range of flavoured cheeses here.

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Cheese Showcase: Stilton

stiltonOur Blue Stilton is made at the Tuxford & Tebbutt creamery in Melton Mowbray, famed as being one of only six creameries permitted to make traditional Blue Stilton after the cheese was granted protected designation of origin.

The ‘King of English cheeses’ has been produced at the creamery since 1780 and today is as popular as ever. The producers at Arla’s Tuxford & Tebbutt creamery focus on traditional methods while making the cheese including using open vats and individually maturing and grading each cheese.

This traditional approach results in a rich and complex cheese that has a deliciously smooth creaminess and wonderful crumbly texture. It is currently available in whole 4kg rounds, 2kg ½ moons and in retail 200g packs.

stilton 2 (2)There are many ways of enjoying Stilton either simply as part of an after dinner cheeseboard with crackers, grapes, celery and chutney with perhaps a glass of port or baked into souffles for those more adventurous. At this time of year we’ve been enjoying it in a light salad for lunch with pear, walnuts and prosciutto parma ham with a balsamic dressing which we would highly recommend!

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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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Christmas Cheeses

e339924a-47c5-48c2-a261-daadcf4d6c95-christmas-cheeseDare we say it but Christmas is now well on the way and it’s time to start thinking of all the festive goodies you’ll be able to indulge in in just a couple of months time. Yule tide seems to be creeping into autumn and no sooner is the sun cream and flip flops packed away than the tinsel and fairy lights are filling the supermarket shelves. We love Christmas and it’s no surprise that we also love Christmas cheeses. Whether it be a creamy blue Stilton, an oozing Camembert or something a little different like our Apple, Cinnamon and Raisin Lancashire, we have everything you’ll need to spread the Christmas cheer this year.

Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton
A classic choice, this traditional blue Stilton has been made to the same recipe1V9A0088 using time honoured techniques since 1780. It is one of only six creameries in the world permitted to use the name Blue Stilton under the EU Protected Designation of Origin. Each cheese is matured individually and graded and turned by hand resulting in a delicious Stilton with rich and creamy flavours and a piquant finish.

Somerset Camembert
letterbox_resizeimage593x426xnXdgilhT5jA perfect treat for Christmas this Somerset Camembert from Lubborn Creamery, Cricket St Thomas is rich and creamy with a soft, edible rind. As it matures the curd softens and a buttery, yellow colour and full flavour develops. As a real treat try baking in the oven with some rosemary, garlic, thyme and maybe even some dried cranberries for that real festive flavour.

FD41066FHMCHEESERed Waxed Wensleydale and Cranberry 
Cranberries really come into their own over the Christmas period and this creamy Wensleydale is a welcome combination. Perfect as a gift for a cheese lover or great on a Christmas party cheeseboard this red waxed Wensleydale truckle from Ford Farm in Dorset is a sweet, fruity cheese with a rich creaminess and crumbly texture.

Christmas Apple, Cinnamon and Raisin 
Bowland31_1The clue’s in the name with this one, creamy Lancashire with apples and raisins and coated in cinnamon this makes a fantastic dessert cheese or is perfect for those with a sweeter tooth. A unique cheese with tangy, fruity flavours and a slightly crumbly texture it has both sweet and savory notes.

We hope you like the sound of some of these cheeses, however we have so much more in stock so head over to the cheese pages on our website http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/cheese/ or call 01392 661001 to request a Christmas brochure!

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Midweek Recipes

Cooking during the week can often be uninspiring and more concerned with filling up than actually focusing of flavour. These simple, quick and easy recipes will turn midweek meals into gourmet delights.

Bacon and Stilton Risotto 

A tasty risotto that can be ready in just 15 minutes, this uses smoked, streaky bacon and Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton to create a rich and creamy risotto.

bacon-and-stilton-risotto2Ingredients:
400g risotto rice
2½ pints hot chicken stock
125g smoked streaky bacon
50g crumbled stilton
large handful chopped curly parsley

Method:

1: Heat a large pan until hot, add the rice and toast for 1 minute. Gradually add the stock making sure to stir well after each addition, only add more once the stock as been absorbed. Continue until the rice is cooked.
2: While the rice is cooking preheat the grill. Grill the bacon until crisp and set aside to drain on a kitchen towel, roughly chop.
3: Stir two-thirds of the bacon and parsley into the risotto then crumble in the stilton. Garnish with the remaining parsley and bacon.

Spanish Style Sausage and Chorizo Tray Bake

Bring the tastes of Spain to your dinner table with this easy to prepare and great tasting bake, best of all – all in one pot so less washing up! We’ve used W F Chinn’s red onion sausages which go really well with the paprika and oregano flavours as well as authentic Spanish chorizo dry cured with smoked paprika.

Ingredients:

1 red onion, cut into wedges16402926_252133628557583_5575190899514164418_o
500g new potatoes, quartered length ways
8 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
8 tomatoes, quartered
4 courgettes, sliced
75g chorizo, sliced
8 Chinn’s red onion sausages
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ dried oregano
1 green pepper, sliced

Method:

1: Preheat the oven to 200C/ gas mark 6. Put the onions, potatoes, garlic, courgettes and tomatoes into a large roasting tin and season with salt and black pepper, toss together and roast for 20 minutes.
2: Meanwhile slice the chorizo and score the sausages. Mix the paprika and oregano together and set aside.
3: Take the roasting tin out of the oven , add the sliced pepper and scatter in the chorizo then turn everything over a few times. Place the sausages on top and sprinkle with the paprika and oregano. Return to the oven for 20 minutes and its ready to serve!

Haloumi with a Lime and Caper Salad

Ready in under 30 minutes, filling yet reasonably healthy this is a cheese lovers delight. We’ve used authentic Greek haloumi, dry fried for that crispy coating.

Ingredients:

1 250g haloumi cheese
2 tbsp flour
1 large tomato, diced
2 spring onions, chopped69zshSap_720x450_a9f2cd03

For the dressing:
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 heaped tbsp capers, drained
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
1 heaped tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

1: Unwrap the cheese and pat it dry with kitchen paper then slice it into eight slices, including the ends.
2: Prepare the dressing by simply whisking all of the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl
3: Heat the frying pan on a medium heat, no oil is needed for dry frying the haloumi. Press each slice of cheese into the flour to coat it on both sides. Cook for 1 minute on each side.
4: Assemble the salad and serve the haloumi on top with the dressing.

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Stilton and its Mysterious Origins

bellstilton1Alongside Cheddar, Stilton is one of the UK’s most famous cheeses. But unlike Cheddar its origins are steeped in mystery and until as late as 2009 it was universally accepted that it was never actually produced in the village of Stilton but took its name from being sold in the village. The cheese was sold from The Bell Inn which was a resting point for weary travellers on their way to and from London along the Great North Road. Its landlord, Cooper Thornhill, became an entrepreneur selling the cheese not just to travellers but into London itself and as demand for the cheese grew Thornhill began seeking new sources from neighbouring Leicestershire. It is believed that this is where the myth of Stilton originating from this area began. However extensive research uncovered convincing evidence of a cheese made in Stilton in the early eighteenth century.

Today Stilton has been given Protected Designation of Origin status which means that it can only be produced in the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire by only six individual dairies: Colston Bassett, Cropwell Bishop, Hartington Creamery, Long Clawson, Tuxford & Tebbutt Creamery and Websters. In order to call their cheese Blue Stilton they must meet certain criteria; it must be made using local, pasteurised milk, must form its own crust and must have blue veining radiating from the centre of the cheese.stilton3

We are lucky enough to stock Stilton from both the Long Clawson Dairy and Tuxford & Tebbutt Creamery. Made to a traditional recipe dating back to 1780 the Tuxford & Tebbutt brand is a guarantee of award-winning Blue Stilton with delicious rich and creamy flavours and a piquant finish. Long Clawson Dairy was established in 1911 to ensure that the cheese and the methods used to make it would survive for generations to come. It is a bold, expressive cheese with rich and tangy flavours.

This rich and unique history results in a fantastic cheese. It is no wonder that it has stood the test of time and is still considered the ‘King of English Cheeses’.

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Chinns Sausages

ChinnsSausageHead

Chinns sausages are well known and highly regarded throughout Devon and the South West and have been hugely popular with our customers.

Established over forty years ago by W. F. Chinn, the business has continued to develop and thrive over the years with owners Tony and Rose Palmer. Based in Crediton, Devon their sausages are made to a secret recipe developed in the 1950’s by W. F. Chinn himself using locally sourced, West Country meat.

There are a variety of flavours available from traditional Cumberland, Pork & Leek and Pork & Honey to the more unusual Pork & Stilton, Smoky Chorizo and Pork & Marmalade. Back for Christmas 2017 is their delicious Pork & Cranberry sausages and Pork Cocktail sausages which are perfect for buffets. All are available in packs of four 225g and packs of eight 450g.

 

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