National Butchers’ Week

Today is the start of National Butchers’ Week, a celebration of the skills and services of independent butchers throughout the country.
Butchers have traditionally been a town staple along with greengrocers, bakeries and post offices. Today these have mostly been compiled into supermarkets and many towns no longer benefit from the one-to-one interaction with their butcher. In the 1990’s the Meat Trades Journal reported that there were 22,000 butchers in the UK, by 2010 this had dropped to 7,100.
However recent food trends including increased concern over trace-ability and, amid growing climate concerns, the need for quality over quantity in our meat, have resulted in a resurgence in traditional butchers. Below we look at three local butchers and their products.

tim potterTim Potter Family Butchers
Established in March 1996 Tim Potter Family Butchers began with just 3 members of staff, today there are 9 including son Christopher and daughter Katie who now runs the Katie’s Pantry part of the business.
Committed to supplying the best quality meats to their customers Tim Potter provide a range of products including traditional beef, lamb and pork joints as well as award-winning sausages and their own seasoned kebabs and BBQ range. They also stock a range of locally sourced cheeses, butters and deli products. The business credits its success on its focus on local produce, fantastic customer service and selling quality meat at realistic prices.

clive downsClive Downs Butchers
Situated in Porlock in Somerset Clive Downs Butchers was established over 20 years ago and has been managed by Derek Weeks, an experienced butcher who has worked in the trade for 40 years, since 2017. Their products include locally sourced lamb, beef and various game as well as handmade sausages including venison with redcurrant and pork with tomato and basil. Clive Downs also supply a number of Chunk of Devon pies such as the Chicken & Bacon and the Steak & Ale.

lloyd maunder exmouth (2)Lloyd Maunder – West Country Family Butchers
The eponymous Lloyd Maunder took over his father’s butchers shop in Witheridge in 1898. He then proceeded to expand the business by selling meat and dairy products to customers in London and became one of the first major suppliers to Sainsbury’s. The first Lloyd Maunder shop opened in 1913 in Tiverton and today there are 14 branded shops throughout the South West. Their product range includes traditional lamb, beef and pork as well as their popular ‘meat for a week’ deals and dinner party selections. Many of the shops now have deli counters serving local artisan cheeses, salads, pies and marinated meats which are proving popular with their customers.

There are many other fantastic family owned butchers that we could have mentioned here and this can only be a sign of the continued success of the traditional butcher. Happy National Butchers’ Week!

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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: Fish Pie

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 an old fashioned Fish Pie.

This creamy, cheesy mash topped pie is a bit different from our other recipes. We’ve used smoked haddock, smoked salmon and cod but really this can be made with any fish you like. The mash is enhanced with butter and mature Cheddar as well as breadcrumbs and parmesan for a deliciously crunchy topping.

Ingredients (serves 4):haddock (2)
400g potatoes (preferably Maris Piper), peeled and cut into chunks
400ml milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
200g mature Cheddar, grated
150g cod, cut into chunks
150g smoked haddock, cut into chunksbarbers vintage
100g smoked salmon, sliced
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp parmesan, grated

Method:
1: Put the potatoes in a saucepan, add freshly boiled water and salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender, drain and leave to cool.
2: Heat the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, add the flour and stir to a paste. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer for 3-4 minutes stirring regularly. Then add the mustard and half of the grated Cheddar.
3: Add the fish and stir to combine with the sauce. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
4: Heat the grill and mash the potatoes to your liking with the rest of the grated Cheddar.
5: Transfer the fish mix to a heatproof dish and top with the mashed potatoes. Add the breadcrumbs and parmesan and grill for 10-15 minutes or until the top has turned golden brown. Serve immediately.

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

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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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British Pie Week: Butternut Squash & Goats Cheese Pie

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 another favourite: Butternut Squash, Spinach & Goats Cheese.

This pie is our go-to vegetarian pie, the combination of savoury goats cheese with sweet roasted butternut squash is a delicious take on the traditional Greek dish Spanakopita, a feta and spinach filo pie. The filo is intensely crisp and more-ish whilst being super easy to prepare.

Ingredients (serves 4):capricorn goat
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
2 red onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp chilli flakes
400g fresh spinach leaves
200g goats cheese, crumbled
4 sheets filo pastry
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method:
1: Pre-heat the oven to 220C, Gas Mark 7 and add 1 tbsp olive oil to a roasting dish.
2: Place the squash, onions, garlic and chilli flakes into the roasting dish and mix together well, ensuring an even covering of spices and oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
3: Meanwhile wilt the spinach: put the spinach in a pan of just boiled water for 1 minute. Remove and immediately place in a bowl of iced water. Set aside.
4: Remove the roasting dish from the oven and tip contents into your pie dish, add the spinach and goats cheese and stir to combine.
5: Brush the filo sheets with the remaining olive oil and layer onto the top of the pie dish until completely covered, scrunch up the ends.
6: Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve immediately.

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

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British Pie Week

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

This pie came about from a love of chorizo in and on anything. The sherry adds a delicious sweetness and the parsley and cream make the filling incredibly more-ish. Topped with a shortcrust pastry lid some people would argue that this is technically not a pie however we believe that the flavour speaks for itself. Trust us and try for yourself following the recipe below.

Ingredients (serves 4):
8 chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 tbsp sunflower oil
200g chorizo, diced
25g plain flourchorizo
1 onion, diced
100ml dry sherry
140ml single cream
2 tbsp dried parsley
400ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Pastry:
250g self-raising flour
150g beef or vegetable suet
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg, beaten

Method:
1: Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the chicken. Cook until brown and transfer to a plate.
2: Add the onion and chorizo to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onions begin to turn slightly orange from the chorizo oil. Stir in the flour and then add the sherry. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
3: Return the chicken to the pan and add the stock, parsley and seasoning. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
4: Meanwhile prepare the pastry. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and add cold water, 1 tbsp at a time until a dough begins to form. Roll into a ball, cover and chill for 20 minutes.
5: Pre-heat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6.
6: Once the chicken is tender add the cream to the pan and stir. Turn up the heat and allow some of the liquid to evaporate, resulting in a white sauce consistency.
7: Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to around ½cm thick.
8: Transfer the filling to a pie dish and top with the pastry. Seal the edges using your fingers to crimp the pastry into the dish. Make a small hole in the centre to allow air to escape. Brush with the egg and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately.

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

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Vegan Cheddar Style Cheese Now in Stock!

vegan certifiedThis time last year the first vegan cheese shop in the UK opened its doors. La Fauxmagerie was immediately hit with a media storm when Dairy UK, the dairy industry trade association, sent a letter requesting that owners Charlotte and Rachel Stevens stop describing their products as cheese because it was potentially misleading to customers.

A year on and the number of people turning to vegan and plant based diets is continually rising with many abstaining from meat and dairy in a bid to halt the vegan burger (2)inevitable environmental impact of farming and agriculture.
This year Veganuary – a nonprofit organisation that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January – reported that over 400,000 people registered to take part compared to 250,000 in 2019. This success is due in part to the rise in availability of vegan products in supermarkets, restaurants and take-away outlets. KFC in particular posted that one million of their new vegan burgers were sold in the first month of sale, the equivalent of one every three seconds. But while plant based burgers have now hit the mainstream vegan cheese seems to have been left behind.

vegan cheese (2)This could be because unlike their ‘meat’ counterparts many vegan cheeses have failed to emulate the taste, texture and appearance of traditional cheeses with many described as being bland, and ‘plasticky’. However some brands are beginning to experiment with new ingredients and ‘ageing’ methods as well as developing bacterial cultures similar to those used in the dairy industry.

We have just begun to stock a Cheddar style vegan cheese from Nature & Moi, a French company specialising in dairy free, plant based food. This cheese arrived early last week and was duly cut and tasted by everyone. The verdict?
vegan cheese (2)To preface we are all very much not vegan; we love cheese and our Cheddar range, being mostly from Devon and the West Country, is of excellent quality (if we do say so ourselves!). So this cheese had a lot to live up to.
The texture of the Nature & Moi Cheddar is smooth and supple and while not completely replicating the dense, richness of traditional Cheddar, this one did a fairly good job. The flavours are mild and slightly nutty with a mellow creaminess reminiscent of a very mild cheddar. Overall we thought that this cheese was “not at all bad” which, coming from a group of hardcore cheese lovers, was high praise indeed.

Click here to view the Nature & Moi cheese on our website for more info.

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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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