British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 3

Today is the turn of yours truly in our staff favouite pie series for British Pie Week. I have worked here for the last four years and over that time my job role has ranged from picking and packing orders in the cutting room to answering the phones, inputting invoices, posting on our social media and, obviously since you’re reading this, writing our blogs. I wasn’t always into food and in fact used to be an incredibly fussy eater however I have always enjoyed a good pie. I would argue that my husband makes the best pies but since that wasn’t an option here my favourite has to be the Kickin Chicken curry pie from Chunk of Devon.

This lightly spiced pie is packed full of flavour from the chunks of tender chicken marinaded in curry spices mixed with onions, tomatoes and peppers in a creamy coconut curry sauce. The buttery shortcrust pastry is lovely and crisp which compliments the filling and paired with some classic chunky chips this is my idea of a perfect pie.

Q&A with Bethany

Q: Favourite Pie and why?
A: Usually I would choose my husbands homemade Chicken & Chorizo pie with a suet pastry top which is basically a huge dumpling and utterly delicious but for this I have chosen the Kickin’ Chicken Curry pie. It’s so full of flavour with just a hint of spice which I love.

Q: Chips or Mash?
A: It’s got to be proper thick cut chips deep fried so they are crispy on the outside and lovely and fluffy on the inside.

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?
A: To start I would choose a fish platter mostly because I can never just choose one thing! So on it would be some smoked salmon pate, lightly dressed handpicked crab and grilled oysters with a lemon and thyme butter with some sour dough bread and lots of salted butter – preferably black garlic butter which is absolutely delicious. Then a crab risotto topped with cod loin wrapped in parma ham with some roasted cherry tomatoes and finally a sticky toffee pudding with proper Devon clotted cream. I’ll be the size of a house when I’m finished!

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?
A: I think four years… it’s a bit of a blur.

Q: What is your role at Isca?
A: Assorted! Anything from inputting invoices, posting on social media, answering the phones etc.

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?
A: No but it seems to be where I have ended up, I love eating and writing about food so I think I’m in the right place!

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?
A: Definitely going out for some nice food and drinks with friends. Dinner, pub lunch, breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, cocktails, anything. I’m looking forward to eating something that I haven’t had to cook or clear up.

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4 Ways to use Natural Yogurt

We love the versatility of natural yogurt but even we know that when faced with a pot of plain natural yogurt many people just don’t know what to do with it – breakfast granola aside! Below we list our 4 favourite ways of using this fantastic ingredient alongside some tasty recipes to try for yourself.

sutton lucy cream (2)Before we start though here are some of the varieties of yogurt we currently stock: from Langage Farm we have the low fat natural yogurt made using Jersey and Guernsey cows milk available in 450g pots and from Sutton Lucy we have the creamy, full fat natural yogurt available in 500g pots. We can also stock the Langage Farm 0% fat Greek Yogurt available in 450g pots, although this product does require a pre-order.

Marinade
A marinade is one of our favourite ways of using natural yogurt, it has been a staple part of cuisines around the world for centuries and is now becoming more popular in the UK. Often the recipes only require minimal marinating so are perfect for quick and easy midweek dinners with maximum flavour and there are lots of recipes to try from this delicious spicy yogurt chicken to this yogurt and turmeric fish curry.

yogurt salmon (2)Topping
Topping a dish with natural yogurt adds a lovely creamy texture to dishes and serves as a ‘cooler’ for slightly spicy meals. The addition of natural yogurt works really well with meat and fish like this Moroccan style meatball dish with cumin and we can personally attest to the flavour of this Persian inspired spiced salmon recipe from chef Sabrina Ghayour.

Dip
Natural or Greek yogurt lends itself well to making quick and tasty dips that can be ready in minutes and elevate a midweek dinner or snack to new heights. From this classic Greek Tzatziki best served with crispy fried courgettes to this cooling raita which perfectly compliments a traditional Indian banquet there are dips to suit almost everything!

lemon and blueberry (2)Baking
Of course we couldn’t miss baking off of this list! Yogurt is great to use in baking because of it’s acidity which reacts well with baking soda and it’s natural tangy-ness which keeps the bake balanced. We absolutely love this recipe for lemon and blueberry cake made using Greek yogurt and this chocolate muffin recipe is perfect for chocolate lovers!

Tried any of these recipes using our natural or Greek yogurt? Tag us in your creations via our social media pages below!

Image credit by Sally’s Baking Addiction available via https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/lemon-berry-yogurt-cake/.Facebooktwitterinstagram

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!Facebooktwitterinstagram

Christmas Leftover Ideas

This festive season we’ve got all the inspiration you’ll need for using up all your leftovers from the big day. From traditional turkey curry to not so traditional ramen, a delicious Boxing Day breakfast and a warming cheesey dish perfect for cosying up by the fire – enjoy!

Turkey
We can’t imagine Christmas without mountains of leftover turkey, but what to do with it? A 70’s classic turkey curry, creamy korma or a fiery madras, a curry is quick and easy to make but full of flavour. We like adding some drained chickpeas for extra texture but you can leave these out if you prefer. Serve with some rice, naan bread, poppadoms, or whatever you have in the cupboard for an excellent curry feast!
If you fancy something a little more adventurous why not try making a Turkey ramen? Originating in Japan this noodle broth is deliciously rich and warming with plenty of healthy veg to compensate for the over indulgence of chocolates and mincepies over the festive season! It takes no time to prepare and you can even add leftover gravy to heighten the rich, meaty flavours.

Ham
Like a lot of families we have lots of ham over Christmas and aside from sandwiches we were at a loss of how to use it up. A potato, ham and chorizo hash makes a delicious Boxing Day breakfast, guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs ifhoney ham (2) you’ve overdone it on the mulled wine. Once everything is chopped this takes minutes to cook and if you’ve got some leftover roast potatoes (unlikely in our house!) you can add those to make it extra decadent and crispy.
Carbonara is one of our favourite meals, full of creamy goodness, we couldn’t resist including it with our leftovers. Traditionally made with pancetta we think it works just as well with ham and a good sprinkling of Parmesan.

Cheese
We always have some cheese left over from our Boxing Day cheeseboard and one sharpham brieway to use it up is to make a delicious Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Any cheese will work perfectly so don’t worry about using a bit of everything, Stilton, Brie, a bit of leftover Cheddar all work really well, we also quite like adding some smoked bacon for extra flavour. Top with grated Parmesan and breadcrumbs for that signature crunchy crust and you’ve got a deliciously warming cheesy dinner.
Another great leftover idea is a roasted vegetable tart topped with slices of Brie and cranberry sauce. Any veg you’ve got left from the roast dinner can be roasted in puff pasty tart cases, top with the brie just before serving and dig in!Facebooktwitterinstagram

Should we be eating less meat?

A report published by Waitrose this week has found that a third of Britons have stopped or reduced their meat intake following growing concerns of the impact on our carbon footprint as well as animal welfare standards. One in eight are vegetarian or vegan and a further 21% are ‘flexitarian’, eating a diet mostly consisting of vegetables with occasional meat products. While we love steaks, burgers and bacon butties there is no denying the environmental impact such huge quantities of meat eating has on our planet and simply reducing our intake rather than cutting it out altogether could make a massive difference. We’ve listed a few alternative meat free products below, give them a try and you never know you might be converted!

Chunk-of-Devon-Chunki-Roast-Veg-Pasty.s-450x443Chunk of Devon Roasted Veg Pasty
Based in Ottery St Mary, Chunk of Devon are multi award-winning producers of pies, pasties and savoury snacks made using locally sourced ingredients. Earlier this year they changed their roasted vegetable pasty recipe to make it suitable for vegans. Roasted sweet potato, butternut squash, potato, red onion and herbs combine to make a delicious snack or lunchtime treat. Wrapped in a wholemeal flour pastry and covered in a pea glaze this has real depth of flavour and is suitable for everyone! In March this year they also launched their new goats cheese and butternut squash pie with red onion wrapped in buttery shortcrust pastry which is one of our favourites vegetarian or not.

Squash and Coconut CurrySquash_Curry_3_(1_of_1) 
Lodge Farm Kitchen are producers of gourmet, handmade frozen ready meals based in Ross-on-Wye. Using locally sourced ingredients and prepared by expert chefs their meals are firm favourites with our customers and a wholesome, nutrient rich meal can be ready in minutes. This squash curry is delightfully fragrant with organic butternut squash, coconut, cumin and fresh coriander; just add rice! Lodge Farm’s roasted vegetable lasagne has also become one of our bestsellers, made with courgettes, aubergines, peppers and mushrooms and topped with a bechamel sauce we promise you won’t miss the meat!

115631011_0_640x640Alpro Desserts
A renowned vegan friendly brand, Alpro have been making their soya milk desserts, yogurts and drinks since 1973. Both delicious and naturally lower in fat than their dairy alternatives they offer a variety of flavoured desserts including rich and silky dark chocolate, velvety vanilla, sweet and creamy caramel and smooth milk chocolate. Their milkshake drinks are also available in sweet and refreshing strawberry and luxurious chocolate flavours.

Cheese
The majority of our cheeses are now suitable for vegetarians with only a few exceptions. Traditional cheese making techniques include the use of rennet totawvalleyrange_hra7-n2 separate the curds and whey in a process called coagulation, rennet was traditionally sourced from the stomach of newborn calves. However now it often comes from either fungal/bacterial sources or genetically modified micro-organisms making the cheese suitable for vegetarians. All of our traditional farmhouse cheeses, stilton and most flavoured cheeses are suitable for vegetarians but if in doubt all the information is available on the cheese pages on our website.
http://www.iscafoods.co.uk/cheese/

Small differences in our eating habits can make a huge difference both to our planet and our own individual health. Initiatives such as #MeatFreeMonday are raising awareness and encouraging people to give up meat for just one day a week to help contribute to reducing our carbon footprint. With so many delicious alternatives available why not give it a go?Facebooktwitterinstagram

Warming Autumnal Recipes

Cold, crisp mornings, early evenings and golden leaves signal the beginning of autumn and autumn means soups, casseroles, pies and puddings, in short, it means the beginning of comfort food season which we love! We’ve listed a few of our favourite recipes that are perfect for this time of year.

We’ll start with a curry. A nice hot, spicy curry is enough to warm your cockles and you can even swap the beef in this recipe for some meats that are at their best this season such as pheasant and venison for that extra rich flavour. This is a quick and simple recipe and if you like your curry even hotter just add some fresh chillies, sliced or whole.

41S7GTkMlNL._AC_SX354_SY510_QL65_Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
500g braising steak, cubed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 405g Goldfish Madras curry sauce

Method:
1: Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onion
2: Add the beef and fry until browned
3: Mix the Goldfish Madras Curry sauce with 300ml water and add it to the beef and onions. Cover and cook for 1 hour or until the beef is nice and tender. Serve with boiled rice and your choice of accompaniments.

Halloween is well on the horizon now and if you have kids in the house you may already have started the pumpkin carving, this recipe uses up the delicious orange flesh inside and is easy to prepare; once everything is chopped and boiling you can leave the oven to do all the work and get on with carving those pumpkin faces.
Ingredients:
1 tbsp sunflower oil
8 W F Chinn Cumberland sausageschinns
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1 small pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and chopped
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin cannellini beans, drained
500ml chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, Gas mark 4
2: Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the sausage and fry for 4-5 minutes or until golden-brown
3: Add the onion and fry until softened then add the garlic and sage and cook for 3 minutes
4: Add the pumpkin and white wine vinegar, increase the heat and cook until most the liquid has evaporated
5: Add the tomatoes, cannellini beans, chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring to the boil
6: Transfer to a casserole dish and cook in the oven for 1 hour, the sausages should be cooked through and the pumpkin tender.

A rich and hearty risotto to warm you up this autumn, this recipe has very few ingredients and is a great quick meal you can have on the table in half an hour. The paprika coated on our chorizo rings adds a lovely hint of heat, however if you want to add a little more some fresh chillies work well or a splash of chilli sauce such as Tabasco.

chorizosartaIngredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
100g chorizo, sliced
20g dried parsley
750ml chicken stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes
300g risotto rice
200ml red wine

Method:
1: Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic and cook until softened.
2: Add the chorizo and cook until it begins releasing its oils
3: In another pan heat the stock and chopped tomatoes together
4: Add the risotto rice to the onion and chorizo pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the red wine
5: Stir and cook until most of the wine has evaporated and then add the hot stock and tomatoes a ladle at a time, stirring well each time. Only add more stock once the previous ladle is almost absorbed. You may not need all of the mixture.
6: Once cooked the rice should be tender but with a slight bite. Add some parmesan and fresh parsley to serve.Facebooktwitterinstagram