Ingredient Showcase – Olives

This week our sister company West Country Olives will be exhibiting at the Source Trade Show at Westpoint Exeter. To celebrate we thought we would share some of our favourite recipes featuring this fantastic ingredient. We know that not everyone likes olives and they can be an acquired taste but trust us when we say that these recipes will make you fall in love with them if you’re not already a stalwart fan. From jazzing up a simple Greek salad to adding another level of flavour to traybakes and pasta sauces, the humble olive is a game changer for midweek meals.

We love this spicy Merguez Sausage recipe, the rich sauce combines well with the light, flaky cod and the olives add a wonderful saltiness to the dish. We would recommenced swapping the nocellara olives in the recipe for our Harissa Glazed halkidiki olives for an extra burst of flavour. Best of all this is a one pot dish meaning less washing up – win win!

We’re not normally salad people but exceptions can be made for a fresh and zingy Greek salad particularly when it’s nice and sunny outside. This is a simple chop and assemble job but the fresh and juicy tomatoes, sharp red onion, meaty kalamata olives and salty feta with a zesty lemon & oregano dressing is completely delicious!

There’s something about the combination of preserved lemons, tomatoes and olives in this recipe that makes this chicken tagine a real winner no matter the season. We like to use our simple green pitted olives for this one which keeps the olive centre stage. Quick and easy to prepare, this is a great midweek dinner that will please the whole family.

Click here to view our entire range of West Country Olives all available in 175g resealable pouches and 1kg catering bags. And if you’re at a loose end tomorrow Tuesday 8th June or Wednesday 9th June why not pop along to Westpoint Exeter for the Source Trade Show? West Country Olives will be there from 10am-5pm with some tasty samples to try. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tried any of these recipes at home? Tag us in your foodie creations via our social media pages below!

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Q&A Kennerleigh Village Stores

The Heart of our Company Blog

Sonnie at Kennerleigh Community Shop spared some time to answer our Q&A questions, a busy little Village store based in Kennerleigh near Crediton.

Kennerleigh Community Shop has been a Customer of ours since 2017, we acquired them as a Customer when we bought Crediton Chilled Foods who were selling up as their business had come to a natural end and the Owners were wanting to move onto pastures new.

We really hope that all of the local small community and village shops continue to thrive and Customers remain supporting them as life starts to return to a small bit of normality, the local shops really need our continued support.

Q: How long has Kennerleigh Community Shop been running?

A: There has been a shop here for many years but the community took it over in 2014. 

Q: What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

A: I don’t really feel like we work in the ‘food’ industry, we work with a wider range of products than just food and are focussed on providing a service to our community. I think that all the staff and volunteers would say that the most rewarding part of the work is serving the community and especially doing the little ‘extra bits’ that only a community shop could do – like deliveries to customers who are unwell and of course during the COVID pandemic we have also made regular deliveries to customers who are isolating. Putting effort into making the shop look appealing with regularly changing window displays and stocking new products is also rewarding. The only downside is perhaps getting the shop open on a wet, cold wintery morning, but that doesn’t happen for too long before the spring comes! 

Q: If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?

A: Because I am Dutch I would first of all choose Gouda but from the Cornish Gouda Cheese Company. I would also choose other local cheeses, Devon blue and Cheddar.

Q: Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?

A: Customer numbers have definitely increased during the pandemic and although they have recently fallen slightly, we’ve managed to keep the majority with us.

Q: How long have you been a Customer of Isca?

A: Around 4 years, I have been managing since 2019.

Q: What are some of your best-selling products?

A: Have these changed during the past year? The customers like the selection of cheeses, Chinn’s sausages, chipolatas and bacon. During the last year smoked mackerel and smoked salmon also sold well.

Q: Do you regularly look for new stock? Are there any products we don’t currently sell that you you’d like to see available? 

A: I try to order different items to introduce to our customers and to keep an open mind for new ideas. One thing the customers are missing is the olives from Olive Stall. 
The new Westcountry Olives packaging is now in circulation which we are much happier with, hopefully you would be willing to give the olives a try with your Customers. We are always working on getting the flavours right, so welcome any feedback.

Q: Where is your favourite place to eat locally?

A: I do like to eat in pubs, the food they can serve is usually amazingly good. I really like the English culture, especially in this region, of going to the pub together with friends. I think no where else in the world the pub is so nice as it is in England.

Q: What is your favourite meal to cook?

A: I like to cook “chicken in the hat”. Now you will ask me what that is….its a very secret recipe giving by my mother…its contains chicken, cherries and filo pastry….more I won’t reveal.

Q: As a very valued Customer is there anything, we can do better to improve the service you are receiving from us?

Isca has a very good range of produce and our shop is benefiting from this. The employees are extremely friendly and helpful. I have built a lovely working relationship with Bethany, Lochie and Jamie the delivery man. I just ask you to continue with this high quality of service which I am very grateful for.

As always please get in touch if you would like to take part in our Heart of our Company blog series, we are after some more willing Customers to take part so we can continue this blog we are really enjoying to run.

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It’s National Sandwich Week!

It’s National Sandwich Week! We’re celebrating all this week by offering 10% off of this most versatile of sandwich fillings – ham. Below we explore some of our favourite ways to jazz up this sandwich institution.

Ham & Cheese Toasties

It goes without saying that there is nothing that cannot be improved with the addition of cheese, particularly melted cheese. For a classic toastie we recommend using our thickly sliced Ham Off the Bone which is packed full of flavour and a cheese that melts easily like a Gruyere or Gouda or a strong, extra mature Cheddar. The trick to a good toastie is lots of butter and a very hot pan. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and once you’ve added the sandwich use a plate or bowl with a can of soup or beans on top to weigh it down, this helps to compact the sandwich and ensures that the cheese melts evenly – enjoy!

Mighty Meaty Ham Sandwich

Recreate the classic Subway (other sandwich shops are available!) sandwich with our thickly cut Premium Devon ham and a variety of cured meats. We like it with Milano salami, peppery pastrami and prosciutto parma ham combined with some salty olives like our Kalamata or Classic Blend and a little mayonnaise. This works best on rolls rather than sliced bread as all that filling needs a sturdy receptacle!

Ham & Goats Cheese Baguette

Creamy goats cheese combined with ham and a dollop of fiery tomato chutney – what’s not to love! We recommend using our delicious subtly smoked ham and the Ticklemore Goat cheese with Waterhouse Fayre Spicy Tomato chutney. We’d also recommend using a fresh baguette for this as the hard outer crust works well with the soft goats cheese although this would also work with fresh granary or wholemeal bread to suit your preferences. We like the spicy tomato chutney but you could also use a chilli jam for a bit of sweetness if you prefer.

We hope you enjoy this national sandwich week, remember to tag us in any of your creations via our social media pages!

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Q&A Nibbles at your service

The Heart of our Company Blog

This month we are focusing on one of our newest Customers, Nibbles at your service.

Tiffany got in contact when we launched Westcountry Olives last year as she was looking for some local olives to add to her mouth-watering graze boxes. She then started using some of our cheeses and other products as part of her boxes. 

Full of local produce and made with an abundance of love and care, if you haven’t had a grazing box before then definitely get in contact with Tiffany, for her as a new business launching in the midst of the Pandemic last year all support is much appreciated so give ‘Nibbles at your service’ a follow/like on social media. 

You can also purchase their grazing platters via their website https://www.nibblesatyourservice.co.uk/

Q: Can you tell us about ‘Nibbles at your Service’?

A: Nibbles at your Service is an independent catering business, based in East Devon – we specialise in freshly-made-to-order
and handcrafted platters, presented beautifully in ready-to-serve boxes. We source the best of the South West’s products – so
you don’t have to – using the finest ingredients, locally sourced delicacies and a final, handcrafted and unique touch.

Q: What inspired you to start doing graze boxes?

A: I have always been very passionate about great food and the power it has to bring people together. I could see that the
‘grazing’ world was missing this same passion that food can bring us – excitement, colour, variety and togetherness. That is
why at Nibbles, we have 18 different varieties to choose from and even these can be tailored to meet your personal
preference and dietary requirements.

Q: What are the must haves in your graze boxes?

Firstly, everything should be of the highest and freshest quality – above anything else. Secondly, only the tastiest and best
quality ingredients are used in every platter which we create and we have taken time and care to ensure each platter we
serve is consistent in both quality and quantity and not only meets but exceeds our customer’s expectations. Fresh and
plentiful food is the most important ‘must have’ for us.

Q: As a relatively new customer, how did you hear about Isca Foods?

A: In our endeavour to keep as much of our produce as local as possible, that led me to sourcing delicious olives from
Westcountry Olives and consequently, this wonderful discovery led me to another family run business – Isca Foods.

Q: How long does a typical graze box take to put together?

A: None of our boxes are typical as we make each box as if we’ll be enjoying it ourselves which means we never overbook
ourselves or rush the preparation. Depending on the size and variety, it can take anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour
to create a platter-box but this doesn’t necessarily include any prep we do beforehand!

Q: Do you regularly look for new products to put into the boxes?

A: Yes! We are constantly coming up with new ideas and finding new, exciting products to incorporate into our boxes.
Luckily, we have the freedom and creativity to do this which is why we always say our ingredients may vary because if we
can find something even more delicious to include, then we’ll do it!

Q: What did you do prior to running Nibbles at Your Service?

A: Luckily, prior to starting Nibbles, I had over 15 years of working in Hospitality in one form or another – most recently,
working as First Class Cabin Crew for a major international airline. This means I am utilising a wealth of experience and
knowledge to make our platters the best they can be!

Q: What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown restrictions have eased completely and life is a little more
normal?

I definitely miss traveling as that was such a huge part of my life before the pandemic took over but more than that, I simply
miss laughing and chatting whilst enjoying a delicious meal with my family

Q: As a very valued customer, is there anything we can do better to improve the service you are receiving from us?

The most important aspect of any relationship, in any situation is good communication and I feel confident that I can speak
with somebody at Isca who will be friendly and helpful whenever there may be an issue and know it will be efficiently and
courteously rectified.

If you would be interested in taking part in our Customer/Supplier Q&A blog, just drop us an email info@iscafoods.co.uk, or express your interest when you place your order with us on 01392 661001.

Afternoon tea graze box
Vegetarian graze box
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4 Great Gouda Recipes

This weeks ‘Orchardlea Weekly Offer’ is the Cornish Mature and Medium Gouda from the Cornish Gouda Company which is available with 10% off all this week! To celebrate we’ve found four great recipes using this deliciously versatile cheese. Whether you are a wonderful chef worthy of your own Michelin star or a kitchen novice these recipes are easy to follow and sure to deliver tasty results!

Fondue – Popularised in the 60’s this Swedish classic was originally conceived as a way of using up left over cheese and stale bread but today it has gone slightly out of fashion, presumably because of its overtly sharing nature which doesn’t bode well in these overly sanitised times. However it is so easy to make and the wonderful melted concoction is pure heaven for cheese lovers. Replace the Gruyere cheese with Cornish Gouda for a local twist and simply serve with some chopped crunchy vegetables or thickly sliced sourdough bread. https://www.nigella.com/recipes/cheese-fondue

Chicken breast stuffed with Gouda – Once upon a time this would have been an ideal dinner party recipe (remember those!) but for now this would be a great family dinner. We love this retro dish for its simplicity and the Gouda makes the chicken lovely and moist while the prosciutto adds a touch of saltiness. We like to make this extra decadent with a creamy white wine and mushroom sauce and serve with either new or sauteed potatoes. http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/8186/gouda-and-leek-stuffed-chicken-breasts.aspx

Cornish Gouda Quesadillas – This recipe featured on Rick Stein’s Cornwall on BBC Two earlier this year and is a uniquely Cornish take on this Mexican street food staple. These make a delicious lunch or light supper and the sweet freshness of the caramelised apples combines well with the creamy nuttiness of the Gouda. Delicious on its own or with the fresh tomato salsa. https://www.rickstein.com/blog/recipe-gouda-quesadillas-from-rick-steins-cornwall/

Cheddar & Gouda Macaroni Cheese – This recipe is from Jamie Oliver and typically Italian orientated, for a Cornish twist swap the traditional Parmesan for Gouda and we like to add some local English cured streaky smoked bacon for extra flavour. Just dice a couple of the bacon rashers and add them in at the same time as the garlic. Macaroni Cheese can get a bad rap due to some badly made ready meal versions but made from scratch it is a completely different story. The Cornish Gouda in this recipe adds another level of flavour and its low melting point makes it wonderfully oozy. https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pasta-recipes/a-killer-mac-n-cheese/

Tried any of these recipes at home? Tag us in your creations via our social media pages!

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Ingredient Showcase: Garlic

We don’t know about you but it certainly feels as though Spring has sprung today, the sun is shining (mostly!), it’s getting warmer and pretty daffodils and bluebells are in abundance everywhere. One foodie staple of spring is wild garlic which at this time of year can be found throughout the country along riversides and woodland. We thought we’d celebrate this humble bulb with a focus on some of the bestselling products containing it starting with cheese.

Lynher Dairies Cornish Yarg is undoubtedly one of our bestselling cheeses but did you know that they also produce a wild garlic variety? The cheese itself is made to the exact same recipe with the only difference being that rather than wrapped in nettles, the Garlic Yarg is wrapped in wild garlic leaves but the difference in flavour is simply staggering. The leaves impart a lovely gentle garlic flavour as well as slightly altering the texture of the cheese, making it firmer and less crumbly than the original. The team at Lynher pick their wild garlic from surrounding Cornish woodland each spring in an extremely limited time frame – normally only from mid-March to the end of April – the leaves are then wrapped around the cheeses and left to mature for up to six months. The Garlic Yarg is available in both whole 1.6kg rounds as well as half moons and retail pre-packs.

West Country Olives are a new addition to our product list with a variety of different flavours available. The garlic olives have already become one of the most popular flavours and with good reason for garlic lovers! These mammoth Halkidiki olives are hand stuffed with whole garlic cloves before being finished with minced garlic and rapeseed oil. These are available in individual 200g resealable pouches as well as 1kg catering packs.

Waterhouse Fayre are producers of a range of bestselling jams and chutneys including a slow roasted garlic chutney. The whole garlic is roasted for a total of four hours before red onion, spices and red wine vinegar is added and these are then cooked together for a further four hours. Anyone who has eaten roasted garlic on its own can atone for the delightful sweetness of flavour that it takes on and this chutney is no exception as it develops a lovely, sweet mellowness. The Waterhouse Fayre chutneys are available in trays of 6x325g jars.

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Q&A Eggbuckland Stores

The Heart of our Company Blog

This month we are focusing on Eggbuckland Community Stores near Plymouth. 

Thank you to Emma for taking part in this months Customer Q&A, Emma took over the store around 18 months ago as a failing business and she has completely  transformed it, a shop that is growing all the time.
They have a really good Facebook following and presence and are very fond of by their Customers. 

They stock a massive range of products so if you are local to the Eggbuckland area or passing by be sure to pop in meet the friendly Team and have a look at what produce they have to offer.

They run a weekly meat raffle which is 50p a ticket, and all the money goes back in the pot. The Store love running this raffle and being able to give this as a prize to a Customer every week – such a great idea!

  1. How long has Eggbuckland Stores been running?

I took it over as a failed buisness 18 months ago, it was established 1967 I think!

  1. What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

    I just love good food & get a buzz out of being able to sell it on

  2. If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?

Taw valley tasty cheddar
St endellion Brie
Bousin

  1. Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?

A slight increase, I think the noticeable difference has been an increase in basket spend.

  1. How long have you been a Customer of Isca?

I took you on from the old buisness 18 months ago

  1. What are some of your best-selling products?

    Have these changed during the past year? Farm meat, free-range eggs, cheeses

  2. Do you regularly look for new stock? Is there any products we don’t currently sell that you you’d like to see available?

    I cant find paneer cheese, that would be useful. Also bousin cheese. Am always looking, love quirky new things, anything that co ops don’t sell!
    We can definitely get hold of those cheeses as above, we don’t keep them in stock but can order them in.

If you’d like to get involved as a Customer or Supplier, drop us an email info@iscafoods.co.uk or message us on facebook to show your interest. 

When life is abit more back to normal we will be doing some face to face chats too. 

Showing Emma who runs the store
"It's like a village shop in the middle of a City"
Showing socially distanced celebration with Customers who live opposite the store
Taken last summer - Socially Distanced 70th Celebrations with Customers who live opposite the store
Showing Orchardlea labelled meats
Selection of Orchardlea pre-packed meats
Fridge full of Orchardlea pre-packed cheese
Winner of weekly meat raffle
A winner of the weekly meat raffle
Showing other products available
Shelves stocked full of a variety of products
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International Women’s Day – Celebrating the Fantastic Women of Orchardlea Foods!

Today is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. We thought we would celebrate in our own way by pooling together the fantastic women who make this business work.

Tracey is a picker and packer in the picking room downstairs. She has been here for nearly six years and now knows all she could ever want to know about our customer orders! She also drives one of our delivery vans at the end of the week and if your business is anywhere in the Charmouth to East Devon area you’ll probably recognise her.

Hannah joined the business a little over a year ago when Orchardlea Occasion Foods was founded. Established as our sister business supplying buffet food for weddings and parties this sadly had to take a back seat once Covid-19 hit but Hannah didn’t let this stop her. She instead began helping us out in the office, taking orders, inputting invoices and handling our social media accounts. This is going from strength to strength and we are looking forward to showcasing some new ideas this year so watch this space!

Bethany (me – hi!) is responsible for inputting invoices and helps Hannah with the social media side of things as well as this blog. I have worked here for the last four years and the job role has evolved with me. I began in the picking room, as most of our staff tend to, in order to get to know the vast array of products we stock however it’s been four years and some things I’m still not sure on!

Karen is simply a machine. Quite honestly we don’t know how we would manage without her. She is responsible for restocking our cheeses and pre-packaged products including pates, bacon and gala pie. Her knowledge of the products is second to none having previously worked for Orchardlea Foods before moving over to Isca and now we’re back to the name of Orchardlea again!

After an extremely busy year Karen now has some help in the form of Rosie who joined us in 2019.
Rosie also helps with picking orders during busy periods.
Karen and Rosie work well together ensuring that all of pre packed retail products are stocked up ready for picking.

Caroline works in our meat slicing room and is responsible for all of the pre-packed meats including salami, ham and turkey as well as slicing joints of meat for our bulk customers. She also helps out in the picking room during busy periods. Caroline is currently off on the furlough scheme but we look forward to welcoming her back as soon as possible.

Kate now only works for us occasionally but she was once an integral member of our staff working alongside Karen and Tracey in the picking room. She has now set up her own baking business Kate’s Kakes and as part of this bakes scones, brownies and mini cakes for our Orchardlea Occasion Food hampers which soared in popularity due to the lock down last year.
Kate is Tim’s Wife another family member in the Orchardlea team!

Bea is the most recent addition to our team having joined us only a few months ago. Bea now oversees the account side of the business as well as assisting with our social media presence. She will also be helping Hannah with the Orchardlea Occasion Foods side of the business in particular setting up buffets for weddings and parties which will hopefully be able to go ahead in the summer.

Happy International Women’s Day from all the women here at Orchardlea Foods!

Traey - Picker, packer and driver
Bethany holding Kickin Chicken pie
Bethany - Admin
Bea and Hannah - Admin
Karen and Rosie - Cutting and packing
Kate - Worked at Isca for a long time, now a star baker!
Photo of Orchardlea Ladies
Photo from left to right - Hannah, Karen, Tracey, Bea, Bethany
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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 6

Lochie has been with us for around two years now, he started here working in the picking room and still does picking on the busier days, however for the past six months he has been keeping check on the stock, ordering and ringing customers for orders and has become a bit of an all rounder or you could say ‘he has his fingers in all the pies’ !

Lochie is the second member of staff to choose the chicken, leek and bacon pie as his favourite: “as a man who loves meat, this is a winner and the creamy sauce compliments it so well.”
He is also a big fan of the Steak and Ale pie, enjoying the rich flavour of the locally sourced beef and Otter Ale.

Q&A with Lochie

Q: Favourite Pie and why?
A: Chicken and bacon definitely, I’m a man who loves meat and the creamy sauce compliments it so well!

Q: Chips or Mash?
A: Chips all day every day, mash is probably the worst way to have a potato!

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?
A: Beef stew and dumplings, can’t beat it. Good for anytime of the year.

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?
A: Near enough 2 years now.

Q: What is your role at Isca?
A: Mainly calling all our customers for the orders.

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?
A: Absolutely not, never pictured myself here but I do love it really! I was working as a bartender before this, so feel free to ask me about any alcohol on the phone – which we have now started selling by the way – little bit of a plug!

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?
A: Probably most excited to be playing football again.

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British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 4

Dan started working for us in the complete mayhem of last year and since then has pretty much managed to cover all aspects of the business from picking and packing orders to taking a starring role in our Westcountry Olive promotional videos and recently trying his hand at inputting invoices and updating our website after a slight altercation with his thumb. As the requisite foodie type required to work in this industry Dan said “my death row meal would be pie, pie and chips, pie and mash, pie on its own – just pie”.

His pie of choice is the classic chicken and bacon, “if I know I’ve got a chicken & bacon pie waiting for me at the end of the day it makes it a whole lot better”. We agree, pie does make things better, and the chicken & bacon pie from Chunk of Devon is no exception – lovely and creamy with big chunks of tender chicken combined with intensely smoky bacon pieces in a creamy white wine sauce. What’s not to love?

Q&A with Dan

Q: Favourite chunk pie and why? 

A: Chicken, bacon and leek, combination of flavours really work well together, chunk create smooth yet complex gravy that really combines the chicken and bacon.

Of course the best thing about any chunk pie is the perfect pastry, flacky which is owed to being a great British pie

Q: Chips or mash? 

A: Long pause….. Chips due to the simple fact that you can dip into the gravy/sauce and clean up the plate.

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? 

A: Starter – mozzarrella dipper, halloumi fries and sweet chilli dip

 

Main – steak and ale pie, yorkshire puddings, roast pudding red cabbage and cauliflower cheese

 

Pudding – sticky pudding toffee

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods? 

 A: Around 6/7 months 

Q: What is your role at Isca? 

A: Olive production manager, Picker, due to a recent cycling incident he has taken more of an admin role currently helping with invoicing and banking.

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?

A: No, however life is built on spontaneous experiences which will make great stories for when i am an old man! 

The Acting dream will never die and i may become famous one day

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when Lockdown restrictions have been eased completely? 

A: Leaving the house without a panic of ‘have i got a mask on me!!’

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