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/.

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The ‘New Normal’

vanThe last few months have been, to use the word of the moment, unprecedented. We are proud to have been able to continue to supply our customers throughout the pandemic and our staff have been working incredibly hard to make this possible. Below we look at the ‘new normal’ for Isca Foods.

Back in March we began seeing the effects of panic buying as customers who wouldn’t normally use their local community or farm shop began relying heavily on them when supermarkets had low stock levels. Shopping locally and supporting local businesses and producers is our central ethos and, while we regret that the support needed came in this way, we are glad that more people than ever are discovering their own local shop. We hope that once this is over, these new found customers will continue to support their local businesses rather than reverting back to the supermarket.cheriton fitz

With many people self isolating and unable to visit supermarkets we began home deliveries. This started with our MD Liam and his wife Hannah leafleting in their local area after discovering the demand their neighbours were experiencing and spring-boarded from there. We added this to the routes our vans would be doing day to day and developed a separate price list for private deliveries. Our team boxed up these orders as normal and our drivers delivered them to the doorstep of customers. This demand has eased somewhat in recent weeks as supermarkets have put in safety measures and orchardlea (2)social distancing rules however at a time when local people were struggling we like to think that we helped to make a difference.

Our sister company Orchardlea Occasion Foods (run by the aforementioned Hannah) recently launched their range of delicious hampers. Prior to the outbreak the business focused on providing food for all occasions and events from weddings and christenings to birthday parties and business lunches. However from mid March many of these events were cancelled or postponed and as a result Hannah decided to diversify the business and added bespoke hampers to their portfolio. These can be pub lunch hamperdelivered to yourself as a well deserved treat or as a gift for a much missed loved one during lock down. The new ‘Pub Lunch’ hamper has just been added to the range which can include: Bays Brewery beer, Sandford Orchard cider or Sandford Orchard fresh pressed apple juice, a selection of West Country cheeses, Cradoc’s savoury biscuits, Waterhouse Fayre chutney, Chunk of Devon pasty, Burts crisps, Cornish Olive Stall olives, pork scratchings, pork pie and a selection of sliced meats as well as anything else that takes your fancy from pub lunch hamper 2our own range of products. Hampers are bespoke and put together to order so can be truly personalised to yours or the intended recipients favourites. Visit their Facebook page or website for more info.

This is a strange time for all of us and like many businesses we are adapting to ever changing customer needs and requirements. There is always more that can be done to make things easier for everyone, but we like to think that we have made a good start.

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We’re Celebrating National Vegetarian Week!

This National Vegetarian Week we are celebrating the humble vegetable: from the new vegetarian and vegan biscuits from Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits to Olive’s Kitchen’s frozen ready meals to our selection of vegetarian friendly cheeses and Delphi dips and salads, we’ve got everything you’ll need to enjoy National Vegetarian Week!

beetrootCradoc’s Savoury Biscuits
These new savoury biscuits are already proving a hit with our customers. A small, family business based in the Brecon Beacons, Cradoc’s have been baking their crisp biscuits for the last 10 years using only natural ingredients. The majority are suitable for vegans while some contain cheese and are vegetarian friendly. Flavours include Beetroot & Garlic: an attractive dusky pink cracker chilli, ginger and garlicflavoured with fragrant garlic and savoury beetroot with a delightful peppery finish (if you hadn’t guessed this is one of our favourites!), Chilli & Ginger: turmeric crackers with cumin, black pepper and nigella seeds combined with subtle red chillies and bold ginger flavours and Cheddar & Onion Chutney: golden baked crackers with pickled onions and sweet chutney mixed with traditional Cheddar. These are all available in 80g packs with a minimum order of three boxes. Click here to view the whole range.

Olive’s Kitchen Frozen Meals
We love the ease and convenience of a frozen meal and the vegetarian varieties available are both satisfying and tasty whilst being packed full of healthy goodness. Olive’s Kitchen is made up of husband and wife team Charlie and Nikki Allhusen butternut_squash lasagnewho swapped running a successful deli for cooking homemade gourmet meals from their purpose built kitchen in Sherbourne, Dorset. The Butternut Squash lasagne is a classic favourite among both our customers and staff and it’s easy to see why. The roasted butternut squash is sweet and buttery with a creamy ricotta and spinach filling layered with fresh pasta and a tomato and basil sauce and finally topped with mozzarella and parmesan. The Aubergine Parmigiana is full of deliciously rich and more-ish flavours and combines grilled aubergines with a hearty tomato and basil sauce topped with a crisp mozzarella and parmesan crust. These are both available in single 300-320g portions and the whole Olive’s Kitchen range is available to view here.

Cous cousDelphi Dips and Salads
Delphi dips are the perfect accompaniment to a vegetarian feast, we love their Lemon & Coriander houmous with lightly spiced falafel or the red kidney bean salad mixed with peppers and sun-ripened tomatoes with olive oil, mint and mixed herbs for lunch, the crunchy coleslaw as part of a cheese ploughmans and the char-grilled vegetable cous cous as part of a Middle Eastern inspired dinner. Delphi Foods are a family business based in London who began selling specialised foods from Greece and Cyprus in 1960 and evolved into the award-winning brand we know today. Available in individual pots ranging from 160g-200g click here to view the whole Delphi range.

Happy National Vegetarian Week!

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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.
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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The Great West Country Dairy

Cheese 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.

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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Local Producers – Brookes Bacon

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Brookes Bacon.brookesBrookes Bacon began in the mid 1980’s when the company supplied ham, cheese and pre-packed cooked meats to mainly wholesale and catering customers. In 1994 demand for sliced and pre-packed bacon from their customers increased and the business began to focus purely on bacon and gammon products.

smoked streaky baconBased in Dorset, Brookes Bacon are passionate about providing high quality European and British bacon and use modern technologies and the latest equipment to maintain the excellent and consistent quality that their customers expect.

We currently stock a wide range of Brookes bacon including catering packs of both smoked and unsmoked as well as streaky and smoked streaky bacon, all of which are available in individual packs of 2.25kg and cases of four 2.25kg packs. We also stock their back baconretail smoked and unsmoked bacon packs which are available in individual 450g and cases of 15x 450g packs. Their thick-cut gammon steaks are becoming increasingly popular and are available in 450g packs with two gammon steaks per pack and the thickly cut ribfree bacon is another great quality product, it is available in catering 2.25kg packs. Click here to view the full bacon range and discover your new favourite bacon.

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Shop Local: Community Shops

Community shops have been on the rise for a number of years; in 1994 there were just 27 registered community shops while in 2016 this number had risen to 348. Community shops are owned and funded by the local community often in rural areas without access to other means of provision. These shops are able to compete with their bigger, nationwide counterparts by focusing on maintaining a loyal customer base, staffing their shops with a mostly volunteer workforce and often providing other community activities including workshops, craft schemes and cafe facilities. Here we explore a few of our local community shops and the work that they do.

ide commIde Community Shop was opened in 2013 following the closure of the village post office. A temporary shop was housed in a portable cabin but after a fundraising effort by local residents, permanent premises were purchased and today the shop is a thriving business. Staffed by 50 volunteers the shop sells a range of locally sourced produce including artisan cheeses, Chunk of Devon pies and pasties and a variety of sliced meats as well as locally made cakes, chocolates and ice creams. Following growing awareness to the dangers of single use plastics the shop has committed to reducing its own plastic waste and in an innovative move  now stock reusable cotton bags made by local residents. These pretty, colourful bags make a refreshing change to flimsy plastic bags and can be used again and again.

Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has similar origins to those just described; in 2016 the owners of the village shop and post office retired and the shop had to close. Local residents became concerned that the loss of the shop as a community hub would be keenly felt and a small group began researching the idea of re-opening. In May 2017 that idea was realised. The community shop is currently housed in a temporary building adjacent to the Methodist Chapel while the cheriton fitznecessary planning permissions and building work continue for permanent premises. The management team focuses on providing the best produce possible for their customers sourced from local producers including bacon, sausages, pies, pasties and savouries, cheese, dips and olives, chocolates, jams and chutneys as well as everyday staples such as bread, eggs and milk. Run by a small army of volunteers the Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has also become a local hub promoting locally run events, displaying public notices and functioning as a place for people to meet.

Otterton’s last convenience shop closed its doors in 2004 despite efforts to try and save it by the local community. In the intervening years residents began canvassing opinion from local residents as to whether to open a community run shop. Over a three year period this group of volunteers hosted fundraising events, scouted for premises and finally obtained planning permission to refurbish the snooker hall and the current otterton commcommunity shop opened in 2014. Staffed by a majority of volunteers the shops mission is to cater to the needs of local people, providing not only everyday staples such as milk, bread and cereal but also locally sourced meat, fish, pies and pasties, wine, beer and liqueurs and frozen, high quality ready meals. The shop is able to compete with its larger, national counterparts by competitive pricing and a focus on local produce.

These three community shops are linked by their stringent sense and love of community; each is run by a group of volunteers willing to give up their time and expertise to the project and provide the best service possible to their local residents. In an era filled with convenience deliveries and big business, we are happy to see these small, local focused shops succeed and wish them all the best of luck for the coming year.

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Local Producers – Langage Farm Dairy

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Langage Farm Dairy.langage-farm-logoLangage Farm has been a working farmstead for over 900 years. Located in the rolling Devonshire hills the Harvey family began producing their now famous clotted cream in 1980 to supply a nearby shop. This small scale production soon grew and in 2003 with the expansion of the dairy, Langage moved across the clotted creamfields to a new farm in Smithaleigh. Today the farm employs around 50 people and a herd of 250 Jersey and Guernsey cows to produce their delicious range of clotted and double cream, luxury yogurts, thick and creamy natural yogurts and various flavours of ice cream.

We currently stock a range of the Langage Farm products including their clotted creams which are available in 57g, 113g, 200g and 907g pots, double cream which is available in 284ml bottles, natural yogurts available in 450g pots and luxury yogurts available in cases of 12, flavours include lemon curd, English raspberry, cherry and strawberry. We can also stock all flavours and sizes of Langage FarmLangage-layered-yogurts-web ice cream including traditional clotted cream vanilla, indulgent coffee mocha and festive Christmas pudding flavours available in 500ml and 4ltr tubs.

Langage Farm creams have become synonymous with delicious Devonshire products, click here to view the whole range of products and for more info.

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Shop Local: Farm Shops

There is a certain feeling about walking into a farm shop, a sense of excitement and anticipation of something new just waiting to be discovered among the locally made chutneys, artisan breads, small batch cheeses and handmade cakes. The experience is far removed from that of supermarket sterile-ness, lucid lighting and endless, uninspiring aisles full of generic goods identical to those from up and down the country from which we mindlessly select the same products week after week.

Many farm shops are now day out destinations boasting not only their award-winning produce but also catering to the whole family with children’s play areas, live music events, supplier tastings, fantastic cafes and the opportunity to feed and/or play with the farm animals. The growing popularity of farm shops in recent years can be seen in the physical size of them; most shops began as small sheds selling only surplus fruit and vegetables yet today they are sprawling cornucopias bursting with an array of local products and often similarly packed with a number of discerning customers.

millers farm shopMillers Farm Shop was established in 1979 by Malcolm Miller and his family who committed to selling a range of locally sourced produce alongside home grown vegetables and seasonal plants. Described on their website as an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of the ‘most sumptuous food imaginable’ Millers Farm Shop perhaps epitomises the ethos of the farm shop. The family run business currently stocks delicious breads, pastries and pies, artisan cheeses, sliced meats and pâté, fresh fish, local milk and creams, artisanal gins and liqueurs and more. Their incredibly knowledgeable staff are passionate about their products and the friendly, relaxed atmosphere generated at the shop encourages repeat custom.

Thornes Farm has been owned by Anthony Thorne since 1986 and the farm shop was established in 1992 after locals started asking to buy the farms famous thornes farm shopstrawberries directly. Today they also supply their range of soft fruits and vegetables to other local shops and wholesalers. The farm shop itself stocks a wide variety of delicious locally made products including a range of Devon blended teas and coffees, local eggs, creams, yogurts and butters, wines, ales and soft drinks among so much more. They also offer a ‘Pick your Own’ service encouraging their customers to enjoy the best produce currently in season and following an hour or so out picking your own food their cafe provides the perfect place to relax and unwind in the peaceful Devonshire countryside while enjoying delicious handmade food.

We are really spoilt for choice for quality farm shops here in Devon and we could have mentioned so many more in this blog. This weekend why not browse one near you, you might discover something amazing.

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Local Producers – Georgie Porgie’s Puddings

Here in Devon we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic local producers on our doorstep – from artisan cheeses and bespoke blended teas to quality sausages and handmade puddings. In a time when consumers are increasingly concerned with low food miles and the provenance of their food, locality and the ‘shop local’ campaign have never been more apt. With this in mind we are producing a blog series on our local producers and their delicious products, this week focusing on Georgie Porgie’s Puddings.georgie porgie

Georgie Porgie’s Puddings was established by George Hollywood in 1994 originally producing traditional steamed Christmas puddings. Soon the business began to expand and today Georgie Porgie’s produce a variety of traditional puddings as well as steamed sponges on their premises in Budleigh Salterton, East Devon. Each pudding is handmade using the finest ingredients by expert pudding chefs to original recipes and all of them truly taste delicious.

chocolate-orange-and-baileys-group-1The range of fruit puddings includes the summery lemon & Pimms and zesty orange & Cointreau as well as our favourite the decadent chocolate orange & Baileys and the one that started it all, their flagship traditional Christmas pudding.

In 2001 the business broadened to include classic steamed sponges available in four different flavours from traditional spotted dick and treacle sponge to sticky toffee and strawberry jam varieties. The muslin wrapped fruit puddings are available in both 5oz (142g) and 16oz (454g) portions while the sponges are available in single 100g and make a sumptuous treat. ultimate gin pudding

George is continuously expanding the range and this year to mark the business’s 25th anniversary he has teamed up with Exeter Gin to produce the Ultimate Gin Pudding packed with fruit and bursting with citrus flavours and of course gin, available as an individual 16oz (454g) pudding.

Georgie Porgie’s Puddings continue to grow and expand with their deliciously flavoured sponges and puddings made in keeping to traditional methods proving that fruit puddings are not just for Christmas! Click here for more info and to see the entire Georgie Porgie range.

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