British Pie Week Staff Favourites Day 2

Tracey is the second staff member to feature in our staff favourite pie series. Tracey has worked here for six years as a picker and packer in our warehouse as well as a delivery driver. She is also proficient in cutting our block cheeses down to size although this skill has been somewhat neglected over the past few months as we have kept her too busy in the packing room!

Chips are Tracey’s preferred accompaniment to pie and we have to agree that perfectly cooked chips – deliciously fluffy on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside – are hard to beat. The pie that Tracey has chosen as her favourite is the Homity, this is a slightly old fashioned Irish recipe given a Devon twist by Chunk of Devon. A vegetarian classic made with potato, mature Cheddar cheese, onion and garlic and topped with more cheese this is the ultimate cheese lovers delight. The topping is wonderfully oozy and the garlic and cream in this recipe make it rich and hearty – perfect for cold winter days.

Q&A with Tracey

Q: Favourite Pie and why?
A: Homity Pie, different to having gravy in your pie and the flavour is lovely.

Q: Chips or Mash?
A: Chips

Q: If you had to eat only one meal for the rest of your lift that would it be?
A: Roast Dinner

Q: How long have you worked at Isca Foods?
A: Coming up to 6 years in August

Q: What is your role at Isca?
A: Picker

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the Food Industry?
A: Yes from when I did a day at college when I was at school, then when I finished school and went onto college I studied Catering and Hospitality for 2 years.

Q: What do you look forward to doing most when lockdown restrictions have eased completely?
A: Meeting up with family

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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!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

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 🙂Facebooktwitterinstagram

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 🙂Facebooktwitterinstagram

Winter Party Food Ideas

This festive season we’ve got everything you need to ensure your dinner party, work buffet or simply an evening with friends goes off without a hitch, well the food at least! This time of year is the perfect excuse to show off your culinary skills and create mouth-wateringly good food using the finest ingredients.

5b057383-dbb8-4659-8b30-a73800a70a0f_800x800A simple classic some smoked salmon and cream cheese canapés will go a long way to pleasing your guests. Try them on some bought in crispbreads with some chive if you’re short on time or try making your own potato cakes with some dill and lemon for extra flourish. Our John Ross smoked salmon is cold smoked over oak chips using the same techniques passed down since the 19th century and is deliciously light and delicate with subtle smoky flavours and goes beautifully with cream cheese.

Another crowd-pleaser and Christmas staple is some baked camembert. This can1h4a9552_28727765675_o-1 be made really easy by simply baking the camembert as is and adding some garlic bread or crackers and a nice chutney – we recommend the Pear & Walnut chutney from Waterhouse Fayre as the flavours really compliment the cheese. However if you fancy making more of a centrepiece try baking a tear and share dough ball platter with some rosemary, thyme and cranberries. The dough helps the camembert to keep its shape as well as taking on some of the oozey cheese as it bakes – delicious!

BasilA classic meat and cheese platter is the perfect prepare ahead party option. Mix and match with the meat: some prosciutto, salamis, chorizo, pastrami – anything you and your guests will like. For the cheese we advise to pick a variety of different textures and varieties, a soft creamy brie, firm vintage, tangy blue and a sheeps, cow and goats cheese for a range of different flavours. Add some  sunripened tomatoes, salty olives – try some from the Cornish Olive Stall range – grapes and of course some warm crusty bread and you’re good to go.

For a buffet style dinner party the opportunities are endless, hot, cold, meat and vegetarian there are so many options. For the meat eaters try some festive pork and cranberry chipolatas from W F Chinn’s or their pigs in blankets are equally delicious. Chunk of Devon sausage rolls and pork pies in buttery pastry are a must as well as traditional honey-roasted gammon hot or cold from Kittos of Plymouth. For the vegetarians how about an Indian treat with some crispy vegetable samosas or deliciously creamy blue stilton and broccoli quiche.

We hope this has given you some ideas for the festive season, for more info on any of the products we’ve mentioned head over to our website.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

Vegetarian Cheeses

Traditional cheese making techniques require the use of rennet in the ‘curdling’ process whereby the curds and whey are separated, the problem with this for vegetarians is that this rennet is sourced from the stomach of young calves. Luckily many cheeses produced in the UK are now made using alternative rennet such as fungal/bacterial sources and genetically modified micro-organisms. However there are some cheeses such as Parmesan, Grana Padano and Gorgonzola that have to be produced to traditional methods including the use of calf rennet, these are therefore unsuitable for vegetarians. While the following list is not by any means exhaustive, it includes some of our most popular cheeses made using vegetarian rennet.

tawvalleyrange_ck6q-r8We’ll start with traditional Cheddar; all of our Taw Valley, Maryland and Ford Farmhouse range are suitable for vegetarians.
Based in North Tawton, Devon the Taw Valley master cheesemakers use high quality milk sourced from local farms and traditional recipes to produce great tasting cheeses. Barbers of Maryland Farm are one of the few farms awarded Protection of Designation of Origin status meaning that their Cheddar is made to exacting standards including using milk sourced from Devon, Cornwall, Somerset or Dorset, using traditional techniques such as ‘cheddaring’ and allowing the cheese to mature for at least nine months. Ford Farm are based in Dorset and have been producing Cheddar for over forty years using methods and recipes dating back over 600 years.

Quickes are producers of traditional cloth bound cheeses and while some of their range uses animal rennet they also have a range suitable for vegetarians including their Elderflower cheese. Based near Exeter in Devon the team make all the cheese by hand using techniques which have been passed through the generations for over 500 years. This elderflower cheese is a fresh and creamy Cheddar with real elderflower running through it. It is delicately scented with rich and buttery flavours.

Devon Blue is made by Ticklemore Cheese near Totnes, Devon without the use of rennet making it suitable for vegetarians. Made using unpasteurised Friesian cows’ milk sourced from local dairies, it is allowed to mature for up to eight months to allow the flavour to fully develop and is moist, slightly crumbly in texture with buttery rich flavours.

Tim_Schofield_Photo_150520-83Cornish Brie is made by Trevarrian Creamery on the North Cornwall coast using locally sourced milk, this rich Cornish milk is what gives the brie its characteristic yellow, buttery colouring. Best of all it is made using vegetarian rennet with a soft and silky texture and mild, creamy flavour. For added luxury try their St Endellion Brie which is made with added double cream and still suitable for vegetarians.

Check out our website for the full range of cheeses suitable for vegetarians and discover something new!Facebooktwitterinstagram

Chunk of Devon – Ricardo’s Pie

New Chunk Of Devon – Ricardo’s Pie now available to purchase here at ISCA Foods.

Inspired by a trip to Mexico, this great chilli pie has a slightly spicy kick and is suitable for vegetarians!
Quorn, peppers, kidney beans, a mild chilli salsa and topped with crushed tortilla chips, then melted mature cheddar cheese!

Why not give it a try…..Please get in touch for more details. RRP £2.95Ricardo's PieFacebooktwitterinstagram