5 December 2016

A whole host of artisan food and gifts to be won in our '12 Days of Christmas' competition

We're excited to be able to bring back our 
'12 Days of Christmas' competition again.

We're very grateful to our producers who are taking part and donating some fantastic prizes which means we have a great selection of food (and a few gifts) to suit all tastes.

This has to be one of our greatest competitions yet with a cache of 32 prizes up for grabs!
Already, hundreds of entries have come in and we expect many more as there are so many wonderful things to be won.
As usual, the competition will run over a 12 day period and entrants can pick their favourites from the list and there'll be a chance of winning one of those selected.

We have a wide range of artisan and handmade food, drink and gift items as well as experiences, training and of course the Christmas turkey.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to The Artisan Food Trail website, get entering and good luck!

Enter the competition

Thanks to our members/producers for taking part and offering prizes making this such a spectacular competition:

Blossoms Syrup
Breckland Orchard
Edible Ornamentals
Fudge Kitchen
Great Glen Charcuterie
Hafod Cheese
Hibiscus Lily
Max Olive Oil
Morton’s Traditional Taste
Needwood Ice Cream
Oakley Grange Farm
Ragini’s Mauritian Curry Powder
Red Cat Partnership Ltd
Susannah’s Sauces
Tg Green Teas
Truffle Hunter
Yare Valley Oils

2 December 2016

Coronation Turkey

Photo: © childsdesign
This is our version of a chicken dish which was originally created to celebrate the coronation of our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Love it or loathe, since then, it has become a popular sandwich filling which sometimes can be a little sloppy and bland.

Ours has a bit more oomph with the help of some quality curry powder
and is nice and chunky in texture. It is also a great way to perk up leftover Christmas turkey.

You could serve it, traditionally, with rice but we like it wrapped up in a chapatti with some baby gem lettuce leaves. Slightly messy but very delicious!

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder*
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 10 dried apricots, chopped
  • 150ml mayonnaise
  • 75ml natural yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney*
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of hot chilli sauce/Tabasco
  • 450g cooked turkey breast*
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 50g flaked almonds, toasted lightly in a dry frying pan
  • baby gem lettuce leaves and chapattis to serve

In a small frying pan, heat the oil and gently fry the onion for 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger and continue to fry for a minute or so.
Add the tomato and curry powder and add a splash of water and continue to cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally until the water evaporates.
Put the curry mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool.
Remove any skin from the turkey breast and cut the meat into bite sized chunks. Set aside.

Put the apricots, mayonnaise, yogurt, mango chutney and lemon juice into the bowl with the curry mixture and stir well to mix.
Add salt, pepper and chilli/Tabasco sauce to taste and mix in.
Add the cooked turkey breast and stir until it is coated with the sauce, add the chopped coriander and mix in.

Serve scattered with the toasted flaked almonds and some baby gem lettuce leaves and chapattis.

  Notes on ingredients                                                                                            
The turkey in this recipe is a free range Norfolk Bronze from Morton's Traditional Taste.
We have a couple of choices on The Artisan Food Trail for curry powder; Ragini’s Mauritian Curry Powder or the Sri Lankan Curry Powder from Spice Kitchen.
Try the Mango & Apricot Chutney from Hibiscus Lily made using traditional methods without the use of artificial preservatives.

30 November 2016

What to do with the leftover turkey?

© Morton's Traditional Taste
If you've bought a large turkey for Christmas it is inevitable that there will be leftovers no matter how many people sat at the table on the day.

The thought of eating cold turkey day after day can be daunting and unfortunately quite boring, so we have put together a collection of recipes to make the most of the money you've spent on the bird.

After testing the turkey, we received from Morton's Traditional Taste, we made sure not to waste a scrap and stripped all the meat from the carcass, packed it into portions and froze it ready for using later.

If you'd like to know how to deal safely with leftovers, there is some solid advice on the Food Standards Agency website.

Keep checking back here on our blog over the next few weeks as new recipes will be posted regularly.

Coronation Turkey
More to come…

28 November 2016

Not all olive oils are the same

© Max Olive Oil
Much like wine, olive oil has different characteristics depending upon where the fruit is grown, the olive variety and how the raw ingredients are treated to achieve the end product.

Olive oil has become very much the norm in our British kitchens, far removed from the time when it was reserved for medicinal use.
One thing is for certain, is that we have become more discerning about olive oil and there are a few truths to know to help you choose the best.

Supermarket shelves are awash with olive oil. With so many types from various countries and various prices, it can be difficult to know which one
to buy.
Obviously everyone's tastes differ and so it may be trial and error until you find one that you like. The key to a fine tasting olive oil, is it’s freshness – we’ve heard that some olive oils in the supermarkets can already be quite old.
Another detracting effect on taste is the practice of blending it with an inferior quality product to ‘bulk’ it out.
If you’re a keen food lover, no doubt you’ve heard all this before as it’s not news – television programmes have already highlighted these issues – but it is worth reiterating.

© Max Olive Oil
Max Olive Oil produces the finest extra virgin olive oil from the fruits grown in the family orchards in Puglia, Italy and it was a real pleasure to test out two of their specialties.
Max Paiano is based in St Albans, Hertfordshire and you’ll find him at the local monthly farmer’s market selling his fresh-pressed oils. For those unable to get to the market will be pleased to know they can also buy online.

Max Olive Oil's oils are single estate artisan products. The olives are handpicked by the family and then milled within 24 hours of harvesting to ensure the freshest and purest product.
Max travels back to the orchards, each year, to help with the harvest himself,
an activity he very much enjoys.

First of all we tasted the oils very simply so as not to allow interference of other flavours and then tried dipping some bread into it.

Donna Lucia Riserva (clear bottle)
Light golden green in colour, Donna Lucia Riserva is made from Leccino
olives and is described as having a fruity, grassy flavour followed by just a hint of pepper.
The ’greenness’ was the first thing we noticed, both in aroma and taste. It is certainly redolent of freshly mown grass and very pleasant. The general mouth-feel of the oil is not at all greasy, being rather light and refreshing.
Its light flavour is perfect with fish, salads and vegetables.

Donna Lucia Etichetta Nera (dark bottle)
Again, a light golden green in colour, Donna Lucia Etichetta Nera is made from Ogliarola and Cellina di Nardò olives and is described as having pleasant notes of artichokes and wild rocket, with a slightly bitter undertone.
A nice feel in the mouth and the flavour is robust and slightly peppery.
The flavour of wild rocket is very detectable making this oil an ideal addition to more strongly flavoured foods such as soups and grilled meats.

To enjoy Max Olive Oil at its best, do not cook with it. An olive oil of this calibre was never meant for frying as this just destroys the taste. The finest extra virgin olive oils are best when used to drizzle over foods or made into dressings but never exposed to high temperatures.

We enjoyed both olive oils and it would be unfair to pick a favourite as they both achieved ‘first place’ in our evaluation.

We are pleased to award Max Olive Oil our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Donna Lucia Riserva Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

and Donna Lucia Etichetta Nera Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

To find out more about Max Olive Oil visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here.

28 October 2016

Chicken Tikka with a Mauritian Twist

Photo: © childsdesign
These tasty pieces of chicken are bursting with tang and spice and take no time at all to make, just the marinating takes a while, leaving you to do something else or just relax.
Easy to cook under a hot grill, or if you prefer, over glowing barbecue coals.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 800g skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 80g ginger, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tbsp Ragini’s Mauritian Curry Powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato purĂ©e
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • salt

Cut the chicken into 4cm cubes.

Put the yogurt, ginger, garlic curry powder, lemon or lime juice and tomato purée into a bowl and stir to mix well. Stir in the melted butter.
Add the chicken pieces and stir until they are all evenly coated.

Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours or preferably overnight, to marinate.

To cook the chicken, preheat the grill to medium-high.
Thread the chicken pieces on to metal skewers.

Grill the chicken for 8-10 minutes, turning now and then and basting occasionally with the yogurt marinade.
To check the chicken is cooked through, take one of the biggest pieces and
cut it in half. There should be no sign of pink and the juices will run clear
when it is done.

Serve with rice, flatbreads, such as roti or chapattis, and salad

26 October 2016

Chicken, Fennel & Apple Pasta Salad

Photo: © childsdesign
Chicken goes so well with creamy textures and the aniseed flavour of tarragon and fennel.
Our salad uses Susannah’s Sauces Tasty Tarragon Mayonnaise to create an unctuous herbal sauce which combines with pieces of crunchy tangy apple.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 300g penne pasta
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp Susannah’s Sauces Tasty Tarragon Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp natural Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced,
  • 1 dessert apple, cored and chopped into 2cm chunks
  • few fennel fronds, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper
  • parmesan shavings

Cook the penne pasta according to the pack instructions.
Drain and set aside to cool.

Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a medium sized saucepan.
Season with salt and pepper.
Fill the saucepan with cold water until it reaches about 4cm above the chicken breasts.
Bring to the boil, then place a lid on the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Lightly simmer until the chicken breasts are cooked through, about 15 minutes. The time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the saucepan and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl mix together the Tasty Tarragon Mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon zest and spring onions.
Cut the cooled chicken breast into 2cm chunks and add to the bowl along with the fennel, apple and penne pasta. Mix well to combine making sure everything is well coated with the mayonnaise mixture.
Add the fennel fronds, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste and mix in.

Scatter over the parmesan shavings and serve.

25 October 2016

Traditional Taste: Turkey on test

Photo: © childsdesign
Christmas can be stressful enough for most of us, what with all the presents to find and wrap, not forgetting someone on the card list and then there's the food preparations to be made.

The one time of year when you just want everything to be perfect and get it right, especially if you have certain 'difficult' family members, you feel the celebratory meal has to be faultless.

A big turkey is a traditional choice but has gathered an unfortunate reputation for being bland and dry. Not what you want on the day when no amount of gravy is going to rectify the situation.

Christmas delivered
Christmas came early for us this year as we were delivered a turkey to try from Morton's Traditional Taste from Norfolk. To be honest it did engender feelings of trepidation as we don't usually have one, there being just the two
of us.

When the courier dropped off the rather large and heavy insulated box,
we knew it was going to be big.
Morton's sent us one of their frozen turkeys, presumably from the previous year's flock, as their current livestock are still in the final stages of being fattened for the table.
The turkey was indeed huge and required a bit of muscle to manhandle it.
This must have been a greedy beast with a very healthy appetite!

Preparation time
Morton's rear both Bronze and Norfolk Black turkeys and judging by its size, ours was a Bronze, the Black being naturally smaller at maturity and also longer in shape.

So how best to cook this bird? Wanting to do justice to all the hard work and time put into producing a fine free range turkey, which Morton's promises to be flavoursome and moist, we decided to get the knives out and remove the legs and wings.
Granted it may not make a fantastic centrepiece presentation but it does make it easier to cook the meat to perfection. By roasting the breast and legs and wings separately, the method gets around the problem of parts of it drying out before others are cooked properly.

Going back a little, it was noted how there was no 'funny' smell on first taking the turkey out of the polythene bag. We've noticed an odd odour with some poultry bought from certain shops and most likely attributed to its freshness.

Get the oven on
On with the roasting. Morton's guides you through the process in their handy booklet which comes in the box. Advice on storage, preparation, cooking and even a delicious stuffing recipe all gives more confidence in being able to achieve good results and avoid any food safety mishaps.

We followed the suggested oven temperatures and tips on cooking the turkey, breast side down, for half the time. This allows all the juices to run into the breast meat keeping it moist. Just turn the turkey on to its back for the remaining time to get a lovely burnished skin.

We opted to roast the turkey simply so we could really taste the meat, so that meant no onions, garlic or herbs to distract from the final flavour. Of course, when cooking for Christmas Day, include these as they all add to the pan juices for your rich gravy.

As pointed out in Morton's guide, oven temperatures do vary so our advice is to get a meat thermometer. These come in either a 'pop-up' format, which you leave inserted into the meat whilst cooking, or a probe which you insert to check now and again. All poultry should reach a temperature of 74C (164F) and the juices run clear.

We think it's probably one of the best kitchen gadgets to own. Not only you can be sure your meat is cooked safely but it also prevents you from making the mistake of over cooking – something best avoided when it comes to turkey.

Photo: © childsdesign
Rest and serve
Once the turkey was cooked we took it out of the oven and allowed it to rest for a good thirty minutes or so.
This is essential to help retain all the juices. If you start carving right away, the liquid will just spurt out!

We removed each breast as whole single pieces to make carving easier.
This way it can be placed on a board for slicing and cut across the grain of the turkey meat. Carving across the grain ensures that the meat fibres are short making for a tender texture. If you've ever eaten turkey that was all stringy and chewy, that's because it was cut with the grain – not good.

We were pleased at how well this turkey carved, it was already so tender and above all succulent.
The legs and wings are substantial enough to be carved also or they can be pulled apart.

Photo: © childsdesign
How did it taste?
Put it this way, there's no going back to bland after you've tried a free range, slow grown, pampered bird. And if you've vowed never to eat 'boring' turkey again, then at least try one like this.

No doubt the breed makes all the difference as does the careful rearing and the final game hanging that Morton's gives each bird to maximise on flavour.

The breast meat was full flavoured, the dark meat even more so and the texture was dense yet yielding. All that exercise the turkeys get while happily running around their field In Norfolk most definitely contributes to the consistency of the meat.
A top turkey indeed!

How can I get one?
Thanks to the wonders of the internet you can order your fresh turkey online direct from Morton's Traditional Taste. Visit their website for details.
If you're nearby you can pick up your turkey at the farm gate or have it delivered in time for Christmas.

Cold turkey aka turkey leftovers
Let's face it, there's always going to be leftover turkey, but that doesn't mean you need to be eating cold turkey sandwiches for days on end.

There's lots you can do with it to make whole new meals. Just make sure, once the turkey has cooled enough, to get it into the fridge as soon as possible.
The best thing to do, is strip all the remaining meat from it and put into a covered container/plastic box.

Cooked turkey can also be bagged up into portions and frozen. Refrigerated turkey should be used in 3-4 days and frozen turkey used within 2-3 months.

We have a fair few ideas for the leftover turkey so look out for further posts on this blog with recipes and suggestions.

We are pleased to award Morton's Traditional Taste our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status 

for their Free Range Bronze Turkey.

To find out more about Morton's Traditional Taste visit their page 
on The Artisan Food Trail here.

21 October 2016

Small business, small budget, no problem.

If you’re visiting the Farm Business Innovation Show at the NEC, Birmingham on the 9th and 10th November and are interested in getting the best out of your limited marketing budget, we invite you to attend the Small Business Marketing On An Even Smaller Budget seminar.

Graham Childs, co-founder of The Artisan Food Trail will be talking about how getting your name out there should be your first priority.
Surprisingly this part is often forgotten about and barely budgeted for in a new business, so how do you get people beating a path to your door?

The seminar will look at how online marketing and social media can get you seen by your prospective customers and clients, helping to build your brand’s recognition.
Your business can hold its own amongst much bigger businesses with much bigger budgets.
All it takes is a little time and effort, a simple strategy and a want to win.

When The Artisan Food Trail began back in 2011 it was a seed of an idea with a starting budget of less then £50 plus lots of creativity and tenacity!

The seminar takes place on Thursday 10th November in Food Theatre 2 at 11.45am. The seminar is completely free to attend but spaces are limited so arrive early to secure your seat.
If you'd like to meet us at the show please visit our stand 1480.

Tickets to the Farm Business Innovation show are FREE just register to attend on the website: www.farmbusinessshow.co.uk

17 October 2016

Meet us at the Farm Business Innovation Show

We’re looking forward to exhibiting at the Farm Business Innovation Show and we’re busy preparing everything we need for the two day event on 9th – 10th November at the NEC, Birmingham.

The Farm Business Innovation show is actually a combination of three shows (all in the one place) – Rural Entrepreneur Live, Country House Business Innovation and Holiday Park & Resort Innovation.

Under one roof, over two days this will be the only place in the UK a rural land or business owner can source information and advice on funding, grants, planning, new products, new services, new ideas, troubleshooting, business tips, marketing tools, networking, inspiring keynote sessions, like-minded professionals, potential partnerships and so much more. Visitors go into their next venture fully equipped!

The show is aimed at a variety of people primarily in the rural sector
looking to bring in more money, either from their land or property and much more besides.
The Artisan Food Trail sits nicely into this area which is the reason that the show organisers asked us to team up with them and become a partner.

Not only will there be over 300 suppliers exhibiting but also over 150 free seminars all with your business in mind. Our very own co-founder Graham Childs will be talking on the first day and we'll be posting more details at a later date.

Who should visit The Artisan Food Trail stand?

The Artisan Food Trail promotes and champions small and artisan food and drink producers throughout the United Kingdom. We create awareness of your brand and your produce.
By supporting your businesses with a number of member benefits we can help make running your business easier and more cost effective.


  • have a small artisan food or drink business or are thinking of starting one (you could become a member)
  • are looking for a branding and design service
  • need a website
  • need help with social media
  • need professional photography (food, product and reportage are our speciality)
  • have a farm shop/deli and are looking for suppliers to complement your own products
  • own a restaurant, cafĂ© etc. and are looking for suppliers of top quality products with provenance
  • run (or thinking of opening) a cookery school (you could also be a member and benefit from promotion as well as help with equipment)

As you can see, we offer a wide range of services and you don’t need to be a member of The Artisan Food Trail to take advantage of them.
Even if you don’t see exactly the thing that fits your description above, you can still come and talk to us. We’ve found out ourselves, that you never know who you’re going to meet at these types of events and often a conversation can lead to a positive outcome.

Visit us on stand 1480 to find out how we can help you

The show is completely FREE to attend and all you need to do is register for
your ticket.
Visit the website for the show you are interested in where you’ll find a link
to register.

11 October 2016

National Curry Week: 10th – 16th October 2016

Curry is undeniably a favourite dish in Britain, so just as well it’s National Curry Week!
We're certainly not short of producers of the spicy persuasion on The Artisan Food Trail, so what better time to focus on those that make exotic flavours their speciality.

© Spice Kitchen

Spice Kitchen
For making those gorgeous aromatic curries, the freshest spices are needed and Spice Kitchen from Britain's curry capital, Birmingham have everything that's on your shopping list.
They are true artist in that everything is hand selected, hand ground and blended and then hand packed making sure that you receive your spices in optimum condition.
Find out more about Spice Kitchen

Photo: © childsdesign

Ragini's Mauritian Curry Powder
If a more specific curry is preferred, in this case Mauritian, then Ragini's are your answer for a superb Mauritian Curry Powder which is authentic to the end. The combination of spices is heady, sweet and aromatic with a gentle amount of heat meaning that you can make a delicious curry very easily as all the flavour balancing has been expertly taken care of.
Find out more about Ragini's Mauritian Curry Powder

© Holy Lama Naturals

Holy Lama Spice Drops
Maybe having lots of dry spices in the cupboard is not your thing, so Holy Lama Spice Drops have come up with an innovative approach to flavouring foods.
They have cleverly extracted the pure and natural essence of spices and concentrated them into tiny bottles. Just a few drops will give an amazing and effortless flavour to your dishes.
Find out more about Spice Drops

Are you looking for some cooking inspiration? Alan Coxon's Birmingham to Bombay book is filled with lots of delicious Indian recipes gleaned from his travels through the Punjab, Amritsar, Goa and Bombay.
Visit the website to find out more and to buy

Photo: © childsdesign

Rummage through our recipes

Ragini's Chicken Curry (Cari Poule)
Chicken & Spinach Curry
Aloo Mutton Shakkarwala (Caramelised Lamb Curry)
Spiced Lentil Soup with Lime & Mint
Fragrant Coconut Chicken with Mustard Seeds
Mutta Roast (Egg Roast)

For further information about National Curry Week