22 June 2013

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: Capsicana's Bhut Jolokia Sauces approved

Photo: Capsicana Chilli Co

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The consumption of very hot chilli sauces has become something of a British pastime. Whether it is the pain equals pleasure principle or just plain bravado on the part of some ‘chilli-heads’ there are probably enough extremely hot chilli products out there to keep them happy. But is there room for more?
Capsicana included two hot chilli sauces in their range especially for fans of the extreme – Bhut Jolokia Sauce and Hot Bhut Jolokia Sauce.

We found the regular version quite hot enough, but it really isn’t just all about the heat. Being made with just two percent Bhut Jolokia (the rest of the sauce is made up of other chillies and no chilli extract) it isn’t hard to appreciate just how fiery the Bhut Jolokia is, but wow, the flavour is amazing.

If you’re not used to spicy food, we must warn you to go easy on the first taste. The burn doesn’t arrive until after about 15 seconds of putting it in your mouth. The initial effect is very much a taste sensation that bursts with a vibrant fruitiness reminiscent of limes and tropical flavours.
Then ignition. The capsaicin oils unleash a legion of little devils, running around releasing their incendiary devices all over your tongue. The gums may tingle too.

As crazy as it sounds, if you can get past the pain, it is possible to focus on the flavours.
The burning normally subsides after about 15-30 minutes, by which time – in our case anyway – you’ll want to do it all over again.

The Hot version is not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned!

So what do the Bhut Jolokia Sauces go with? Well that’s up to you.
Be daring and if you become hooked (which is possible) you’ll want to put them on everything!

Being 100% handmade in small batches in the UK, containing no artificial ingredients, gluten free and suitable for vegans, these Bhut Jolokia sauces get our seal of approval.

We are pleased to award Capsicana Chilli Co our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Bhut Jolokia Sauce and Hot Bhut Jolokia Sauce.




To find out more about Capsicana Chilli Co visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here. You'll find links to their website where you can buy the sauces online.

18 June 2013

Samphire Smallholding Open Day – Sunday 7th July 2013

Photos: © childsdesign
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Back again and always one of our favourites on the events calendar is the Samphire Smallholding Open Day.
Artisan Food Trail members, Karen and Jeff Nethercott will be opening their gates in sunny south Norfolk for a day of food, crafts, music and farm animals on Sunday 7th July 2013.

Gathered in the front garden (there's plenty of room) will be number of local producers selling everything from preserves to beer. One of the preserve makers will be Peachey's Preserves, another food trail member. It's a great opportunity to chat with them about what they do and hopefully stock up on their lovely hand crafted products. And of course Samphire will have a stall selling their fine rare breed pork pies and sausages plus more besides.

Photos: © childsdesign

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The owners of the crafts stalls will also be making on the day, giving you the opportunity to watch them at work and also to talk to them.

To get those toes tapping (or dance if you like!) music will be played by
Rum Kelter who'll be performing a set of lively traditional folk tunes.

As usual, tours of the smallholding will be conducted throughout the day
so you can get closer to the animals – there's pigs, sheep, chickens and geese – learn a some more about the different breeds and where your food comes from.

To keep you sustained and refreshed there will be food and drink, straw bales to sit on, tables and chairs laid out under the trees and tours around the smallholding.

 New for this year  Butchery Workshop
This is your chance to spend a couple of hours picking up some knowledge all about pork. It will be a very much hands-on opportunity and afterwards participants will be able to buy some of the pork at a much reduced rate.
The workshop is bookable online on the Samphire website here

 UPDATE!  Appearance by author Tom Cox
Tom lives locally and writes very funny books, Karen Nethercott adores his cat books which describe his relationship with his many and varied feline friends Under the Paw and Talk to The Tail are his two best sellers and Tom will be reading from them at the Open Day. Hopefully there will be books to buy but if you already have one then bring it along for him to sign.

The Open Day will take place from 11am until 4pm
on Sunday 7th July 2013
at Sycamore Farm,
Pristow Green Lane,
Tibenham,
Norfolk,
NR16 1PU

To give you an idea of what to expect, have a look at Karen's Pinterest board here

For more information about Samphire and location please visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here


Where is the event?

View AFT_Samphire in a larger map

12 June 2013

BBC Good Food Show Summer: 12th – 16th June 2013

A quick heads-up if your heading to the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC this week.

Some Artisan Food Trail members are taking part so if you're looking for quality cold pressed rapeseed oil, all things chilli and delectable fudge treats we can tell you that Cotswold Gold will be on stand F488, Edible Ornamentals on stand F702 and Fudge Kitchen on stand F682.
So if you're there we'd love it if you pay them a visit, have a chat and treat yourself or your Dad (well it is Father's Day on Sunday the 16th).

For more info about the event: www.bbcgoodfoodshowsummer.com

Capsicana Burrito Sauces approved

Photo: Capsicana Chilli Co

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Continuing on our chilli sauce tasting journey, next on the list are Capsicana Chilli Co’s Burrito Sauces.

These really are rich as the dark reddish brown colour suggests and a variety of pleasant flavours are to the fore. Earthy and fruity with hints of raisin and even sweet tobacco followed by robust muscovado notes. Okay, maybe this does sound like a flowery wine note but the sauce really does possess some complex flavour qualities.

The regular Burrito Sauce is spicy but sits safely away from an inferno rating. Just a little warm on the lips which subsides in good time.
A degree of freshness is there too with a good squeeze of lime and some coriander which give a great finish.

As with Capsicana’s Chipotle Sauce there’s also a Hot version for those with a taste for adventure. This Hot Burrito Sauce is hot, so go easy if you’re not used to some chilli fire.

Don’t just reserve this sauce for your burrito – it’s great for all manner of things. The perfect condiment with all kinds of meat and even vegetables – be bold and experiment!

Being 100% handmade in small batches in the UK, containing no artificial ingredients, gluten free and suitable for vegans,  these Burrito sauces get our seal of approval.


We are pleased to award Capsicana Chilli Co our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Burrito Sauce and Hot Burrito Sauce.





To find out more about Capsicana Chilli Co visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here. You'll find links to their website where you can buy the sauces online.

5 June 2013

Cutting running costs in the kitchen

Being a member of The Artisan Food Trail has many benefits and we’re able to offer savings on a variety of services thanks to our selected partners.

Eco Catering Equipment are one of our partners who can supply the latest high quality state of the art kitchen equipment to help save you money and benefit the environment.

Their experience and customer service is second to none and we’ve been lucky enough to have Tim Taylor, the managing director, share his knowledge on energy efficiency looking at a couple of examples of energy saving products and the positive effect they can have on your utility bills.

AFT: Is it costly running a commercial kitchen?

TT: Energy costs are on the up and this is looking to continue for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately in the commercial kitchen nearly every piece of equipment consumes something whether it is electricity, gas, water or all three and producing food day in day out can mean the bills spiral upwards very quickly.

AFT: Are there any efficiency grading systems to assist in making the best choice when buying kitchen equipment?

TT: Unlike domestic appliances there is currently no efficiency grading system to help guide you although this is currently being reviewed by the EU but could take months if not years to conclude and implement.

In the meantime we are left to decipher manufacturer’s information, some of which is very informative with independent test results and others being vague and misleading and some companies unwilling to supply any data and trying to hide the true consumption figures of their units. However it’s worth persevering, potentially large savings can be had from buying efficient durable equipment.

AFT: In this economic climate it is very easy to be driven by purchase price but time and again we see examples of this costing customers far more in the long run. What should people consider before choosing their appliances?

TT: Efficiency, durability, service support and ‘fit for purpose' should be the key points considered when choosing a new unit only then should price be a factor. What is the point in owning cheap refrigerator that can't keep temperature in a hot kitchen or a mixer that can’t handle the load you need? Your production will be hampered, you run the risk of losing stock and if the machines are being overworked consumption will increase and it is likely you will either damage or shorten the life of the machine.

AFT: Refrigeration is probably one of the most important things in the kitchen, could you give examples of some of the more efficient units?

TT: Refrigeration is one great example, units are in operation 24/7 365 days a year drawing power continuously, they’re crucial for keeping your stock fresh and making sure you are working within the food safety guidelines.

Refrigerators are a key area being targeted by the EU in creating a rating system however we don’t have to wait for this to be implemented to find examples of manufacturers who are already striving to make market leading efficient units now.

Foster is one such example, with the launch of their new G2 range they created what is regarded as one of the most efficient commercial units currently available. To back this claim they have had independent tests undertaken against competitors units and to prove things further they are willing to arrange on site tests where you can monitor your consumption and run real world tests.

Example of the independent test results against some of their biggest competitors showing where significant cost savings can be made. (click image for larger version)

Liebherr is another crucial brand, their refrigeration cabinets are built to typically high German standards and every piece of equipment is thoroughly tested to Germany’s tightly regulated efficiency standards. With every unit they give a clear consumption figure making for easy comparisons, proving they have nothing to hide and everything to prove.

It is refreshing and rare to find a manufacturer willing to make this information available. Not only should this give the end user confidence in the brand but it also makes life far easier for you to do your homework. We are yet to find a manufacturer so open and so efficient.

Also both manufacturers have a large number of their models listed on the ECA Carbon Trust scheme.

AFT: Dishwashers are also vital part of any kitchen and heavy use requires a fair amount of energy consumption. Do you have any recommendations that will help people save money?

TT: Another piece of kitchen equipment that is often forgotten but again can make significant savings is your dishwasher. That work horse that is integral to any successful kitchen but is often forgotten until it has malfunctioned.

Hobart are one of our preferred choices for a number of reasons, however as we’re talking efficiency on this occasion I won’t deviate but keep to the point and will demonstrate where money saving technologies can make a big difference to your pocket.

Hobart created a unique 4-sided hood which is now present across the whole range of their hood dishwashers. This feature alone saves 2kW of electricity per hour. Steam is trapped in the hood when opened instead of escaping in to the void above. This reduces the amount of heat loss in turn reducing the amount of power required to keep the machine at temperature. As an example of what this can mean in direct savings to your running costs:

Energy saving of 2kWh per hour @10p per kWh = £0.20 pence/hr
Typical operation where machine is in use 5 hrs/day, 365 days/year
= a Saving of £365.00 p/year

You also negate the need for a condense canopy above the machine, another significant install cost saving.

On top of this you then have double skinned construction, smaller wash tanks, efficient spray patterns, heat recovery systems, vaporinse technology and more. These features result in dramatic reductions on water, electricity and detergent consumption.

On top of this you have German reliability and longevity which again saves considerable money and inconvenience. Using running cost calculators figures can be calculated against competitors’ machines to demonstrate significant savings. Another manufacturer happy to make their consumption figures readily available.

AFT: These are just brief examples of two components found in a kitchen, do you have any more advice on keeping costs down?

TT: Imagine taking these points into consideration for every piece of equipment you have. You can soon see how even a small kitchen can achieve significant energy savings by giving more thought to their requirements. Cost savings not only on energy but also downtime, servicing and repair bills which can be significant over the life of the machine.

It’s also important to keep in mind that these are not just potential savings to you and your company but also to the environment, all of the consumption savings are also benefitting the environment and helping reduce your carbon footprint.

In turn this could lead to further financial incentives for you, there are a number of grants and tax breaks available to companies seeking to be greener. It is always worth talking with your local authority to see what’s available.

AFT: Earlier, you mentioned the ECA Carbon Trust Scheme, how can it help people?

TT: Central government also offer tax incentives. Take the ECA Carbon Trust Scheme for example. Any refrigerator on the ECA list qualifies for this green tax break which equates to approximately an 11% saving on the purchase price of the unit.

AFT: Is there anything else people should be thinking about when buying their kitchen appliances?

TT: When looking for your next piece of equipment give some serious thought to exactly what you want from that unit and how the equipment can better serve you. You may pay a little more initially but you would be surprised just how quickly you can recoup that difference and make considerable savings over the life of the machine.

For more information about Eco Catering Equipment visit the website: www.eco-catering-equipment.co.uk