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31 October 2014

Pumpkin Risotto

Photo: © childsdesign
What do you do with your Halloween pumpkin once the candle’s gone out? Stop! Don’t throw it away! You could actually eat it by making a delicious meal rather than just binning the once scary, but now sad squash.

Not that we want to come over all ‘preachy’, but think of the time and effort the farmer put into growing it. If your pumpkin really is inedible then make sure it goes into the compost.

This recipe can be made with a number of different types of squash – butternut squash is ideal – so once the frightening festivities are over, it makes a meal suitable for any time.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
  • 1 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 300g ripe pumpkin, cut into small cubes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 170g risotto rice (arborio)
  • 500 ml hot vegetable stock
  • 50g butter
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g parmesan, grated (or similar vegetarian alternative)

For the topping

Heat the oil in a pan and add the pumpkin cubes. Cook for about 5 minutes until it has softened.

Set aside a quarter of the pumpkin and put the rest into a blender while still hot. Blend until the pumpkin becomes a smooth mixture and set aside.

Heat a little more oil in a large heavy saucepan and add the onion, cook until the raw smell disappears. Be careful not to let them burn – you just want them to be pale and translucent.

Tip in the rice, fry gently, whilst stirring, so that the rice becomes completely coated.
Now add a little of the stock and on a gentle heat keep stirring the rice as it cooks to release its starch and give a creamy texture.
When the rice has absorbed all the liquid, add more stock. Continue to stir.
You will need to repeat this process until all the stock is used up. The risotto is done when the rice has increased in volume. It should have a lightly nutty bite to it and also be moist with a liquid creamy sauce.

Once the rice has cooked, pour in the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pieces, stir and season with salt and pepper.
Stir in butter and parmesan.

Keep the risotto on a very low heat while you fry the sage leaves.
Heat the rapeseed oil in a small pan and quickly fry the sage leaves until crispy – it takes a matter of seconds.
Remove the leaves and drain on some kitchen paper.

Serve in bowls with the sages leaves scattered over and use a vegetable peeler to shave over the Parmesan.
Drizzle with a little white truffle oil if you wish.

30 October 2014

Restaurant and Takeaway Business Live gains support from The Artisan Food Trail

The Artisan Food Trail is pleased to be supporting the first Restaurant and Takeaway Business Live (RTBLive) on 13th & 14th November 2014 being held at the SECC, Glasgow.

Building on the continuing success of the New Start Scotland Exhibition and the Scottish Business Exhibition as Scotland’s biggest business event, the organisers, New Start Exhibitions, are adding another tasty morsel to this year’s menu.

Restaurant and Takeaway Business Live (RTBLive) is aimed at the growing food service industry in Scotland, and is the ideal place for restaurateurs and street food vendors to come and find those products and suppliers they need to grow and develop in this highly competitive marketplace.

Ceri Rogers, Event Director explains, “Scotland is a fantastically varied marketplace for food, ranging from some of the UK’s best street food and takeaways, right the way up to Michelin starred restaurants and high class eateries, and with some of the best produce in the world being grown right here, it’s time this was recognised with a world class business event that can help open up the Scottish market and allow business owners access to the best suppliers and services out there.”

The show will be held at the SECC, Glasgow on the 13th and 14th November 2014, and will run alongside New Start Scotland (for Start-Up companies and those with up to 50 employees) and The Scottish Business Exhibition (for SMEs and larger companies with over 50 employees), and all are completely free for visitors to attend.

All the shows feature an impressive free seminar programme with speakers covering a wide variety of topics. Nick Nairn, restaurateur, celebrity chef and food campaigner is already signed up to provide seminars and workshops throughout the RTBLive event, with more guest speakers to be confirmed shortly. Other features include Technique Demonstrations, a Food Technology Showcase and Social Media & Branding Workshops.

To register for free tickets please visit the website (http://www.rtblive.co.uk/tickets)

If you are a supplier to the restaurant or takeaway market and wish to exhibit at this event, please send an email with your enquiry to sales@thescottishbusinessexhibition.com, or visit the website and request a brochure.

If you are an Artisan Food Trail member or thinking of becoming a member and would like to exhibit at this show, please contact us directly in the first instance.

To stay up to date with all the latest news on exhibitors, features, seminars and workshops for this event, or to get in touch and tell us what else you would like to see at the show, please follow the show on Twitter: @RTBizLive

27 October 2014

Mother of all vinegars

Photos: © childsdesign
There are various ways to produce a fruit vinegar. Some methods are very simple while others take a great deal more time, the simplest of raw ingredients and the magic of micro organisms.

Scrubby Oak Fine Food English Vinegars are made completely from scratch and are ‘grown’ with a vinegar mother culture which comprises of naturally occurring Aceta Bacta bacterium found on wild fruit. This group of micro-organisms create acetic acid (with the help of oxygen) by consuming the natural sugars in fruit, or other vegetable matter being used to create the vinegar of choice and the bi-product of this natural process is vinegar.

Think of winemaking where yeasts found on the grapes feed on the sugars and start the process of fermentation and alcohol is the bi-product. The process is similar but the resulting flavours differ.
As with sourdough bread, a 'starter' culture is created and kept alive to be added to each batch of dough which carries on the fermentation process for the characteristic tangy flavour and of course the rise. A vinegar mother is similar to this 'starter'.

The breaking down of the fruit, roots, flowers or herb matter results in a vinegar with a stronger colour and taste as well as a greater depth of body. The flavour of the raw ingredient used for example, raspberries, becomes more apparent, something which cannot always be achieved using the simple infusion method, where fruit is macerated in pre-made vinegar.

The high level of level of clarity is obtained by straining the vinegars through muslin cloth to remove tiny particles which avoids any thick residue. The absence of whole fruit particles in the vinegars helps to extend shelf life.

All ingredients are completely natural, for example whole raspberries are used, never comminuted juices or fruit pulps so the colour and flavour is entirely derived from the natural ingredients themselves.
The whole process is gluten and additive free and no genetically modified (GM) ingredients are ever used and great care is taken to avoid the use of any known allergens

With the exception of a few, the majority of Scrubby Oak vinegars are pure single flavours so that the true taste of the fruit, herb, flower or root from which the vinegar was made can be experienced.

The addition of some sugar means they can be put to culinary use in a multitude of ways, in both savoury and sweet dishes:

Savoury Dishes
Sweet Dishes
Use as a substitute for cider, 
wine and rice vinegars
Toppings for ice creams, sorbets 
and puddings
Garnish for seafood and meats Can be added to soft cheeses and yogurts such as mascarpone and  crème fraiche
Marinades for game, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, fish and shellfish In meringues when added to the 
egg white
Create delicious salad dressings with either rapeseed or olive oil or as an oil-free dressing if you wish Add to fruit salads to liven them up
Boiled (reduced) down to create a thick sticky sauce for ribs Use to caramelise fruit
Use to caramelise vegetables For more uses visit 
the Scrubby Oak website

There is no hard and fast rule when adding them to particular types of food or dishes. They work well with most things, the fruit vinegars being the most versatile. Scrubby Oak encourages people to be adventurous with them in their cooking and try something new and outside the norm.

Scrubby Oak also use their own English Vinegars to create a range of  additive and gluten free chutneys, sauces, dressings, three types of pickled onions; Spiced Pudding Onions, Chilli Pickled Onions and Old Fashioned Heritage Onions made using Great Grandma’s recipe from the late 1800s. Dry salted for extra crunch with a mix of spices not found in modern pickled onions and a good deal of bite back!
Two types of pickled pears complete the line-up; Ginger Pickled Pears and Spiced Pears.

Visit Scrubby Oak Fine Food's page on The Artisan Food Trail here 
for more information

22 October 2014

Mixing it up with Mexican Sweet Chilli

Photo: © childsdesign
Nuts are the perfect snack or accompaniment to a drink and as much as we like good old roasted peanuts, they can be quite boring.
That's where Mr Filbert’s comes in to perk up the taste buds with something more exciting. Those peanuts were feeling a little lonely so some cashews and almonds have joined them at the party with a dash of spice to liven things up.

© Mr Filbert's
These Mexican Sweet Chilli Mixed Nuts are the business where flavour and texture is concerned. With three different types of nuts, there are varying levels of crunch as well as taste.
Mr Filbert's have come up with the exact balance of salt and sweet, a whiff of garlic and warm smoky tones of chipotle chilli to make the nuts really special.

No need to worry about any strange additives as the flavours are all completely real and natural
which also makes this snack dairy and gluten free too.

We are pleased to award Mr Filbert's our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Mexican Sweet Chilli Mixed Nuts.

To find out more about Filbert's Fine Foods visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here.

10 October 2014

Wild Venison Chorizo and Butter Bean Stew

Photo: © childsdesign
Hearty and healthy, this stew of wild venison chorizo, butter beans and vegetables is a simple and tasty meal, made all in one pot. Just serve with some good crusty bread to soak up all the juices.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 75g chilli venison chorizo, sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100g celeriac, peeled and chopped into 1cm dice
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 1cm dice
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped or ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp fresh rosemary, chopped or ¼ tsp dried rosemary
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 red capsicum pepper (approx 100g), roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp blackberry vinegar or you could use red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 400g tin butter beans
  • salt and black pepper

Put a large heavy saucepan on the hob over a high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the chorizo and fry until it just starts to crisp. Remove the chorizo from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry gently until soft. Add the celeriac and carrot and fry gently for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme and rosemary and mix in.

Tip in the tinned tomatoes and break them up using a spoon. Add the paprika, capsicum pepper, vinegar, sugar and butter beans and season with salt and pepper. Return the chorizo to the pan along with half a tomato tin of water and stir to mix.

Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.

Serve in bowls with hunks of crusty bread.

8 October 2014

Food Matters Live 2014

Food Matters Live is a new event taking place at Excel, London on 18th – 20th November 2014. Dedicated to food, health and nutrition, it is bringing together the food and drink industry, retailers, food service providers, government, and those working in nutrition and health to tackle one of the most important challenges of our time – the relationship between food, health and nutrition.

This event combines an exhibition with a unique education programme including free-to-attend conferences, seminars, and practical demonstrations. It brings together over 450 speakers, 200 exhibitors and thousands of visitors from across the food and health sectors, for three days of networking, debate and cross-sector collaboration.

Artisan Food Trail member, Alan Coxon, is joining other renowned commentators, and leading figures from across government, industry, science and health as one of the conference panelists.
Alan is taking part in the session, Do we really know what we like? How the science and psychology of taste influences our food choices.
This particular session looks at the research into taste psychology and how sensory science is transforming our understanding of the influence of taste and its relationship with other senses on our food preferences.

The event looks set to be a very interesting and The Artisan Food Trail has registered to attend. There's so much on and we wish that we could go all three days to take in everything!

For more information and to see the full line-up of speakers and exhibitors and also to register to attend for free, visit the website www.foodmatterslive.com