29 May 2015

A sauce to make your taste buds dance

Photo: © childsdesign
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A little while ago we brought you the taste of Peru and now we travel to the largest Latin American country, Brazil, for some sun, dance and vibrant culture. Perhaps not quite literally, but these words can certainly describe the flavours in Capsicana’s new Chilli & Coconut Brazilian Cook Sauce.

With its African, Portuguese and European roots, Brazilian culture and cuisine is understandably a rich melting pot of influences. The food takes its cues from these places, using native produce to create lush exciting flavours that dance a samba across the tongue.

Capsicana has perfectly captured the essence in its easy to use Cook Sauce. A sumptuous rich red paste with a wonderful coconut aroma just melts into the pan to coat all the ingredients in the most delicious juices.

It is worth mentioning here that we have been testing sample packs and whilst the product recipe has been finalised, the packing was still in its early development. Capsicana described this sauce as mild, but our test revealed it to be rather hot.
The packaging is being amended as we write.

We are lovers of spice and the heat level is enjoyable and still lets all the complex fruity jalapeño, tomato and coconut flavour come through. It is seriously gorgeous and very addictive.
We chose to make a prawn dish echoing the traditional Brazilian moqueca – a slow-cooked fish stew – and served it with Brazilian-Style Black Beans (recipe below) and plain rice.

This is how we cooked it:

Ingredients (serves 2)
1 tbs vegetable oil
½ onion, sliced
½ red bell pepper, cut into 2cm chunks
½ yellow bell pepper, cut into 2cm chunks
1 pack Capsicana Chilli & Coconut Brazilian Cook Sauce
225g cooked, peeled, king prawns (defrosted if frozen)
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
juice ½ lime
handful coriander leaves, chopped
lime wedges to serve

Method
Heat the oil in frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the onion and peppers and cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally.

Tip in the Chilli & Coconut Brazilian Cook Sauce, stir to mix and bring to a simmer.

Add the prawns and tomatoes stir for about 4 minutes until heated through.

Squeeze over some lime juice and stir in the coriander.
Serve immediately with the lime wedges.


Brazilian Style Black Beans

Black beans are very much a staple in Brazilian cuisine and we thought they would be the perfect accompaniment to our prawn dish using Capsicana’s Chilli & Coconut Brazilian Cook Sauce.
Traditionally, dried beans would be used which need a long soak and cook beforehand, so to speed things up we used the ready-cooked, canned ones which are just as good in our version.

Ingredients (serves 2–3)
1tsp olive oil
60g bacon lardon bits or streaky bacon on cut into small pieces
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 bay leaf
pinch dried oregano
1 green chilli pepper, slit lengthways
1x 340g carton/can black beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
squeeze of lime juice

Method
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until slightly crispy.

Add the cumin seeds, onions, garlic, bay leaf and oregano and fry gently until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the black beans and green chilli with a little water, stir to mix and simmer for 15 minutes.
Using a potato masher or fork crush about a quarter of the beans in the pan and stir to mix in to the whole beans making a thick sauce.

Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Finish with a good spritz of lime juice.

We are pleased to award Capsicana our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Chilli & Coconut Brazilian Cook Sauce.


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

27 May 2015

Cardamom & Black Pepper Biscuits

Photo: © childsdesign
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We love the perfumed taste of green cardamom and it sneaks into our baking on a regular basis although preparing it can be a little laborious.

Ground cardamom seems hard to come by and we’re not convinced it would keep so well anyway, so whole pods need to be ground and sieved before we can use them.
Finally our baking has been blessed with the arrival of Holy Lama Naturals' Spice Drops which come in a convenient bottle with dropper. Made from real cardamom the extract is perfectly concentrated to deliver the right amount of flavour.

Photo: © Holy Lama Naturals
The Spice Drops proved to be a real
success when making these biscuits and
you’d never know that actual cardamom pods hadn’t been used.
We paired the fragrant flavour with the spike of aromatic black pepper for an interesting and exciting combination. It is good to have coarse pepper so that you get little hits of spice as you eat the biscuits.
The biscuits are great partners with vanilla ice cream, strawberries or rhubarb compote or simply with a cup of tea or coffee.

Ingredients

Method
Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5.
Lightly grease a baking sheet or cover with baking parchment.

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and black pepper together.
Add the butter and Cardamom Spice Drops and rub in working well with your hands until the mixture starts to clump together.
Knead the dough until it becomes a smooth ball and no cracks appear.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface (or in between two pieces of cling film) until 5mm thick.
Cut the dough into rectangular finger shapes about 2.5 x 8cm in size – a pizza cutting wheel is ideal for this, or you could stamp out using a cookie cutter.
Prick the biscuits with a fork.

Place on the baking sheet about 2cm apart and put in the oven and bake until light golden brown for about 15-20 minutes.
When they're baked take out of the oven and allow to cool slightly before carefully removing them with a palette knife and placing on a wire rack to cool.

Store in airtight container.

We are pleased to award Holy Lama Naturals our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Cardamom Spice Drops.


To find out more about Holy Lama Naturals visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here.

13 May 2015

Food businesses invited to rise to the challenge


What could your small food business do with £5000 worth of business help?

For many small food businesses getting help they need to grow can be costly, so we at The Artisan Food Trail are supporting this through our very own design company, childsdesign. Our part of the prize offers both a big understanding of branding for your business and the marketing required online and offline for a small food business.

There is a chance to win up to £5000 worth of business advice for your small food business and The Food Business Challenge has been put together to help prepare one lucky business for the next step. All you have to do to stand a chance of winning is to tell us (in up to 500 words) why you believe winning will give you the boost you need.

The Food Business Challenge is brought to you by five Challenge Partners – each with a real understanding of the issues facing food businesses:

Roythornes Solicitors will review your legal documentation – your contracts, terms and conditions and non-disclosure agreements to make sure your business is protected and ready for growth.

WLP consultants will undertake a top line strategic review of your business – where are you going and are you approaching your target markets in the
best way?

Pelican Communications will conduct a social media and PR audit of your business – what are you and others saying about your business and how can you use social media to generate sales.

Bulley Davey accountants will have a look at your financial structure, systems and reporting methods and highlight issues where your business could be performing better and where changes could be made to make sure you are ‘financially fit for growth’.

Design experts childsdesign will audit your packaging, identity and website – analysing how it fits in with your brand, where you are and where you want
to be.

The challenge is open now and entries can be made up until 5pm on 17th July 2015.

Visit the website to find out more and submit your entry  www.foodbusinesschallenge.co.uk

5 May 2015

Future spice

© Holy Lama Naturals
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Remember those predictions of how our lives would be in the future?
Everyone would own a computer, travel around on hover boards and pop a pill for meal times. The first one they definitely got right, levitational transport is still maybe something they’re working on and thankfully we're all still eating real food. But some ingredients could do with a new approach to make them more convenient and easier to store.

© Holy Lama Naturals
The spice rack/cupboard is about to become more slimline as Holy Lama Naturals has created Spice Drops to make everything that little bit easier.
Instead of pots and jars of dusty spices there is a range of concentrated extracts in handy little bottles each with its own dropper for simple measuring.

Spice Drops are not artificial flavourings, they are made from real herbs and spices using a simple process to extract every single natural flavour and concentrate it.
We've been using some ourselves and have been impressed with the wonderful flavours and aromas and will be revealing our findings and
recipes soon.

© Holy Lama Naturals
Although we’re not suggesting that you chuck out all your powders, seeds and the like, we do recommend getting some Spice Drops in your life. They really come into their own for making some very interesting drinks/cocktails and adding some spark and creativity to your baking.

Being so versatile and simple to use with a long life as well as being ethically sourced and produced, Spice Drops are certainly looking like they should be an essential addition to every kitchen.

To find out more about Holy Lama Naturals visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here