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30 June 2015

Peruvian-Style Grilled Chicken

Photo: © childsdesign
The new Cook Sauces from Capsicana are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.

Visitors to the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2015 will be able to try this sauce and others, where Capsicana will be exhibiting on stand V123

The packs each carry a couple of recipes, one very simple, ideal for a quick midweek meal and the other a little more involved for maybe a Friday night or weekend.

In The Artisan Food Trail kitchen we often like to experiment, so we took Capsicana’s Chilli & Lemon Peruvian Cook Sauce, added a few extras and turned it into an extra special marinade for chicken.
The Cook Sauce can also be used as a condiment which we included in a simple dip to go with the chicken.

The trick to getting the maximum amount of flavour to permeate the meat is to get the marinade under the chicken skin as well as on the surface.
Nothing beats barbecuing for a smokey flavour but a hot oven will cook the chicken just fine, still producing a crispy, caramelised, burnished skin.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1kg whole chicken legs

For the marinade

For the dipping sauce

Loosen the skin on the chicken legs, using your fingers to carefully ease it away from the meat to create a pocket for the marinade.

Mix all the marinade ingredients together.
Spoon a little of the marinade into the pocket created under the skin of each chicken leg. Smooth over the skin working the marinade into the meat.
Place the chicken legs into a large sealable bag. Tip in the rest of the marinade, seal the bag. Give the bag a good shake and squidge to coat
all the chicken.
Place in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.

Before cooking remove the chicken from the refrigerator to allow it come up to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 220C / 425F / Gas 7.
Place the chicken on a rack over a roasting tray and cook on the middle shelf for around 45 minutes*, turning half way through.
The chicken is ready when the skin is crisp, its steaming hot and the juices run clear. The internal temperature should be at least 75C / 167F.
Allow the chicken to rest under some tented foil before serving.

This recipe is perfect to cook on the barbecue, in fact it really enhances the flavour especially if wood smoking chips are used.
Make the sure the coals are hot and place the chicken on the grid over them and follow the oven method.

Make the dipping sauce by mixing the cook sauce, sour cream and mayonnaise together.

Garnish with wedges of lime and coriander leaves and serve with salad, sautéed potatoes or rice.

*Cooking times may vary depending on the oven/cooking method used.

29 June 2015

Muesli Cake

Photo: © childsdesign
Muesli doesn't just have to be for breakfast, it also works well as an ingredient in baking too.
This muesli cake is sticky, moist, fruity and wonderfully malty. It could be best described as being something like bread pudding and malt loaf.
Could it be considered healthy? Well there's lots of fibre and a generous amount of linseed meal added for omega 3 oomph.
The cake does not contain any dairy products, so no eggs or butter, in fact no fat at all, just the oil used to grease the tin, so it would be suitable for vegans.

Photo: © childsdesign
  • 170g muesli
  • 40g linseed meal*
  • 170g sultanas
  • 237ml apple juice
  • 170g wholemeal flour
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 113g molasses sugar
  • 2 tbsp malt extract
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and cored

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4. Grease and line an 18cm / 7 inch cake tin.

In a large bowl, tip in the sugar, muesli, linseed meal, sultanas, malt extract and apple juice and mix well to combine and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

Then grate the apple into the bowl and mix well.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir thoroughly until well mixed together.

Put the cake mixture into the cake tin, smooth over the surface.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 1½ to 2 hours. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean when the cake is cooked.

Let the cake cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

* Notes on ingredients                                                                                            
Freshly ground linseed meal can be bought online from The Linseed Farm here.

23 June 2015

Pesto Perfection from The Hungry Guest

Photo: © childsdesign
Pesto has become an indispensable kitchen ingredient these days. It is tasty and quick to use and transforms an otherwise dull meal into something rather more exciting. We’ve been testing out the Basil Pesto from The Hungry Guest made by their chefs in West Sussex.

The Hungry Guest makes a lot of its own products such as sauces, chutneys, jam and even granola. Knowing exactly where their ingredients come from is important so producing many of the things they sell seemed the natural approach to ensure the best quality food is stocked on the shelves.

Pesto is actually quite easy to make, needing just a few ingredients;
basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil, but many people prefer to buy it ready made, leaving it to the experts to get the balance of flavours and texture just right.

Photo: © The Hungry Guest
The Hungry Guest’s fresh Basil Pesto is a vibrant green colour from the just-picked juicy basil and the sublime smell is heady, intense and aromatic.

Unlike some mass-produced brands on the market, this pesto is not padded out with other green stuff like spinach, it is pure and true.

Did you know that it takes one and a half kilos of fresh basil to make 28 tubs?

The pine nuts are toasted to perfection and combined with grated parmesan for a deep savoury flavour.

The garlic is truly fresh too, not overpowering and free from any bitterness.
Everything is loosened with good quality olive oil to achieve the right consistency for dolloping, spreading and stirring through.
Some lemon juice adds a little acidic tang and a dash of seasoning creates one of the most wonderful pestos we’ve ever tasted.

The Hungry Guest's video shows how they make it, all in small batches.

Just as well it comes in 200g tubs as one taste left us immediately wanting more. We had the opportunity to eat it in a variety of ways including with pasta, roasted courgettes and peppers as well as with tomatoes and on new potatoes and with grilled lamb.

There are so many ways to use pesto; take a look at our 20 Ways with Pesto for inspiration.

We are pleased to award The Hungry Guest our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Basil Pesto.

To find out more about The Hungry Guest visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here.

22 June 2015

20 Ways with Pesto (other than pasta)

Everyone knows pesto is perfect with pasta but did you know that you can do so much more with it?
Here are just 20 ideas to liven up your meals and the list could go on…

  1. Mix into minced meat to make meatballs or burgers
  2. Use as a pizza sauce instead of tomato
  3. Mix with mayonnaise and spread on to sandwiches
  4. Pesto butter – mix with softened butter
  5. Stir into mashed potatoes
  6. Add to seafood such as mussels
  7. Great with steamed green/runner beans
  8. Perfect with peas and pancetta
  9. Add to potato salad
  10. Tasty topping for grilled chicken
  11. Add to scrambled eggs
  12. Make a dip – add pesto to mayonnaise and crème fraîche with some capers, lemon zest and juice and mix well
  13. Stir into soups, tomato is particularly good
  14. Add some to a frittata or omelette
  15. Add to hummous
  16. Rub over chicken before roasting
  17. Bake into bread
  18. Mix into salad dressing
  19. Toss hot vegetables in it
  20. Spread on bruschetta

16 June 2015

A sweet, spicy taste of Mexico in minutes

Photo: © childsdesign
Our adventure in Latin flavours continues with Capsicana s new Chilli & Honey Mexican Cook Sauce, a rich, dark and smokey creation.

The honey does make it rather sweet but this is offset by the piquancy of the chillies and the overall effect has a deep savoury flavour.
Honey is frequently used in Mexican cooking and has the ability to temper the heat of chillies giving a smoother taste.

Capsicana has combined Ancho Poblano and Chipotle chillies, the first, a large fruity mild pepper with an almost plum or raisiny flavour with hints of tobacco. The second a smoked jalapeño chilli brings the barbecue-like characteristics to the sauce plus a nice tingle of heat.

There’s a little tang from tomato and a good amount of garlic flavour comes through at the end. The sauce is thick with a deep reddish brown colour which looks as good as it tastes and leaves you wanting more.

Easy to use, this sauce helps create a complete meal in round 20 minutes.
We chose to add strips of beef steak to ours to make a voluptuous filling for soft tortillas along with a sprinkling of sharp feta cheese.

This is how we cooked it:

Ingredients (serves 2)
300g beef sirloin steaks
1 tbs vegetable oil
½ red onion, sliced
½ red bell pepper, cut into strips
½ yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 pack Capsicana Chilli & Honey Mexican Cook Sauce
handful coriander leaves, chopped

Rub a small amount of oil on both sides of the steaks.
Heat a heavy frying pan over a medium-high until hot. Place in the steaks and sear until well browned and cooked to your liking. We like ours to be pink in the middle.
Remove the steaks from the pan and place on a board to rest.

Return the pan to the hob over medium-high heat and add the oil, when hot, add the onion and peppers and cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally.

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

Meanwhile, slice the steak into thin strips.
Add the steak along with any of its juices to the sauce in the pan and stir until everything is combined.

Stir in the chopped coriander and serve immediately with soft tortillas and feta cheese.

We are pleased to award Capsicana our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Chilli & Honey Mexican 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.

5 June 2015

Fennel & Lemon Butter Dressing

Photo: © childsdesign
Fennel has such an interesting flavour and is also such a versatile herb.
The seeds, leaves, stems and flowers have a delightful aniseed taste which
we love.

Fennel is the ideal companion to fish and a variety of vegetables both being enhanced with a lick of flavoured butter.

At the time, our garden fennel was a little small to lose any of its leaves to our kitchen and we didn't like the idea of  bits of fennel seed in our butter…
Holy Lama NaturalsSpice Drops to the rescue!

Photo: © Holy Lama Naturals
Fennel Seed Spice Drops added just the flavour we needed and was so easy to use.
We adore the bright fresh flavour and aroma.

Our butter was liberally doused over some salmon and asparagus but it would work equally well with purple sprouting broccoli
or pak choi.


Carefully melt the butter over a low heat.
Add the lemon zest, salt, black pepper and lemon juice and whisk to mix.
Add the Fennel Seed Spice Drops and whisk again.

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

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

1 June 2015

The Artisan Food Trail partners with Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2015

The Artisan Food Trail is proud to be a media partner for this year's Speciality & Fine Food Fair, being held at London Olympia from 6th – 8th September 2015.

Speciality & Fine Food Fair, incorporating Speciality Chocolate Fair is the UK’s leading showcase of fine food and drink. This is the must-attend ‘trade only’ event with more than 750 producers, showcasing thousands of new food and drink products and ingredients.

The event is popular with Artisan Food Trail members who exhibit their existing products as well as launching new ones. This is also the perfect opportunity for our members to meet buyers and to forge new business links.

Come to the Fair to discover new ideas and source artisan food & drink products to help your food business stand out from the crowd.

Visit The Artisan Food Trail website to find out more