Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Rice or roast

This next week marks the start of two foodie ‘awareness weeks’ (not that we think either of these things need awareness – they’re pretty well known!)

Launching on 18th September, National Rice Week aims to highlight the nutritional benefits of rice, and ways to cook it. We have to say, rice can be an understated staple – you can get stuck doing the same old boiled rice as an accompaniment to bulk out a meal, rather than enjoying it in its own right. So maybe it’s a good thing to have a week celebrating rice and all the things you can do with it! Hot or cold, sweet or savoury – they’re all good…

How about using it to make some sushi? We have everything you need in store to create your own nigiri or maki rolls. Or why not try some sticky jasmine rice with a fresh thai green curry? Maybe it’s a good incentive to make your own instead of opting for a take away this weekend.

Risotto is always a winner – and we have the easiest, tastiest ready-to-go risottos going! Simply add water to the packs and simmer for 10-15 minutes for a quick, satisfying supper in no time! Choose from Mediterranean  vegetable and mushroom varieties.

As rice week comes to a close, British Roast Dinner Week kicks in on 24th (of course it would have to start on a Sunday!). Who doesn’t love a roast dinner, but it has to be said they’re a lot of hard work. If you’re going to go to all that effort, you want to make sure it’s the best of the best. You can’t have roast beef without horseradish or mustard – we think XXX is perfect for the job. Roast lamb? Got to have some mint sauce. Tracklements do a lovely fresh mint jelly, or Cartwright and Butler do a perfectly balanced traditional mint sauce. Just the thought makes your mouth water! Roast pork – bring on the apple sauce. We love Stokes brand brambly apple. And then we come to chicken or turkey. Of course, cranberry sauce is a well-established favourite, and we do a great variety. But we also do a
delicious, Hunters’ brand peach chutney which tastes amazing with poultry. Maybe not so much with gravy, but perfect for using up those leftovers with some delicious fresh bread and butter or a salad.

If whipping up a roast dinner is going to take more time than you have, why not pop in for one of our famous deep-filled roast beef sandwiches? We perfectly roast the beef on site, so it’s still slightly pink – the smell is enough to get your stomach rumbling! Served with your choice of accompaniments, choosing one of our best-sellers will definitely never leave you feeling hungry. In fact, you wouldn’t be alone if you could only manage half and had to share the rest with a lucky friend (or save it for later if you’re not feeling that generous).

So, whatever this week inspires you to eat, pop in to Hunters and let us help you make an ordinary meal extraordinary!

These are a few of our (least) favourite things…

The world would be a boring place if we all liked the same things…. But, it has to be said, that when it comes to foods, many people seem to dislike the same things!
When we looked at some research done by BBC Good Food, the list of the top 10 most hated foods has several items which won’t be a surprise to anyone – including brussels sprouts, liver, marmite, tripe, celery and mushrooms. (Although, I personally love several of those, and those I don’t, other people in the Hunters team do – so they’re of course, by no means universally loathed!)
But there are some quite surprising entries on to the ‘food hell’ list. We’re looking at you curry, pasta and fish. And we’re not the only ones with eyebrows raised given they all also made it on to the top 10 food heaven list as well! But, of course, that just goes to show – what is one man’s cup of tea is another man’s venti, no foam, mocha, caramel macchiato (so to speak. Unless you love both of those, in which case that analogy doesn’t work very well).
If you look further back in time, other surveys point to the now hugely popular avocado as being high on the dislike list (you’d struggle to find many cafes and restaurants which don’t include it on their menu somewhere nowadays), along with olives and black pudding – all of which are foods of the gods, surely?
Sometimes I wonder if it’s a case of not having tried the food (let’s be honest, it’s easy to see why you might not want to tuck into a snail or a cockle at first glance) – or having bad childhood memories which have put you off for life. Maybe it’s worth a second try? We have some fantastic olives in store which are truly delicious – why not try our green olives stuffed with sun dried tomato, always a favourite on the deli.
It seems odd that pasta and curry would be on the food hell list – after all, there’s so many varieties of each. If you don’t like the spice of a Vindaloo, there’s so many milder versions available. And with curries from India, Malaysia, Thailand, Africa and Indonesia – to name but a few – to choose from, surely one would tickle your taste buds?
And it’s the same with pasta – on its own it can be a bit bland admittedly – although we do stock some wonderfully authentic Italian brands which are great just with a splash of oil and a generous grating of parmesan. But we also have dozens of delicious sauces to choose from – how about rich roast vegetable or red pepper, garlic and green birds eye chilli – a quick, easy and tasty supper. Fantastic flavours and none of the hassle!
So, if you have an item you’ve always just assumed you disliked (I was in my 30s before I could appreciate a good olive – now I can’t get enough of them!), maybe it’s worth another try? Come and have a chat and we’ll find you a version of your nemesis you might just be able to get on with!


Friday, 25 August 2017

These are a few of our favourite things (about Helmsley)

Helmsley is a fantastic place to spend a bank holiday – whether you’re planning a whole weekend here or just the day. After all, how many times do you get to visit somewhere that was named the Best Market Town in the whole country? AND which is home to the best small shop in the country (that would be us! Officially – we didn’t just claim the title for ourselves, we went to the House of Commons to be awarded it and everything!)

No matter what your interests are, there’s so much to do in and around town. If you love the great outdoors there’s the whole of the North York Moors National Park to explore on foot or on bike. Work up an appetite and then head back to town to visit one of the fantastic coffee shops, tea rooms, pubs or restaurants. We’re spoilt for choice in Helmsley (believe me, we know – it’s hard to live or work in town and not put on weight with all the delicious things on offer!). We even have our very own brewery, where you can sit and enjoy a pint and chew the fat with owner Kyle. (as in, have a good chat – it’s not some bizarre Helmsley snack…)

If it’s a sunny day, you should head to Helmsley’s Open Air Pool. We’re very lucky to have what is one of only 100 remaining public lidos in the UK, here in town, and it’s very popular with locals and visitors alike. Even if the weather isn’t great, it’s heated so it’s still worth a visit in the summer months when it’s open. There’s something quite nice about an open air swim in the rain! The Feversham Arms Hotel also has a beautiful open air pool, which is open to residents and spa users.

Helmsley Castle is a history lover’s dream. You can follow how it evolved over nine centuries, from Medieval fortress and luxurious Tudor mansion to a Civil War stronghold and Victorian ruin. There’s plenty for youngsters to discover too – and lots of space to explore! Nearby we also have the spectacular and atmospheric Rievaulx Abbey and Rievaulx Terrace, one of Yorkshire’s finest 18th-century landscape gardens.

If you’ve got green fingers – and even if you haven’t – the Helmsley Walled Garden is very special. Five tranquil acres, set in the shadow of Helmsley Castle, all lovingly tended by the dedicated team of gardeners and volunteers. It dates back more than 250 years but was brought back to life following years of neglect. There’s also a fantastic cafĂ© on site, where you can sit and admire the view while enjoying some freshly made Yorkshire goodies.

No visit to Helmsley would be complete without heading to the wonderful, multi-award winning National Centre for Birds of Prey in Duncombe Park. See rare and endangered species and watch daily flying displays with everything from owls to eagles taking to the sky.

And of course, one of the best things about Helmsley is the wonderful independent shopping! There’s so many shops in town that are one-offs, offering products and service you just won’t find elsewhere. From boutiques and bakeries to gift shops and homewares, there’s something for everyone. It’s a great place to come present shopping as it’s full of inspiration and new ideas. Of course, we may be biased, but we can recommend a great deli which is jam-packed (excuse the pun) with goodies – whether for you or some other lucky soul!
For more information and ideas about what to do in Helmsley go to www.visithelmsley.co.uk. Hope to see you this weekend!


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Is the dinner party dead? Or just having a post-food nap….

We spotted some research back in July which caught our eye. Apparently, the dinner party is ‘dead’ and will soon be consigned to the history books…

The survey, conducted by Anglian Home Improvements, showed that more than eight out of 10 of us think informal kitchen suppers have replaced the dinner parties of old.

There are even rules for modern day entertaining – apparently serving anything on a stick is not acceptable, and you should never discuss TV, work or children (what’s wrong with a bit of Game of Thrones chat over a pineapple and cheese hedgehog?)

Some of the advice we could get on board with though – for example, not texting at the table, complementing the chef, serving olives from the local deli rather than a jar (we do offer a great range!) and making sure what you serve is seasonal.

Apparently we host an average of 36 supper and lunch parties at home every year – splashing out an impressive £3K on food and drink for our pals, according to the poll. Saturday night is the nation’s favourite time to entertain, followed by Friday night.

We’re inclined to agree that entertaining is just as likely to be an informal kitchen table catch up as a more formal three course meal (although we certainly don’t think those have gone the way of the dodo just yet). Ultimately, like with all choices related to food and drink, it depends what you enjoy. If you enjoy cooking chicken breast in parma ham (another no-no according to the survey for some reason), and your guests enjoy eating it then go for it.

It certainly seems that Saturday is the day for entertaining and come the weekend we’ll often have people pop in for inspiration on what food to serve. Always popular is a selection of antipasta and nibbles, and platters bursting with roasted vegetables, cheese, meats and pates served with fresh bread, crispbreads and crackers and a selection of pickles and chutneys on the side. Delicious!

We’d highly recommend some of our traditional Macedonian Meze from Pelegonia to make some mouthwatering bruschetta – the Aivar is a sweet red pepper variety combined with aubergine, which goes with pretty much everything. A perfect starter or something to nibble.

So, is the dinner party dead? We think not. But whatever your idea of an ideal meal to share with family and friends, we’re sure we can help with some fresh thinking. Although we will always love a prawn cocktail…






Monday, 14 August 2017

A spot of afternoon tea

14th August marks the start of Afternoon Tea Week – definitely a week we can get behind!

The tradition dates back to the 1840s when the Seventh Duchess of Bedford found herself a bit peckish in the long gap in between lunch and dinner at 8pm. And so Afternoon Tea was born. I wonder if she knew the legacy she was creating? (her and the Earl of Sandwich should be very proud!)

Everyone loves afternoon tea. Whether it’s the full on sandwich fingers and 17 different types of cake or it’s ‘just’ a well made cuppa with a scone smothered in jam and then cream (that way round please, it’s the only way), it’s all good.

It needs to start with the perfect cup of tea of course. We’re partial to a bit of Yorkshire Tea, unsurprisingly, and we also love Taylors of Harrogate, Pukka and Twinings. We even sell loose leaf tea so you can brew a proper pot. And we’ve a tea for every mood – whether you like an Earl Grey or a Wild Apple and Cinnamon, we should have something to hit the spot.

For an extra special cup of tea, the Flora range takes some beating. If you’ve never tried a flowering tea, you’ve no idea what you’re missing! When placed in boiling water, not only does it create a subtle green tea of your choosing, but a hidden flower uncurls in the cup. It’s very beautiful, and one cup of tea which should really be enjoyed in a wine glass, not china!

Of course, the clue to afternoon tea is in the name – tea – but if you’re more a fan of coffee we won’t tell. You can buy loose beans from us by weight, and we’ll even grind them for you. The Brazilian Sweet River is a popular choice. Taylors of Harrogate have some great ready to grab bags for your cafetiere from the relaxed Lazy Sunday to the strong and smoky After Dark. Grumpy Mule offer some award-winning blends, including organic and Fairtrade.

Cakes is something we have plenty of at Hunters, have no fear. We have some great fruit cakes from the Harrogate Cake Co (every afternoon tea stand needs a slice of tea loaf), and we’d highly recommend the new range we have in from famous Cotswolds’ bakery Huffkins. Apricot and Almond Fruitcake anyone? Or how about Chocolate and Orange or Pecan and Cherry?

We have our own range of biscuits, and we don’t like to boast, but they’re pretty amazing. Rhubarb and custard shortbread, chocolate crumbles, lemon and white chocolate shortbread, apple and cinnamon oaties – whether you’re a dunker or a cruncher, they’re definitely more than moreish. We also stock the delicate Swedish favourites Annas Thins – cappuccino, orange and almond varieties. They’re great on their own, but you can also pair them with cheese or fruit.

An afternoon tea should really include a good quality scone – and the best quality preserves and cream. How about Blackberry and Elderflower Jam, Apricot, or even a spot of Tutti Frutti? Or if a traditional strawberry or raspberry jam is what you need to call it a cream tea, we have plenty of those too. You could go crazy and try it with our Three Fruit Marmalade or even *whispers* a lemon curd. But we don’t want to upset the status quo. (as in the norm – we don’t think Francis Rossi cares much what you have on your scone).

So go on….treat yourself. You only live once and if you can’t enjoy Afternoon Tea Week, well, what’s the world coming to?!



Monday, 7 August 2017

Far Eastern Flavours

Far Eastern foods have seen a surge in popularity over the last decade – and it seems to be showing no sign of slowing down.

We spend over £500million a year on buying noodles and rice to cook at home. And from Yo Sushi to Wagamama, Japanese restaurants are now a frequent sight on most city high streets, while nearly every town can offer up a tempting array of Chinese and Thai food.

But what about if you fancy cooking up a Pan Asian feast at home? Don’t worry – Hunters is here to help! Much as we very obviously adore our local Yorkshire produce, we do also love to experiment with flavours from around the world, and if you head upstairs in our Helmsley shop, you’ll find shelves dedicated to the very best products from around the globe.

If it’s Thai that tickles your fancy, we have some great curry pastes from Thai Taste. As well as Red and Green Curry, why not try Yellow Curry or Tom Yum Paste – you can create the famous soup, or use it as a delicious marinade. if you’re making everything from scratch, stock up on Shrimp and Tamarind Paste, Sriracha Sauce and palm sugar to create your own masterpieces. Don’t forget the sticky rice or rice noodles!

If you’re turning Japanese, as the 80s song declared, we stock everything from Rice Mirin and Miso to Wasabi and Umeboshi paste. (We also sell a wonderful Wasabi Mayonnaise, which is great if you like a kick you can add to your everyday meals!). Why not try some of Clearspring’s organic tofu and soba noodles? Panko breadcrumbs from Blue Dragon are perfect if you fancy making a chicken Katsu. We also sell tempura mix, to create the light and crispy batter famous in Asian cuisine.

Create Chinese dishes that knock the local takeaway out of the water with our shelves offering everything from fish and oyster sauce to hoisin. And not forgetting a few prawn crackers to nibble along the way!

If you fancy eating Malaysian tonight, we sell Nasi Goreng Paste, to help you capture the flavours of the much-loved fried rice dish, Kicap Manis and Laksa or Rendang Curry paste from the wonderful Malay Taste range.

Those with food intolerances needn’t miss out. We stock gluten free soy sauce to help those with allergies enjoy Far Eastern flavours. The Great Taste award-winning Natural World Coconut Cream takes some beating when it comes to creating creamy curries, in our opinion – and is great for those who follow a dairy free diet.

Whatever you feel like cooking up, we’re happy to help (that is, explain what products you might want to try – we’re not coming to your house to chop up veg or anything…).


Think of the money you’ll save on takeaways!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Head to Hunters for a n-ice (cream) pint



They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder – or should that be beerholder… And we’ve got a beauty of an offering for customers this summer!

In honour of International Beer Day on 4th August, we’ve got an exciting new product launching. Beer and ice cream may not sound the most likely of combinations – but that’s what we’ve done!

Visitors to our famous ice cream window on Helmsley’s Market Place can choose from an alcoholic or non-alcoholic Ginger Beer Float, available from 4th August until further notice.

Just the other week, we were all reminiscing in store about the Coke Floats we used to enjoy as a child – so it seemed like a great idea to combine the two!

We like to be thorough, and so we’ve done a few taste tests to find the best balance (hic…) and we think we’ve come up with the perfect mix. It’s all down to incorporating the very best ingredients. We’re using Crabbies alcoholic or Fentimen’s non-alcoholic ginger beer, served in a takeaway glass, topped with either rich and creamy vanilla or tangy ginger ice cream, both from local firm Brymors. The cost is £3.95 for an alcoholic version and £3.50 for the soft drink variety.

All variations of combinations are utterly delicious, and very refreshing on a warm day. We think even those who wouldn’t normally bat an eyelid at a beer celebration will be pleasantly surprised, and it’s something a little bit different for the beer traditionalists. (We know some may say Ginger Beer isn’t technically a ‘beer’ but the name has got to count for something….and regardless, the taste is fantastic!)

Ale in a day’s work.

Wish you were beer?

(sorry, we’ll stop now….)