Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Are Britain’s Forgotten Foods to be consigned to history books?

When was the last time you enjoyed liver and bacon or a nice Lancashire hot pot?

According to new research, it was probably quite some time ago as these dishes, along with things like kedgeree and faggots, are the British meals which could soon be consigned to the history books.

Some might say it’s about time – devilled kidneys aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – but in some ways it’s always a shame when traditions and things we grew up with (some of us of a certain age anyway!) go out of fashion – perhaps for good.

The research, conducted by Deliveroo, revealed that a pretty convincing 91 per cent of the nation now say they prefer “world food” to traditional British meals. Three quarters said they felt the days of us sitting down to a dinner of meat and two veg are pretty much over – I’m not sure that’s strictly true, as most families I know still enjoy a good Sunday roast. Although maybe not if the meat on offer was faggots.

In fact a lot of Brits had never even tried some of the more traditional dishes. And whereas I can understand how 70 per cent have never tasted Devilled Kidneys I was surprised one in three had never sampled a steak and kidney pudding. They don’t know what they’re missing! Even more surprisingly 20 per cent of Brits have never eaten Shepherd’s Pie, and one in four have never had fish pie!

In fact, the Deliveroo list of the top 15 British foods to be consigned to history were:
1. Devilled kidneys (70 per cent have never tried it)
2. Kedgeree (65 per cent)
3. Potted shrimps (59 per cent)
4. Suet pudding (55 per cent)
5. Liver and bacon (54 per cent)
6. Faggots (53 per cent)
7. Steak and kidney pudding (36 per cent)
8. Lancashire hot pot (34 per cent)
9. Bubble and Squeak (34 per cent)
10. Gammon and pineapple (29 per cent)
11. Fish pie (24 per cent)
12. Toad in the Hole (23 per cent)
13. Ham, egg and chips (21 per cent)
14. Mince and potatoes (19 per cent)
15. Shepherd’s Pie (15 per cent)

Of course it’s all down to individual preference, but surely there’s not much controversial in toad in the hole or ham, egg and chips?

So, if we’re all clearly not eating those things, what are we eating? According to the poll, the nation’s favourite food is Italian, followed by Chinese, Indian and Mexican. The favourite dishes were pizza, curries, spaghetti bolognaise and Asian inspired stir fries. All of which we’re a bit partial to as well, so perhaps you win some and you lose some!

Whatever kinds of food you’re in to, we’ll definitely have something to tickle your tastebuds in store. Except maybe faggots….

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Cheers to 2018!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas – and are already looking forward to the next celebration: New Year’s Eve!

It’s been many a year since we headed out on 31st December to pay extortionate prices to get into a club, and then struggle to get a taxi home. Now our New Year’s Eves are all about celebrating with friends and family at home, and enjoying a festive treat or two. Without having to get cold waiting for a taxi, or stressing about whether you’ll actually be able to get close enough to the bar to order a drink given the queues.

So, if you’re celebrating with your nearest and dearest what do we recommend this year, so you can toast the new year in style?

·        Fizz it up - Champagne and Prosecco are always going to go down well, and we have a wide selection to suit all tastes and wallets. What we do also have, to make any glass of fizz extra special, is the wonderful Popaballs Rose Gold Shimmer. Simply add a third of a teaspoon to Prosecco or any sparkling drink and watch it become a swirling, glittering shimmering glass of glam – with a subtle raspberry flavour. Looks stunning and tastes good too!
·        Shaken or stirred – cocktails are always going to be popular! We sell a wide selection of all the base spirits you need to make your favourite mixes. Or if you want to make it super straightforward we have the wonderful Ice & Easy frozen cocktails, including frozen rose and mojito. Just freeze, squeeze and serve – just remember they’re alcoholic as they’re so easy to drink!
·        The year of gin – 2017 was all about the gin, and we’re sure 2018 will continue to be the same! So, what better way to bridge the years than by enjoying a glass of your favourite with a splash of Fevertree tonic? Whether you’re a fan of Sloe Gin, pink gin, Lavender gin, Yorkshire Tea gin or just gin gin, we’ve got it all. And we’re happy to talk to you about it at great length!
·        Wish you were beer – Sometimes you can’t beat a beer. Or a cider. Or an ale. But we love the beers from our town’s very own local microbrewery, the Helmsley Brewing Co. Helmsley Honey or Striding the Riding?
·        Drinks for Des – if you’ve got some designated drivers coming along, or someone who doesn’t drink, we have some great non-alcoholic tipples to make a change from the usual juices and fizzy pop. Seedlip is the world’s first non alcoholic spirit, copper pot distilled, and tastes great with tonic.  Belvoir’s Shiraz without the Hangover, made with grapes, elderberry and blackberry is delicious, and there’s also Chardonnay and Rose versions. Sparkling Elderberry is something else we’ve taken quite a shine to! And all of them guaranteed to leave your head clear and pain free come January 1st.

Whatever you do, we wish you and your family the healthiest and happiest 2018. Hopefully see you all soon!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The gift that keeps on giving…

Ah Christmas – the most magical time of the year!

But also…. a little bit stressful at times, let’s admit it! The entertaining, the endless school events, everyone trying to get their work finished before the big break. And that’s before you’ve got anywhere near the shopping or present buying!

Coming up with new gift ideas for loved ones is never easy. Kids always have lists of things they want, which makes it a lot more straightforward – but when it comes to grown ups, most of us have what we need, or we buy it when we want it! That’s why so many of us fall back on the old favourites. And of course, much as everyone loves a good pair of socks, it’s not the most exciting thing to open on Christmas Day.

But one gift that always hits the spot in our experience is food and drink! Who doesn’t love to get a little treat or two – perhaps something they wouldn’t have every day, or something they’ve never tried before. And unlike some fancy bath salts or a novelty tie, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s like to get used!

Of course, we would say this, but our hampers do make a fantastic present. We’re always happy to make one up to your own preferred requirements, but we do also have a selection readymade, which can be ordered in the shop, over the phone or online. We can deliver them around the UK – so perfect for that special someone you’re not going to get to see this festive season.

How about A Taste of Yorkshire – great value at just £35. From Taylor's of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold Teabags to Cartwright & Butler Butterscotch Crunch (with a bit of Rhubarb Milk Chocolate and some Yorkshire Heather Honey thrown in) – it’s jam-packed with goodies to give a taste of home to someone who might be missing God’s Own County. It also contains Blackberry and Sloe Gin jam (YUM!), so the jam-packed reference is conveniently true.

We have a Yorkshire Lad and a Yorkshire Lass version – but we’re certainly not saying they can only be enjoyed by someone of a certain gender! We’re pretty sure anyone would devour the contents, which vary from our very own White Chocolate Shards with Strawberry, Sloe Gin and Chilli Jam Cheesey Nibbles to Charlie & Ivy’s Cumin, Chilli & Coriander Bread Dipper, Gourmet Liquorice Bootlaces and Autumn Chutney with Black Sheep Ale.

Cheese lovers will love our Cheese Lovers hamper – a selection of cheeses, combined with some amazing accompaniments. Enjoy some charcoal cheese on a Sourdough Crispbread, or some Yorkshire Wensleydale with Fruit & Nut Torta, alongside some Moscato Grape Nectar.

Is your mouth watering yet?!

We also have some fantastic seasonal hampers, making them the perfect present for Christmas.
Christmas Cheer would make someone’s year. At £130, it’s literally bursting at the seams with some of our favourite goodies. Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, Monastier Shiraz – but it’s not all booze! There’s chocolates, tea and coffee, fruit jellies, florentines, crispbread, accompaniments for cheese, savouries, crisps, soup, biscuits, marmalade, tapenade, oil, chutney, Turkish Delight, pate….this list goes on. Enough to see you through January, that’s for sure! And we’re kind of underselling it – to paraphrase someone else this is no ordinary cracker, this is a ‘Toast for cheese with festive spiced fruit and pecans’. And it’s not a bottle of vegetable oil, it’s the rather amazing La Tourangelle Hazelnut Oil. And we love a bit of Branston Pickle, but wait until you try The Fine Cheese Co’s Port, Blood Orange & Pomegranate Jelly for Cheese.

So, if you’re struggling for inspiration this year – you know where to come. Can Santa please take note for my Christmas list too?!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

World Vegan Month: Our vegan (and dairy-free) favourites

Earlier this year we wrote a blog post about the rise in veganism. Although some people still seem to be surprised at how many choose to avoid all animal products in their diet, from meat, fish and eggs, to dairy and honey, it’s a movement which shows no sign of slowing. In fact, the number of vegans has risen over 350% in the last 10 years.

Apparently even Google Trends has seen evidence of a boom – search terms linked to vegan lifestyles in the UK were up 90% last year on the year before, and were significantly higher than those looking for information about the paleo diet, gluten-free or even vegetarianism.

The great thing for Vegans now, as opposed to a decade – or even just a few years ago – is the choice of food available. Gone are the days when you were limited to a boring plain salad or tomato-based pasta. Vegan restaurants and cafes are popping up in towns and cities across the country, which is no surprise given there’s well over half a million British vegans out there looking for somewhere interesting to eat!

Another good thing about vegan products is they’re always suitable for those with a dairy intolerance – making them doubly popular in our experience.

So, this World Vegan Month, we’ve scoured the streets (not literally, we found these products everywhere from a food show to a friend’s kitchen) for what we think are some of the tastiest Vegan (and therefore dairy-free) foods out there.

·        Granny’s Secret Ajvar pepper and tomato spreads - We are a little bit addicted to this in the store – which means we always over-order so the stock doesn’t run out! We’ve noticed that once you try this, you can’t go back, and so the same customers keep returning for more. It comes in classic or spicy varieties and is great as a dip or spread. Has to be tasted to be believed – it will revolutionise your sandwich!
·        Vegan chocolate – Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up all chocolate – you might just need to go darker! Yum! Booja Booja luxury chocolate truffles are amazing – from champagne or almond and sea salt to rhubarb and vanilla fool, you’d be a fool not to give them a try. King Monty uses creamy rice milk to create a delicious dairy-free bar and the So Free range uses plant alternatives to create a variety of different flavours, including a milk chocolate – perfect if you’re actually not keen on the more bitter dark choc.
·        Anila’s Indian sauces, pickles and chutneys – For an easy to make dinner idea, that tastes authentic (and much nicer than any takeaway), the Anila’s sauces take some beating. We particularly lovely the flavoursome Spicy Korma (which, as it suggests, is a spicier version of the usual Korma) and the mouth-watering Aubergine Pickle. Perfect with poppadoms!
·        Nut butters – Nut butters are all the rage, and we can see why. They’re so versatile (from spreading it on your morning toast, to adding it to recipes), they’re good for you and deliciously more-ish! We love Natural World’s Pecan and Fig or Hazelnut and Cacao varieties, as well as Meridian’s Almond or Cashew Butter.

So, if you fancy giving them a try, why not pop in? Or if you don’t live locally, we’re happy to arrange to send things out – so give us a call on 01439 771 307.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

We need you!

(It can’t only be us that pictures Lord Kitchener pointing at us every time we hear that?)

We’ve got a little favour to ask our wonderful customers… We’re delighted to have been nominated for the Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2018. But, we need some votes to help us win it! And we’re told it’s quality not quantity that counts… (same could be said for a lot of things in life).

There’s 13 categories, and we’re nominated in the delicatessen one (no surprise there you say!). There’s some tough competition, as you’d expect. God’s Own County isn’t short of some amazing food shops on its own, but Yorkshire is actually in with the wider North East region too, so there’s a whole host of favourites in there. We wouldn’t like to be the judges choosing between the 18… (although OBVIOUSLY if we were the judges we know who would win. Nudge nudge, wink wink).

The awards, which are in their fifth year, aim to draw attention to the many highly driven and passionate local businesses across the country. They focus on independent, specialty retailers who sell regional fresh/farm produce or have a delicatessen counter. They particularly celebrate the highest levels of service, product knowledge, initiative, innovation and community involvement in the sector. Much as we’re actually just very modest Yorkshire-folk and it sits a bit uneasy with us to blow our own trumpet (despite our new trumpet-featuring logo), we’d like to think we’re okay at some of those!

So…members of the public are being asked to vote for their favourite retailers to help them get through to the next stage of the competition. Regional winners will be chosen, who will then progress through to a national competition to have the chance of being crowned ‘Farm Shop & Deli Awards Retailer of the Year’. This will be announced at the Farm Shop & Deli Show, Monday 16th April 2018 at Birmingham’s NEC.

I’m sure it goes without saying that we would love to win one of these awards! As a small business owner you put your heart and soul into it, and we really are passionate about what we do. It’s always a fantastic boost for the whole team to receive a nomination for an award, and we thank everyone of you who votes for us and puts us forward for things. It means more than you can know!

So if you have a spare couple of minutes, and you feel like doing so, you can vote for us at: Choose the North East region or search for us by name. Voting closes on Tuesday 31st October 2017 and one lucky voter will be entered into a draw to win a “foodie hamper” (which sounds quite mysterious – wonder what it includes??)

Thank you all – and let’s keep everything crossed!

Trick or treat – frogs’ legs or sushi?

It’s that time of the year again – the time when kids across the world are sent out to beg for sweets and then come home on a sugar high that will see them through until Santa delivers the selection boxes.

What’s not to love about a bit of trick or treating – and of course parents can maybe get away with ‘sharing’ a few of their offspring’s sweet treats (there’s got to be some perks to spending hours with the face paints creating the world’s cutest werewolf.

And, of course, the shops (ourselves included) are jam-packed full of chocolate and lollipops and jelly sweets in the shape of pumpkins, spiders and bats!

But, according to some research we spotted, maybe we’re underestimating exactly what constitutes a treat for youngsters nowadays...?

Restaurant chain Giraffe undertook some research into children’s eating habits which revealed some surprising results. A third of parents said their children are culinary adventurous and half said ‘they will try most things’. They obviously didn’t question me or my offspring.

As a result, most British kids have tried curry, crayfish and olives by 5; mussels and quinoa by 6; and sushi by 7 – along with tacos, oysters, squid and Japanese katsu - all at a much younger age than their parents would ever have done. I still know plenty of grown-ups who wouldn’t try an oyster!

The survey found that around one in five kids had tried paella and tapas when holidaying in Spain. One in 20 had apparently given frogs’ legs a go. Just over a quarter were competent with chopsticks (something I’m still not consistently able to do!)

How much of this is down to pushy parents is a matter of debate – one in five parents said there was competition with friends over whose kids were most adventurous with food. And, of course, many - 40 per cent - said they loved posting pictures of the exotic food their children had tried on social media. How Instagram-able is a Happy Meal? And it’s fair to say exotic ideas for your child’s lunchbox abound on Pinterest.

So, this Halloween, maybe put away the Haribo and fun size chocolate bars, and start handing out the mini tubs of Hummus, and snack packs of edamame beans or sushi. Sounds like they’d go down a treat!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Ramen – isn’t he one of the Egyptian Pharoes?

There was a news story came out this week about how many Brits don’t know their ramen from their enchilada, which made us laugh.

We’re not quite sure where these 1,500 people that Deliveroo polled have been, but apparently they think Wonton is Chelsea FC’s new signing, an enchilada is an animal found in South America, and a falafel is part of a jet engine (is anyone else hearing the Friends episode where Rachel empties an entire plane because Phoebe says there is something wrong with the left Phalange?) And, quite frankly, you don’t want to hear what people think ramen is.

We could understand a little more that the Vietnamese noodle soup Pho caused some confusion. One in seven thought it was an exotic type of fish, while one in 10 thought it was the name of a character from Game of Thrones. Well there are some odd names on the show – Hot Pie anyone? And we could kind of see where people were coming from with Frito Misto, the Venetian dish of lightly fried fish, with some declaring it was the Italian for “cold and foggy day.”

But surely everyone’s heard of Falafel? Nope, on top of the one in 33 who thought it was part of a jet engine, one in 25 said it was probably the name of a Russian poet. It’s not even from the right part of the world.

We actually laughed out loud at the fact one in ten people mistook the Thai hot and sour soup Tom Yum Goong for an up and coming snooker star from the Far East. Brilliant.

Despite those mistakes, a pretty high 86 per cent said they had international tastes when it comes to food, with the favourites being Chinese (58 per cent), Italian (56 per cent), Indian (50 per cent), American (35 per cent) and Mexican (34 per cent).

Apparently the average Brit spends £86 a month on take-aways. As much as we love the odd treat from one of the local takeaways, we also love to cook up a storm in the kitchen - as you’d guess really given our line of work! Whether it’s from scratch or from a jar, there’s some great ingredients out there to make a delicious international feast fit for a king (or Ramen, the Egyptian Pharo).

Of course, we’re passionate about great Yorkshire fayre, but we also appreciate the fantastic range of foods available from all over the world. We have a large variety of international foods from across the globe – Italy, India, Thailand, Malaysia, America, France, Spain, China, Africa - come and take a look at our Aladdin’s Cave second floor. You won’t find a genie in a lamp, but you may just find some edible treasures!