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connections Sept/Oct 2019

The magazine exclusively for catering professionals

curry favour

Our guide to delicious dishes for National Curry Week

national treasures

Celebrate the best of British produce



Rachel Khoo chats about her food inspiration and favourite flavours

and treats From fresh produce to Halloween and Bonfire Night, we help you celebrate all that’s awesome about autumn

. e c i u j t i u r f 100% . g n i l k r a p s s That’

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Hello. . .

… and welcome to your September/October issue of Caterer Connections. As the summer sunshine fades and the temperatures start to drop, it’s time to embrace all things autumn. From the freshest seasonal produce to the appeal of cosy comfort food, now’s the time to think about how your venue can stand out from the competition. This time of year is packed with events and this issue is bursting with ideas about how you can make the most of them. On page 22, we take a look at the vibrant flavours of curries in celebration of National Curry Week and show you how you can offer a tantalising array of themed options on your menu to celebrate. British Food Fortnight also kicks off in September, offering you the ideal way to showcase local, in-season produce on your menus. Turn to page 30 to get creative with the nation’s favourite dishes. With autumn comes the double whammy of Halloween and Bonfire Night, both of which offer huge opportunities for your venue. From hot dogs and baked potatoes to the spooky treats, make sure you’re capturing your customers’ attention – see page 48. Of course, it wouldn’t be autumn if we didn’t flag up the big date on the foodservice and on-trade calendar now would it? While it might feel that we’ve just said farewell to summer, Christmas is just a matter of weeks away and we all know that it pays to plan far ahead. Follow our 12-week countdown on page 42 to the essentials to get your festivities off to a flying start. Enjoy this issue and see you in November!

Les & Martin s

tips for autumn


stock up Autumn marks the start of the busiest time for many venues, who need to plan ahead and sort out the basics now. Take a good look at what dishes were your most popular last year and let that influence your plans for this year.


shout about it How are your Christmas bookings? If you still have tables free, use social media to shout about your offers, opening times and festive fare.


think about events Customers will embrace in-venue theatre, so go to

town when it comes to events such as Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas. It’s not just the food that they’ll remember but the decorations, music and atmosphere too, so get creative.

caterer connections sept/oct 2019


17 In this issue FEATURES

14 17

exclusive: Rachel Khoo A chat with the talented chef and author of six cookbooks

profile: anjula devi Guidance on Indian cuisine from the hugely talented expert chef


on trade Spicing up the kitchen with a haul of authentic regional recipes


cost sector Advice to combat the challenges faced by care home caterers

3o 34

best of british Celebrating the annual food fest that is British Food Fortnight

quick serve With National Baking Week comes our advice on raising the baking bar


cask week All the reasons why cask ales are a winner for any pub or bar



christmas countdown The hectic festive season broken down to help you be prepared



plastic not fantastic How you can be ready for when the new plastic ban legislation hits





07 09

events Key autumn dates for the diary

Caterer Connections is published six times a year by The Bright Media Agency, The Old Bank, 2 Cross Street, Enderby, Leicestershire LE19 4NJ, on behalf of Unitas Wholesale. For unitas Wholesale Les Mohammed and Martin Spivey For THe Bright media agency Editor Stephenie Shaw Head of Design Emma Bramwell Designer Rafaela Aguiar-Hill Content Editor Kate Feasey Artworker Chris Gardner Profile photography Roy Kilcullen Head of Sales Adam Turner Publisher David Shaw To advertise, please contact the team on 07947 902263 or

13 48

News Updates and trends from across the foodservice industry

what’s cooking The latest must-have products in season Halloween and Bonfire Night food ideas for sizzling sales caterer connections sept/oct 2019



N EW For 2019

®MARS, TWIX, REVELS, M&M’S, MALTESERS, GALAXY, SNICKERS and BOUNTY are registered trademarks. ©2019 Mars or Affiliates.


maaknoete The dates you need in your diary as we rustle into autumn


National Mushroom Month

Honour the humble mushroom by sautéing with garlic and soy sauce and using as a topping for burgers, or as a side with a roast dinner or steak. They’re versatile, packed with goodness and add lots of flavour to many dishes.

2–6 September Zero Waste Week

The perfect time to focus on reducing waste and raising awareness of recycling where you work.

21 September– 6 October Love British Food

Two weeks celebrating the best food that Britain has to offer, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to shine a light on the British and

local produce on your menu – see our feature on p30.

27 September

Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning Could you hold a cake and coffee event where you are to raise funds and awareness of Macmillan Cancer Support?

1 October

World Vegetarian Day

It’s a trend that continues to rise and is the ideal opportunity to showcase your vegetarian offering. It’s also International Coffee Day, so why not offer a coffee and cake deal?

5–12 October

16 October

Bring a taste of the seaside to your menu with seafood platters and specials.

Take a look at how healthy your offering is and consider introducing a special menu for the day – #ZeroHunger

National Seafood Week

7–13 October National Curry Week

Celebrate the tastes and aromas of India by offering a special menu bursting with flavours.

14–18 October National School Meals Week

Ring the school dinner changes with a week-long special menu.

14–20 October National Baking Week

Show off your baking skills and treat everyone to a selection of freshly baked goodies.

World Food Day

28 October– 3 November UK Sausage Week

Champion the beautiful British banger with seven days of different flavours from local British producers.

31 October Halloween

It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, these days everyone gets involved in Halloween. It’s one of the most popular events in the calendar and a great day for sales, if you get into the spirit. See our feature on p48 for inspiration.

caterer connections sept/oct 2019



Tango is the BEST tasting orange fruit carbonate*

+ÂŁ2M Marketing spend in 2019

* MMR Consumer Product Benchmarking Dec 2017 (Base: Sugar free Rep Sample 18-24 yr olds n=81)

Time to

New SUGAR FREE flavours Tropical and Strawberry and Watermelon

Time to

*Source: Nisbets 2019



British adults choose to follow a flexitarian diet*

the next big thing?

According to a new report, the next big thing to hit bars is Asian beer brands. The five brands with the biggest value change over the past year have all been from Asia, so expect to see a rise in demand for beers from Japan and China.

pub grub is the dish of the day for brits When it comes to eating out, it seems we’re an unadventurous nation as a staggering 6 in 10 Brits choose to eat at the same place again and again, with pub grub the food of choice. Research by Meerkat Meals has revealed that the average British person dines out at least once a month, although as a nation we take our decision making seriously, with the average Brit spending more than five hours each year deciding where to go.

The top five food choices for UK diners were pub food, Italian, Chinese, Indian and American. However, the top cuisines that Brits would like to try were Caribbean, Thai, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Moroccan, Mediterranean, Spanish, Mexican and Vietnamese. It also showed that diners avoided trying new foods as they were spoilt for choice, while parties of four or more were put off dining out as it was harder to decide on a venue.

Pass on the salt

Pubs and fast-food chains have come under fire for the high salt content of their children’s meals, according to recent research. Action on Salt analysed 351 meals from 26 outlets, including high-street restaurants, and discovered that more than 40% contained more than 1.8g of salt while 37% contained more than 2g, which is the maximum recommended daily intake for one to three year olds. Some meals were discovered to have in excess of 5g. The group is calling for warning labels on children’s menus to help parents make healthier choices.

caterer connections sept/oct 2019



Indies on the rise

vegan-friendly venues in demand Britain’s most vegan-friendly cities have been revealed. Fast becoming a way of life rather than a short-term fad, veganism has firmly established itself as a mainstream lifestyle choice. With more than 6 million UK adults identifying as vegetarian and vegan, it’s no surprise that restaurants, cafes and takeaway outlets are sitting up and taking notice.

*Source: The British Coffee Federation

Britain’s most vegan-friendly cities are: 1 Norwich 2 Edinburgh 3 Glasgow 4 Newcastle 5 Bristol

6 Manchester 7 Liverpool 8 Cardiff 9 Southampton 10 Nottingham

And with the increased appetite for vegan dishes, you need to look at the dishes you have on offer. While veganfriendly lasagne, pasta, curries and stir-fries are traditionally the most popular choices, it also makes sense to link in with the ‘eating green’ ethos, so think carefully about your packaging. Biodegradable, recyclable or compostable takeaway containers, cups and plates are all ways to do your bit for the planet and also appeal to customers looking to do their bit too.

95 million cups of coffee are drunk each day in the UK*


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

As chain restaurants, such as Jamie’s Italian, Prezzo and Café Rouge, are forced to close many if not all of their sites, it seems that independent restaurants are taking advantage and seeing sales rise as a result. According to findings from financial provider 365 Business Finance, rather than visiting chain restaurants, consumers are opting to support independent, local businesses. And, with more than 1.7 million UK customers visiting a restaurant at least once a week, the opportunity for independent restaurants and pubs to take a slice of the action is obvious, with customers clearly valuing personal service and giving something back to the community.

Our guide to what should be on your shelves this autumn

Whats ’

cooking getting fruity The latest release from Smirnoff delivers a triple whammy: more natural ingredients; less alcohol; and lower calories, ticking the box for those looking for a slightly healthier indulgence. The new drink is made with Smirnoff No.21 Vodka, infused with real fruit essence and natural ingredients, in two variants: Orange, Grapefruit & Bitters; and Raspberry, Rhubarb & Vanilla. Serve in a wine glass over ice with soda and garnish with fruit, all for 87 calories.

back-to-school essentials It’s time for school caterers to stock up on essentials that deliver taste, value and are school compliant. Luckily, Caterers Kitchen is on hand to deliver sure-fire winners, including Fine Gravy Granules, which are gluten-free, clean label and suitable for vegans, as well as meeting UK salt guidelines with natural colours and flavours. Kids’ favourite Tomato Ketchup also gets the thumbs up as it contains no artificial sweetners, so is school compliant.

how low can you go? With sales of low- and no-alcohol beer up a whopping 381% in the past two years, it’s clear that having a quality and varied range to satisfy rising customer demand will be critical for any venue’s success. At just 0.5% ABV, the newest craft beer from BrewDog is a low-alcohol version of its flagship beer, Punk IPA. Punk AF is packed full of flavour, offering drinkers the same bold flavours and tropical fruit mixes as Punk IPA but without the alcohol, so it’s an ideal choice for designated drivers or those wanting to limit their alcohol intake.

go gourmet Kraft Heinz is taking consumers’ palates to a whole new level with its new Gourmet Ketchup range of three on-trend flavours: Roasted Garlic and Sundried Tomato; Balsamic Vinegar and Sun Ripened Tomato; and Aromatic Herbs and Sun Ripened Tomato. They can be used for a variety of purposes and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, with no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or thickeners.

Snacking’s got healthier Keen to provide healthier snack options, Walkers has launched two all-new varieties of vegetable chips. Containing 40% less fat than regular versions, Walkers Oven Baked with Veg offers Beetroot with Sweet Chilli Jam, and Sweet Potato with Paprika flavours. The wheat, potato and vegetable snacks are available in three formats: single serve (35g); multipack (6x23g); and sharing bags (140g). caterer connections sept/oct 2019



“I believe that limitation generates creativity. It’s all about how you look at it” Rachel Khoo started out as a PR pro but switched the pen for a wooden spoon and has now written an incredible six cookbooks Your career has changed shape quite a bit. Tell us about it and how you discovered your love for food.

It has! I actually started my career in PR and marketing, which I worked in for a couple of years before coming to the realisation that it wasn’t for me. While working in the field though, I got to know the world of food photography and food styling and I did really enjoy that aspect. I had previously tried to get paid work in food photography, but it was impossible and I simply couldn’t work for free. Having spoken to a few food stylists, I knew that I had to gain more professional experience. So I decided to save up my money and move to Paris to learn the craft on a three-month patisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu. As you do!

That sounds amazing, but it must have been tough…

It was. I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t speak the language. I turned my hand to several jobs to save money, including au pairing, but I wasn’t paid a great deal. This is a notoriously difficult industry to get into because unpaid work experience is the norm and so many people are eager to work with the top restaurants. Unfortunately, many have to work unpaid to gain that experience.


caterer connections sepT/oct 2019

You clearly did a lot of grafting to learn your craft. What would you say was your big break?

Well, it’s funny because everyone always tells me my big break was when I landed my first show on the BBC, but actually I consider it to be way before then when I got a job at the Parisian cookbook store and cafe, La Cocotte. I ran baking workshops and served as the store’s pastry chef. I had lots of amazing opportunities to meet other food writers and be introduced to a lot of interesting people. I think I eventually found success by metaphorically knocking on as many doors as possible, which is something I still do to this day.

Fast forward a few years and you launched your sixth cookbook, The Little Swedish Kitchen, in 2018. What inspires you to put pen to paper?

My books are about capturing a moment in time in my life. I think food is entwined with personal experience, so it’s really important to me that you get a feel for how I experience the food and that personal connection, otherwise it really is just a bunch of recipes, and why bother buying a book of recipes when you can just get them for free online? A lot of my career has been based around travel because I like to share information about the place the book is based on and cultural influences that have shaped the recipes. I don’t want to just tell my readers how to cook a meal, I want to inspire them because they’re more likely to come back


for more. As a cook, the biggest compliment I can get is to see one of my cookbooks in someone’s kitchen, smeared with greasy marks and thumbprints. For example, The Little Paris Kitchen was centred around my move to Paris as a Brit. I did another book about travelling around France to give people a little bit of insight into my journey. My sixth, fittingly, was about my experience in Sweden and what I learned about Swedish cuisine.

So, how different is Swedish cuisine? Swedish food is fascinating. Historically, it’s been very hard to grow produce here because it’s so far north and so you’re never going to get the same range as in France, for example. Having limited access to produce, cooks and chefs have always had to adapt by being creative with a small amount of ingredients, which now forms the basis of Swedish cooking. I love that because it’s the approach I’ve always had – even before I moved here. Just because you have limited access to ingredients and produce, that shouldn’t limit your creativity. The Swedish have been doing this for centuries and they’ve learned to adapt by being inventive with what they’ve got. You certainly don’t need to have super-expensive ingredients to make heavenly food. I can make a delicious meal using just spinach and eggs.

You eat amazing food all the time, but what’s your guilty food/drink pleasure?

You’ll laugh at this, but it’s actually a packet of salt and vinegar crisps. The cheaper the better!

What advice would you give to an aspiring cook?

You have to learn very early on in this industry how to deal with rejection. It’s not simply a case of finding success and living happily ever after. For every project

“As a cook, the biggest compliment I can get is to see my book in someone’s kitchen, smeared with greasy marks and thumbprints”

you get offered, you’ll probably have about 20 rejections. It takes a lot of confidence to deal with rejection and failure and turn it on its head. Well actually, that’s my advantage: a lot of people would say that you can’t do anything in a small kitchen in Paris with two gas rings, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write a cookbook. I believe that limitation generates creativity. It’s all how you look at it.

What’s your favourite international dish?

Oh, that’s a hard one. It totally depends on my mood, but I’m a huge cheeseaholic. Västerbotten would have to be my favourite Swedish cheese. It’s quite matured, and the more perfumed the better.

on Instagram, but there’s something to be said for personal interaction.

Have you ever put together unusual ingredients and found it works? I love adding miso paste to dishes you wouldn’t normally expect it in, like vegetarian spaghetti bolognese, for example. It gives it a bit of oomph.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

My mum told me before my BBC show first aired that “there’s a lot that’s going to change but it’s important to stay true to yourself and be authentic”. I definitely live by those words.

Who, or what, inspires you?

Most of my inspiration comes from being curious and keeping my eyes open, whether I’m in my local supermarket or my favourite restaurant. I love the packaging in Sweden and that sparks my imagination a lot. When I first moved here, I’d go to a supermarket and I’d spot something that I’d love the packaging of – I’d go home and Google it and it’d just be a packet of salt. As long as you’re open and curious you can take inspiration from everything and anything; inspiration comes from the weirdest things. It’s always good to meet people in the real world too. There’s a lot of inspiration to be found when you lift your head above your phone. You can spend all your time

The Little Swedish Kitchen, published by Michael Joseph, is available to buy.

caterer connections sepT/oct 2019




The new Heinz Salad Dressings are available in six core and innovative flavours. As well as being Gluten Free the new dressings come in a 800ml easy to squeeze bottle.

A rich creamy sauce made with parmesan cheese and subtle garlic notes.

A versatile, light Italian style dressing made with dried bell pepper and tarragon.

A fruity dressing made from 3 types of dark fruits including strawberry, blackberry and blueberry

A deliciously smooth and creamy texture, easily pourable and superior taste to competition.

A rich, dark balsamic sauce with a full flavour. Tried and tested as best quality by chefs.

A light vinaigrette base sauce with lemon zest and thyme.


t n e m i r e p Ex and don’t be afraid” Chef Anjula Devi is passionate about promoting authentic Indian food made with love and is encouraging us all to embrace spices


njula Devi is best known for her extensive knowledge of Indian spices, creating delicious authentic Indian cuisine. She runs an Indian cookery school at Hampton Court in Surrey and is the first female chef and Indian chef to oversee corporate hospitality at Manchester United. As consultant chef at the football club, she designs recipes and trains the incumbent chefs to create

authentic Indian food for up to 5,500 sit-down meals on match days. She also holds seminars for the foodservice industry to educate chefs and brands on how to cook Indian food and appears regularly at other cookery schools, including Leiths School of Food and Wine and Angela Gray’s Cookery School. Anjula has created two recipe books too: Authentic Indian Food and Spice for Life. caterer connections sept/oct 2019



For a lamb or chicken curry, cook the onions down to the point of being caramelised and dark in colour; this gives the curry richness Where did your love of food come from?

Food was just a way of life for us. Growing up in Southall, West London, we never ate processed foods; everything was made from scratch by my dad, the culinary genius. Our neighbours initially disliked spicy food, but dad won over their palates – and friendship – with his delicious curries. Dad sourced all his ingredients from our back garden or the local greengrocer. He was amazed and intrigued by all the produce on offer – he’d never seen celeriac or broccoli before! By the age of 10 I was his right-hand woman in the kitchen. I still use the pestle and mortar he gave me for my tenth birthday.

Is traditional Indian food healthy?

Yes! Unfortunately, the Indian food we see being served in many restaurants is not as healthy as it could be. The Indian diet is filled with vegetables, lentils and pulses and little meat. If you visited an Indian household you’d see little or no cream and we often use jaggery, which is unrefined sugar cane. Chapattis are the staple in most Indian homes and naan bread is rarely eaten. When cooked properly, Indian food is very good for you, thanks to the


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

vegetables and spices. For example, turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is a very strong antioxidant.

What advice would you give to a non-Indian chef who wants to put curry on their menu?

That they can, in time, produce a traditional, healthy curry in less than 30 minutes. The most important things are to balance your spices and how you cook your onions. For a lamb or chicken curry you have to cook the onions down to the point of being caramelised and dark in colour; this gives the curry the richness it requires. For a fish curry you cook the onions quickly and only let them brown slightly. In some cases you can replace onions with leeks. You can make great Indian dishes without onions by using a spice called asafoetida (a tree resin, pictured left). When plunged into hot oil it gives a dish

the taste of onion and garlic. Before you create a dish, taste each spice so you can understand what each one delivers. For example, brown mustard seeds contain a little heat and cumin has a hint of salt. There are not as many rules as you would think in Indian cooking, but creating the correct balance of spices is crucial. Experiment and don’t be afraid.

What’s a good menu suggestion?

Punjabi lamb chops using the spices fennel, fenugreek leaves, brown mustard seeds, cumin and nigella seeds. Then add a little garlic, ginger, fresh green chillies, mint leaves, fresh coriander and some raw papaya skin as a tenderiser. Remember that the papaya does not start to tenderise the meat until it connects with heat. Serve with crispy bombay potatoes and kachumber salad – a vegetable salad using tomato, onion, cucumber and cabbage seasoned with a zingy, tangy, slightly hot chaat masala.


I’d like to see all chefs make Indian food as it should be

Indian food is a true labour of love. Like anything in life, the more effort you put in, the better the result will be Indian food is great to put on a barbecue. It is worth investing in a tandoor – especially for pubs that want to offer al fresco dining in the warmer months – because it cooks food quickly with little fuss. Chicken marinated overnight is a good one, as are lamb kebabs marinated in Indian pickling spices like fennel, nigella seeds, cumin, brown mustard seeds and fenugreek leaves, mixed vegetables marinated in kiwi and a pinch of asafoetida or a big pot of wellflavoured lentils. The options are endless.

Why do you think authentic Indian food isn’t being served?

I think some chefs are nervous that the

What fresh herbs should every curry have? It is not just about coriander, we use other herbs too such as dill, mint, fenugreek, curry leaves and tulsi (ocimum sanctum), which is often referred to as ‘holy basil’ and used in cooking for its medicinal properties. Curry leaves are one of my favourites as they add real depth to fish curries and are great for tempering lentil dishes. Try adding dill to a potato dish as an alternative to coriander leaves.


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

British and European palate won’t like it and fall into creating what they think the UK clientele would like to eat, rather than what they were taught to make. I’d like to see all chefs make Indian food as it should be; they would be pleasantly surprised how well it is received, especially today when health and diet are at the top of most people’s priorities. If a chef puts maa choliyan di dal, cooked long and slow without butter and cream, on their menu they’d be amazed how many people would enjoy it. Indian food is a true labour of love. Like anything in life, the more effort you put in, the better the result will be.

Holy basil

Curry leaves

Tell us about the recipes in your books…

Dad wanted everyone to taste his food. He wrote down a lot of the recipes that he and I created and I promised him that one day I’d get it published – I’m just sorry he isn’t around to see it. The book is about how dad and I loved cooking and experimenting with spices, honing in on and fine-tuning recipes that had too many spices and overpowering flavours. Dad came over here in 1963 and loved how he continuously came across British produce he’d never seen before. That’s how he created delicious dishes like chicken and plum curry and rhubarb and potato – they shouldn’t work but they do.


Mint Dill

This article originally appeared in Take Stock magazine

Can you barbecue Indian food?

On trade

Taste of


Celebrate National Curry Week by spicing things up and welcoming the spirit of India with these inspiring and simple recipes 22

caterer connections sept/oct 2019


t’s a fact that curry is one of the UK’s favourite foods with millions devoured every week across the country. Popular as a takeaway and when eating out, more and more of us are enjoying cooking our own curry at home too. With people getting more adventurous with their palates and their cooking, the widening availability of more exotic ingredients, the sheer versatility of the dish and how quick and easy it can be to knock up a feast, Indian cuisine is set to keep the nation hooked.

These are all good reasons why having Indian-inspired dishes on your menu is a win-win. As we head into autumn and cooler temperatures, customers will be turning to comfort food to perk them up. And that’s where you come in. National Curry Week, which runs from 7 to 13 October and celebrates its 21st year, is a great time to launch new dishes or to have a week of specials. It’s so easy to create authentic dishes and it’s useful to bear in mind that Indian food covers six different tastes: sweet; sour; salty; spicy;

On trade

Lamb rogan josh Prep: 30 mins Cook: 40 mins SERVES


Lachcha paratha (layered Indian bread)

Northern India

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 10 mins Ingredients 450g wholewheat flour (divided) Salt, to taste 180ml water (or more, as needed) 225g ghee (clarified butter, divided) 1 tbsp flour Method Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and knead into a soft dough using a little water at a time. Set aside. Mix 3 tablespoons of the ghee with the tablespoon of flour and set aside. Divide the dough into balls of equal size, then divide each ball into 2 portions.

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bitter; and sharp, and dishes attempt to balance each of these flavours. One of the joys of cooking Indian food is you can start from scratch using spices or speed things up by using ready-made pastes and sauces. It’s easy to make Indian food suitable for a variety of diets too, including gluten- and dairy-free, without affecting the taste. And as if you need any more reasons why curry should have a top spot on menus, many can be made in just one pot.

Be authentic

A good starting point is the nation’s favourites, which are tikka masala, biryani, korma and madras. You can mix it up by using different meats and veggie options, for example, chicken madras, vegetable and cashew biryani, lamb tikka masala and prawn korma. Bear in mind there is much


Take each portion and roll into a long, finger-thick noodle shape. Coil the first shape into a spiral. Flour a rolling surface lightly and very gently roll out the spiral into a flat circle about 12cm in diameter (just under 1cm thick). Grease the top surface with the ghee-flour mix. Roll the next shape in the same way and place over the first circle. This makes one lachcha paratha. Repeat with the remaining dough. Heat a flat pan over a moderate heat. Fry each paratha as follows: after placing it on the pan the first time, turn after 30 seconds. Spread ghee on the top surface and turn again. Grease the side now on top. Turn often and fry until crisp and golden. Serve warm.

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more to Indian food than chillies and curry though. Indian food is incredibly diverse, with each of the 28 regions having their own particular ingredients, spices and cooking methods. In the north, the cuisine is less spicy and often includes red and green chillies, saffron, ghee and yogurt. The dishes in the south tend to be hotter, with black pepper, tamarind and coconut widely used. Fish dishes are popular in eastern cooking, while you’ll find a little of everything in western India, which is more of a cosmopolitan region. Perhaps you could reflect this in the dishes you choose for your menu, highlighting the region the dish comes from to make your food even more authentic? To give you some inspiration, here are some quick and easy recipes to help you create an appealing, authentic menu.



INGREDIENTS 1.5kg lamb, cubed 8 tbsp yogurt 4 tbsp vegetable oil 5cm stick of cinnamon 5 to 6 cardamom pods 8 to 10 cloves 2 bay leaves 1 tsp peppercorns 2 medium onions, finely chopped 2 tbsp ginger paste 2 tbsp garlic paste 2 tsp coriander powder 1 tsp cumin powder ¼ tsp turmeric powder 3 to 4 Kashmiri dry red chillies, coarsely ground 2 tsp garam masala 475ml beef stock (or lamb stock) 240ml water Kosher salt, to taste 5 tsp light cream (or half-and-half) Coriander leaves, to garnish Method In a bowl, mix the lamb and yogurt together and set aside. This will tenderise the lamb. Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns. Fry until they turn slightly darker in colour. Add the onions and fry until they turn light golden. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 1 minute. Then add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, chillies and garam masala  and fry until the oil separates from the masala. Add the meat and yogurt mix to the masala and fry well. Add the beef stock, water and salt, to taste. Cook until the gravy is reduced, stirring often – the gravy should be thick when done. Whisk the cream until smooth, then stir into the curry to mix well. Garnish with coriander and serve with boiled rice and a vegetable side dish.

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caterer connections sept/oct 2019


Southern India



Paal Payasam Kerala prawn curry


This traditional prawn curry is filled with aromatic spice flavours and typical of the South Indian cuisine, especially Kerala, as it is cooked with fresh spices and coconut. Serve with roti or rice. Prep: 10 mins Cook: 55 mins marinate: 30 mins ingredients For the marinade 6 medium prawns Salt, to taste ¼ tsp turmeric powder For the curry paste ½ coconut, grated 3 tbsp coriander seeds 6 dry red chillies 2 tsp garlic, chopped 10 shallots 120ml water For the prawns 2 tbsp coconut oil ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds 1 tsp ginger, sliced 5-6 curry leaves 1 onion, sliced 120ml water 240ml tamarind pulp 1 tsp salt For tempering 1 ½ tbsp coconut oil ¼ tbsp mustard seeds


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6 shallots 1 red chilli, chopped Method Marinate the prawns in the salt and turmeric, and set aside for 30 minutes. To make the paste, toast the coconut, coriander seeds, red chillies, garlic and shallots over a moderate heat, until the shallots turn brown. Add the water and grind to a fine paste. For the prawns, heat coconut oil in a pan and crackle fenugreek seeds. Add ginger, curry leaves and onion. Sauté until onion turns brown. Add the paste, water, tamarind pulp and salt, then add the prawns and cook until they are cooked through. Temper prawns with remaining ingredients. Serve the prawn curry hot with rice.

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Paal payasam is a classic South Indian creamy rice and milk pudding with cashews and raisins. This is a simple, fuss-free recipe. Prep Time: 10 mins  Cook Time: 45 mins  Ingredients 50g rice 1 litre milk 5g cardamom powder 100g sugar 50ml ghee (clarified butter) 50g cashew nuts 25g raisins

Western India


Method Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Cook the rice in the milk until soft. Add cardamom powder and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Heat the ghee in a separate pan and add the cashew nuts. When the cashew nuts are slightly golden, add the raisins and sauté for 1 minute. Pile the nut and raisin mix on top of the rice pudding and serve warm.

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Pork vindaloo Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hour 25 mins Marinate: 24 hours Ingredients 1kg pork (cut into 2.5cm cubes with all the fat removed) 8 tbsp vindaloo masala paste

3 tbsp vegetable oil (or canola or sunflower oil) 2 large onions, finely chopped 1 tbsp ginger paste 5cm stick of cinnamon 6 whole cloves 1 tsp brown sugar (or palm sugar or maple syrup) 240ml water Salt, to taste

On trade

Western India

West Indian chicken curry

Eastern India Fish curry Prep: 10 mins Cook: 25 mins Ingredients 8 dry red chillies 1 tbsp mustard seeds 2 tbsp cumin seeds 2 large tomatoes, cubed 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp garam masala powder 3 to 4 tbsp coconut powder 4 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tsp panch phoran seeds 10 to 12 curry leaves 1 large onion, ground to a paste 1 tbsp ginger paste 1 tbsp garlic paste 2 cups hot water

Method Coat the pork well with the vindaloo masala paste and leave to marinate for a minimum of 24 hours. When ready to cook, heat the oil and fry the onion until golden. Add the ginger paste, cinnamon and cloves and fry for 1 minute, then add the sugar and stir well. Add the meat only (leave behind the marinade paste/liquid for later) and brown well. Add the paste/liquid that the meat was marinated in, the water and salt to taste. Stir well, reduce the heat and cook until the pork is tender. Serve with plain boiled rice and naan or lachcha paratha.

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Walnut-size ball of tamarind, soaked in ½ cup of hot water, squeezed to remove pulp 1kg firm, white fish, cut into 2.5cm thick slices Method Roast the chillies, mustard and cumin seeds in a pan until they begin to release their aroma. Cool and grind to a fine powder. Grind tomatoes, turmeric, garam masala, and coconut with the roasted spice powder into a smooth paste. Set aside. Heat oil in a pan, add panch phoran and curry leaves. When they stop spluttering, add onion paste and fry until light brown. Add ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato and spice paste and fry until the oil begins to separate from the masala. Add the hot water and tamarind pulp to the masala and mix well. Bring the gravy to a boil and then simmer. Gently add the fish to the gravy and heat until fish is cooked through. Serve with plain boiled or basmati rice.

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With coconut and sweet potato, this curry is quick and easy to make. prep: 10 mins cook: 20 mins Ingredients 1 large onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tsp oil 2 tbsp curry powder ½ tsp cinnamon  1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks 4 skinless chicken breasts, chopped into chunks 400g coconut milk  100g cherry tomatoes, whole Fresh coriander, to serve Method Cook the onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes. Season, then stir in the curry powder and cinnamon. Cook for another minute, then add the potato and chicken. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for 10-12 minutes, then add the tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the coriander.

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7-13 October caterer connections sept/oct 2019


Cost sector


pressure When it comes to delivering delicious food to satisfy every resident, care home caterers are facing more challenges than ever, but we have a trick or two up our sleeves to help


ith a growing ageing population and a rising demand for residential care, the pressure on care home caterers is soaring. Not only do they need to deliver delicious, nutritious meals to maintain the health and wellbeing of residents, they also need to do so within tight immovable budgets. With this in mind, it’s essential that care home caterers focus on ticking all the boxes, which can be a challenge. This includes sourcing the right ingredients to be sure of taste and quality, ensuring the

best value and delivering meals that are genuinely suitable and appealing for a diverse range of needs.

Bursting with goodness

Salmon It’s a good idea to serve fatty fish at least once or twice a week to get maximum benefit. Studies show that people who eat it regularly have a lower risk of heart disease, dementia, depression and many other common diseases and salmon is the perfect choice as it’s full of omega-3 fatty acids. A 100g piece of wild salmon contains 2.8g of omega-3s, along with high-quality protein, magnesium, potassium, selenium and B vitamins.

When it comes to nutrition, look to add superfoods where possible to ensure each bite is packed with goodness


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

Subtle changes

Elderly residents may need to increase their intake of saturate fats to improve heart health and to aid weight gain. Simple changes, such as full-fat milk in their tea and mixed in both mashed potatoes and sauces, will help this. This will also likely help in making meals tastier too. Residents are also likely to need an increased level of fibre in their diets to stay Blueberries Packed full of powerful antioxidants, which protect your brain, improve memory and even lower blood pressure, it’s no surprise that blueberries are considered a menu essential.

healthy. Look to switch more processed foods for wholewheat alternatives, such as white pasta and bread for wholewheat versions, and offer porridge for breakfast. Bread, rice and potatoes all provide a fantastic source of energy, fibre and B vitamins and, crucially, they are low in cost. There are so many variants of these food types and countless ways to create different, interesting meals with them. Try to add as many nutrients to recipes to ensure the meal is packed with goodness, such as orange juice to a chocolate cake or sweet potato to mashed potato. By adding an option of one of these to your daily meal plans you will be providing the luxury of choice without blowing the budget.


The human body is made up of around 60% water and studies have shown that even mild dehydration (losing between 1% and 3% of our body’s water content) can impair many aspects of brain function, which can be significantly detrimental for the elderly. The amount of body water decreases by approximately 15% between the ages of 20 and 80 and as elderly people often have a weaker sense of thirst, they may need help remembering to drink (even if they don’t feel particularly dehydrated). Those with dementia are particularly vulnerable to forgetting to drink and not feeling thirsty. In addition to water, and hot and cold drinks, there are other ways to improve residents’ hydration. Yogurt has a substantial amount of potassium and sodium, can help replace lost electrolytes and re-energise the body. Broths and soups are usually water-based and have the potential to be both hydrating and nutritious. Chicken noodle soup is packed with sodium and carbohydrates. Garlic As well as adding plenty of taste to a dish, garlic also ups the nutrition as it’s high in vitamins C, B1 and B6, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium. Studies show it has cancer-fighting properties and can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Potatoes The humble spud is a food superhero. One of the most filling, versatile foods, a single potato is high in potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese, as well as vitamin C and most B vitamins.

Egg yolks Cheap, easy to prepare and with lots of flavour, egg yolks are bursting with vitamins, minerals and powerful nutrients including choline. They contain high-quality protein and healthy fats, are high in antioxidants that can protect your eyes and reduce the risk of eye disease, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

caterer connections sept/oct 2019


Cost sector

A medical research study* found watermelon or cucumber can hydrate your body twice as effectively as a glass of water. This is because water-rich fruits and vegetables also provide you with natural sugars, amino acids, mineral salts and vitamins, so these are great options to offer residents.

Changing demands

In addition, it seems the demands on care home catering are also on the increase. A recent report has shown that flexibility in all aspects of people’s care tops the list for those considering care provision in later life. The report, The Future of Care: How the nation wants to age, revealed that 80% of those surveyed said the most important factor affecting their choice of care provision was ‘freedom of life’, which included being able to eat where and when they wanted, and being able to socialise, entertain and eat with friends and family.  The food and drink offering of care providers was a deciding factor for 60%, with an on-site cafe the most desired facility, with a cafe, restaurant or bar that could be visited outside of mealtimes appealing to more than 70%. Flexibility around mealtimes was also mentioned, with just 28% of those surveyed wanting the traditional three meals a day served at set times, with more preferring the option to choose mealtimes daily or even graze throughout the day. With this in mind, how feasible is it to offer more flexibility around mealtimes? Could you offer a grazing station for residents not wanting to have the traditional three meals a day?

Easy menu changes

Take some traditional dishes and add a sauce, gravy or custard and you can easily create dishes to suit dysphagia diets Main course Vegetable curry and rice Macaroni cheese Spaghetti bolognese Baked battered fish fillets

add Stock or vegetable water from the cooking process Full-fat milk Tomato sauce Tinned tomatoes

Desserts Syrup sponge Toffee tart Fruity flapjack

add Custard Condensed milk Fruit juice


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

Meeting needs Dysphagia affects a staggering 60-70% of residents in care homes, so it’s a very real issue for those in foodservice to deal with. Dysphagia means ‘difficulty in swallowing’ and severely limits the type of food that can be eaten. As a result, those with dysphagia are at greater risk of malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration, pneumonia and choking. With so many patients and residents struggling with dysphagia, it’s crucial that care home and hospital caterers know how to create nutritional, tasty meals that are suitable. The days of simply blending a ‘normal’ meal are over as this is unsafe and can cause more harm than good. To deliver a menu that meets the needs of those with dysphagia, here’s our guide. Foods that work Lots of foods work by softening them first with liquid, but always use a liquid that adds nutrients, such as fruit juice, cream, yogurt or gravy. Even foods you wouldn’t expect, such as flapjacks, cheesecake bases, Yorkshire puddings and pizza, can all be softened with a liquid prior to pureeing. Foods that don’t work l Fibrous vegetables such as leeks and string beans that can be chewy. l ‘Floppy’ vegetables such as lettuce or cucumber. l Peas, grapes or foods with a pith or skin. l Rice, couscous and sticky foods, such as marshmallows. l Anything that changes texture in the mouth, such as jelly, ice cream and watermelon. What do I need? l A high-powered food processor and/ or a liquidizer or handheld blender, and sieve to create purees. l A plastic teaspoon, metal fork and a plate to test the consistency. l Moulds, cutters and piping bags. What’s absolutely essential is that the food looks appealing. Think about blending the elements of a meal separately. A roast dinner, for example, could all be pureed, but think about placing veg into shaped moulds or piping some of the elements on to a plate. Layering food is another way to keep it looking attractive.

* University of Aberdeen Medical School, 2009

Bread, rice and potatoes all provide a fantastic source of energy, fibre and B vitamins and they are low in cost


Best of


Celebrate British Food

21 September to 6 October

Celebrate British Food


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

Celebrate British Food

Lancashire hotpot, a stew made with lamb, originates from the north-west

We have a lot to be proud of in Britain and food is one of them. Celebrate the amazing food we produce on home soil and see your sales and reputation rise


hen you think about British food, what comes to mind? Is it a roast beef dinner, fish and chips, Lancashire hotpot, Bramley apple pie or bread and butter pudding? There are so many dishes that are unique to our country and British Food Fortnight is the perfect time to showcase your offering. Running from 21 September to 6 October, British Food Fortnight is the biggest annual celebration of the nation’s food and drink. The sector embraces the event, from schools to Westminster Abbey, and whatever you decide to do to celebrate – and it’s a good idea to do something, however big or small – will increase sales,

attract new customers, impress existing customers and increase their spend, giving your venue a point of difference.

Getting involved

Celebrate the nation’s most popular dishes by introducing a British specials board for the fortnight. You could be adventurous and change it daily, which would give you the chance to experiment and test out lots of new dishes using locally sourced produce. Or you could just have one special dish each day, such as locally sourced sausages and mash, or British beef and local ale pie with in-season vegetables. Being traditional doesn’t mean being boring as you can add modern twists

to dishes such as giant Yorkshire pudding roast dinner, sausages with mustard mash, mash topped beef and Guinness pie or salted caramel and bread pudding. To show awareness of current trends make sure you include vegetarian and vegan options and link with World Vegetarian Day on 1 October. You could offer battered tofu with chips and mushy peas, mushroom and lentil shepherd’s pie with root veg mash, bean bangers and mash or mushroom and Yorkshire ale pie. The foodie fortnight is also a good time to showcase authentic products that can only be made in Britain, such as Stilton, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Cheddar. Showing your support of local caterer connections sept/oct 2019



Nothing says British more than fish and chips, and bread and butter pudding

produce shows you are serious about food sourcing and provenance. Check with your suppliers to see what they can supply to you that is British and if what they already supply is British. Some of the many benefits of buying local and British is you’ll be supporting the economy and helping protect the environment as British food travels less distance so has a lower carbon footprint. Plus, British meat is produced to some of the highest welfare standards in the world. And using ingredients that are in season adds another dimension to menus as customers will know they’re eating fruit and vegetables that are at their absolute best and those products tend to be more competitively priced.

the names of local suppliers or terms such as ‘all meat is sourced from within a 30-mile radius’. Use words and phrases such as seasonal vegetables so that you’re not restricted and can use whatever veg is available at the time. If it proves to be a success, why not consider introducing a permanent special seasonal section to your menu as there’s so much fantastic food grown here all year round? With autumn approaching it’s a wonderful time for British-grown produce to start you off. Think squashes, potatoes,

Autumn British-grown produce Tomato

Raise awareness

Depending on the nature of your venue promote your seasonal menu in advance. Advertise it using boards outside, on table talkers, by email and on your website. To heighten awareness consider running a competition to highlight your new menu or seasonal specials, with entry as simple as people saying what their favourite British dish is and a prize of a meal for two from your seasonal menu or specials. Also think about any promotions you can run on British produce or team up with a local brewery and suggest food and beer pairings. Nearer the time, decorate your venue with Union Jack bunting and a red, white and blue theme. When it comes to wording for your menu, try and avoid using the term ‘local’ as it can sound a little vague, instead use


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

tomatoes, sweetcorn, aubergines, venison, damsons, pears, apples and blackberries. You could also think about celebrating British and local food throughout the year by picking classic British occasions and running food and drink special events, such as strawberries and cream with Pimm’s for Wimbledon, cream teas and fizz for Ascot, barbecue-inspired mains and beer for cricket and pumpkin dishes with hot chocolate for Bonfire Night. However you celebrate, you can be sure people will feel proud to be British.


Blackberry Apple



Pear Aubergine Potatoes


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Quick serve

Get your

bake on


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

Quick serve

National Baking Week is 14–20 October and is the ideal time to show off your baking skills with some extraordinary creations or to offer a deal on cake and a drink.

V You can’t go wrong with a classic Victoria sponge with fresh cream

ictoria sponge, red velvet, lemon drizzle, brownies, cupcakes, muffins, cookies… who doesn’t love a piece of cake or a biscuit? Us Brits do that’s for sure: sales skyrocketed by £43 million between 2016 and 2017* in a market worth billions and growing incrementally year-on-year, showing we really do have a sweet tooth. All this is great news for you. With the influence of baking shows such as The Great British Bake Off, now in full swing on TV, there’s been a baking revival and people are looking for that home-made touch, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your bake on.

If you have the time and space to make freshly baked artisan bread you’re tapping into the artisan trend and will reap the benefits, and if you keep things quicker and simpler with traybakes and cakes you’ll see a healthy sales boost. Whatever you make, if it’s baked fresh that day you’re in a strong position, particularly if you bake on the premises, compared to mass-produced shop-bought versions.

Surprise and delight

Eating is a highly visual experience and consumers love products that surprise and delight. Think of your version of the unicorn trend – bright, colourful and caterer connections sept/oct 2019


*Kantar Worldpanel

Baking is a trend that’s here to stay and one you can really make the most of. Whatever you bake, as long as it has a personal touch you’re on to a sure-fire sales winner

Quick serve

playful – and you’ll be well on the road to success. Have a themed selection too depending on the time of year or annual occasions, such as spider cupcakes and ghost biscuits for Halloween, and apple and toffee cake for Bonfire Night. Try to add your twist on the classics, for example, chocolate mince pies or hot cross buns with salted caramel. There’s a growing trend for nostalgia too; people are enjoying being reminded of brands and products from their childhood, so think about how you could incorporate popular branded sweets and biscuits into your bakes. Use songs, films, books and TV characters as inspiration too, such as Peter Rabbit, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland.

Everyone deserves a treat

Healthy eating may be a key focus for consumers but indulgence is too – everyone needs a treat now and then. Help customers out by displaying a variety of sizes: scones; slices of loaf cake; cupcakes; bite-size brownies; and mini muffins. The benefits of doing this are twofold as the small cakes category has seen a rise in popularity and the highest increase in sales over the past few years. One of the joys of baking is you can experiment with new flavours and ingredients to make sure your bakes stand For inspiration and advice, head to the UK’s biggest baking event, The Cake & Bake Show, which runs from 4 to 6 October at ExCel in London.


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

Small cakes and savoury bakes are sure-fire ways to make your offering stand out. And be creative with your decorations and presentation as customers eat first with their eyes

out. Lemon, chocolate and vanilla are always good choices with buttercream an ever-popular filling and topping. Strawberry and prosecco, gin and tonic, chocolate and salted caramel, and coconut and lime are great flavour combinations and provide the indulgence factor. Almond, toffee, ginger and orange take bakes up

a notch, as does cakes with a spin on the traditional varieties, such as green velvet, and cupcakes with fillings such as hundreds and thousands and fresh strawberries. Go all out and try lavender cupcakes and for something really different go savoury: salmon and dill, feta and herb or sweet-savoury with maple bacon. Research shows that consumers are opting for ‘raw’ products, which contain only natural, unprocessed ingredients, such as using honey, fruit or molasses in place of sugar. And it’s essential to create gluten, dairy and sugar-free varieties too. Last but not least, get creative with your presentation and displays. While customers tend to prefer cake displays to be covered, there’s still plenty of choice for what to arrange products on: slate; wooden boards; rustic woven baskets; ceramic tiles; vintage cake stands; and tiered cupcake stands all look amazing. Use chalkboards or card to write names and prices on, or just write directly on the presentation board! Now you’ve caught their eye, you can watch your delicious bakes disappear.


ale All hail the

Celebrate the humble pint during Cask Ale Week and find out why you need cask ales


caterer connections sept/oct 2019


hen it comes to celebrating all that is glorious about the great British pub, cask ales have to feature at the top of the list. And, for those in the on trade, cask ales offer far more than just variety for customers, including a fast-track route to higher sales and a busier bar. Cask ales are a key component of any pub, making up more than half (55%) of the on-trade ale category, and have been a traditional choice for many years. However, this is now starting to change as breweries turn their attention to younger consumers. We all know that Generation Z are opting to drink less but drink better, which plays beautifully into cask ale breweries’ hands. As a result, sales of cask ales to younger consumers are on the up, mainly for the variety of flavours, ability for ales to remove all animal products and

offer a vegan end product, and being able to support smaller or local breweries, rather than the mainstream producers. However, the real power of cask is that punters can’t buy it from a supermarket or store but have to go to a pub. This is a win-win for any pub or bar looking to attract customers and retain them.

Valuable asset

In fact, the Cask Ale Report 2018 revealed that cask ale drinkers are: l twice as likely to return to the pub than other alcohol drinkers l twice as likely to stay for another drink l almost twice as likely to recommend your pub to others. It also showed that 42% of cask ale drinkers go to the pub once a week or more, compared to 20% of the total survey sample, so clearly cask ale drinkers are incredibly valuable for your venue. So, let’s be honest, it seems like cask ale

doesn’t really need a fanfare to increase its appeal, but to raise awareness of cask ales and celebrate their popularity, Cask Ale Week takes place from 19 to 29 September. “With the choice of food and drink venues increasing all the time, it’s crucial to promote what’s special about pubs. In my book, that means cask-conditioned beer,” said Paul Nunny, Cask Marque Director, who runs Cask Ale Week. “The process of brewing cask ale is completed in the cellar, making it unique to pubs and different from other beers. Kept well and marketed properly, it drives footfall. “Cask contains no added gas, so readily falls into the ‘natural’ category. There’s a huge following for natural, unadulterated food and drink that is produced in the most environmentally friendly way – and licensees looking to exploit that market should highlight how real ale fits into this category.”

All about the ale Cask ale is trickier to get right than keg beers. It needs more care when setting up, contains sediment that makes it cloudy when disturbed and its shelf life is startlingly short: just three days. However, the upsides far outweigh any negatives. It goes through a secondary fermentation, which improves its flavour, and it’s widely considered to produce the best-tasting beers.

caterer connections sept/oct 2019



“With the choice of food and drink venues increasing all the time, it’s crucial to promote what’s special about pubs. In my book, that means caskconditioned beer”

Here’s some ideas for Cask Ale Week to drive up footfall Promotions

Everyone loves a bargain and promotions are a great way to drive footfall and encourage customers to stay a little longer to take advantage of the value. Could you offer multi-buy deals for a group or showcase some of your bestsellers at a discounted price to tempt customers to try a cask ale?


Encourage your customers to share photos of them and their friends in your venue while watching the match to raise awareness of your venue being the place to go. Reward them with a discount off their breakfast or a free coffee 40

caterer connections sept/oct 2019

A small festival is a sure-fire way to show off your cask ale offer and encourage customers to try something new or different. Add live music and decorations to give it a real party feel, and make sure you holler far and wide about it.

Social media

Use your social media platforms to shout about Cask Ale Week and highlight all the different ales you have on offer. Showcase a different ale each day, explaining the flavour profile and information about the brewer.

Get involved

More than 30,000 beer fans use the Cask Ale Week’s Caskfinder app to join in with The World’s Biggest Ale Trail. According to Cask Marque, during the 10 days of Cask Ale Week, venues included in the Ale Trail see their sales increase by 65%.

Winning result

And, of course, coinciding with this

year’s Cask Ale Week is the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Being held in Japan, the international rugby tournament kicks off on 20 September, with the final taking place on 2 November. While ordinarily this would offer venues a huge opportunity to drive up on-trade sales, the time difference for the 48 matches could prove a stumbling block, with some games starting at 5.45am UK time. However, while the group stages take place throughout the week, the knock-out stages are held over the weekends, offering venues the chance to mix it up a little. With games starting at 8.15am and 11.15am UK time, why not attract customers to your venue with a ‘rugby special’, which includes a cooked breakfast and the option of hot drinks, soft drinks or beers and ales? To really deliver a great result, offer table service so customers don’t need to miss a moment of the game. Another great opportunity is to offer themed options in your venue that tie in with the World Cup, even if it’s not during the early-morning matches. How about a bucket of beers for groups to share or a burger and a beer at a set price? Activities in your venue could pull in the crowds, with food challenges and promotions to create a real atmosphere. Think about food and drink pairings that represent the different nations, such as a pie with an ale, a steak with an Argentinian red wine or a burger with an American beer.


Source: Total Off Trade MAT to 18/5/19: Total Sunshine Premium Lager Brands



With Christmas just around the corner, here’s our 12-week countdown to the big event to make sure you have everything covered



weeks to go

Start building on creating a sense of occasion in your venue with bold, eye-catching POS to advertise Christmas menus and that your venue is perfect for parties. Communication is key and you need to make your menu stand out from all the others, so think posters, your website and table talkers, and remind customers about your venue with a branded email. Make it easy for people to find out what you’re offering and how to book.


weeks to go

Many offices start planning their work parties in September, so make sure your offer is clear now and you have all the details they’ll want to know, such as cost per head, how many you can cater for and a menu.


caterer connections SEPT/OCT 2019

he secret to survival at this time of year is preparation and forward planning – it’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas. Some of you may have everything sewn up and are raring to go but with other events and occasions to prepare for before the big one, it’s understandable to not be completely ready just yet. It’s the most hectic time of year for everyone in the catering sector and, arguably, the best time to make a good impression, so here are some pointers to help you stay cool, calm and collected, and enjoy the season.


weeks to go

Check to see which days the key dates fall on as this will have an impact on sales. Christmas Eve is on a Tuesday this year, so be prepared for the after-work revellers.

presence 9

weeks to go

Have a think about how you can create a great atmosphere that customers will remember. Music, crackers and party hats are a good starting point.


weeks to go

Make sure seasonal accessories such as crackers, party poppers, tablecloths, napkins, etc, are ordered, and sort your festive music playlist.


weeks to go

Go through your decorations to check they’re all still in one piece or whether you need to invest in some new ones. And don’t forget to check those fairy lights! This goes for a tree too if you’re not getting a real one.


weeks to go

Get the tree and decorations up, and the Christmas music on – it’s time to get festive! Now is also the ideal time to launch your limited edition, seasonal drinks and food, whether it’s cocktails or lattes, puddings or mince pies. Try offering a two-for-one deal on drinks or buy a hot drink get a mince pie free.

caterer connections SEPT/OCT 2019




weeks to go

Go through your drinks offering and make sure you have everything needed to make special festive drinks, such as mulled wine, eggnog and cocktails.

4 3

weeks to go

Plan a day ahead throughout December so you’ll be prepared for any eventuality, for example, staff off sick or an increased booking number. Prepare your team too and meet up with them daily so that everyone knows what’s happening and when. Start confirming your bookings either by phone or email. Be ready to take notes as you go on what’s worked well and not so well to prepare you for next year.

weeks to go

Particularly for smaller outlets, check your oven capacity and versatility of equipment so you can cope with increased demand. Go through all your preorders and check you have everything ordered.


weeks to go

Ramp up your social media presence by posting pictures of happy people and delicious food and get everyone involved with a hashtag to spread the word for next year.


week to go

Be prepared. It’s going to be busy and people will be in high spirits, so make sure you’re ready to help make their Christmas that bit better… and keep smiling!


caterer connections sepT/oct 2019

Encourage your customers to come back in the new year, when all goes quiet, by giving them a Christmas card with a January bounce-back offer inside. Plus, get people to follow you on social media by putting the same offer on your various platforms and emails.


We’re giving away £5,000! For a chance to win cash prizes every week, pick up the NESCAFÉ® Original festive bundle and spread some Christmas coffee cheer! Our fantastic pack includes two 750g tins of NESCAFÉ® Original – the nation’s favourite coffee** and for a sweet treat with every cup, you’ll get a 1kg tin of Quality Street®. Every pack purchased gives you a chance to win, so why not give your coffee break a special seasonal twist? Keep those festive fingers crossed and maybe Christmas will come early for you this year.

To sign up visit *Ts&Cs apply. **Source: IRI MAT 52 w/e May 2019. ®Reg. Trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.


The final

316 million plastic drink stirrers are used a year in England

Why not recognise Zero Waste Week where you are? It runs from 2 to 6 September and is an annual campaign that aims to raise awareness of the impact waste has on the environment. Could you install a temporary recycling bin for people to put their plastic waste in or make a display of the plastic alternatives you have available, such as paper straws?


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into force. The biggest issue for caterers is the ban on sales of plastic drink stirrers and crackdown on plastic straws, which includes not being able to have them on display. Venues will still need to make sure they have some plastic straws for customers needing to use them for medical reasons or due to a disability, and will need to give them to anyone who asks for one. The only place where plastic straws will be available to buy is registered pharmacies – plastic stirrers won’t be on sale anywhere. Fear not though as there are alternatives out there. Many places are now using paper straws, and there are stainless steel ones and biodegradable options such as bamboo. Certain chains have been using wooden stirrers for a long time, which are an option. But here’s an idea, just don’t offer any type of stirrer or straw at all. If everyone took that approach we’d all be helping save the planet for future generations.


plastic straws are used

each year


Estimated that there are more than

million tonnes


t’s not news to any of us that single-use plastic is the environment’s enemy. The world’s oceans are teeming with it, beaches are littered with washed-up debris and wildlife is suffering on a huge scale. Each year in England a massive 316 million plastic drink stirrers are used, 4.7 billion plastic straws and around 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds. So it should come as no surprise that, at last, new legislation is being introduced to put a stop to all this. Following an open consultation with the public, the ban was confirmed by the government in May this year. More than 80% of respondents support a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, 90% back a ban on plastic drink stirrers (9 out of 10) and 89% for cotton buds. If you haven’t already introduced alternatives, you’ll need to be ready by April 2020, when the new controls come


in en gla nd

The time has come for all of us to be more conscious of how much plastic we’re using and new legislation coming in next year means you need to act now

of plastic in the world’s oceans

(predicted to treble by 2025)

Every year

1 million birds die from eating and getting caught up in plastic waste

7 million coffee cups are used a day in britain

Back to School with Caterers Kitchen. As easy as A, B, C

In season

Spooky treats with a bang

It’s hubble bubble double trouble with Halloween and, hot on its heels, Bonfire Night, but Caterer Connections makes it no trouble at all for you to serve up plenty of treats and no tricks


alloween and Bonfire Night come around and we’re reminded of childhood dressing up and bobbing apples, tucking into a steaming hot jacket spud straight from the foil while watching the night sky light up with fireworks to the soundtrack of oohs and ahhs. When it comes to getting into the spirit with food and drink, it doesn’t have to take much effort to have an effect. Some simple themed dishes like these and you’re all set.

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda ¼ tsp salt 20 Maltesers, peanut butter cups or Rolos 100g milk chocolate, chopped icing eyes, or make your own

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Spider biscuits

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 12 mins Ingredients 70g butter, softened 50g peanut butter 150g golden caster sugar 1 medium egg 1 tsp vanilla extract 180g plain flour


caterer connections sept/oct 2019

Method Heat oven to 180˚C and line two baking sheets with parchment. Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Once combined, stir in the flour, bicarb and salt. Scoop 18-20 tbsps of the mixture on to the sheets, leaving enough space between each for spreading. Make a thumbprint in the centre of the cookies. Bake for 10-12 mins or until firm at the edges but still soft in the middle – they’ll harden a little as they cool. Leave to cool for a few mins before topping each with a Malteser, peanut butter cup or Rolo. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Melt the chocolate, put into a piping bag and leave to cool a little. Pipe the legs on to each spider, then stick two eyes on each. Leave to set.



Spider web cupcakes Prep: 30 mins Cook: 20 mins



Ingredients For the cupcakes 3 small ripe bananas, peeled 180ml buttermilk 3 large eggs 240ml cold water 150ml vegetable oil 350g golden caster or granulated sugar 240g plain flour, sifted 65g cocoa powder, sifted 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda ¼ tsp salt

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Sausage mummy dippers with glowin-the-dark goo Prep: 20 mins Cook: 35 mins

For the topping 200g dark chocolate 200g white chocolate Method Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line cupcake trays with 24 cupcake cases. Place the bananas in a large bowl and mash them up with a fork. Add the buttermilk, eggs, water and oil and mix together with a hand whisk until combined. Whisk in the sugar, then add in the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Fold together until just combined (be sure to check there are no pockets of flour). The mixture will be wet and runny. Divide the mixture equally between the cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Once cooked, take the cupcakes out of the oven and leave in the trays to cool for 5 minutes, then place on to wire cooling racks to cool completely. When you’re ready to decorate, melt the chocolate in separate bowls. Spoon three tbsp of the melted dark chocolate into a piping bag with a very fine tip. Spoon three tablespoons of the melted white chocolate into a piping bag with a very fine tip. Take one of the cakes and spoon on a tablespoon of melted white chocolate – so it covers the top. Using the dark chocolate, pipe three concentric circles on top. Finish with a dot of the dark chocolate in the middle. Use a cocktail stick to drag lines from the centre to the outside of the cake to look like a spider’s web. Six or seven lines will be fine. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, alternating between a white chocolate base and a dark chocolate base.


Ghost pizza

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 10 mins Ingredients 8 slices mozzarella 12” pizza base Jar of marinara sauce 4 black olives, cut into little pieces

Method Preheat oven to 180˚C. Cut the mozzarella slices into ghost shapes using a paring knife. Spread the marinara sauce over the pizza base and spread the ghosts out evenly on top. Bake until the cheese is melting – about 10 minutes.  Dot the olive pieces on the ghosts for eyes and mouths and serve.

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Ingredients For the mummies Oil, for greasing 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp ketchup 2 tsp yellow mustard, plus a little extra to decorate 12 chipolatas Tube of 6 ready-to-roll croissant For the goo 1kg butternut squash chunks 1 onion, roughly chopped 2 garlic cloves, peeled 400g can cream of tomato soup 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground coriander 2 tbsp chilli sauce Tomato ketchup, to serve Method Heat oven to 200˚C and brush 2 baking trays with a little oil. Mix the honey, ketchup and mustard together in a bowl, then brush over the chipolata sausages. Unroll the croissant dough and divide into 3 rectangles. Pinch together the diagonal perforated seams, then cut into long thin strips – you should get about 16 per rectangle. Wind the croissant strips around the chipolatas, leaving a little gap at one end to make a slit for the eyes. Place on baking trays and bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the butternut squash, onion and garlic, then simmer until the squash and onion are tender. Drain well, then tip into a food processor or blender with the soup, spices, chilli sauce and some seasoning and whizz to a smooth purée. When the mummies are cooked, leave to cool a little, then, using the mustard, dot a pair of little yellow eyes on to each mummy. Serve warm with the glow-inthe-dark goo and/or tomato ketchup for dipping.

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caterer connections sept/oct 2019


In season

Bonfire Night SERVES




Pulled pork baps Toffee apple cake prep: 10 mins cook: 1 hour, plus cooling ingredients for the cake 125g butter 225g dark muscovado sugar  2 eggs, beaten 225g plain flour  2 tsp baking powder  200g cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced 100g soft toffee pieces For the frosting 100g butter, at room temperature 1 tsp vanilla extract  200g icing sugar  3 tbsp toffee or caramel sauce, plus extra for drizzling  Method Heat oven to 160˚C. Grease and line base of a 20cm square tin. Whizz butter and sugar in a food processor for 2 minutes, then blend in eggs. Add flour and baking powder and whizz until combined. Stir in apple and toffee pieces. Pour into the tin and bake for 1 hour, or until risen and dark golden. Remove from tin and cool. To make frosting, beat butter, vanilla and icing sugar with 3 tbsp of toffee sauce until smooth. Spread over cake, then drizzle over more sauce to finish.

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caterer connections sept/oct 2019

prep: 15 mins cook: 4-8 hours Ingredients 2 tsp smoked paprika 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp pepper 2 tsp brown sugar 1 tsp salt Boneless shoulder of pork, about 2½ kg 2 medium mugfuls of cider A mugful of a good smoky barbecue sauce Apple sauce, optional Soft white rolls, to serve Method Preheat oven to 150˚C. Mix together smoked paprika, ground cumin, pepper, brown sugar and salt. Rub over the pork. Put the pork in a large casserole dish, skin-side up, and pour in the cider.

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Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for anywhere between 4 and 8 hours, until falling apart. Check every few hours in case it gets dry – if it does, add another mugful of cider. Remove from the oven and put the meat in a big dish, leaving the liquid in the casserole. Cut the skin off the pork, then shred the meat using two forks. Ditch any fatty bits. Skim any excess fat off the surface of the sauce in the casserole dish, then add a mugful of smoky barbecue sauce and stir. Put the pulled pork back in the casserole with the juices so it stays moist. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve the pulled pork topped with apple sauce, if using, in soft white rolls.

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Quick and easy ideas l hot dogs l corn on the cob l bangers and mash l tomato or pumpkin soup l apple pie and custard l ‘spooky’ jelly and raspberry ripple ice cream l toffee apples l rice crispy brains l ghost kebabs (strawberries and marshmallows on wooden or bamboo skewers)

Profile for The Bright Media Agency

Caterer Connections Sept/Oct 2019  

The magazine exclusively for catering professionals

Caterer Connections Sept/Oct 2019  

The magazine exclusively for catering professionals