Saturday, 3 January 2015

Migration Debate for May 2015

We are approaching the time of this particular year when the 2015 UK Election will fill us with stories of fear, doom and equal responses of positivity on our future, until the results in May. Several arguments will festoon our papers, social media and TV and Radio over immigration and how and what to do about this terrible situation. My fear is that our beloved Food Industry will just sit by as usual and say nothing. Is it not time we in this industry of food supply whether in Retail or Food Service actually started to defend the influx of Jonnie Foreigner (as Jeremy Clarkson would say)

There are not too many hotels, restaurants, pubs or contract caterers in the UK that could survive without our international work forces. There is even less of a chance of these outlets being supplied with food without Jonnie Foreigner working in the harvesting, processing, butchering, storing or warehousing of these goods. Nigel Farage may be willing to canvass support whilst holding a British pint but should be aware that the pubs menu was predominately supplied with the help of outside assistance, namely international workforces.

Visit any sandwich manufacturer, pie manufacturer or Brakes suppliers and an international work force is paramount to their survival. Tell the UKIP voter or the Liberal Party that the daily ready meal at M&S was packed and supplied by foreigners, deny or limit their access into the UK and M&S to Sainsbury would have to cease selling these items.

Let’s face it whether it’s the maids or waiters in our hotels or order takers in a Nando’s or Pret without foreign help these chains could not function or expand. The owners of these chains and organisation know the truth but are nervous to have a voice. We have various organisations, associations, trade bodies in the UK Catering arena. Organisations that represent Contract Caterers to Pub Groups to Restaurant and Hoteliers; are they not brave enough to add a point of view to this 2015 political hot potato?

Without the foreign work force our British Trade Unions should admit Brits will not work in a chill chain environment, will not stand the conditions to prepare ready meals or work to service the multitude of jobs required to fulfil the capacity of various food options our lives now demand re eating in home or out.

I been in this business in various roles for many years, I for one appreciate the open door policy we offer here in the UK. Time to reflect but more importantly it’s time we in producing and servicing the demand for food take our own political stand.



Sunday, 14 September 2014

Hedgrow Drinking

There you have it, go harvest those Hawthorne's, that bush or tree could be over 400 years old, giving up its fruit every year for 400 years and nobody drops by in all that time, until you arrive!! Whilst everyone is chasing down Sloes and Damsons you could be collecting a hedgerow treat. Discard the Hawthorne berries though, but be sure to save the blackberries...
Add in a few harvested plump Blackberries whilst collecting the haws and you have a great sipping whiskey in the making. (recipe below)  On that cold winters day when the north wind is up your kilt add boiling water to taste, a slice of lemon and your are feeling warmer already, a great winters drink!!

TIP: I use a coffee filter to for my sloe gin, works well too for the two recipes above.

Hawthorne Brandy


600ml brandy
450g haws
225g sugar

prick the haws all over

put them and the other ingredients into a large bottle

shake daily for first week, then weekly for a further 3 weeks.

at end of 3 months, sieve the liquid to get rid of the berries etc and re-bottle into clean, sterilized bottles.

try not to drink at once, but leave for about a year; however I failed at this step, great when walking the dog


Blackberry Whiskey or Brandy:

2kg / 4lbs blackberries
225g / 8oz sugar (or less according to taste)
1 bottle whisky

Place the fruit, sugar and whisky in a large screw top or kilner style jar. Shake every few days until the sugar has dissolved.

Place in a dark cupboards for three months, turning slowly to mix once every two weeks or so.

Strain and bottle. The whisky will have turned a deep, dark purple. It can be drunk straight away, but the flavour will continue to improve for up to 2 years. Great on the shoot or walking the dogs.

On straining retain the berries, just great with vanilla ice cream, custard or plain yogurt. Infused with sugars, alcohol and holding their shape.