Start 2010 with a taste treat

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Start 2010 with a taste treat
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The latest news from John & Lynne ford, owners of Main Ingredient.
We hope you all had an amazing Festive season; we feel we all deserved one after what was not a great year. Customers were not buying presents this year, just lovely things to compliment their Christmas and New Year feasts like Patés, cranberry jelly, meringues, good salad dressings and herb and fruit vinegars, lots of chestnuts, purees and crèmes - and a lot of croissants for celebratory breakfasts. Wine sales were only for the good value ranges although some of you splashed out for good wines for the main meals. And sadly not much Cap Classique bubbly was sold, much more of the very reasonably priced Pieter Cruythof Vonkelwijn. We found we had to expand some of our meals due to very welcome last minute guests and have come up with a layering formula which might help you. At New Year we did an extremely easy and quick cold Asian noodle salad and served this with ginger and garlic prawns on skewers, chicken sate and roasted vegetables. Adding extra chicken and prawns was not difficult. You can use the half amount of noodles and vegetable and if you need to you can expand them as necessary. This can be made the day before. You could also add salmon and tuna skewers,

Cold Asian Noodle Salad 1/2 a packet Chinese egg noodles - bottle of Chilli and Garlic sauce - bottle of Pad Thai sauce - small pack of mange tout and baby sweet corn - ditto tiny beans - ditto asparagus tips - Spring onions, chopped - 300g fresh bean sprouts - 2 T sushi ginger, sliced into slivers

Put the noodles into boiling salted water and cook until just al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Blanche the vegetables fir 2 minutes, refresh in iced water and then chop into bite sized pieces. Mix in the vegetables, the raw bean sprouts, the spring onions and the sushi ginger. Add 2 Tablespoons of each sauce, mix well and then taste. Add more sauce if the noodles are not sufficiently coated. Serve with chopped fresh coriander.

Soak your raw prawns in the liquid from a jar of sushi ginger, and add lots of chopped garlic and chopped coriander. For the chicken sate, buy a packet of Asian Home Gourmet Sate marinade, slice chicken breasts into thin 2-3 cm strips coat with the marinade and keep in fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight. Don’t forget to soak your skewers in water for at least half an hour so they don’t burn.

Product news As we said earlier, our frozen, oven-ready Belgian croissants enjoyed increased sales volumes during December and they are still moving out very quickly, especially now that the wicked chocolate hazelnut croissants are back after a few months’ unavailability and we also have small almond croissants. Sadly, we are almost at the end of our stock of pain au chocolat. The importers have decided that they move too slowly. Apparently, no one else could sell them. Maybe they didn’t understand the concept or haven’t enjoyed them in France. We bought all their remaining cases and they are almost sold out.

The pork-based French terrines and patés are deservedly popular and we have sold an unprecedented amount. Huge thanks to the importer, Olivier who, several times last month, made two deliveries a day to help us keep up with demand. He brought in the small quantity we had of Moroccan argan oil, which sold out as soon as it landed on our counter. Only one can managed to reach the shelf – for about two hours. He also brought in the delicious duck gizzards, which we experienced for the first time in a salad on our last visit to France – and loved. We still have some.

Chestnuts and chestnut crème and puree sold very well and, unlike the situation of previous years, we are still able to get more if you need it. This was helped by the fact that the new importer was able to supply at a better price than we had two years ago. We learned today that we can now supply you with a French champagne vinegar, as well as a few other interesting vinegars from the same source – they should all be available at very pocket-friendly prices.

These should complement the excellent, organically produced herb and fruit vinegars from Protea Hill Farm. The combination of seven year aged balsamic raspberry vinegar and apricot kernel oil (which makes the most wonderful salad dressing) is still as popular as ever.

Weekend market: Nelle and Jane will be on our pavement as usual on Saturday, with their delicious country goodies. Come and buy fresh farm eggs, fruit and vegetables, preserves and home baked breads, cakes and pastries from them and then come and visit us! We will be tasting wines, so do come in and have a chat and a taste and buy something great to cook with this weekend and a good wine to go with it. Wine and food are inseparable partners.

Regards,

John & Lynne
Main Ingredient
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