Staffordshires Food and Drink Scene.

Tag: Staffordshire food and drink

Little Seeds reopens with new Tapas Terrace

The next milestone in England’s roadmap out of lockdown will see restrictions on indoor hospitality ease from 17 May, with six people or two larger households allowed to meet and…

The next milestone in England’s roadmap out of lockdown will see restrictions on indoor hospitality ease from 17 May, with six people or two larger households allowed to meet and dine inside for the first time since last year.

Along with many other independent venues across the county and the Midlands, Little Seeds in Stone will reopen for service on Thursday 20 May. Sauce spoke to cofounders Jake Lowndes and Sophie Hardman to find out all about their exciting new concept and what they’ve been up to since last summer.

Jake, head chef, and Sophie, who manages the front of house, have certainly not been resting on their laurels during the most recent and previous lockdowns.

“We launched Little Seeds at Home at the beginning of November during the second lockdown,” says Jake. “Obviously it was a worry about what we would do over Christmas, but in the end we supplied more customers with our dine at home boxes over the Christmas week than we would ever have been able to serve in the restaurant.”

Little Seeds’ popular dine at home boxes have offered customers a new menu every week, in the same spirit as the monthly theme nights they have hosted in the past. Each box aims to take you away for an evening through the medium of food.

“Our style is modern British using what’s in season, but it would have been fairly boring to have Jerusalem artichokes, cabbage and parsnips on the menu every week throughout the winter,” Jake explains. “So, we tried to lift people’s spirits by taking them with our menu to France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Scotland… For us, it meant we got to try different things and that’s all contributed to the new menu for our reopening. It’s been good creatively and kept us going without only relying on grants.”

So, do they have any plans to carry on with the dine-at-home offering when the restaurant is fully open again?

“We were thinking of bringing it back for special occasions – alongside the theme nights, and then maybe for Christmas,” Sophie tells Sauce. “As we said, we can only fit 30-35 covers in the restaurant so it would be a way for more people to enjoy our food.”

New Tapas Terrace opens

“It’s changing every day at the moment!” Jake laughs when I ask how Little Seeds has changed since the team last welcomed guests through the doors. “We’ve just had a new combination oven fitted, which is a piece of kit I’ve wanted since we started. All of our money went on the front of house and getting set up when we first opened, and then we had the refurb in 2019 to link with our new style. Now we’re at the stage where we can spend on equipment to take us to the next level with food and service, and also to accommodate the fact we’ve got the outside garden.”

The freshly landscaped outdoor courtyard, lined with bay trees and lavender, hopes to capture day time diners with a relaxed, Mediterranean vibe and a whole new tapas and drinks menu. It’s inspired by the likes of Simon Shaw’s El Gato Negro and Brindisa at Borough Market Kitchen.

Served outdoors only at Saturday lunchtime and all-day Sunday, the tapas menu ranges from nibbles like Gordal olives and salted Spanish almonds, to Cobble Lane Cured Meat and a mix of the finest Spanish and British cheeses. There are meat, fish, and veg dishes like pork and chorizo meatballs, pan-seared hake with Romanesco sauce and classic patatas bravas, plus desserts like crema Catalana and Basque cake with blood orange.

Jake has aimed for authentic tapas recipes using the best of British produce, including Cobble Lane meats from London, Cornish fish from Celtic Fish and Game, and Wellocks for seasonal fruit and veg. There are certain ingredients like the olives and almonds that come from Spain, but the spirit of the menu is very much in-keeping with the Little Seeds ethos.

“We’ve also tailored the drinks menu for drinking outside, with some lighter wines for you to relax and enjoy a few glasses of alongside the tapas,” adds Sophie. “And we’ve added some Spanish sherries and now have wine available by the carafe.”

There’s a new bar outside as well, for pre- and post-dinner drinks on sunny evenings. If the weather turns and you want to move inside, there will always be space to do so and the tapas menu available. The outdoor area will likely close in October for the winter, with the menu moving to comforting Sunday roasts.

A Taste of Little Seeds

Evening service will see the à la carte and A Taste of Little Seeds menus available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. A Taste of Little Seeds was launched back in October and ran for two weeks before lockdown 2 kicked in. It will be available every evening, and although you don’t need to specifically book the tasting menu, Jake and Sophie ask that the whole table partake if you do choose it.

“We love what the team are doing at The Boat Inn, near Lichfield, but there isn’t much in a similar format closer to Stoke or in the Stone area,” Jake tells Sauce. “The dishes on the Taste of Little Seeds menu are similar to the à la carte, but with a few extra special courses and some surprises at the start and end of the meal. Basically we’re running three new menus when we open up!”

The couple are both looking forward to seeing the whole hospitality industry back up and running after an exceptionally tough year.

“I think hospitality will be key to giving people the confidence to come out, because a lot of people are suffering anxiety about it,” says Sophie. But what they are most looking forward to is getting their team back together again. “In our industry, who you work with becomes a massive part of your social life because you work evenings and weekends, so it will be good to have everyone back. And of course we’re lucky to have lots of regular customers, so it will be good to see them and learn how to chat again; you lose the art of conversation during lockdown!”

Jake has a new chef starting in the kitchen, who has recently qualified from Stoke-on-Trent College, and Sophie is happy to have some new additions to the front of house team, too.

“We’re trying to bring some new young people into the mix,” she explains. “It’s been hard for a lot of school and college leavers, with not sitting their exams and teaching being online. We’re trying where we can to help a few young people get onto a new ladder, because they probably haven’t had many opportunities over the last few months.”

One additional change is that the restaurant will open Thursday to Sunday to give the team an extra day off, although Jake and Sophie will still be there on a Wednesday to do paperwork and prep for the week ahead.

“We want to be a progressive company and that’s another reason behind the four-day week,” Jake states. “We’ve got this small, elite team and ideally we want everyone working all the time we’re open, so it feels like everyone is in it together and pushing towards the same goal of making the restaurant the best it can be. That work-life balance is part of showing that it can be a great career, whether you want to stay here or move on eventually.

“It is a lifestyle but if you enjoy food and drink there is no better job.”

You can book your table at Little Seeds online now. The outside Tapas Terrace will be open every weekend, weather-permitting, and guests will have the choice when they arrive of whether to sit indoors or in the courtyard. Drinks on the Terrace are on a walk-in basis, no reservations.

Little Seeds
16-18 Radford Street, Stone, ST15 8DA
littleseedsstone.co.uk

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Cosy night in for two?

We all need a little extra love in lockdown 3.0, so why not make Valentine’s Day extra special this year and celebrate the only way we can… with a cosy…

We all need a little extra love in lockdown 3.0, so why not make Valentine’s Day extra special this year and celebrate the only way we can… with a cosy night in!

Clover Café, Stone

Sweet or savoury? Clover Café have introduced two delightful Valentine’s Boxes for you and your sweetheart to enjoy at home. The ‘Pie Only Have Eyes For You’ Sweet Box, which includes delicious sweet treats such as Brownie Bites, Mississippi Mud Pie Bombs and Oreo Kisses, is just £20 for two people. Or, for those who can’t resist savoury treats, choose the ‘Wrapped In Clover’ Savoury Box which is £35 for two people, and includes Charcuterie, Cheeses, Dips and Crackers to name a few of the scrummy items on the menu! The lovely team at Clover Café have also made veggie, vegan and allergy friendly options too, so get in touch to make your requests. To order, drop them a line on Facebook here or give them a call on 01785 747950.

The deadline for ordering your Valentine’s Boxes is Tuesday 9th February, and all boxes will be ready for collection on Saturday 13th February between 3pm and 5pm. Payments must be made in advance.

 

The Duncombe Arms, Ashbourne

Crank up the heat this Valentine’s Day and enjoy The Duncombe Arms’ new ‘Heat at Home’ Valentines Menu with your other half. The Duncombe Arms have really pulled out the stops with this luxurious menu, featuring dishes such as Smoked haddock soufflé & chive butter sauce, Whole steamed lobster with new potatoes and aiolo, and to finish, Apple tarte Tatin and toffee sauce. There are other options to suit all tastes, so take a look at the menu here to find your perfect combination. Each order will include a few simple steps to finish off your meal at home.

Pre-order any time before 12pm on Wednesday 10th February. All orders will be available to collect from The Duncombe Arms between 2pm & 6pm on the 12th, 13th or 14th February. Give the team a call on 01335 324275 to place your orders.

 

Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen, Leek

If you want to really impress your partner this Valentines Day, but don’t want to spend hours and hours over a hot stove, why not order from Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen and have them do all the hard work for you? Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen are offering a beautifully constructed four course menu this Valentine’s Day for just £70 for two. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps to finish off at home, light your candles, pop your bubbly and enjoy a cosy evening with your love. With dishes such as Baked Queen Scallops with Herb Breadcrumbs and Pickled Grapes, and Melting Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream, Honeycomb and Blackcurrants, you will earn some serious brownie points!

To order, email eat@gallaghersdeli.com or send a message on Facebook or Instagram. Collection will be available between 2pm and 6pm on Saturday 13th or Sunday 14th February.

 

Little Seeds, Stone

If you’re feeling extra indulgent this Valentine’s Day, why not try Little Seeds at Home Valentine’s Day Meat Box? With six stunning courses of Bread, Starter, Fish, Main, Dessert and a Little Treat, plus a bottle of prosecco, you’ll certainly impress your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. To browse the menu and place your orders, head over to the Little Seeds At Home website here.

The Valentine’s Boxes are priced at £45 per person, and two boxes must be purchased on one order to include the bottle of prosecco. Please place your orders by 6pm on Wednesday 10th February. Boxes are available for collection on Friday 12th February between 12pm and 2pm, or on Saturday 13th February between 10am and 12pm. Delivery is also available for selected postcodes in North Staffordshire for just £5 (check out the website for details).

 

Staffordshire Oatcake Company, Stoke-on-Trent

Fancy trying something different this Valentine’s Day? Enjoy a romantic and fun cooking session together and try your hand at making your own oatcakes! The Staffordshire Oatcake company produce traditional, pre-made oatcake mixes for you to make your very own oatcakes at home with a few simple steps. For just £4.95, the oatcake mix makes approximately 12 oatcakes, so you can have a traditional Staffordshire feast with your partner! The only thing left to decide is which fillings you’re going to enjoy with them. Head over to the website here to place your order.

 

Moorlands Graze Box, Staffordshire Moorlands

The Moorlands Graze are rising to the occasion of love with a stunning Valentine’s Graze board! The Valentine’s Grazer board, ‘Brie Mine’, hints towards a delectable spread of cheese and will be launching soon*. Moorlands Graze also have other stunning options such as the #MoorlandsVeggie, #SmokeandSpice and the #StaffordshireKnotBruncher to name a few. Head over to the website here to browse their excellent selection of Grazer Boards.

*Update: The Valentine’s Graze board, ‘Brie Mine’, is now live and available to purchase here.

 

Smoke & Rye, Stone

The Smoke & Rye Valentine’s Banquet Box is the perfect way to treat your own King or Queen this Valentine’s Day. For two people, the box is £69.95 and includes 14 items including Slow smoked beef short rib, Smoked pulled pork sliders, Buttermilk Slaw and Chocolate & Bourbon cherry cookie dough to name a few. Check out the menu here.

The Valentine’s Banquet Box will be available to collect between 4pm and 10pm on Sunday 14th February, and must be pre-ordered. Availability is limited, so get in touch on 01785 501254 or email them at bookings@smokeandrye.net to place your order now.

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Staffordshire Christmas Gifting Guide

There’s three weeks to go until Santa Claus comes to town, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your skates on and start Christmas shopping! After a devastating…

There’s three weeks to go until Santa Claus comes to town, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your skates on and start Christmas shopping! After a devastating year, local businesses across Staffordshire need your support more than ever this Christmas, so take a look through our Staffordshire Christmas Gifting Guide for all the inspiration you need!

Couture Bakehouse

What’s Christmas without beautiful, buttery shortbread? Jenny, founder of Couture Bakehouse, discovered her Granny Gwen’s traditional shortbread recipe in a handwritten recipe book years after she passed away. Jenny decided to give it a try for herself and it has since become a firm favourite with her customers. The whole slab of shortbread – yes, that’s right, a whole slab – is 7” x 5” and is perfect for sharing with family and friends as you binge watch Christmas films! It also makes a beautiful stocking filler gift, as it is wrapped in cellophane and tied with a pretty red bow.

The shortbread slab is £9.95 inclusive of postage costs, and is sent first class with Royal Mail. They are posted out weekly on Wednesdays and Jenny can also include a bespoke message to your recipient. The last Wednesday for posting will be 16th December, before she takes a well earned break for Christmas. As well as shortbread slabs, Couture Bakehouse also has brownie and shortbread gift vouchers available to purchase.

To order, email couturegroupltd@yahoo.co.uk or text, call or WhatsApp 07794 497491.

 

The Good Life Meat Company

Give the gift of quality charcuterie this Christmas with The Good Life Meat Company. Their Charcuterie Platter Christmas Gift Bags will certainly ensure that your recipients (or yourself!) have the best dressed festive grazing table. Helen and Andy have teamed up with other local businesses to bring you two sensational gift bags this Christmas.

The medium gift bag contains two packs of The Good Life Meat Company’s award winning charcuterie, a pack of Moyden’s cheese* and a jar of Stokes pickle*. Priced at £18 plus postage, this truly is the perfect gift for foodies! The large gift bag features three charcuterie packs, a spicy spreadable n’duja, two packs of Moyden’s cheese* and a jar of Stokes pickle*. The large gift bag is priced at £30 and the impressive spread really will steal the show at Christmas parties!

Postage costs are £8 for one gift bag of any size, or £10 for 2-3 gift bags. If you’re local, you can also collect directly from their premises near Sugnall Walled Garden, or receive delivery if you’re within 5 miles of Eccleshall. All parcels will be posted out for next day delivery on Monday 14th December. Orders can be placed by contacting Helen at helen@goodlifemeat or give her a call on 07720 638410. You can also visit the website to order. *Please note that some varieties may differ from those pictured. For more details, contact Helen.

 

Scrumbles

All I want for Christmas is a sweet treat box from Scrumbles Cake Shop, *drools*. Sarah and Beth have really pulled out all the stops with their luxurious Christmas treat boxes for the festive season, and we really hope we find one of these under the tree on Christmas Day!

They’ve created four different cakes boxes for all tastes. First up is the Children’s Treat Box, which is £10 and includes a Christmas tree brownie, a Rudolph hot chocolate cone, a stained glass window gingerbread tree decoration, a ‘build your own’ mini gingerbread house kit, a candy cane, chocolate coins and a chocolate Santa Claus!

A delightful twist on the traditional mince pie are Scrumbles’ Mince Pie Cookie Cups, priced at £8 for a box of four. So if you’re not a fan of pastry but would love to try mincemeat encased in a gorgeous spiced cookie, these are the perfect choice.

Brownie lovers! For £12, you can indulge in Scrumbles’ Brownie Box… or give it as a gift, of course. This box has six wonderfully festive flavours of brownies, including ginger and salted caramel, marzipan, tiramisu, Baileys, chocolate orange and After Eight. We think we are in love!

Last but not least, there is the Blondie Box. For those who don’t like the chocolate overload of traditional brownies (are you mad!?), blondies still offer that gooey, fudgey goodness but with a light vanilla flavour. Scrumbles’ Blondie Box is £12 and offers six Christmassy varieties including gingerbread, white Toblerone, eggnog, mince pie, white chocolate orange and Lindt.

You can purchase your boxes online and collect them from Scrumbles Cake Shop in Leek. If you just can’t make up your mind about which box to get for your loved ones, Scrumbles sell gift vouchers over the counter. Head over to their website here to order your treat boxes.

 

Just Perfect Wines

A glass of fizz is an absolute must at Christmas, but a bottle is even better! Just Perfect Wines have created the ultimate Christmas Prosecco Treat Bag for fizz lovers, filled with fabulous treats. It includes: two mini bottles of prosecco DOC made by artisan winery Furlan; a 50ml bottle of cherry brandy liqueur which pairs beautifully with the prosecco for a festive cherry fizz; a box of exquisite prosecco truffles which are lovingly handcrafted by the artisan chocolatiers Noble and Stace of West Sussex; and a box of sensational cranberry rocky road chocolates, handmade by Langley’s Rocky Road in Cornwall. All packaged up in a jute bag, tied with a ‘Merry Christmas’ ribbon and priced at just £23.95 plus £4.95 postage, this really is the perfect gift for prosecco lovers.

As well as their Christmas Prosecco Treat Bag, Just Perfect Wines have a virtual ‘Christmas Gift Shop’ on their website so you can browse their other festive best buys including the Christmas Whinberry Gin Treat Bag and wine gift sets to name a couple. Plus, if you spend over £60, shipping is free!

To get your hands on their fabulous gifts, head over to the website here and place your orders. Please note that the last day for orders to arrive before Christmas is 17th December.

 

Dalton’s Dairy

Dalton’s Dairy in Staffordshire are famous for their impeccable ice cream… you really can’t beat relaxing in the sunshine with a tub in the summer! But did you know that the family run business also produce their own butter, milk, cheese, honey and jam?

Nestled on the outskirts of the southern Peak District, the family pride themselves on the quality of the milk produced by their happy cows, and no Christmas Day is complete without their produce. A bacon sandwich on Christmas morning slathered in Dalton’s salted butter, traditional bread sauce made with Dalton’s whole milk for Christmas dinner, Dalton’s luxury ice cream for dessert, and of course, a cheese board featuring their amazing Staffordshire cheese (made in Cheddleton by Staffordshire Cheese Co using only milk from Dalton’s cows) as you nestle down and watch Christmas films with the family in the evening.

And if you want to give the gift of quality dairy produce to your loved ones, Dalton’s Dairy also have gift vouchers available to purchase on their online shop.

 

F & B Bakes

Keen foodies Beth and Fumbi specialise in creating luxury brownies with unique flavour combinations, perfect for grown ups. Fumbi was a quarter-finalist in MasterChef 2017 and continues with his passion of making delectable desserts which are inspired by his travels around the world. As well as their usual brownie flavours, such as pistachio crunch, cherry, and triple chocolate to name a few, the duo have incorporated festive additions to their usual collection this Christmas, featuring Baileys, spiced nuts and espresso flavoured brownies! These scrumptious brownies will certainly turn heads this Christmas, and would pair perfectly with a festive liqueur by the fire.

F & B Bakes offer boxes of 3 (£6), boxes of 9 (£16) and boxes of 16 (£22), all including any three flavours of your choice, so you can mix and match your favourites. These prices are inclusive of local delivery charges around Stafford. Your final ordering date is 21st December, and they will be delivered to you on the 23rd December.

If you’re a little further afield, they also offer UK wide 1st class postage for their box of 3 (£10), and their box of 9 (£20). The final ordering date is the 18th December and they will be delivered on or around the 21st December.

To order, head over to their Instagram page and send them a message, or email fbbakes@gmail.com.

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World of Wedgwood ready for best Christmas ever

World of Wedgwood have revealed a spectacular line up for their Christmas celebrations this year, and for the first time in its history, World of Wedgwood’s celebrations include visits from…

World of Wedgwood have revealed a spectacular line up for their Christmas celebrations this year, and for the first time in its history, World of Wedgwood’s celebrations include visits from Santa Claus and a ‘Wedgwood grotto’.

Vistors to the Wedgwood Tea Room can indulge with an all-you-can-eat breakfast, complete with a visit from the one and only Santa Claus with his sack of gifts. You and your family can enjoy a Full English breakfast or continental breakfast with unlimited drinks served in the stunning Wedgwood Tea Room. Breakfast with Santa will be running on selected dates from Saturday 5 December until Wednesday 23 December, with five sittings available on each day between 9:00 and 11:00. Priced at just £15 per head, this really is a magical treat for all the family to enjoy quality Christmas time together.

As well as Breakfast with Santa, World of Wedgwood have also revealed that they will be offering a two-course Christmas lunch menu in the Dining Hall, followed by a visit to Santa’s grotto. On the menu, expect traditional roast breast of turkey with lemon and thyme stuffing, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce and roast gravy, or fillet of salmon en croute wrapped in puff pastry with creamed spinach and tarragon cream to name a couple. For dessert, the Dining Hall have really pulled out all the stops with sumptuous puddings such as raspberry trifle, profiteroles with chocolate sauce, Christmas pudding cheesecake, Bakewell tart and many more. Tables are available on selected dates from Saturday 5 December to Wednesday 23 December with tables available from 12:00 til 15:00. The two-course Christmas lunch is priced at £22 per person.

Wedgwood is synonymous with tea and the quintessential afternoon tea in World of Wedgwood’s Tea Room is enjoyed by diners all year round. From Thursday 3 December to Sunday 3 January, it is served with a fabulous festive twist for £25 per person. There is also a takeaway option for two which comes in a Wedgwood presentation box priced at £30 for two people, making an ideal Christmas gift for those who want to indulge in the comfort of their own home.

The Christmas weekend market takes place on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 December, from 10:00 to 16:00. Over 40 outdoor stalls of festive gifts and treats from local producers and artisans will feature handcrafted gifts, Christmas cards and decorations, meats, cheeses, chutneys and festive favourites along with street food and music. With free parking and free entry, this is the perfect event to stock up on your quality Staffordshire produce in time for Christmas celebrations at home.

For the late night shopping event on Friday 4 December, from 18:00 to 20:00, the Dining Hall will be open and serving their delicious takeaway pizzas.

Mike Powell, UK Sales Director at World of Wedgwood, said: “We all know what kind of year 2020 has been and we want to give our visitors the opportunity to have some escape this Christmas. We’ve carefully created a programme of events that will entertain and inspire in a safe and comfortable environment for both visitors and staff.”

All events are subject to government Covid-19 guidelines with flexible booking terms and conditions for additional peace of mind.

 

World of Wedgwood
worldofwedgwood.com

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Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen opening in Leek

After launching Gallagher’s Home Kitchen back in March 2020, founders Jess and Chris Gallagher have now set up Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen in the heart of Leek, which is due…

After launching Gallagher’s Home Kitchen back in March 2020, founders Jess and Chris Gallagher have now set up Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen in the heart of Leek, which is due to open this week!

Gallagher’s Home Kitchen was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after both were due to start new jobs in the hospitality industry at the end of March. Both Jessica and Chris have an extensive background in the hospitality and food and drink industry and decided to launch their own homemade food service, to bring impeccable restaurant quality food to their customers in Cheddleton and the surrounding areas, in the comfort of their own homes.

After rocketing to success with Gallagher’s Home Kitchen, the husband-and-wife team have taken the next steps and have secured a premises at 58 St. Edward Street, Leek. Situated in a charming Grade II listed building, Jessica and Chris will be serving breakfast, lunch and hot drinks to the people of Leek, as well as supporting local artisanal producers by stocking their products in-house, such as LemonAid, ChariTEA and Bear Kombucha.

Jessica and Chris said “The aim is to create a modern British ‘grab & go’ deli, with a breakfast & lunch offering that is fresh, wholesome, and delicious. Everything will be prepared in house daily, ready for you to pick-up and enjoy in the office, at home, on site, on the school run, or even strolling about town! We are using great-quality, fresh ingredients from expert local suppliers, all coupled with sustainable plant-based packaging to create all our goods.

Running alongside, we will also be providing great coffee and stocking a wide range of fantastic deli-style items from some incredible artisan producers who are predominantly based in our very own Staffordshire; something we’re super passionate and excited about!”

Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen will be using Courtyard Coffee as their main coffee supplier, a small batch coffee roaster based in Eccleshall, who we had the pleasure of interviewing back in April 2020. You can read the interview here.

Although their daily home delivery service has come to an end to make way for their new venture, Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen have not lost sight of their original roots, and will also be offering their brand new Monthly Supper Club service for their faithful GHK supporters. They will be running a collection/delivery service on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of every month, so you can still get your fix at home. You can read our original review about Gallagher’s Home Kitchen here.

“It’s huge thanks to our faithful GHK supporters over the past 6 months, that we are lucky enough to be in this position, and so we are thrilled to also be continuing with a Monthly Supper Club starting early November!

We believe in contributing to a sense of community, whilst encouraging local independent shopping within our stunning market town, especially in these strange times.”

The grab-and-go delicatessen will certainly be a welcome addition to the stunning market town, and will officially be opening on Thursday 15th October 2020.

 

Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen
58 St. Edward Street, Leek, ST13 5DL
gallaghersdeli.com

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Dining in: Sauce Supper Club Dine at Home

When the Covid-19 lockdown was announced, Beth and Jon Toovey at Sauce Supper Club started delivering fresh fruit and veg boxes locally in Lichfield and the surrounding area. It was…

When the Covid-19 lockdown was announced, Beth and Jon Toovey at Sauce Supper Club started delivering fresh fruit and veg boxes locally in Lichfield and the surrounding area. It was on 1 May that they delivered their first Dine at Home boxes in partnership with Tom Shepherd. The former head chef at one Michelin starred Adam’s Restaurant in Birmingham is planning to open his own restaurant in Lichfield later this year.

Each weekend there’s a different fine dining menu for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home, with minimal effort required. This week, Sauce Supper Club’s Dine at Home box is reviewed for us by passionate Stoke-on-Trent-based foodie, Mike Lawton. Mike shares his thoughts on the food and considers whether it’s truly possible to recreate the restaurant experience at home.

The menu

Milk bread with marmite butter
.
Pulled barbecue pork fritter, wholegrain mustard mayonnaise, sweet pickled apricots, watercress
.
Slow roasted lamb shoulder, tenderstem broccoli, toasted couscous, cumin yoghurt, imam bayildi, pomegranate, lamb jus
.
Chilled coconut rice pudding, Alfonso mango salsa, coconut crumble, lemongrass and lime leaf sabayon
.
Chocolate fudge

In any business environment, it’s the innovators who survive; those who make the most of the situation and are able to adapt to changes in a way that suits their skillset. I think the emergence of ‘Dine at Home’ experiences plays very well into that; opening up new channels for consumers to create experiences in their own homes is a perfect example of innovation and will no doubt be a feature of the industry in the future.

When we first spoke about doing this review, I’d already had a couple of these types of experiences, from WOOD Manchester and from Peels on Wheels at Hampton Manor. To do the same with Sauce Supper Club and Tom was a great opportunity to compare the offers of three very credible contenders.

The experience began on Friday morning at 7:30am when the package was delivered to our door. Just to receive it was intriguing: excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm delivered in a cardboard box – that doesn’t happen every day!

The first thing I have to applaud the team on is the packaging. Today it’s really important to think about sustainability and how we respect the planet’s resources. The product packaging was genuinely thoughtful, not just in terms of what was in it, but in the way it was presented, including the use of fully recyclable WoolCool insulation.

Dine at Home box constituents

At the forefront of your mind when ordering a meal like this is, can you create a restaurant experience in your own home? What can it deliver? Is it going to be the same? How authentically can an amateur re-create the skills of a chef at home? There is an inferred responsibility – you want to perform well for yourself but also to represent the chef and their team’s hard work in preparing the food.

Inside the box is the skill, the enthusiasm, the knowledge and dedication of the chef in the product. It then comes down to you to engineer that into your own experience, using your knowledge of where you’ve eaten, what you’ve observed, what you like and what you dislike.

Of course, the end result is not the same, but I would argue it can be better because you’re able to apply your own influences to that of the chef – you can give your own care, attention and creativity. When expressed in these terms this is in no way a degraded experience – it’s a different experience influenced by you. It’s a fusion of chef and customer that presents a blend of skill and experience on each plate – it’s a chance to express your personality in the solid knowledge that the food quality will be assured.  

We received the box on the Friday and decided not to cook it until the Saturday. It was unpacked and we stored it in the fridge. It kept beautifully for 24 hours – plenty of time to plan, no need to rush. Adding to the experience was that every time I opened the fridge there was a thrill of anticipation, thinking ‘Ohh, look what’s coming!’ – it played an unexpected role in making the dinner special. 

Then Saturday night came and my wife and I laid everything out in the containers. It was very clear what to do because each of the courses had a colour-coded dot. The instructions were well-presented, very clear and concise, and enabled you to plan ahead. We switched on the oven and the fun began.

The first step was probably the easiest thing I’ve ever done; I warmed up the bread. The difference – and this is where the value of this experience lies for me – is the skill you find in the detail. Although the bread was of course delicious, it was the marmite butter that created an incredible depth of flavour and taste – unbelievable to be able to create that in something so usually “ordinary”. That was a fitting precursor for what was to come. 

Milk bread with marmite butter

Whilst we were enjoying the bread, the pork fritters went into the oven and we laid out the mustard mayonnaise, sweet pickled apricots and watercress. Each element when tasted individually was well-prepared and delicate – together it was genuinely tremendous. The fritter was very easy to warm up. I used my Thermapen to check the temperature was right inside, and it came out crisp on the outside with great flavour and depth on the inside. Paired with the little apricots and mustard mayonnaise, we didn’t want it to end. I’m sure Tom would laugh at my basic plating skills, but the dish was a great mix of textures and flavours and we both really enjoyed it. We enjoyed a white Côtes du Rhône which paired beautifully with the construction of the dish.  

The lamb was a benchmark main course in terms of the combination of flavours and textures. The North African inspiration was clear to taste and smell; it came with couscous and imam bayildi, which I hadn’t heard of before, but is a Turkish aubergine dish. It was fantastic. The smell coming from the kitchen was like walking through a souk on a warm summer evening; with aromas of spices wafting through the warm confined streets. The lamb was beautifully prepared, compressed and rolled, perfectly ready for simply placing on a baking sheet and waiting for the magic to happen.

As ever, the winning part was in the detail, in the lamb jus. Wow. That’s the bit that you can’t create at home. It was truly phenomenal. All the science, the skill, the experience, and the professionalism of the chef comes in those little pots. This was a stand-out dish for me, not only because of the construction and the ease of bringing it together, but also because it demonstrated a complexity and depth in food that I could never have made myself.

Lamb, couscous, imam bayildi, broccoli

The dessert was spectacular. It was everything I want a dessert to be: rich, sweet, a beautiful texture. I’ve eaten at Adam’s a couple of times and had this dessert in the dining room there. The rice pudding was fantastic, the vanilla judged perfectly, the mango was delicious, and then there was the sweetness of the sabayon sauce… Just a beautiful balance. For me to have created that would have taken hours and hours of work and it wouldn’t have tasted anywhere close to that good. It was an absolute pleasure to serve it up, and it wasn’t difficult! All I needed was a plate and a spoon. I can’t speak highly enough of this dessert.

Throughout the lockdown I’ve tried to make the weekends special by trying to cook something a bit special – to make Saturdays different. These experiences really cater to that, they inspire you to be creative in the safe knowledge that if anything goes awry the food will carry the evening. If you’re in the house and you can’t get out, whether for lack of childcare or other commitments, you can be sure that this is definitely not second best. What you miss in the restaurant experience, you make up for with your own enthusiasm and dedication. It’s a perfect blend of creativity; yours and the chef’s.

I genuinely think these experiences should continue to be available once the hospitality industry returns to normal. Not only because it’s a revenue stream for restaurants, but also because it extends the restaurant or chef’s brand to new audiences who may never have found it accessible before. It’s a good introduction to bring people into fine dining, and a great way to involve the whole family in preparing food. The preparation and the plating became a talking point for my wife and I, creating possibly an even more engaging experience than eating in a restaurant.

It does make you appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes in a restaurant and understand what you’re paying for, but at the same time this model allows consumers to enjoy and be inspired by this level of cooking. I was certainly inspired. I would do it again, and I would recommend it to anybody.

Ordering & delivery
Sauce Supper Club’s Dine at Home box is available for Friday and Saturday delivery, with prices starting from £37.50pp. Delivery is free to Lichfield and the surrounding area, with nationwide delivery now available at a charge of £24.

Order via saucesupperclub.co.uk.

 

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Gift ideas for a foodie Father’s Day

Just because the pubs are closed this Father’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t treat your dad to his favourite food and drink. We’ve been busy scouting out the best Father’s…

Just because the pubs are closed this Father’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t treat your dad to his favourite food and drink. We’ve been busy scouting out the best Father’s Day ideas across the Staffordshire food and drink scene so you can sit back, relax and simply enjoy some time with dad over a good meal (at an appropriate distance, of course)… without worrying about which pair of novelty slippers he’d like best.

Denstone Hall Farm Shop Father's Day Hamper

Denstone Hall Farm Shop & Cafe
If your dad is a lover of local Staffordshire produce, then this is the gift for him. The team at Denstone Hall Farm & Shop have released their ‘Staffordshire Father’s Day’ hamper, packed with local, homemade and artisan produce all sourced from Staffordshire. Expect Staffordshire Cheese Co., homemade pork pies and Cottage Delight treats. Order here: https://bit.ly/3egqo3q or email orders@denstonehall.co.uk

 

Candid Beer gift set

Candid Beer
Is it even Father’s Day without beer? Candid Beer, Stafford, have constructed the perfect gift this Father’s Day for craft beer lovers. Treat dad to a canister of four 440ml beers and a special Candid Beer glass. Choose from pale, dark, lager or mixed beers. Shop here: https://bit.ly/30Hke8M

Misco's box of chocolates

Misco’s Chocolate and Truffles
If your dad has a sweet tooth, he would love some delicious chocolatey treats from Misco’s Chocolates and Truffles, Leek. Their shop is now open (yessss!), so call in on Thursday, Friday or Saturday to pick up your dad’s favourite homemade chocolates and earn some brownie points this Father’s Day.

Dunwood Farm meat box

Dunwood Farm
Treat the King of the BBQ to a quality meat box from Dunwood Farm. Whether your dad is the chef or if you’re treating him to a day off and cooking for him, he will love the incredible quality of Dunwood’s high welfare meat. Head over to the online shop here: https://bit.ly/2MWbdAG or pop into The Village Butchers, Ipstones, to pick up your meat box.

Three Horseshoes Inn
Al fresco steak night, a bottle of wine and breathtaking views of the Peak District? Yes please! Although The Three Horseshoes Inn isn’t quite open yet, you can still treat your dad to their quality steak at a future date. The Three Horseshoes are offering a Steak Night for Two with a Bottle of Wine gift voucher, so you can treat dad a little later in the year. Head over to their online shop to purchase: https://bit.ly/2UILHmv

Bank Coffeehouse Alrewas afternoon tea

The Bank Coffeehouse
Nothing is better than a quintessential Afternoon Tea in the sun, especially with the ones you love. The Bank Coffeehouse are offering a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea this Father’s Day. Enjoy a selection of sandwiches with salad, a fruit scone with homemade jam and clotted cream, a selection of cakes and a bottle of Spilsbury & Jones craft beer. You can also have the choice to swap out the sandwiches, scone or cake for a Peter Coates pork pie on request. Delivery in Alrewas or you can collect. Call or text 07722 891696 or email Reilly-jane@sky.com to order.

Clive’s Wines
The lovely team at Clive’s Wines have crafted the perfect hampers for Father’s Day this year! Choose from five different hampers, including the Cider Curry Set and the Personalised Wine Gift Set set to name a couple. Head over to their website to find the perfect gift for your dad: https://bit.ly/37HTOp3

World of Wedgwood cheese scones, chilli jam, Dovedale blue butter

World of Wedgwood
Head Chef Richard has been busy behind the scenes at World of Wedgwood, cooking up the ultimate treat for dad this Father’s Day… savoury scones with homemade chilli jam and Dovedale blue butter. If you want to flex your culinary skills and impress dad with a homemade treat, this is the recipe for you: https://bit.ly/3cZuETz

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Dining in: Gallagher’s Home Kitchen

Jessica and Chris Gallagher, based in Cheddleton in the Staffordshire Moorlands, set up Gallagher’s Home Kitchen in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Having both been due to…

Jessica and Chris Gallagher, based in Cheddleton in the Staffordshire Moorlands, set up Gallagher’s Home Kitchen in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Having both been due to start new jobs in the hospitality industry at the end of that month, their plans were put on indefinite pause and they wanted to use their skills to offer fantastic quality food for home delivery. 

The couple met while they were both working at The Duncombe Arms in Ellastone. With Jessica’s background in hotel, event and restaurant management and Chris’ culinary expertise, they decided to fill their time during lockdown creating a homemade food service. 

Sauce jumped at the chance to try Gallagher’s Home Kitchen last week, coinciding with the launch of their new lamb baharat and falafel dishes. 

Ordering & delivery

Chris and Jessica’s menu is available to view on their social channels. There’s a different main on the menu for each day they’re open, from the lamb baharat and veggie-friendly falafel on Wednesday through to a traditional Sunday lunch with all the trimmings. You also have the option to add dessert, which changes every month. All you have to do is direct message them on Facebook to place your order, and pay via BACS transfer. Then Jessica will deliver to your door if you’re lucky enough to live within a 9 mile radius of Cheddleton.

Packaging

The food arrives in a large paper bag for the mains and a smaller one for the dessert, with a sweet little printed message from the Gallaghers. The majority is in foil cartons and there’s minimal plastic, which is always a plus. It seems Chris and Jessica have really thought about how the dishes on their menu will travel, because everything is pristine when it arrives on the doorstep with a smile and a wave! The elements of the main course are packaged separately so you can taste them individually, sharing out and plating how you like. The main was warm rather than hot on arrival, but the temperature was fine for us and you could easily heat up the lamb, falafel and couscous if you wanted to. 

Lam and couscous from Gallaghers Home KitchenAppearance

The slices of slow-cooked spiced lamb and the portion of falafel were nestled inside freshly baked pitta bread, while other containers yielded a rainbow of salad (crunchy lettuce, delicate ribbons of cucumber, julienne carrot and red cabbage) and bright, beautiful couscous with lemon and coriander. You also get little containers of thick Greek yoghurt and mango chutney. We could hardly wait to get stuck in!

You wouldn’t think a panna cotta would fare very well in takeaway form, but they are nothing short of immaculate when we come to lift the lids on dessert. We didn’t attempt to lift these onto our plates but I’m fairly sure they were firm enough to have held their shape if we’d tried. 

Taste 

The lamb baharat was rich and smoky with spices. ‘Baharat’ is the name of a traditional spice blend used throughout the Arab world, from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, but there are many regional variations. The falafel were tasty and well-seasoned too. The couscous was fragrant and delicious, with plenty of herbs, lemon, apricot, pepper and toasted flaked almonds making your taste buds do a happy little dance. The salad was super-fresh and the mango chutney was lush – tangy and sharply sweet with black onion seeds through it. 

And the dessert? Oh. My. Goodness. 

Greek yoghurt panna cotta from Gallaghers Home Kitchen

Texture

The falafel were made up of a nice mix of whole and ground chickpeas, with a great crispy exterior. The slow-cooked lamb was ridiculously tender, like butter in your mouth, but not cloyingly fatty as lamb sometimes can be. The pitta was a perfect match for both – soft and chewy with a satisfying bit of crunch at the edges. 

This dessert has every element you could wish for: unctuous and decadent salted chocolate ganache (I could eat this by the bowlful), creamy and slightly sour yoghurt panna cotta with the most beautiful of wobbles, tart and sticky apricot jam, and the sweet crunch of honey and oat granola cut through with fragrant rosemary. This really ups the delivery game when it comes to pudding.  

Experience

Overall, the food was fantastic quality and the whole experience felt special. The panna cotta dessert in particular was most definitely restaurant standard. At £10 each for the main and £5 each for dessert, with free delivery, we thought it was good value. It was super-easy to order, delivery was timely and safe, and the service was really friendly. What more can I say? 

Look out for our interview with Jessica and Chris coming soon, and get your orders in over on their socials.

Gallagher’s Home Kitchen
facebook.com/GallaghersHomeKitchen

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