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Organic peanut butter wins best in the cupboard

Essential Trading’s Organic Peanut Butter has won the award for best Vegetarian Store Cupboard Ingredient in The Veggie Awards 2015.

The awards were judged by a prestigious panel of vegetarian celebrities and food professionals, including chef Rose Elliot who judged the Vegetarian Store Cupboard Ingredients category.

Rose comments: “This is the best peanut butter I have ever tasted and I find it such a useful product as it’s popular with young and old, not to mention rich in protein and so versatile. The fantastic thing about it is you can use it straight from the jar in snacks like cookies, infuse it in Asian-style sauces, or mix it with honey and cocoa powder as a quick energy treat!”

Many other brands of peanut butter add cheap vegetable oils, unnecessary trans fats and added salt and sugar to their products. Essential’s range, however, prides itself on being made from 100 per cent peanuts. As sustainability and accountability have become hot topics in recent years, particularly in the food industry following the 2013 horse meat scandal, Essential is keen to strip everything back to basics. Its sustainable range is made from lightly-toasted, organically grown peanuts.

Conventionally grown peanuts are at risk of contamination from pesticides because they have a thin skin and lack a hard shell, so they absorb a lot of the chemicals. Essential source their peanuts from organic growers who raise their crops without chemical fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides.

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Sodexo chefs enjoy Kikkoman masterclass

Chefs from Sodexo recently enjoyed a masterclass courtesy of Kikkoman Soy Sauce, from Michelin starred chef Simon Hulstone of the Elephant Restaurant, Torquay.

The masterclass, held at the Underground Cookery School in London, began with a live demonstration of two dishes by Simon Hulstone that would feature on his own brasserie menu. Following this, chefs from Sodexo were put through their paces in teams to create delicious brasserie style meals from a selection of mystery ingredients and of course, Kikkoman Soy Sauce being an integral part of the dish.

The winners on the day were Ann Margaret Polius, Senior Chef de Partie at Caterham School and Paul Chapman, Sous Chef at Eli Lilly. The winning duo created two delicious dishes to fit the brief; they were Hot & Cold Salmon on a Fennel & Pepper Salad and Oriental Roast Chicken with Sesame Sweet Potato.

Runners up in the competition, whose dishes also wowed the judges with their use of Kikkoman Soy Sauce included; Darren Poulton, Hospitality Head Chef at Santander, Phillip Thomas, Head Chef at Henderson Global Investors, Martin White, Head Chef at GSK Ware & Mohammad Bathily of Lammas School.

David Mulcahy, Craft and Food Development Director at Sodexo said “the training and development of our chefs is extremely important in order to inspire culinary excellence at all levels. Masterclasses are a great opportunity to pass on knowledge from celebrated chefs like Simon Hulstone to fellow chefs to help them learn and develop even further.”

Bing-yu Lee, General Manager at Kikkoman UK says: “It was fantastic to see so many Sodexo chefs at the masterclass with Simon Hulstone. Simon is a fantastic ambassador for Kikkoman and his demonstrations really show chefs just what a versatile ingredient Kikkoman Soy Sauce is and how it can be used as an essential seasoning.”

All participating chefs were treated to dinner at top London restaurant, Matsuri St James, where they tried a delicious menu of authentic Japanese cuisines including sushi, tempura and teppanyaki.

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EHL Ingredients launches special spices for BBQ Week

As National Barbecue Week approaches, EHL Ingredients reports an increase in demand for its special barbeque blends. EHL launched a versatile range of herb and spice blends, rubs, marinades, coatings and seasonings at the end of 2014, which are perfect for use on barbecued meat and vegetable products.

The company has noticed a 10% increase in demand for its special barbecue blends, reflective of the growing demand from food manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and butchers looking to source authentic herbs and spices that can be used in barbecue food products.

Grouped into six key categories, the ingredient blends include a complete burger mix, four dry marinades, six specialty blends, three textured coaters, five everyday seasonings, and a complete sausage mix. The products offer a wide range of applications and can enhance the flavour of all meat and vegetarian dishes traditionally served at a barbecue.

Speciality blends are a versatile ingredient addition to dry mix kits or for inclusion in burger formulations, while the gourmet burger mix offers a herb, spice and breadcrumb blend that delivers on both flavour and texture.

The dry marinades include Aromatic Oriental, Deep South Dixie BBQ, Spicy Spanish, Garlic and Lemon, and Italian-style tomato, black pepper and mixed herbs. They are easy to use and the versatility of the flavours allows them to be used with different proteins. Speciality blends consist of Berber spice, Mexican adobo, Sharma kebab mix, Creole, West Indian jerk and Za’tar seasonings – serving as interesting alternatives to the traditional barbecue flavours. These are highly concentrated so offer economical benefits as only a small amount needs to be included in the recipes to make a big impact.

Tasneem Backhouse, sales director at EHL Ingredients, says, “Barbecue season has arrived early this year with the recent UK sunshine enticing consumer appetites for summery flavours. Events such as National Barbecue Week help to raise awareness and boost sales of certain ingredients as manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and butchers look for the next big thing in barbecue.

“Authenticity and provenance are key factors for us, and as such we always go the extra mile to ensure that our ingredients are sourced from quality suppliers with full traceability to the country of origin, so consumers can rest assured that the product they are getting is 100% authentic. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, with consumers more discerning than ever before, food manufacturers will need to invest in a quality selection of herbs and spices for barbecue foods to ensure successful end products that consumers will love.”

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