Christmas Foodie Diary

Christmas Foodie Diary

While we visit local food markets all year and choice really ramps up in December. Here is a list of our favourites to get some fantastic local produce for the feast table and some lovely gifts!

Festive Market, Lexicon, Bracknell
Up until Christmas Eve
Luxury shopping mall The Lexicon are holding their first festive markets this year. In addition to the shopping and eating offering the complex already holds, a sea of festive stalls will descend for the season. Visit for delicious sweet treats, personalised Christmas decorations and gifts you won’t find elsewhere.

Artisan Market, Newbury
Up until December 9th
Newbury Artisan Market has added an extra date for Christmas due to high demand. The home of all things handmade, fresh and local, the Newbury market is the place to go for gifts that live and breathe Berkshire. Christmas sights and smells mingle to create one of the most buzzing markets in the region.

Christmas Fair, Ascot Racecourse
Up until December 2nd
With an incredible 150 companies present, you’ll truly need the entire day to experience the Christmas Fair at Ascot. With a delightful mix of boutique outlets selling plenty for every member of the family, you’re sure to give the most unique gifts under the tree this Christmas. There is also plenty for foodies, with an entire floor dedicated to edible gifts — and hungry shoppers!

Christmas Fair, Arlington, Business Park
December 5th
2018 is set to be Arlington’s biggest Christmas Fayre ever, with organisers hoping to see 80 stalls of festive goodies take over the business park for a day of shopping and Christmas cheer. The selection of scrumptious stalls will include homemade jam, cheeses, crafts and clothing, as well as stock from a selection of popular local boutiques. Lucky shoppers will also have the opportunity to make friends with a family of reindeer.

Christmas Market, Winchester Cathedral
Up until December 20th
No guide to Hampshire’s Christmas markets would be complete without including the festivities at Winchester Cathedral. Open from 10.30am to 8pm (Thu-Sat) and 10.30am to 6.30pm (Sun-Wed), it is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets and welcomes around half a million visitors each year.

 

What food’s in season in December?

What food’s in season in December?

Fruit: Apples (Bramley), Clementines, Cranberries (end of season), Passion fruit, Pears, Pomegranate, (coming into season)

Vegetables: Celeriac, Beetroot, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Celery, Kale, Leeks, Mushrooms (wild), Parsnips, Potatoes (maincrop), Shallots, Swede, Turnips

Meat: Duck, Goose, Rabbit, Turkey, Venison

Fish and Seafood: Haddock, Mussels, Scallops, Oysters 

Why we eat seasonal…

  1. The taste. There’s no denying, when food is in season it tastes better. Much better.
  2. The cost. ‘Supply and demand’ means that when an abundance of produce is available the cost goes down.
  3. The nutritional value. Local in-season produce will be brighter, more vibrant and packed with more nutrients – studies have shown that the levels in some anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, Folate and Carotenes rapidly decline when stored for periods of time. Nature also naturally provides us with what we need, for example, winter seasonal foods tend to contain Vitamin C and summer seasonal foods like salads, cool us down. Clever stuff.
  4. There’s less chemicals. Out of season food has to be imported and some countries have very relaxed laws about chemicals (the majority of which the UK has banned) being sprayed on fruits and vegetables.
  5. It’s better for the environment:Less transportation, less refrigeration, less hot houses, less irradiation of produce and all the time supporting local farming. What’s not to like?

All of these principles are very important to us at B4B when we create fresh daily buffets for our corporate clients across Hampshire, Berkshire, Sussex, Buckinghamshire, and Surrey.

Get in the mood for Christmas with the office buffets…

Get in the mood for Christmas with the office buffets…

Last week at Buffetsforbusinessthe team launched our very popular Xmas menu. We love this time of year mainly because of the food, so want to get into the spirit as early and as often as possible!

You can bring a bit of festive cheer to your meetings and team lunches with our fantastic sandwich options:

Christmas Vegetarian Roll & Wraps

  1. Brie Grape & Cranberry
  2. Egg Mayonnaise, Watercress & Black Pepper
  3. Nut Roast, Carrot & Cranberry
  4. Mature Cheddar Cheese Ploughmans with Plum & Apple Chutney

Christmas Meat and Fish Sandwiches

  1. Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry
  2. Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese
  3. Honey Roast Ham, Tomato, Rocket & English Mustard
  4. Mature Cheddar Cheese Ploughmans with Plum & Apple Chutney

Christmas Vegetarian Sandwiches

  1. Brie Grape & Cranberry
  2. Egg Mayonnaise
  3. Watercress & Black Pepper Nut Roast
  4. Carrot & Cranberry Mature Cheddar Cheese Ploughmans with Plum & Apple Chutney Allergens

And why not finish with our lovely mince pies or stolen.

 

Slow cooked mushroom risotto, more lovely comfort food!

Slow cooked mushroom risotto, more lovely comfort food!

This recipe is one of our favourites courtesy of the BBC Good Food website https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-mushroom-risotto

  1. 1 onion
  2. 1 tsp olive oil
  3. 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  4. 1l vegetable stock
  5. 50g porcini mushrooms
  6. 300g wholegrain rice
  7. Small bunch parsley, finely chopped
  8. Grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese to serve

Method

  1. Heat the slow cooker if necessary. Fry the onion in the oil in a frying pan with a splash of water for 10 minutes or until it is soft but not coloured. Add the mushroom slices and stir them around until they start to soften and release their juices.
  2. Meanwhile pour the stock into a saucepan and add the porcini, bring to a simmer and then leave to soak. Tip the onions and mushrooms into the slow cooker and add the rice, stir it in well. Pour over the stock and porcini leaving any bits of sediment in the saucepan (or pour the mixture through a fine sieve).
  3. Cook on High for 1 hour and then check the consistency – the rice should be cooked. If it needs a little more liquid stir in a splash of stock. Stir in the parsley and season. Serve with the parmesan.

Enjoy!

 

Customer Feedback

Customer Feedback

The Buffets for Business team love receiving feedback – especially when it is glowing! So, we thought we should share a few of the great customer messages we have recently receiving.

“ Many thanks! We’ve been really impressed with the food and service received so please pass our thanks on to all the team. 

 “I’d like to say that we were really pleased with our buffet lunch, especially the gluten free vegetarian meal (I really struggled to find anywhere that would easily cater for this). I look forward to using your services again in the future 😊.”

“The food was a big success with everyone and so much better than having sandwiches every day, though they were good too. This is the first time we’ve gone for the Street Food, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others based on our experience. We didn’t try the Indian option, but if it’s as good as the chilli you won’t go wrong.”

Thanks to all our wonderful customers who took the time to message us.

Going Nuts

Going Nuts

There’s lots of opposing viewpoints out there about eating nuts. There are people who think they are essential to a healthy diet and those that think they encourage weight gain. Our view is nuts have endless health benefits and are the ultimate protein rich snack to beat cravings between meals.

Eating small quantities of raw nuts (not salted, fried or baked) gives you the most nutritional value. They are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, dietetic fibre, vitamins A, B and E, minerals, vegetable sterols, arginine and lots of other good stuff that we can’t pronounce. The recommended portion size is a small handful or, if you already have small hands, 1.5 ounces.

The type of nut you choose doesn’t actually matter, as a group they can bring the following benefits:

  1. Improved heart health
  2. They protect your brain health
  3. Anti-inflammatories
  4. Improve your digestive health
  5. Premature aging prevention
  6. Build muscle mass
  7. Fight obesity

Walnuts: It’s been said that walnuts are the oldest known tree food, dating back 10,000 years. Walnuts appear to have a wide variety of health benefits, plus they’re rich in certain phytochemicals—especially phenols, phytates, and phytosterols—making them the top nut of all the healthiest nuts.

Almonds: Most of the world’s almonds come from California, and interestingly, they hail from the peach family. They’ve been around since Biblical times and have been touted as one of the healthiest nuts (and foods in general) for nearly as long.

Pitachios:Americans consume an estimated 45,000 tons of pistachios each year, the majority of which come from Iran. The health benefits of pistachios are varied, but they’re clearly great for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes and also for those looking to lose weight.

Macadamia Nuts:Native to Australia, Macadamia nuts are given the rather endearing nickname, the ‘Queen of Nuts’. Cardiovascular benefits with decreased LDL cholesterol have been reported as amongst their benefits.

Cashews:Though cashews are, surprisingly, in the same family as poison ivy. Unlike their distant cousins though, cashews are a popular snack, and they’re just as healthy as they are delicious. Cashews contain phytates with anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the essential minerals phosphorous, magnesium, copper, and manganese.

Slow Cooked Lasagne, the perfect comfort food

Slow Cooked Lasagne, the perfect comfort food

As the nights creep in, we love nothing more than cozy nights in. And there is nothing better than getting out the slow cooker to enjoy your favourite comfort food to snuggle down with.This recipe for Lasagne is one of our favourites courtesy of the BBC Good Food website https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-lasagne

Ingredients:

2 tsp rapeseed oil
2 onions
Finely chopped
4 celery sticks
4 carrots
320g finely diced
400g lean (5% fat) mince beef
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp vegetable bouillon
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
6 wholewheat lasagne sheets (105g)

For the sauce:

400ml whole milk
50g wholemeal flour
1 bay leaf
Generous grating of nutmeg
15g finely grated parmesan

Heat the slow cooker if necessary. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the onions, celery, carrots and garlic for 5-10 mins, stirring frequently until softened and starting to colour. Tip in the meat and break it down with a wooden spoon, stirring until it browns. Pour in the tomatoes with a quarter of a can of water, the tomato purée, bouillon, balsamic vinegar, thyme and plenty of black pepper, return to the boil and cook for 5 mins more.

Spoon half the mince in the slow cooker and top with half the lasagne, breaking it where necessary so it covers as much of the meat layer as possible. Top with the rest of the meat, and then another layer of the lasagne. Cover and cook on Low while you make the sauce.

Tip the milk and flour into a pan with the bay leaf and nutmeg and cook on the hob, whisking continuously until thickened. Carry on cooking for a few mins to cook the flour. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the cheese. Pour onto the pasta and spread out with a spatula, then cover and cook for 3 hours until the meat is cooked and the pasta is tender. Allow to settle for 10 mins before serving with salad.

Enjoy!

 

November Foodie Diary

November Foodie Diary

Unsurprisingly, we at Buffets4Business are unashamedly, out & out foodies. During the week we deliver healthy lunch platters and sandwiches packed with fresh ingredients sourced from the best local suppliers, and at the weekend we’re often found sourcing fresh ingredients from the best local suppliers at farmers markets.

We’re massive fans of farmers markets. Not only are you supporting local producers, but you’re getting amazing cheeses, meats, breads, cakes, veg, eggs, jams and chutneys at (mostly) affordable prices.  Whichever farmers’ market you shop at, you can guarantee a friendly smile (and a sample or two) from some passionate producers. To make it easy for you we have put together a local diary:

 

Date Name
Thursday 1st November Wokingham Farmers Market
Saturday 3rd November Byfleet Farmers Market
Saturday 3rd November Marlow Market, The Causeway
Saturday 3rd November Reading Cattle Market
Saturday 3rd November Windsor Farmers Market
Saturday 10th November Croydon Park Farmers Market
Saturday 10th November Bourne End, Community and Craft Market
Sunday 11th November Crawley Farmers Market
Sunday 11th November Maidenhead Farmers Market
Sunday 11th November Staines-Upon-Thames, High Street, Market
Wednesday 14th November High Wycombe Farmers Market
Friday 16th November Bracknell Farmers Market
Saturday 17th November Camberley Farmers and Artisan Market
Sunday 18th November Ascot Farmers Market
Wednesday 21st November Woodley Farmers Market
Saturday 24th November Cobham Farmers Market
Friday 30th November Reigate Farmers Market
What food’s in season in November?

What food’s in season in November?

 Fruit: apples, clementines, cranberries, passion fruit, pomegranate pears, quince, satsumas.

Vegetables:artichoke, beetroot, butternut squash, cauliflower, celeriac,  celery, chicory, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, parsnips, pumpkin, salsify, shallots, swede, truffles, watercress, wild mushrooms.

Meat/poultry/fish: beef, duck, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, hare, lamb, mallard, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, turkey, venison, wood pigeon, clams, cod, coley, crab, dab, dover sole, grey mullet, gurnard, haddock, halibut, hake, herring, lemon sole, lobster, mackerel, monkfish, mussels, oysters, pilchard, plaice, pollack, prawns, red mullet, sea bass (wild), sea bream, skate, squid, turbot, winkles.

 Why B4B recommend to ‘eat seasonal’…

  1. The taste. There’s no denying, when food is in season it tastes better. Much better. 
  2. The cost. ‘Supply and demand’ means that when an abundance of produce is available the cost goes down. 
  3. The nutritional value. Local in-season produce will be brighter, more vibrant and packed with more nutrients – studies have shown that the levels in some anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, Folate and Carotenes rapidly decline when stored for periods of time. Nature also naturally provides us with what we need, for example, winter seasonal foods tend to contain Vitamin C and summer seasonal foods like salads, cool us down. Clever stuff.
  4. There’s less chemicals. Out of season food has to be imported and some countries have very relaxed laws about chemicals (the majority of which the UK has banned) being sprayed on fruits and vegetables.
  5. It’s better for the environment: Less transportation, less refrigeration, less hot houses, less irradiation of produce and all the time supporting local farming. What’s not to like?

 

All of these principles are very important to us at B4B when we create fresh daily buffets for our corporate clients across Hampshire, Berkshire, Sussex, Buckinghamshire, and Surrey.