The food&drink towers blog

Munching, Savouring, Sharing & Enjoying

Recipe: Caramelised banana with candied walnuts and lemon sorbet

I had to share this yummy recipe from Mark Hartstone, chef proprietor at La Fosse at Cranborne.  Let me know if you decide to create this at home!!!

Caramelised banana with candied walnuts and lemon sorbet

The great thing about this recipe is that it is almost entirely from store cupboard ingredients.

Other than the sorbet the dish can be put together whilst your dinner guests are digesting their main course! The walnuts can be prepared in advance along with the sorbet, however the caramel on the banana will dissolve into the fruit and therefore must be done at the very last minute.

For the lemoncello sorbet:


·         240ml water

·         160g sugar

·         zest of 3 lemons

·         juice of 6 lemons

·         Dash of lemoncello on the sorbet as you serve


In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and a syrup has formed, about 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool to room temperature. Now stir in your lemon zest and juice.

To create a soft texture that is not crystalline at all, ½ the sugar may be replaced by an inverted sugar.  This is a sugar syrup that has been boiled at 114 degrees with an agent such as cream of tartar or citric acid.

Cool the mix and place in an ice cream maker or in a bowl that you whisk every 30 minutes whilst it freezes.

Alcohol acts as an anti-freeze by reducing the freezing temperature of liquids, so by drizzling the lemoncello over the finished sorbet you escape the problem of it not freezing.

Caramelised banana:


·         Bananas

·         Caster sugar (2 soup spoons per banana)

·         Lime zest


Peel bananas and cut length wise or in slices (thickness as you wish).

In a frying pan, put all the sugar and let it slowly melt on low/medium heat.

Once melted, add the banana 1 piece at a time, so that every piece is coated with the caramel

Take off the stove, remove the pieces of banana onto a piece of silicon paper and sprinkle with lime zest.

The most important thing is to not overcook the banana or you will end up with a mushy consistency.

For the candied walnuts:


·         5 walnut halves per person

·         100ml almond milk

·         caramel from bananas


Heat the caramel on the stove again then add the almond milk which will create a toffee type sauce. Add the nuts and they will coat and fill the undulating grooves of the walnuts.

When the nuts are well coated remove and put on the silicon paper.

For the toffee sauce:


·         50ml almond milk

·         caramel from bananas

Deglaze the pan again with a dash of almond milk to create the sauce.  A pinch of cinnamon will add a touch of warm and spice, a little grated vegan chocolate will also give the sauce some depth.

Will Brits drink more beer than Germans during EURO16?

With June typically being a strong month for sales of beer in pubs, the boost provided by Euro 2016 to manufacturers, brewers and operators looks set to kick-start an exceptional summer of sales. For the independent drinks-led pubs in particular which continue to be in a negative spiral, the football tournament could be a real life-line. This infographic “Drink Up!” looks at the amount of beer and soft drinks consumed in the commercial sector in the UK and compares that to France, Germany and Italy.

  • Who drinks more beer out of home, the Brits or the Germans?
  • How many soft drinks are consumed by Brits out of home?
  • Can pubs use Euro 2016 to start a great summer of sales?

For more information please contact Stuart mobile: +44 (0)7790 951229/

UNISON campaigns for UK to REMAIN in EU

UNISON is to campaign for the UK to stay part of the European Union, and will be encouraging its 1.3 million members to vote remain on 23 June.

The decision was taken today (Wednesday) at a meeting of the union’s governing NEC, and follows an extensive UK-wide consultation and survey across UNISON’s branches.

The fear that Brexit would mean the loss of the many workplace rights – parental leave, paid holiday, protection for part-timers and limits on excessive hours – that UK employees have come to take for granted is the most important issue in the coming referendum, according to UNISON’s overwhelmingly female membership.

Concern over what might happen to those employment rights should the UK vote to leave the EU was closely followed by worries about the plight of the country’s public services if Britain opted to go it alone.

In the consultative survey, almost four in five (78%) of UNISON’s health, local government, education, energy and police branches wanted the union to take a stance in the EU referendum. Of these, the overwhelming majority (95%) wanted UNISON to campaign for the UK to stay in Europe.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Europe isn’t perfect, but on balance staying in the EU has so much more to offer nurses, teaching assistants, town hall staff and other public servants than an uncertain future where the UK goes it alone.

“Brexit fears have just seen the UK’s growth forecast downgraded. NHS, local government, school and police employees bore the brunt of the last economic downturn, and are still paying the price. The last thing anyone wants is another recession where jobs, living standards and public services are back on the line.

“Without the laws that began life in Europe, most people at work in the UK would be getting a very rough deal. If the June vote is to leave the EU, it would then be up to the government which laws stayed and which laws went. Unscrupulous employers would have a field day.

“UNISON may have had its doubts about Europe in the past, but now the chips are down and exit is a real possibility, public sector workers know that the services they deliver, and the public that relies on them, will be much better off in than out.”

NHS housekeeper Mary Locke said: “Every since David Cameron came back from Brussels and began the referendum campaign, there’s been nothing but confusing claim and counterclaim from both camps.

“In contrast, UNISON’s information was clear and gave all the arguments, without taking sides. All politicians – whether they are remain or leave – could do well to learn from the union’s approach and use the next ten weeks wisely to inform voters, not bewilder and overwhelm them.”

UNISON member James Anthony, who is a nurse specialist, said: “Without the migrant health workers who’ve come to work in the UK from across Europe, the NHS would have gone under years ago.

“The health service is under pressure like never before, but its plight would be considerably worse if it were to suffer all the economic and political turmoil that Brexit would bring.”

Notes to editors:

UNISON’s six week-long consultation with members closed this week and approximately 60,000 public service workers took part in the survey via their branches.

The vote on 23 June is in the middle of UNISON’s national conference in Brighton and the union will be encouraging people planning toattend to make sure they apply for postal or proxy votes in good time.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E:
Alan Weaver T:  0207 121 5555 M: 07939 143310 E:

UK hospitality industry in favour of Brexit; but there will be a ‘negative impact on the economy’

A survey of operators in the UK hospitality industry has found that 49% plan to vote leave in next week’s EU Referendum, whilst 43% plan to vote remain and 7% are still undecided

The survey by RPBi, the hospitality data and news specialist, found that the majority of recipients – whether voting to leave or to remain – believe a leave vote would have a ‘negative impact on the economy’.

The B2B survey, which was conducted this week, received 1,915 responses from operators across all sectors of hospitality. The aim: To determine the industry’s thoughts on the EU Referendum and the impact on recruitment and investment in the UK hospitality industry in the event of a leave vote.

All respondents taking part in the survey were asked the official referendum question: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

Hospitality professionals in Wales are most in favour of voting to leave (64%3), whilst those in London are the most likely to vote remain with 62.5%. Furthermore, the figures suggest that there will be more operators in Scotland voting to remain than leave; in all other regions, a higher percentage of hospitality professionals intend to vote leave. Plus, B&Bs and caterers are more likely to vote leave; with restaurants, hotels and head offices more likely to vote remain.

Respondents, which included business owners, decision makers and senior operators, were also asked: “If the UK votes to leave the European Union, do you think it will be easier to recruit staff?” – the majority of recipients said there would be no impact (51%), with 34% stating it would be harder to recruit, 7% said it would be easier to recruit and 8.5% said they “don’t know”.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Keith Britten, director of RPBi, said: “The results of the survey mirror recent national opinion polls. Surprisingly, for the hospitality industry, the majority of respondents said that there would be no impact on recruitment in the event of a leave vote; with only a third saying it would be harder to recruit.”

Further findings suggest that the older the respondent, the more likely they would be to vote leave – more than 50% of those over 55 intend to vote leave, as opposed to 26% for 25-34 year olds. Also, men are more likely to vote leave than women (50% vs 46%), but there are twice as many women voters still undecided.

When asked “If the UK votes to leave the European Union, what do you think the impact will be on investment into the UK’s hospitality industry?” more than a third of recipients said there would be “no impact” (38%), whilst 36% stated there would be reduced investment. In all, 13.5% stated there would be increased investment, and 12% said they “don’t know”.

Finally, when asked “What do you believe the effect will be on the UK’s overall economy, if the UK votes to leave the European Union?” the majority of recipients said there would a negative effect (44%) – 36% stated there would be a positive effect, 10% stated there would no effect, and a further 10% again stated that they did not know.

Britten concluded: “After analysing the comments and survey results, the one key fact that stands out is that whichever way people decide to vote, the majority believe that a leave vote would have a negative impact on the economy. However, those voting to leave suggest that the negative impact will be short-lived and the benefits will be reaped in the long-term.”

“The industry will need to watch closely what happens next week. It will be important for companies and trade bodies to watch the developments and the potential impact on hospitality and to react as one industry and not, as has too often happened in the past, as individual sectors.”


The full report is available to download at

* Tables from the survey

* Key charts from the survey

* Selected comments from respondents; leave/remain/undecided


1. Just under 1% did not state a voting intention

2. All respondents stated they were eligible to vote

3. Percentage figures rounded up or down to the nearest half percent – the actual figures are in the charts in the PDF report


The B2B survey was conducted between 10th June and 15th June – the survey received 2,114 replies overall, who are all verified professional respondents from the hospitality industry that filled out a survey via DotMailer. Of these, 1,915 replies were used for the survey, as they stated that they were able to vote in the referendum and fitted the criteria of a hospitality operating company.

The respondents were representative of the industry; the respondents were owners of businesses and senior operators. As such, there was a bias in the vote to older and more male respondents.

About RPBi

RPBi supplies in-depth, accurate news and data about the UK hospitality industry – for more details go


Keith Britten –          01263 862093


Ross Piggott – 020 8874 9429

The survey results are now available to download from

Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2016

Press Release

Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2016:
Regional Winner 2016 Scotland announced
The winners of the prestigious Regional 2016 Scotland Award has been announced at the Farm Shop & Deli Show
After receiving more than 350 entries from across the country, the 12 category winners and the 9 regional winners of the Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2016 were revealed at a ceremony in Birmingham on Monday 18 April 2016.
The awards, in partnership with Olives Et Al, are now in their third year and recognise the best specialist independent retailers in the UK. They celebrate the highest levels of service, product knowledge, initiative, innovation and community involvement offered by these businesses across the UK.
Winners of this year’s coveted Regional 2016 Scotland Award are Billingtons of Lenzie, a delicatessen from Glasgow, Lanarkshire. 
The awards were judged by a team of experts from the world of speciality retail, fine food and food media, including Jon May, Managing Director Fabulous Food & Drink, Giles Henschel, Co Founder & CEO Olives Et Al and Ross Gilfillan, Editor Speciality Food magazine. Shortlisted entrants were chosen, judges then carried out a series of undercover visits to see them in action before selecting the category winners.  
Nigel Barden, Chairman of Judges and Food and Drink Journalist/Broadcaster, says: “The entries this year were outstanding – judging becomes harder every year. I think what stands out the most from the businesses we visited this year was a passion for customer service and continued innovation. There are some very driven and talented food retailers in Britain and they deserve to be recognised by awards such as these.  I hope that the 2016 winners will benefit through increased press attention and footfall as a result of these awards.”
Upon receiving their award, Mark & Sue Billington from Billingtons of Lenzie commented; “ We are absolutely delighted- totally surprised ! I think the business is all about the community and the way we interacts with them. We can’t wait to take it back to Scotland; And celebrate with the rest of our fantastic team.”
Billingtons of Lenzie (Delicatessen)
Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Contact Mark or Sue Billington 

Sent from my iPhone

Sent from my iPhone

Yorebridge House Hotel Wins Best Small Hotel in UK Awards

RECIPE: Lamb and Cheddar Burgers

Peter Gordon’s

Lamb and Cheddar Cheese Burgers

With Beetroot Horseradish Mayonnaise, Watercress and Caramelised Onions

Serves 4

  • 600g New Zealand lamb mince
  • ¼ tsp fresh rosemary (or thyme), finely chopped
  • 60g cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp creamed horseradish
  • 1 small cooked beetroot, grated
  • 4 burger buns, split open
  • 1 handful watercress


  1. Mix the lamb with the rosemary, cheese and ¼ tsp fine salt.  Divide into 4 and roll into balls.  Pat the balls between your hands and flatten slightly to around 1.5 – 2cm thick. Lay on a plate, cover and leave at room temperature while you prep everything else.
  2. Sauté the onions with ½ tsp salt and the oil over medium low heat until caramelized – stirring frequently to prevent them sticking to the pan.
  3. Add the vinegar and cook 1 minute, stirring.  Keep warm.
  4. Mix the mayonnaise with the horseradish and beetroot, adding salt to taste.
  5. Cook the burgers over medium high heat until browned, then turn over and cook on the other side for 2 minutes at which point the meat will be medium.  Take off the grill and keep warm – ideally rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Grill the buns on their cut side in the same skillet until warmed through.  The lamb juices will be absorbed by the buns which will make them even tastier.
  7. To serve, spread the beetroot mayonnaise on the bottom of the buns.  Lay the watercress on, then sit a burger on. Spoon on the caramelised onions and sit the bun top on.

For more information about New Zealand Lamb go to

Issued on behalf of New Zealand Lamb by Crescendo PR. For further information, please contact Sally Lloyd at Crescendo PR   Tel: +44 (0) 20 3627 9073

Social desserts launched at ‘Paul’ Bakeries

“Bittersweet pies” is a new cakes product line, sold in all ‘Paul’ bakeries across the country, that highlights the gender inequality in Romania’s society by turning cakes into statistics pie charts!

This makes the project to be the 1st ever “social desserts” line in the world.

The cake line includes:

The “Salary Gap” cake

The “Misrepresentation Cake” (in politics)

The “Extremely Rich Cake”

The “Startup Exclusion Cake”

The “Glass Ceiling Double Cake”

(Which shows the inequality in senior management positions compared to mid management level positions)

All the cakes are 100% edible (including the statistics!), and are based on Paul’s original and popular cake recipes (Fleur de Lys, Tartelette citron, Tartelette au chocolat).

5% of revenue from all “Bittersweet Pies” sold would be donated to “FILIA Foundation”, which will use the donation for a project aimed to reduce gender gap by training rural women and prepare them for the modern professions.

“The CSR project ‘Bittersweet Pies’ has started from a social issue every Romanian woman faced at least once in her life. Knowing from research data that sweets are more often consumed by women than by men, we are launching a range of cakes to spark the conversation about gender inequality, inviting women to take the necessary steps for having the same rights as men have. We are excited and very proud to be pioneers in having the 1st ever ‘social dessert’ line and hope that our clients will appreciate it and will contribute to reduce this gender gap,” stated Monica Eftimie, Chief Marketing Officer Paul Romania.

“According to The World Economic Forum 2015 Global Gender Gap Report, Romania was rated number 114 out of 145 countries in political equality, and scored low also on health and financial inequality. The bittersweet project takes a mission to spread the data, create awareness, and spark conversation in every household in Romania about the importance of closing this gap,” stated Nir Refuah, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, MRM//McCann Romania.

NEWS:Chatham Indian restaurant wins top Award in national restaurant Guide

Press release
Chatham Indian restaurant wins top Award in national restaurant Guide.
Taj Cuisine Chatham has achieved one of the Cobra Good Curry Guide’s most prestigious Awards.
The Award will be presented on Monday 4th April at the winning restaurant, in the presence of the Mayor of Chatham, and a number of VIP guests.
With Indian food rating as the nation’s favourite food, it’s not surprising that curry-crazy Brits spend a shedload of money on their dine-ins and takeaways. They will blow more than £18,000 on Indian curries in their lives, according to a survey published in the Guide, reveals editor Pat Chapman. The average spend each month is £31.44 This means that over a 50-year period we will each spend over £18K on curries.
There are 9,000 Indian and Bangladeshi Restaurants and Takeaways in the British Isles, and for the benefit of curry lovers, the Guide identifies the best few, as voted by members of the public.  The very best of those receive special awards.
It is given primarily for the quality of the food. Its taste, aroma, colours, textures and presentation is paramount. Ambience, customer care, service competence and friendliness also have a bearing on the Award. Taj Cuisine meets all these criteria with ease. It is one of the best curry venues in the region.
“It is a fantastic achievement and thoroughly deserved,” comments Pat Chapman. “I’ve been judging Indian restaurants and takeaways for over thirty years and the standard keeps on rising every year. Taj Cuisine displays exceptional customer care and thoroughly deserves this Award.”
Asked why Taj Cuisine stands out amongst so much competition, chef Abdul Monsur said “We serve a delicious array of Indian and Bangladeshi dishes. We never compromise. All ingredients are carefully sourced and we never use artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. We are delighted to be so highly recognised by Pat’s celebrated Guide.”
Opening Times
Sat – Thurs:
12noon – 2.30pm
6.00pm – 11.30pm
6.00pm – 11.30pm
Taj Cuisine
1 Walderslade Centre
Walderslade Road
Restaurant Phones
01634 686648
01634 686636
About the Cobra Good Curry Guide and Pat Chapman
The Good Curry Guide, the highly respected publication, and its prestigious awards to top restaurants was first published in 1984, and appears biannually.  Since 1992 it has been sponsored by Cobra Beer, and is the only critique of Indian restaurants in print.
The Cobra Guide’s editor, Pat Chapman, has been called “the ambassador of Indian Food” by Derek Cooper, “the Curry Leader” by Fay Maschler and “a missionary seeking converts to curry” by Loyd Grossman.  Pat was virtually weaned on spicy food, and by the age of ten, he was learning from his ex memsahib granny how to cook curries the pukka Indian way.  Later he coined the word “curryholic” to describe his passion for that food.  In 1982 he founded the Curry Club to share information about recipes, restaurants and all things spice. His network of reporters led to the publication of the Good Curry Guides. Sir David Frost said of the Guide “it tells you everything you want to know about curry” and Delia wrote, in You magazine “with it he has done the nation a real service”.
Pat has written 34 books, with international sales topping 1.5 million copies.  Many are on curry, but Pat also writes on Chinese, Thai, Middle Eastern, and all other spicy foods.  His Balti Cookbook was the first on the subject and became a Sunday Times Number 1 best seller.  The Daily Mail wrote“he is responsible for Baltifying Britain”.
Pat regularly appears as a celebrity chef at major food shows.  In 1999 he hosted his own ‘Rice and Spice’ theatre at the BBC’s Good Food Show at Olympia.  He takes culinary tours to India, runs cookery courses, and from time to time he guest chefs at Indian restaurants, and recently, to name a few, at Hilton Hotels, Taj Hotels India, Selfridges restaurants, Club Med, the Cordon Blue Cookery School, British Embassy Berne, and Cunard’s QE 2.
Pat’s is a veteran television presenter. He has recently cooked on Granada’s popular ‘This Morning’, GMTV, C4’s ‘Big Breakfast’and accolade of accolades, three Asian programmes: BBC TV’s ‘Network East’, Central’s ‘Eastern Mix’, and Zee TV’s breakfast show.  He also appeared in a weekly live cooking  slot on BBC TV’s ‘Good Morning’, and in two episodes of BBC TV’s ‘Who’ll do the Pudding’, one with Ken Hom and the other with Madhur Jaffrey.  Daily Telegraph, whose Max Davidson recently said of him: “Chapman is to curry, what God is to the Old Testament”!!!
Sarah Jane Evans in BBC Good Food Magazine said of him “it would be difficult to find anyone who matches Pat Chapman’s enthusiasm for spicy food”.
Pat Chapman can be contacted on 
and on 01428 658327

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑