Hog Roast for 40th birthday party

Spit Roast was absolutely fantastic, it was amazing + everyone commented on it, thank you so much for all the hard work you put into making it so special, and I, and the Rugby Club will definitely be using your services again.

Joanne Thornton


Autumn produce worth trying

by Jenny Myhill


Say goodbye to summer and those crisp and bright fruits and vegetables

But don't worry, Autumn is here and it's the season of deep green, dark yellow and brilliant orange coloured fruit and vegetables. These colours mean the fruits and vegetables are rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals. The more colourful the fruit, the better it is for your health. FACT!


A good source of fibre, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Look for smooth and firm, small to medium sized parsnips for the best quality. Large coarse roots usually have woody or fibrous centres. Did i mention they are deliously sweet when roasted?

Turnips and swedes.

A member of the mustard family, turnips (known as swedes in Scotland and Ireland) have a white flesh with a tough outer skin that ranges from yellow to purple, and a more bitter flavour than potatoes. They are a good source of vitamin C and like their cousins, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, these cruciferous vegetables contain the potent phytochemical sulforaphane, which has been shown to protect against cancer, especially breast cancer.

Try exchanging your potatoe for a turnip next time. They work well boiled, mashed or roasted.

Sweet potatoes.

Would you believe me if i said that the sweet potato wasn't actually a potato? Potatoes are classified as tubers, while the sweet potato is a storage root (geeky food stuff here!). Good-quality sweet potatoes will be firm, smooth-skinned and tan to light rose colour. They contain four times the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A and 50% of vitamin C in a serving. You would have to eat 23 portions of broccoli to consume the same amount.

They are ideal for baking, grilling or steaming, and you can substitute them in any recipe that calls for potatoes.


Known more for their Halloween docoration qualities more than their culinary value, it's no wonder it's a popular veg this time of year. Their bright orange colour is a dead giveaway that it's loaded with important antioxidants, as well as being rich in vitamin A and C. Even the seeds are packed with nutritional value. In fact, they are only second to peanuts in protein content and a good source of zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

It's great served as a tasty side dish for a main meal and ideal for making hearty winter soups, as well as being baked into bread and pumpkin pie. Remember pumpkins also come canned if a full pumpkin is too much.

Winter squash.

Winter squash develops hard rinds and the tough seeds and fibrous centre are inedible and must be scooped out. Here's an interesting fact – Winter squash is one of the few vegetables that, during storage, the vitamin A content increases, and they already contain more than 100% of the RDA for vitamin A. They are also a good source of heart-healthy nutrients, folate and fibre.

There are several different kinds of winter squash and many of them have a very unique taste. Butternut is probably the most popular squash and easiest to find. Acorn and spaghetti squash are also found quite easily. Buttercup and kabocha squash are delicious as well but harder to find.

Here's a nice recipe for Butternut squash, goat’s cheese and walnut pasties

Apples & pears.

Quite an obvious one, but apples contain flavonoids, some of the most potent antioxidants around and pearsare high in fibre. Very easy to get hold of and transport as a snack. Hundreds of recipes out there, you can use them in low-fat pancakes, sliced on sandwiches or poached and drizzled with syrup for a warm, sweet dessert. 


Cranberries contain anthocyanins, the heart-healthy antioxidants, which are also found in tea and red wine, and the compound that gives them their colour. Only about 10% of the commercial crop is sold fresh – mostly in September through to December. The rest can be found as juice, dried or as cranberry sauce. Cranberries work well added to muffins and other baked goods and in compotes, relishes, chutneys and fruit desserts.

Now for the meat and fish


Wild rabbit meat, which is leaner and tastier than the farmed variety, has a fabulous subtle, gamey flavour. It is available throughout the year but you're more likely to find the best sized rabbits from July to December. Rabbit meat is relatively low in fat and high in protein. It is a good source of niacin, iron, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. Unlike much of Europe, rabbit is rarely seen in UK supermarkets, but is available from many butchers and farmers markets.

Wild Boar

Wild boar is lean meat that should, as a rule, be cooked at lower temperatures than other meats. Avoid overcooking. Wild boar, raised like beef, is range fed and therefore can be served on the rare side. A rule of thumb for cooking wild boar is "low and slow". Wild boar is excellent barbecued. When prepared properly it is flavorful and very tender. Wild boar also makes tasty sausage and ground meat products.


Trout is a relative of the freshwater salmon and is native to Britain. Although its appearance varies, it's typically brownish with rusty red and black spots. It lives in brooks, rivers and lakes, and the saltwater variety, the sea trout, is found in coastal waters throughout northern Europe. It is an oil-rich fish and is a valuable source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent heart disease. It's also a good source of protein.


A delicious, nutritious and healthy meat. The farmed meat is often more tender than venison from wild deer. The meat is unmistakable – fine textured, dark red and with very little fat on it .

High in protein, low in fat and rich in those Omega 3’s – a very healthy choice and as an added bonus, venison is also a source of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12 too. Venison also has traces of iron, copper and zinc. Wow, a super meat!

But remember, if you cover it with rich creamy sauces or baste it with lashings of butter you will undo all that good work.

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Working Lunch: Mushroom Risotto Recipe

Mushroom Risotto


Prep: 25 min, plus soaking
Cooking: 35 min
Serves: 4/5





Shopping List

  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 300g superfino carnaroli rice
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon white wine
  • 20g dried porcini, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
  • 1 litres hot chicken or vegetable stock, preferably home-made
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g wild mushrooms
  • 20g finely grated parmesan
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • cracked black pepper

Let's Get Started

  • Melt the butter in a heavy-based casserole dish over medium heat. Add the onion and cook very slowly for 5-7 minutes until soft.
  • Add the rice and stir for a few minutes until heated through and well-coated with the butter.
  • Stirring continuously, add the white wine and cook for a few minute to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
  • Drain the dried mushrooms, squeeze out any excess moisture and add them to the rice.
  • Add a ladle of hot stock and stir until absorbed. Continue to add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously, until all the stock is absorbed – about 15-17 minutes. When cooked, the rice should be 'al dente' – tender but firm in the centre.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and gently fry for a few seconds until transparent, taking care not to let it colour.
  • Add all the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the mushrooms start to release their juice.
  • When the rice is cooked, stir in the mushrooms. Leave to stand for 1 minute.
  • Add the butter, Parmesan and parsley, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Season to taste.
  • Individually portion and freeze.
  • Pull out of freezer on the morning of when you want it and allow to defrost, microwave until pipping hot throughout before consuming.


This recipe is part of our working lunch recipe series, suggesting easy meals that can be prepared in bulk and frozen for when you want them.

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Working Lunch: Cottage Pie Recipe

Cottage Pie RecipeOverview

Prep: 35 min
Cook:1 hr 40 min
Portions: 5/6






Shopping List

For the meat

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 675 g minced beef or lamb
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
  • 3-4 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-4 drops of Tabasco
  • 175ml dry white or red wine
  • 300ml chicken or beef stock
  • cracked black pepper

For the topping

  • 1.4kg potatoes
  • 50ml milk or single cream
  • 2 tablespoons mature cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan

Let's Get Started

  • Pre-heat oven to 180C/gas 4.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, celery and carrot, stirring them over a brisk heat but not allowing them to brown.
  • After 5 minutes or so add the garlic, reduce the heat and soften everything together.
  • Increase the heat again and add the mince, stirring until browned.
  • Stir in the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, wine and stock, season and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Boil the potatoes until soft and mash them with milk and butter until smooth and creamy.
  • Spoon the meat mixture into 6 small freezable and microwavable ramekins (see pic above) and cover with a thick, even layer of mashed potato.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 45-55 minutes until golden and bubbling.
  • Allow to cool and freeze, defrost in fridge over night and reheat until piping hot throughout before serving.


This recipe is part of our working lunch recipe series, suggesting easy meals that can be prepared in bulk and frozen for when you want them.

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Working Lunch: Goulash Recipe


Prep: 5 min
Cook: 55 min
Portions: 4/5

Shopping List

  • 750 g stewing steak, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 50 g piquillo red peppers, from a jar, cut into strips
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 400 ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • grated rind of half a lemons

Let's Get Started

Season the beef, then dust in the flour.

Heat the oil in a pan and brown the meat.

Remove beef, turn down the heat and add the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, 10-15 minutes.

Return the meat to the pan and add the tomatoes and paprika. Stir well and cook for 1 minute before pouring in the stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, add the peppers and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes. At this point the sauce should be thick and the beef tender. Scatter with chopped parsley.
Divide up into suitable portions and freeze down. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw slowly in a fridge or cooler bag.  Heat in microwave until piping hot throughout. 
Serve with a crusty bread roll.


This recipe is part of our working lunch recipe series, suggesting easy meals that can be prepared in bulk and frozen for when you want them.

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Working Lunch: Chicken Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings Recipe

Chicken Casserole with Cheesy DumplingsOverview

Prep: 20 min
Cook: 1 hr
Portions: 6-8





Shopping List

  • 1 whole chicken, (1.8kg)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 350g unsliced rindless streaky bacon, cut into 1–2cm
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 2cm slices on the diagonal
  • 700ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • a few sprigs thyme

For the dumplings:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300 ml buttermilk or soured milk
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley thyme, rosemary or chives
  • 25g cheddar cheese, finely grated

Let's Get Started

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Remove the breasts from the chicken and cut them in half. Remove the leg portions and divide them into thighs and drumsticks. This will give you eight pieces of chicken. Season them well.

Pour the oil into a large casserole dish on a high heat, add the bacon and fry quickly for 1–2 minutes or until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Add the chicken in batches and sear on each side until golden, and remove. Add the onion and carrots and fry for 2–3 minutes or until golden.

Return the bacon and chicken to the dish, pour on the stock, add the thyme and season well. Bring slowly to the boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

For the dumplings Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl add the herbs, mix, then make a well in the centre. Pour in most of the buttermilk or soured milk (leaving about 50ml out). Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together, adding a little more buttermilk if necessary. Don’t knead the mixture or it will become too heavy. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky.

Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and bring together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 2cm thick. cut or divide the dough into 10–12 small balls.

Remove the casserole dish from the oven and turn the heat up to 230C/gas 8. Arrange the dumplings on top, leaving a slight gap between them to allow for spreading. Scatter with the cheese. Return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 200C/Gas 6 and cook for a further 20 minutes until the dumplings are crisp and golden and the chicken is cooked through. Allow to cool.

Divide up into suitable portions with a couple dumplings in each and freeze down. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw slowly in a fridge or cooler bag.  Heat in microwave until piping hot throughout. 


This recipe is part of our working lunch recipe series, suggesting easy meals that can be prepared in bulk and frozen for when you want them.

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Working Lunch: Retro Beef Lasagne Recipe

Beef LasagneOverview

Prep: 20 min
Cook: 40 min
Portions: 5 (good portions)






  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 100g salami, or bacon, finely chopped
  • 1kg minced beef
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 800g plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 60g butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • 600ml full-fat milk
  • 250g no-cook lasagne sheets
  • Parmesan
  • 100g grated mozzarella

Let's Get Started

Start with a shallow baking dish roughly 20cm x 30cm, lightly grease the inside with oil.

To make the ragù sauce, gently fry the onion and garlic in a wide pan with a splash of oil until soft but not coloured. Tip the salami or bacon in along with the minced beef and stir though, breaking up the clumps of mince. Let it fry, stirring from time to time, until it is browned.

Season, then add the tomato purée, oregano, chopped tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, and let it gently cook for about 20 minutes. The juices should be a thick, red texture, and not watery.

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and let it foam a bit, then slowly add the milk, stirring all the time. Keep stirring over a gentle heat until it thickens and bubbles. Season, then remove from the heat.

To assemble, spread about a 1/4 of the meat sauce across the base of the prepared dish, then add lasagne sheets. Spread this with the thinnest layer of white sauce and grate over some parmesan. Cover this with more lasagne sheets, and do the same again with white sauce and parmesan. Now, add another 1/4 of meat evenly. Add another three layers of lasagne sheets, white sauce and parmesan. Continue to the top until everything is used up, finishing with a thicker layer of white sauce and then the grated mozzarella all over the top.

Put into the oven at 190C/gas 5 and bake for about 40 minutes or until the pasta inside is cooked and the top golden.

Allow to cool in fridge, once the temperature has dropped the lasagne will become more firm. Divide portions up and add to freezable containers. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw slowly in a fridge or cooler bag.  Heat in microwave until piping hot throughout. 

Serve with side salad if possible.


This recipe is part of our working lunch recipe series, suggesting easy meals that can be prepared in bulk and frozen for when you want them.

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Working Lunch: Chilli Con Carne Recipe

Chilli Con CarneOverview

Prep:  20 min
Cook:1 hr 30 min
Portions: 6





Shopping List

  • 2 large onions
  • 700g lean stewing beef, fat removed and cut into 1-2cm cubes
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 800g (canned) chopped tomatoes
  • 2 green peppers, sliced thinly
  • 3 green or red chillies, chopped, leave seeds in for spice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 400g red kidney beans
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Let's Get Started


Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the meat until it browns – roughly 5-6 minutes. Add onion and garlic and stir for a minute before adding the tinned tomatoes, chillies, peppers, and a good pinch of salt.

Now all you need to do is cover the pan and simmer for about an hour, until the meat is tender and the liquid thickens. Add water is it begins to dry out.

Add the cumin, kidney beans (and a bit of bean juice)and the brown sugar. Simmer for 10 mins.

Allow to cool if you are making it in advance. Boil off enough rice for 6 portions.

Portion chilli and rice into 5/6 freezer friendly secure tubs and freeze.

When ready to eat remove from freezer in morning and let it thaw in a fridge or cooler bag. Heat in microwave at full power until piping hot throughout. Add grated cheese or a dollop of sour cream if possible.


This recipe is part of our working lunch recipe series, suggesting easy meals that can be prepared in bulk and frozen for when you want them.

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Sandwich of the month: Apple B.L.T

Apple BLT

Pan fried crispy smoked back bacon from a Northumberland pig, a frisee, rocket and endive salad dressed in a sweet lemon and balsamic homemade dressing, sun-ripened juicy spanish vine tomatoes, with a chunky granny smith and cinnamon chutney on a sesame seed torpedo baked white bread bun.

Jackson’s Catering Carrot Cake

This recipe will roughly make 10 portions. Recipe by Kris at Jackson's Catering of Newcastle

Making the Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached if possible
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated maple sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed, well-drained pineapple
  • 1 cup grated coconut (optional)
  • Oil and flour to grease a 10-inch tube or angel food cake pan
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush oil on tube pan; sprinkle with flour, knocking out excess.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, maple sugar, oil and sour milk. With a rubber scraper, stir in carrots, pineapple and coconut; fold in dry ingredients until well combined.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake 1 hour. Test for doneness using a toothpick inserted into the centre, which should come out clean. Remove from oven and leave cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes Use a table knife to separate cake from pan; invert onto a plate. Cool completely before spreading maple icing on the cake.

Making the Icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 ounces or 225 grams of cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
  • 3 cups of icing sugar
For the icing, in the bowl of an electric mixer combine icing ingredients and beat until smooth and thick enough to spread on the cake. To garnish, sprinkle iced cake with maple sugar.

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