Mothers’ Day and Easter
With two of the most profitable occasions for the hospitality industry falling in March this year, it is essential to plan ahead and ensure that all is ready for a bumper month.
With Mothering Sunday falling on Sunday 6 March, and the four-day Easter weekend starting with Good Friday on March 25, operators will need to have their food and drink offer in place in good time to maximise sales.
Plan now for early Easter
Bestway Wholesale is urging restaurants and pubs to start preparing now for 2016’s early Mothers’ Day and Easter celebrations.
Ron Hickey, Catering and On-Trade Sales Director, said: “Mothers’ Day and then the Easter weekend mark the start of the spring season for many operators, as more customers start to eat out. With the dates falling earlier this year than in 2015, it’s potentially more challenging to secure bookings.
“The offer of a set price per head for a family meal, or a free glass of bubbly for mum when she sits down to eat, can make all the difference. We’re including a range of products in our price-holds for March and April that will enable customers to promote their menus in the confidence that the prices will be guaranteed whether they buy at our 60-plus Bestway and Batleys depots, or order from us for free delivery.”
To support its customers, Bestway will be promoting a range of food and drink products targeting both Mothers’ Day and Easter menus, as part of its regular two-monthly price-hold deals. Products discounted will range from fresh lamb and gammon joints to desserts and sparkling wine. As well as free delivery, Bestway Wholesale offers products on a sale-or-return basis and a range of payment options, with credit available and no credit card surcharges.
For more information, visit www.bestway.co.uk
Both Mothers’ Day and Easter are traditionally family affairs with many venues being chosen on how child friendly they are - as well as the other usual factors such as cost and location.
“Operators looking to attract the family pound over the Easter holidays need a menu that will appeal to children, as often they are ones who decide where families go when they eat out,” says Andrew Ely, Managing Director, Almondy. “Catering for kids can be a challenge though; considered the toughest of critics, operators need to find a balance between dishes that appeal to kids but also present parents with quality and value for money when dining out.”
Mohammed Essa, General Manager UK & Ireland, Aviko, agrees: “With the family dining market totalling 3.18 billion eating out visits each year, and the decision of where a family chooses to eat often dictated by the needs of the children, it’s extremely profitable for operators to pay attention to getting their menu just right.
“When it comes to children’s menus, chips are the side of choice, featuring in all three of the top dishes parents are most likely to order for their youngsters – chicken nuggets and chips (58%), burger and chips (56%) and fish and chips (49%).”
It is worth noting that Aviko’s Premium Fries range (comprising Supercrunch, Superlong, Sweet Potato Fries and Wedges) is gluten free, catering for the 28% of people who want to see more gluten-free options for young people, according to recent research.
Chocolate tips from UK Master
World Class Chocolate Master, Ruth Hinks (www.cocoablack.com), knows a thing or two about chocolate. To make the most of chocolate (whether working with it or simply enjoying it as it comes), bear in mind Ruth’s top tips:
- Chocolate should be eaten at room temperature.
- Melt chocolate in a plastic bowl in the microwave, rather than in a bain marie.
- Chocolate should be stored in cool, dry conditions (15-18°C) away from strong odours.
- Always use the chocolate advised in the recipe.
- Avoid cheap chocolate. Quality always beats quantity.
- If you learn one chocolate skill, make it tempering.
- Never store chocolate in the fridge.
- Tempered chocolate can be used to create beautiful showpieces.
- Chocolate can be flavoured with essential oils.
- When colouring chocolate, always use fat-soluble food colouring.
“Easter is primarily a four-day revenue opportunity, but it’s important to look beyond the weekend itself,” advises Chris Brown, Channel Trade Marketing Manager, Unilever Food Solutions. “Easter staycations are becoming increasingly popular, with people taking the opportunity to explore their local surroundings – giving operators the chance to pull in the punters throughout the break. Easter egg hunts, live music and charity events can give your establishment the edge.
“School holidays can be particularly expensive for families. Consider introducing set price deals for families over the Easter break. You can always encourage them to trade up with suggested sides and desserts.”
Advice and competition from Premier Foods
Premier Foods has relaunched its Menu Solutions Guide to highlight the significant sales opportunity presented by Mothers’ Day and Easter within the foodservice channel. The Guide delivers nine costed recipes inspired by the results of exclusive independent research commissioned by Premier Foods.
To celebrate the two key events, which fall early this year, the manufacturer is also running an online competition giving chefs the chance to win afternoon tea for two at The Dorchester. To be in with a chance of winning, chefs must simply download the guide from the Premier Foodservice website.
Sarah Robb, Channel Marketing Manager, advises: “With Mothers’ Day and Easter arriving early this year, chefs need to make sure they are prepared. In addition to exploring new recipes, outlets need to consider putting on set menus or special offers to attract consumers, as well as finding the best way to advertise their offering in advance.
“Our guide was a real hit last year with our customers so we hope that by relaunching this for 2016, we are giving chefs a good steer on what consumers are looking for when eating out over these occasions. With 55% of consumers opting to eat out for Mothers’ Day and 45% on the lookout for a ‘special’ menu, there is certainly a big opportunity for caterers to increase sales.”
To be in with a chance of winning afternoon tea for two at The Dorchester, simply download the Mothers’ Day and Easter Menu Solutions Guide from premierfoodservice.co.uk by 10 April 2016.
The link between eggs and Easter derives from the Christian tradition of fasting through Lent, the 40 days before Easter Sunday, when the eating of animal products, including eggs, was strictly forbidden. However, hens continued to lay throughout the fast, resulting in a particularly large stock for Easter Sunday.
For many families, Easter Sunday began with a breakfast of elaborately decorated eggs. The custom of exchanging decorative eggs continues today in many countries around the world
Back in 1988, the British Egg industry was dealt a severe blow when the then-junior health minister, Edwina Currie, erroneously announced that: “Most of the egg production in this country sadly is now infected with salmonella.” Sales of eggs plummeted 60% overnight.
Since then, the industry has proved Currie spoke out of turn and today sales of eggs are booming. In-home consumption is up 22% over the past seven years and 2015 alone saw a rise of more than 5% on 2014 - around 1m extra eggs every day.
Did you know?
Eggs are on trend
2015 saw eggs and avocado top the list of most-pinned recipes on Pinterest and a rash of new egg-themed restaurants opening in London, including Good Egg, Bad Egg and Egg Break.
No need to count
All major UK heart and health advisory organisations, including the British Heart Foundation and the Food Standards Agency, have removed previous limits on egg consumption following extensive research showing that dietary cholesterol from foods like eggs had no signiticant effect on heart disease risk.
Salmonella has been cracked
90% of UK eggs are produced under the British Lion scheme, which has effectively eliminated salmonella from British eggs. All British Lion eggs come from hens vaccinated against salmonella, are fully traceable and have a ‘best before’ date on the shell as a guarantee of freshness.
Recent research shows that a ‘tipping point’ has been reached in consumer attitudes to eggs and cholesterol. There has been a reversal in attitudes, with the number of people saying it’s OK to eat six or more eggs a week doubling, from 19% in 2008 to 42% in 2015, and the number saying that eggs should be limited to three a week dropping from 45% in 2008 to 26% in 2015, and only around one-third of those mentioning cholesterol or heart disease.
Eggs at Easter
Egg sales peak at Easter. It is expected that we will eat 45 million eggs a day over the Easter period – a total of 180 million eggs over the holiday weekend. For recipe ideas, visit www.eggrecipes.co.uk
Roast Breast of Lamb with Leek and Chestnut Stuffing
Recipe courtesy of AHDB Beef & Lamb.
- 2 x 1kg lean Quality Standard Mark boned breast of lamb or rolled boneless shoulder
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed
For the leek and chestnut stuffing
- 75g butter
- 1 large leek, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 200g cooked peeled chestnuts, finely chopped
- 40g freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
For the stuffing
- In a large bowl mix the stuffing ingredients together.
- Place the breast or shoulder of lamb on a chopping board and unroll skin side down. Season on both sides with the salt, pepper and cardamom.
- Spread the stuffing mix evenly over the surface of both pieces of lamb, pushing into the crevices. Re-roll tightly, securing neatly with butcher’s string or elasticated meat bands
- Weigh the joint with the stuffing. Set aside until ready to cook.
For the lamb
- Place on a metal rack in a large non-stick roasting tin and open roast in a preheated oven at 180-190°C/170°C fan, basting with any rich meat juices
- Slice the lamb into rounds, serve 2 per portion and garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley. Accompany with the lamb gravy and roast potatoes
AHDB Beef & Lamb (formerly known as EBLEX) is a division of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). AHDB is a UK-wide Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by Defra and primarily funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain through statutory levies. It supports the meat and livestock industries (beef, sheep and pigs) in England; the horticulture, dairy and potatoes industries in Great Britain; and the cereals and oilseeds industry in the UK.
For further information, visit www.qsmbeefandlamb.co.uk.
Pulled Pork with Plums
Recipe courtesy of AHDB Pork.
Serves at least 6
- 1.6kg shoulder of pork (remove the rind and set aside for crackling)
- 2tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2tsp each ground cinnamon and ginger
- 1½ tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1kg new potatoes
- 2tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 12 plums, halved
- 500g purple sprouting broccoli
- A knob of butter
- Preheat your oven to 220°C (fan 200°C). Line a roasting tin with foil large enough to cover the pork later. Unroll the joint and place in the tin.
- Mix the salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger and sugar together in a bowl and rub all over the pork. Roll the pork back up again (there is no need to retie the string) and place in the oven for 30 minutes to brown. Reduce the oven to 150°C (fan 130°C). Pour 300ml hot water into the foil, then wrap around the joint and seal tightly. Cook for around 6 hours or until tender.
- Increase the oven to 220°C (fan 200°C) and uncover the pork. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil and rest for 30 minutes. Shred with two forks.
- About 40 minutes before the pork is ready. parboil the potatoes, place them in a roasting tin, season well and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for the remaining time the pork is in the oven.
- Serve with the roast potatoes, griddled plums and buttered broccoli.
Crackling tip: place the pork rind in a shallow roasting tin and pour over boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, then pour off the water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Rub with a little oil and salt. Cook in a hot oven for about 30 minutes until crackled. Roughly chop into small pieces to serve.
For more information and recipe ideas, visit www.lovepork.co.uk
AHDB Pork (formerly known as BPEX) represents pig levy payers in England and works to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of the English pig industry. AHDB Pork is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
Slow Roast Spring Lamb with a Light Mint and Rosemary Gravy
Recipe courtesy of Unilever Food Solutions.
- 1.8kg lamb shoulder
- 50g rosemary
- 400g sliced onions
- 20g garlic
- 50g chopped celery
- 0.2L water
- 0.15L chicken stock
- 5g chopped mint
For the lamb (3 hrs 45 mins)
- Season lamb well, place in a roasting tin on a bed of rosemary, onion and garlic.
- Add water then cover with a lid or foil, and bake in a medium oven for 3 hours.
- Remove lid and pour the cooking juices in to a saucepan; allow to cool before removing any excess fat.
- Turn up the oven to full heat and roast for a further 45 minutes; the skin should be golden and crispy.
For the gravy (5 mins)
- Bring 250ml of the lamb juices (add some water if not enough) to the boil and whisk in Knorr gravy granules to thicken.
- Finish gravy with fresh mint.
Top tips from Chris Brown, Channel Trade Marketing Manager, Unilever Food Solutions:
- Easter brings with it a variety of seasonal produce. Adding spring onions, baby leeks, kale, and lamb to your menu will impress customers, boost flavour and keep costs down
- Spring lamb just wouldn’t be the same without lashings of gravy and a good dollop of Colman’s mint sauce
- Opting for a gluten-free gravy such as Knorr means you can attract coeliac diners at Easter, as well as those who dine with them. To put this into perspective, if they dine with three people and spend an average of £7 per cover, that’s £28 an operator is missing out on every time they neglect to serve gluten-free choices.
For more tips, visit www.ufs.com to download the spring guide.
Mini Salmon Fish Cakes served with Herb Tartar Sauce
Recipe courtesy of The Scottish Salmon Company
- 500g fresh salmon fillet
- 500g mashed potatoes
- Handful of roughly chopped mint leaves
- 1 tbsp tartar sauce
- 3 tbsp plain flour, for dusting
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
For the Tartar Sauce
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp crème fraiche
- 2 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 180ºC. Bake the Scottish salmon for 15 minutes and cool.
- For the tartar sauce mix together all listed ingredients.
- Flake the salmon into a bowl, removing any skin and large bones, then add the mashed potatoes.
- Add the mint, tartar sauce and lemon zest, and season to taste. Mix well, then, using floured hands, shape into bite sized fish cakes. Dust with flour.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the fish cakes in two batches for 1-2 minutes each side, turning carefully with a fish slice or spatula, until golden and crisp.
To serve, spoon a little tartar sauce onto each fish cake.
The Scottish Salmon Company is the largest producer of premium salmon with operations only in Scotland. The company is engaged in all stages of the value chain from smolt production to harvesting and processing, as well as sales and marketing activity.
Raw chocolate treats
Easter wouldn’t be Easter without chocolate. Here is a novel, and spicey, idea from Choc Chick, online supplier of raw chocolate-making kits and ingredients. The recipe makes approximately 30 mini treats.
- 1 level tsp ground cumin
- 1 level tsp ground coriander
- 100g cacao butter
- 6 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 3 tbsp raw honey or Sweet Freedom
- 2 tbsp rose water
- 1 handful pistachio nuts
- Shell the pistachio nuts and chop finely. Set aside.
- Set up your bain-marie on the hob over a low heat. Add the ground cumin and coriander to the bowl and stir occasionally.
- After three minutes, melt the cacao butter into the spices.
- Next, whisk in the cacao powder and honey until completely combined.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the rose water.
- Divide the mixture into small baking cups or chocolate moulds and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.
- Chill in the fridge or freezer until set.