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Menu Matters: April

Summer inspiration for pub caterers from Laurence Tottingham, development chef at Oliver Kay Produce

Fresh Thinking: seasonal produce ideas


  • Looking ahead to summer menus, delicious British Victoria plums come into season in August and work really well across a range of main courses and desserts. Try plums with duck, lamb and pork dishes, in a sweet and sour chicken dish, or as a plum glaze on ribs. For fantastic seasonal puddings use them in a plum frangipane tart, tamarind marinated plums, in a plum crumble with star anise, or in dishes with caramel and amaretti flavours.
  • Blackberries, which are available from July until September, are also a star performer in desserts such as blackberry fool, Eton Mess, chocolate and blackberry tart, crumbles, trifles or in frozen yoghurt style desserts such as parfaits and mousses. Pickled blackberries also make a great garnish for dishes. Fresh blackberries look great on a cheese board, or in bircher muesli for your breakfast offer.
  • Damsons, available from August to October, are great in a simple nostalgic dessert with custard

Or use Global Harvest’s ready-made damson jelly from Oliver Kay, to create a delicious damson plum jelly and stem ginger Eton Mess. 

Get the recipe here 

Event opportunity Friday, 7 June 2019

National Fish & Chip Day 


Fish and chips is a classic pub dish and remains among the unwavering best-sellers.

Getting involved in the national celebration is an opportunity to have some fun with the dish, generate some great social media activity for your pub and remind customers what a fantastic fish and chip offer you serve.

When choosing fish, ensure it is a sustainable species and MSC Certified. For batter I recommend using gluten-free flour to make a super crispy tempura batter, which is a method I used at the Hind’s Head. Gluten-free potato or rice flour are also good for ensuring a good crispy batter. Use beer in the batter - IPA works well as it has a strong flavour -  or even try vodka or a flavoured gin such as thyme to add interest. Harissa, curry seasoning, dried parsley and dill will also add a tasty point of difference. For something really different make charcoal batter - like the fish and chips available at bar & restaurant group The Alchemist.

To accompany, fresh peas, which will be available in June, are great in a minted pea puree. Add a further dimension to mushy peas by blending chopped-up cornichons and silver skin onions through them. For a twist serve the dish with black pigeon peas or pea polenta chips made with pea flour.

Have a mix and match fish and chip menu for the day with a choice of fish, batters, pea accompaniments and side dishes.

On-trend ingredient


Seitan, a simple flour and water dough, is an increasingly popular meat substitute that has been eaten in Asian countries for generations. The vital wheat gluten flour gives it a very dense, meaty texture which takes on any flavour. There are so many things you can put with it to make interesting vegan dishes - you can take it to South Africa, China, North Africa, the Mediterranean. It works well in small pieces and is ideal for street food inspired dishes such as:

Buttermilk fried seitan with hot sauce, BBQ seitan skewers and seitan ‘hot wings’ served with a vegan chilli dipping sauce.

Get the recipe here

Be resourceful


With British strawberries now available they are no doubt beginning to take a star role on your menu, particularly with desserts, why not try:

Strawberry parfait with strawberry fritter, vanilla ice cream and almond biscuit or strawberry and elderflower jelly, lemon verbena and elderflower fritter.

Get the recipe here

Before you think about disposing of the cut off strawberry tops, step away from the bin!
The leaves are edible, contain a natural digestive and are also reported to aid arthritis too. The best way to use the tops is in infusions such strawberry vinegar, which can be used for a salad dressing. Simply cover the tops with white wine or balsamic vinegar, let it infuse for a week and then strain off. The tops are also ideal for using in kombucha, infusing alcohol in ice cubes, to add flavour to jugs of water or blending into smoothies. You can also grill or BBQ them in nut butter as a tasty snack.

 Oliver Kay Produce is part of the Bidfresh group