Laurence, who's CV includes working with Bidfresh and previously at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and Hind’s Head pub, brings you the latest trends...
There is some superb produce available at present, such as gooseberries and blackcurrants, to make a big impact on menus with during the short window they are available. British blackcurrants available now can be used to make chutneys, infusions for brandy, vodka and gin or create a refreshing blackcurrant granita or delicious coulis to finish puddings. You can also juice them to use in sauces, which work well with dark meats like rich sticky beef.
- The short season for gooseberries has also now started, so embrace these green fruit gods while you can in crumbles, fools and with mackerel. Larger, sweeter red gooseberries are also good and work well with acidic flavours. Gooseberries and mackerel is an absolute classic British combination and late chef Jane Grigson, whose classic British dishes really inspire me, has some excellent recipes, such as gooseberry sauce, to serve with smoked mackerel.
- From July is the perfect time to feature mackerel on menus, and it is a great fish for carrying aromatic and fragrant flavours and to get really creative with. It can be cured and smoked with lots of different things, such as a fun mojito cure or a classic dill cure.
- A lovely starter idea is mackerel on toast with grilled rye bread, mackerel, fresh tomatoes and mango, chilli and sweetcorn salsa.
- Or why not try this grilled mackerel main course dish which makes the most of Jersey Royals while still in season, and is perfect for specials boards.This dish can also feature an optional broccoli kimchi that I make from peeling the outer rim of a broccoli stalk, which caterers often throw away, but is really tender and can be utilised in many ways.
- Runner beans are a very British thing and are great to feature when in season to ring the changes on menus from green beans. Serve simply with salt, pepper and a bit of butter as a great side dish, including with a Sunday roast. I like to make a reduction with cream, white wine and grain mustard which is poured over blanched runner beans and served with lamb.
- Broad beans are great with fish dishes, including with the classic cod in parsley sauce. Also use in purees for finishing risottos such as with mint and feta cheese.
Great British Pea Week 2019 - 8-14 July
This annual celebration of peas aims to increase awareness and understanding of the provenance and heritage of the vegetable and celebrate these little green nutritional wonders during harvesting time. Use the week to offer pea-inspired food and drink specials and give diners packets of pea seeds with their bill during the event to inspire them to grow their own.
You just can’t beat fresh peas, they are so versatile and the first, small ones coming through are so lovely and sweet that they are delicious served raw as part of a salad.
Also use with turbot as a fresh pea broth or with with smoked fish flavours such as eel.
Offer a pea, feta and herb frittata for a summer lunch dish, or use them to create pea falafels as part of a summer sharing board.
Another nice summer menu dish is Mac n Peas, which uses pea puree mixed with macaroni. For an impressive main course, use slices of Henson’s salt beef topped with a Mac n Peas mix and a poached egg.
Pea shoots are an ideal garnish for cocktails and work well in drinks which you might also garnish with cucumber. Try non-alcohol spirit Seedlip Garden 108 to help enhance the pea flavour in the drink.
National Scotch Egg Day – 27 July
Celebrate the crumbed king of bar snacks with a range of Scotch egg specials for the day, including a vegan black pudding or haddock Scotch egg. A mouth-watering mushroom Scotch egg will be a winner with vegetarians
On-trend ingredient: Rum
It’s National Rum Day on Friday, 16 August which is the perfect time to capitalise on the spirit’s increasing popularity.
Feature rum in your food specials for the day. Dish ideas include an Affogato with rum – use a quality dark, aged rum for this and serve with pistachio ice cream for a simple but stunning dessert. Rum also works well in ice creams and sorbets, including in a Tutti Frutti Knickerbocker Glory, or add to a caramel sauce to serve with pineapple for another winning pud. For main courses rum will work well in dishes and sauces where you might use brandy.
Be resourceful: Condiments with a conscience
If you are looking for a great tasting ketchup with an amazing sustainability story then Rubies in the Rubble tomato ketchup is for you ().
The sauce is made from surplus ingredients that would otherwise go to waste and is part of the company’s range of award-winning ‘condiments with a conscience’ of relishes, ketchups and mayos.
The 100% natural ketchup gets its sweetness from the pears used in its recipe. It is great served with all those classic pub dishes such as burgers and fish and chips and its story provides a good talking point with customers.
The product also gives publicans the ability to work out how much they have reduced their carbon footprint by using this ketchup, which is a fantastic marketing point
Oliver Kay Produce is part of the Bidfresh group. For more information go to www.bidfresh.co.uk