A cup of coffee with… Les Beazley

11 September, 2018

Les Beazley is the baker and owner of the Artisan Village Bakery and Café in Denton, Manchester.

The venture began for Les in May 2017 when he took over the site of an old bicycle shop, gutted the property and transformed it into a quaint bakery that’s full of character. In fact, it’s the only independent bakery and café in the local area – a sad sign of the times, perhaps.

Immediately, Les’ passion and enthusiasm for baking was evident in the way he spoke about his craft, and the love and care that had gone into the wide array of neatly displayed treats in his shop was clear to see. Delicious pies, breads, pastries and even full meals are just some of the tantalizing offerings in this warm and inviting corner of the world.

Les is the definition of an early bird, at the bakery for 2am with his sleeves rolled up kneading the dough. Come opening time he’s ready for the customers who rely on him for their baked goods, in particular his fresh sourdough bread that people travel for from far and wide.

Everything in the shop is prepared fresh on the premises. Les’ motto is, “Put everything into it. If you are going to do it, then do it properly”. Les is a living example of this motto. In 2016, he was the Cambridge Weight Loss Plan’s star loser having lost a whopping 17 stone, all the while continuing to pour his passion and love into the bakery. That must take some will power considering he spends his day around tasty temptations!

Les wears a t-shirt that says: ‘I’m a BAKER – so what’s your SUPERPOWER?’, and there couldn’t be a better phrase to sum up this excellent baker who really does put everything into his craft.

Les Beazley, Artisan Village Bakery and Café in Denton, Manchester

Get inspired by these hearty winter warmers

11 September, 2018

If there’s one thing we know about here in the UK, it’s how to whip up a winter warmer that soothes the soul and thaws us out during the cold, damp weather. Well, it’s almost that time of year to put the salads and summer foods to one side and start preparing hearty meals.

A lot of the winter recipes are driven by the produce that’s widely available at that time of year. Of course, with modern import and storage technologies we can source most fruit and vegetables all year round, but that influence is still seen in the way we eat during the various seasons. For example, during winter, popular vegetables include cabbage, brussels sprouts, squash, potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips and turnips.

Soups

 

Delicous chicken soup with carrots, onions and parsnips. The soup is served in a bowl with creme fresh and grilled toast.

There aren’t many foods that can warm you through like a steaming bowl of soup. The possibilities are almost infinite too! Why not whip up one of the classics, such as tomato, creamy mushroom, vegetable or chicken, or alternatively get creative and test new flavour combinations? We love Irish bacon and cabbage, carrot and ginger (great for the immune system), beetroot and onion or red lentil and coconut!

 

Stews

 

Hot stew with mushrooms

Ahh stew, soups heartier cousin. Perfect for those moments when you need a bit more substance. There’s no question that beef is often the meat of choice when it comes to a winter warming stew – stroganoff and bourguignon being firm favourites. Mushrooms and root vegetables are also great alternatives for vegetarian and vegan diets. Best cooked slowly throughout the day, the long cooking process lets the rich flavours mix and… well, stew.

 

Pastries

 

Delicious homemade Cornish pasties with beef, carrot, and potato.

If there’s one season for indulging in filling pastries, it’s winter. There are so many tasty options out there as well, no matter if you’re looking for savoury or sweet. Savoury favourites include cheese and onion, steak bake, meat and potato and even sausage and beans. Cater for those with a sweet tooth using Nutella, apple, custard and cinnamon creations. Looking for a show stopper at an upcoming dinner party? Beef Wellington is guaranteed to impress!

 

Pies

A sliced pot Chicken Pie with filling spilling out.

 

There’s very little more satisfying in the food world than a pie that’s filled with delicious ingredients. Fancy something traditional? Meat and potato, chicken and leek and pork are firm customer favourites. For less conventional options, try Moroccan-spiced turkey or lamb shank, pea and mint. Mastering the crust is the hardest part, you want to aim for a lovely golden brown, buttery flake. Absolutely mouthwatering.

 

Christmas

 

Yorkshire puddings, just cooked at the top of a hot oven and still in their tray, ready to be served with a Sunday lunch of roast beef and all the trimmings. These freshly baked Yorkshire puddings have risen especially well, due to preheating the tray and adding extra eggs to the batter.

Winter holidays are all about food. Pumpkin spiced soup is a great Halloween-themed warmer. Then, of course, there’s Christmas, a day that’s practically devoted to the cream of the crop of winter warmers. Much like our humble roast dinner served all year round, but with all the added extras and sides that make it extra special… everyone loves pigs in blankets, right? You could even treat your customers to Christmas dinner early and create a portable roast in a Yorkshire pudding wrap. If you don’t finish off Christmas feeling full and satisfied, you’re doing it wrong!

What are your favourite winter warmers? Let us know over on Twitter!

Crazy afternoon tea themes to amaze your customers!

1 June, 2017

Afternoon tea: a quintessentially English treat, created by Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford. What started as the Duchess enjoying a pot of tea and snack in her chamber, has since transformed into a food phenomenon, turning the early afternoon bite into a popular, much-loved occasion. With a delightful selection of miniature cakes, French fancies and triangular sandwiches, accompanied by a pot of tea or coffee, it’s no wonder the afternoon tea is enjoyed by so many.

Although the selection of foods has certainly aided its popularity, it’s also the experience that has secured the afternoon tea’s place in the heart of cake lovers. With intricate, vintage china, a beautiful cake stand filled with indulgences, and the option for your customers to eat in any order they prefer, the afternoon tea has become a unique, pretty and enjoyable English tradition.

To highlight the true potential of afternoon tea, we’re showcasing four crazy ideas that will show how you can push the boundaries with your food selection to attract even more customers.

Flower Power Afternoon Tea

 

flower-power-afternoon-tea

As bakers, you may have already experimented with edible flowers in your baking. Offering a pop of colour and a beautifully presented afternoon tea, flower power isn’t hard to achieve, and can be executed as simply as decorating the selection with edible pansies. For the more experienced baker, why not bring the garden theme wonderfully to life, with the following suggestions?

  • Lemon and lavender miniatures cupcakes
  • Chocolate and basil brownie bites
  • Wholegrain mustard coated ham, with orange blossom honey sandwiches
  • Rosewater herbal tea
  • Early Grey scones

 

Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea

 

beer-brownies

A delicious afternoon tea that swaps sandwiches for a tasty selection of much-loved savoury snacks, from crispy sausage rolls to miniature burgers; this gentleman’s afternoon tea is a unique take on the classic English delight, and is becoming increasingly popular across the country. The gentleman’s afternoon tea traditionally features snack-sized variations of your favourite hearty classics, alongside beer-infused appetisers and desserts. Why not experiment with stout, and offer a food selection that pairs well with your ale menu? Serve on a large slate platter, with a tankard of brown ale.

  • Scotch quail eggs
  • Beer brownies
  • Pork pies
  • Chocolate stout cake
  • Beer-battered fish and chips

 

Indian Afternoon Tea

 

indian-afternoon-tea

Why not swap cake and sandwiches for lightly spiced, delicious Indian snacks? Served with Chai tea, Indian afternoon tea offers a piquant, fiery take on the classic afternoon tea, using traditional Indian spices. Opting for mouth-watering Indian pastries and rich peppery bites, we’re sure this will be a big hit with your customers.

  • Bombay miniature burgers
  • Masala Chai Tea
  • Coriander and tomato chutney sandwiches
  • Vegetable samosas

 

Chocolate Afternoon Tea

 

chocolate-afternoon-tea

Chocolate lovers will rejoice at the next crazy afternoon tea idea! An overload of chocolate and rich indulgences, including velvety chocolate tea and chocolate art decorations, your customers will be transported into an all-encompassing cocoa haven! Why not serve the below suggestions on an edible chocolate tray?

  • Red velvet chocolate tea
  • Dark chocolate torte
  • Chocolate roses
  • Rocky road
  • Chocolate fondue

The afternoon tea is a hugely popular English tradition. Make yours stand out with these crazy, striking ideas that your customers are guaranteed to love.

How have you re-created the traditional afternoon tea? Tell us via Twitter!

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