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George’s Leftover BBQ Beans

First of all let’s take a moment to look at how delicious the ribs that we barbecued look. We have just bought a new toy to play with, a smoker, and this was the first thing we cooked on it.



With the weather heating up this week you will likely be lighting up the BBQ yourself. We know what it is like, you want a bit of everything at the butcher’s or supermarket which means there is usually bowls of leftover chargrilled meat in your fridge the next day.

Here is our favourite quick and easy recipe for using up the meat from your barbecue using general store cupboard items.

Step 1



Get a high sided roasting tin and chop up everything you have and anything you fancy putting in it such as:

  • Sausages
  • Ribs
  • Chicken
  • Burger
  • Kebabs (with veg)
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Peppers

Roast it for about 10 mins on 160 degrees until it is hot.

Step 2



Add a tin of beans, we have used one tin of baked beans per person but you can use as much or as little as you like and whatever beans you have in the cupboard. Add some BBQ sauce and passata if you fancy it (if you have opted for the plain beans option you will need passata for the tomatoey flavour).

Stage 3



Roast until it is hot, hot, hot. If you have an egg, crack into the middle and cook for 6 minutes before the end.

Stage 4


Top with some grated cheese and serve with a sweet potato jacket.

What do you do with your BBQ leftovers? We would love to know. Follow our story and read more about us via our social media channels.


Celebrating World Sea Turtle Day.

Anyone who knows, works or has bought food from us will have undoubtably heard us say “but think about the turtles!”; it has become something of a mantra of ours to make people think a little bit about waste. It is lighthearted and fun but there is real meaning behind it. 

Helping try to protect the world’s oceans in the food industry is a really big challenge. Pollution, waste, over-fishing, climate change and habitat destruction are increasingly putting marine life at risk and we have to accept that as an industry we have played a part in this. 

BUT…just because it has been like that in the past doesn’t mean it has to be like that in the future.

This is what we are doing; 

Reduce.

Packaging –  you will only find necessary packaging with our products.

Waste – we have little food waste; where possible we will use every part of the produce for something. We even make stock from the butcher’s unwanted chicken bones. 

Growing – last year we took ownership of an allotment, with a vision that in the future we can create menus based on the produce we have growing seasonally. 

Plastic – we request all our deliveries in plastic free packaging and take reusable containers to collect the meat from the butcher. 

Our footprint – our deliveries are only once a week, and we prefer to deliver than collect so that less overall miles will be travelled. 

Supplier footprint – we use local suppliers who we know buy their produce locally. We plan menus seasonally to ensure we are not ordering food with a large carbon footprint. 

Reuse. 

Packaging – all the packaging you get will be able to be reused. 

Storage – in trying to fight the chef war on cling film habits of the past, wherever possible reusable containers will be used to store food. (Try this at home yourself, you will save a fortune on cling film).

Up-cycling – all of our linen was made from discarded denim off cuts. 

Recycling 

Packaging – once you have reused our packaging to death, it can all be recycled.

Food waste – compostable food will be composted ready for the allotment. 

With regards to recycling, food waste bins and composting, be sure to check out your council’s recycling and composting guidelines as they are all seemingly different from one to the next. 

We are all not perfect, but all it takes is for everyone to do a little everyday to make a big impact. 

In celebration of World Sea Turtle Day, Inspires Dining is going a little bit further to help protect the future of sea turtles and we have proudly become adopted parents of two. So be prepared for lots of upcoming turtle spam! 

Inspires Dining – Sustainable Dining 

Find out more about the WWF and adopting a turtle or other endangered animals below.

https://support.wwf.org.uk/adopt-a-turtle

https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/wildlife/marine-turtles


Great ways to use wild garlic



Wild garlic is the most seasonal of seasonal produce usually available for just a few weeks around Easter time. Buckinghamshire is famously not famous for wild garlic but after a quick search and chat with a forager in the know, an area a couple of miles from Sarah’s house in Milton Keynes was found and a perfect opportunity for a lockdown outdoor activity. 

Checking the Countryfile guide first to ensure foraging was done responsibly she managed to bring back as much as would fit in the bike basket which left George the fun task of what to do with it. 


Preserving

As previously mentioned, wild garlic is not available all year round but there are plenty of ways to enjoy its delicate flavour and health benefits all year around. 

Oil

Perfect for salad dressings or in sauces, and will last for a few weeks or can be frozen. Blanch* your wild garlic leaves, wizz in a food processor and add equal parts good quality oil, then pass through a fine sieve. 

Drizzled over a white fish such as a seabass or seabream combined with roasted tomatoes and new potatoes (or even better, Jersey royals in June) 

The oil can also be used to make mayonnaise: check out this Great British Chef’s recipe to see how. 

https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/wild-garlic-mayonnaise-recipe

Powder 

Dehydrating as a preserving method is great because once the moisture is removed not only is the shelf life long but the flavour intensified, therefore not much is needed to pack a punch. 

You do not need a dehydrator for this all you need is an oven on 50 degrees. In the industry this is something we might do overnight and if you have an electric oven you can do this if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Once dehydrated blitz down into a fine powder in a food processor and store in an airtight container. 

Uses for the powder

  • Seasoning meat or vegetables 
  • Mix in with eggs 
  • Incorporate into bread flour to make a subtle garlic bread


Freeze 

Blanch and freeze to use in the future. Similar to spinach wild garlic wilts down so blanch* and either freeze into ice trays or small balls. 

*to blanch your leaves, place in boiling salted water for 10 seconds, remove and leave on the side a clean t-towel to dry 

Pickle 

Pickle the buds and use in salads or in a buttery sauce for a light white fish.

Standard pickle recipe

1 part water
1 part vinegar
1 part sugar


Semi preserved

Pesto 

Wild garlic pesto makes a great pesto, perfect for pasta and salads and will last about two weeks in the fridge. There are plenty of recipes to follow to make the pesto, with standard pine nuts, parmesan (or vegan alternative) and lemon juice. 

For a lovely, quick weekday spring dish, add your pesto to cooked gnocchi with cherry tomatoes, artichoke and roasted chicken breast. If you have a bit more time on your hands and feeling braver, try making the gnocchi yourself, see the video by Gennaro on Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel to see how:- 

Butter 

Butter will last for weeks in the fridge (you could also freeze) and is really very versatile. 

Finely chop your garlic leaves and add to slightly softened butter with a touch of salt. 

The “chef” way to then store it would be as a log**, this is so you can create small portions at a time easily with a sharp knife, but you could store in a tub or a jar. 

This butter then can be used on steaks, in garlic bread or Chef George’s favourite…the mighty chicken Kiev, 

** video on how to make a compound butter 


Eat fresh 

Add the flowers to your scrambled eggs

Pimp your pizza – add leaves to a shop bought or homemade pizza before you cook or add flowers to the top after you have cooked. 

Substitute any of your favourite spinach recipes with wild garlic such as; 
Tortilla
Sweet potato fritters
Saag aloo
Pasta sauce
Filled pasta
Risotto
Filo pie filling

BBQ Marinade – blend (Nutribullet or similar) chopped wild garlic, oil, lemon and green chilli to make a marinade perfect for chicken or even to be served on steak after cooked. 

Foraging should  be done responsibly and with permission of the land owner. Read Countryfile’s guide below to make sure you are following the rules and if in doubt always follow the Countryside Code! 

https://www.countryfile.com/how-to/food-recipes/wild-garlic-guide-where-to-find-how-to-cook-it-and-recipe-ideas/

Have you ever used Wild Garlic in a recipe or have you tried it in a dish in a restaurant? Let us know if you have and what you thought via Inspiresdining on Facebook or @inspires_dining on instagram. 


Inspires Dining at Upper Tetchwick House

Since summer 2019 Inspires Dining has been working closely with Upper Tetchwick House, a beautiful holiday rental just off the A41 near Aylesbury. The house boasts room for 12 guests, a swimming pool, a games room and most importantly for us, an open plan kitchen dining room. Situated 12 miles from our HQ in Buckingham it is perfect for us to do most of the preparation before we arrive, as we usually do, leaving guests to enjoy their day at the house or explore the local area.

The benefits of hiring our professional service is that Upper Tetchwick House guests know they can have a nice dinner of their choosing, without losing any of their holiday to tasks such as doing the shopping or taking taxis to and from the house. Check out our time lapse at the bottom of what to expect when you book us. 

Working in partnership we are able to offer guests a preferential rate, bespoke service and even a weekender package, which includes lunch, dinner and breakfast. See the packages we offer here or book to stay at Upper Tetchwick House here 

We have really enjoyed the dinners we have served at the house so far but when all the guests are super relaxed, in such a fantastic setting and with a great space to cook in, what is there not to love!

Upper Tetchwick is not the only holiday home we have cooked in, as we have also previously been hired for getaway in the Cotswold. If you own a holiday home and think your guests would be interested in what we do, or are looking to book a private dining company in the Buckinghamshire area, then please get in touch. 


December at Nelson Street with Inspires Dining

Join us for our first collaboration with the awesome people from Nelson Street.

Inspires Dining Head Chef, George and Louis owner of Nelson Street (currently Louis’ Place) will be behind the pass for four Monday nights during December giving guests a fine dining taste of Christmas in Buckingham.

Guests will enjoy five courses including one of Inspires Dining’s signature canapés, mushroom suet log with truffle mayo, Louis’ crispy duck with watermelon and chilli frosted cashews and finished with macarons from Pure Patisserie.

In addition to a carefully crafted menu, as much attention has been paid to creating a wine flight paring to compliment the dishes for £30 per head.

I am excited for Inspires Dining’s first collaboration, especially with it being with Nelson Street as I have always enjoyed Louis’ style of food when working with him previously. Being based in Buckingham I am also keen to showcase local produce and cook some really good food for people in the local community and beyond.

George, Head Chef at Inspires Dining

Bookings have already started to be taken by Nelson Street’s loyal patrons so book early to avoid disappointment.


No fresher than this.

In August myself and my family swapped our usual summer trip to the states for some Caribbean sunshine in Barbados. 


Those of you that have been to Barbados will know that it has an awful lot going for it…the coffee not being one of them! As someone who has barista coffee on tap normally, the exploration of finding somewhere for a decent coffee was an amusing one, but discovering Keshwan in Coffee House Italia (that actually had oat milk) after a few days was a great find. He would have my oat milk flat white ready for me each morning as he saw me arrive, awesome service!


As a chef who works as far away from the sea as possible in the UK, obtaining fish always seems to pose a challenge, which is a shame to me because actually, I prefer cooking fish to meat. It is crazy to me that we live on an island surrounded by water but to get a reliable commercial supplier is one of my biggest barriers. Often my suppliers want to try and throw portions of fish at me rather than fresh whole fish. It is funny because I remember a conversation recently where I called my supplier for a whole fish, they said they couldn’t supply it but they could supply the fillets, baffling. 


We love a good fishing trip when we are on holiday so I was really excited that we were going to have the opportunity to do this and see what the tropical seas had to offer. As per usual my brother Jack was in his element and always catches the biggest fish. We managed to catch some barracuda, which for me with my chef head on was really exciting. Barracudas are a subtropical fish so realistically not something I will be cooking in the UK unless I am ok with the miles it has travelled or have a lot of money to spend. We have caught Barracuda before but have never been able to eat it as what they consume in the seas near Florida can make you really ill, but the sea in Barbados is much cleaner so they are fine. 


I was so happy with my barracuda, we took it back to the dock where I filleted it, wrapped it up in paper and headed off in a taxi back to our villa. There really is something so cool to think of all the processes required to get a fish to a plate at work and I just had my lunch straight out the sea ready to go on the BBQ. Never seen a cargo crate, never seen a delivery van, never seen a fridge. Literally, ocean, taxi, BBQ, plate! Awesome. 


Bucks County Show 2019

When Laura, a good friend of ID, said she was entering the Bucks County Show this year, I was instantly intrigued: what on earth was she actually talking about?! 


After a bit of research, I realised that it was right up our street. A food hall full of local producers as well as some awesome examples of home bakers and gardeners, using and growing local products.
We arrived at about 11:30am and of course made a beeline for the food tent. As a result, this meant that by 11:34am we had already sampled at least three types of Foxdenton Gin, with our particular favourite being the Winslow Plum. A quick browse on their website this morning I am gutted to have missed their Dark Lantern rum so I will certainly be picking one of them up in the future (We’re big fans of rum at IDHQ). 

The food hall was buzzing with people all there for little taste tests of what the producers had to offer. One thing you will always notice if you go to a local food market is the willingness of the producers for you to sample their product. My mum, who accompanied me for the day, questioned at one point if it is worth the exhibitors giving away so much, but knowing what it is like from the other side of the table, you spend so long mastering the products that you just want to share it with everyone. Yes, it is ultimately a sales technique but just a small conversation with any of the artisan producers and you realise just how proud and passionate they are.

After a quick lap of the food hall we moved on to see how Laura had performed in the categories she had entered items into, as well as a quick scope out of some groups we could potentially enter next year (once the ID allotment has more than just mud!). As someone who has adapted very well to suburban life in Milton Keynes I cannot lie, I was instantly taken back to my village roots, seeing all these tables full of cakes, flowers and produce. It was great! Then the educator in me also loved to see how all these people entering each class had interpreted the exact same recipe – apart from the Victoria sponges, they all looked so different. The vegetable cake section particularly caught our eye; courgettes are in abundance this time of year so we could potentially develop an ID courgette cake for next year (although a year development maybe taking it a little too seriously!). We were really proud to see that Laura had come first in class for her lemon curd, but her mum really stole the show with plenty of 1st, 2nd and 3rds. We might have to send Laura in to get some of her recipes! 


All in all, it was a really good day out; later in the day I got chatting with the Buckinghamshire beekeepers and sampled some of their local honey fudge, so that is one item I will definitely be encouraging chef George to re-create. When I went back to the food hall later on, so many producers’ presentations were looking quite bare, which was great to see. 


Now to get planning for next year… 


Top 5 Tips To Survive a Heatwave

Team ID give their best ways to get through the sunny days…

1 Advanced preparation. Mornings are cooler so use this time to cook a few elements in advance that can be chilled in fridge while you’re out enjoying the sunshine (or at work, boo). Try any of these below to make an awesome salad:

  • Roasted sweet potato cubes – either plain or with a little of your favourite seasoning
  • Boiled new potatoes – Jersey Royals are the best when available
  • Steamed green vegetables such as mange tout, sugar snaps and asparagus
  • Boiled eggs
  • Roasted sweet peppers (remove the skins) and tomatoes
  • Grilled aubergine or courgette
  • Any kind of grain, quinoa cooked in beetroot or carrot juice is a particular favourite.

2 Smoothies. Keep some berries and bananas in the freezer, then whizz them together with either a bit of juice or milk to make one of your 5 a day into a super cool and refreshing treat. Even better…turn them into lollipops.



3 Iced coffee. We don’t know about you but even on a hot day we still need our caffeine fix! If you have an espresso machine then great, make yourself a double; if not then make yourself a really small, really strong instant shot (if you want sugar, add when it is hot). Pour it over a glass of ice, top up with milk (oat milk is our fave) and have a quick stir. Quick, delicious and without the coffee chain price tag.

4 Eat plenty of food high in water, such and watermelon, strawberries and cucumber, as these all help to regulate your core body temperature. Avoid anything spicy or high in saturated fat such as fried food as these can contribute to raising your temperature even higher.



5 H20. Nothing fancy, nothing special, just plain old water from a tap and plenty of it. You will not want to do any of the above if you are dehydrated, feeling terribly lethargic with a headache. Just please think of our pals the turtles and carry a reusable bottle with you rather than single use, disposable plastic.


Latest News: Plotting.

Exciting news from IDHQ this month. We are now the proud owners of an allotment. Yay!

We are not going to lie, we are very new to this. Although head chef, George, has been cooking for many years and use to spend time with his Grandmother in the garden we are far from green fingered! But…like a microcosm for the industry as a whole, we must do better and learn to be more sustainable and self sufficient. Luckily for us we have a few family members to help us along the way.

Why is it important to us?

When we look at the way food trends and lifestyles have changed post war in the UK the abundance of food we have now has made us nothing but lazy for living from the land and understanding and respecting food. We are very lucky that most of us have not had to suffer the hardship of rationing, we have supermarkets full of food to shop weekly and we do not have to preserve the seasonal food because if we want strawberries in December then they can be flow in from Morocco. Basically, we got rich and we got lazy.

We need to recapture the understanding of growing produce for the table that our grandparents had.

George, Head Chef

One of the joys about travelling is to taste the food and drink of the local land, in doing this you get an understanding of what that village or town represents, how they cook and eat is in the DNA of the people. What it can grow, what it can’t grow. You could maybe still say this about some towns in the UK, but rural Buckinghamshire, what does it taste of? That is what we are trying to find out, using local produce and growing our own.

So, we are starting small, got some beans, carrots and beetroot to set us off but we are looking forward to what we will learn to grow and serve up on a menu in the future.

We would love to hear any tips you have in the comments below.


Cooking responsibly and sustainably

The “Attenborough effect” is hitting all the headlines currently and you cannot go on social media much these days without seeing someone highlighting a supermarket’s use of unnecessary plastic. The food manufacturing sector is getting a bit of a bad rep at the moment but really they are just taking the flack for a whole sector that could do better.

Similarly to the manufacturing and food producers, the pressure from consumers to have the perfect product, as well as scrutiny from local health authorities, has led to the Hospitality and Food Sector to be responsible for 2.87 million tonnes of waste each year. Of this waste, 1.6 millions tonnes is packaging, of which 46% is recycled*. A lot of this can be down to local councils and systems outside the control of outlets, but with only 12% of food waste being recycled there certainly seems to be a problem, especially when you consider that 45% of food waste is from preparation.

A bit of background…

Having worked in the hospitality sector since the early 00’s everything we were taught was about “the customer experience”, which is fair. So when it came down to food, working for an international hotel chain in the restaurant, it was all about ensuring the customer at 6am and the customer at 11am had the exact same offering. The waste was UNREAL. Just think that this was going on throughout every hotel of this brand (and probably others) all over the world, EVERY DAY.

Since then, moving away from hotels and into restaurants, there is a lot less food waste, but still the same focus on customer experience, which creates a different kind of waste. Chain restaurants, with their obsession for brand standards and economies of scale, lead to products being pre-prepared and provided as part of a single, massive contract with a national producer, before being distributed up and down the country rather than working with local, less travelled products.

All of this is on top of strict quality control measures enforced by local environmental health officers, who despite having stringent guidelines for us all to follow in order to serve safe food, take no responsibility in ensuring food waste is controlled. A time for a change on this perhaps? Wouldn’t it be great to see a similar star system to acknowledge responsible food production, as well as being safe for consumption?

What we are doing…

At Inspires Dining we are passionate about reducing our impact on the planet and operating responsibly.

With this in mind we have worked with Richard Lewis from WasteLESS Consulting to review our processes and take a close look at what we are doing well and where we can do better.

The highlights from the review where we are already making positive steps were:

  • Buying locally from independent suppliers, enabling us to purchase packet free
  • Creating food menus that produce little waste or waste that can be used in another way
  • Where food waste is unavoidable, we compost as much as we can
  • Using environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals
  • Utilising re-usable cloths and linen including napkins made from scrap material

See the full review on our sustainability page 

* data from WRAP (Waste Resource Action Programme) http://www.wrap.org.uk/food-drink/business-food-waste/hospitality-food-service