Deli

Dried Egg Pasta

Dried egg pasta is made using soft wheat flour and eggs, whereas standard pasta is made with semolina or hard wheat flour and water. Dried egg pasta therefore has a much richer flavour and looks and tastes like home made traditional Italian pasta. Dried egg pasta also remains al dente for longer, which can then be reheated to order and can be used in salads without losing its shape, flavour or texture and is also ideal for hot plate service.

Dried egg pasta also grows more than any other type of pasta, 100g dry weight of short shaped pasta gives a yield of 240g when cooked. It stops cooking as soon as it is taken out of the cooking water, different to normal dried pasta, which absorbs up to three times it’s weight in water and so continues cooking after draining until it has cooled completely.  This is why dried pasta and fresh pasta often leave a residue of water on the plate after serving. Dried egg pasta is ready to serve in approximately 7 minutes, which is less than half the cooking time of certain dried pastas.

Click here to see our range of dried egg pasta.

Rice, Beans and Pulses

Choose clear packets of unbroken grains. In ready-prepared mixes containing wild rice, the grains may be broken or pierced so they cook in a similar time to the other rice in the pack. Wholegrain and polished rices will keep in a cool, dry cupboard for over two years. Flaked and ground rice and rice flour can be stored for over a year in an airtight container.

Choose the right grain with the right amount of processing for the job in hand. For instance, you might want toasted buckwheat grains for adding to breakfast cereals or for cooking in a pilaf, you would want buckwheat flour to add flavour to your crêpes or pasta dough. Most grains will keep in sealed containers in a cool, dark place for a year or more. 

If buying packets of pulses in bulk, they should be clean and unbroken and free from dust, grit, or signs of spoilage. Sprouted beans should look crisp and fresh. Avoid if browning. Most kinds of pulses are sold ready-cooked in cans too. Sold are sold frozen. Keep indefinitely in sealed containers in a cool, dark place. The longer you keep them, the longer they’ll need soaking before cooking. All except mung beans, lentils, and split peas should be boiled rapidly for 10 minutes to remove toxins before simmering until tender. Can be frozen, cooked, for up to 6 months. 

Dried Wild Mushrooms

Not all mushroom variety can be dried, but many can, both wild and cultivated. In some cases, drying actually improves their flavour. Dried mushrooms have a 10 to 12 month shelf life, and may be stored at room temperature. One pound of fresh mushrooms produces about 3 ounces of dried mushrooms. They need to be reconstituted by soaking in hot water, and the soaking liquid may be used to add flavour to soups, sauces and risottos.

Wild mushrooms are seasonal and different varieties come into season at different times of the year. We source our wild mushrooms from the best growers and they are then dried soon after picking. Dried mushrooms have much stronger flavours than fresh mushrooms and do not lose any of their nutritional values. Dried wild mushrooms increase in volume by 3 – 4 times when re-hydrated. So a 100g bag of our wild mushrooms provides between 300g and 400g in real volume.

Click here to see our range of dried wild mushrooms. 

Olives

Olives are one of the world’s most widely enjoyed foods. Technically classified as fruits of the _Olea europea _tree, which is an amazing tree that typically lives for hundreds of years. Olives are harvested in September but are available year round to make a delicious addition to salads, meat and poultry dishes, and pizza.

Olives are too bitter to be eaten right off the tree and must be cured to reduce their bitterness. Processing methods vary with the olive variety, region where they are cultivated, and the desired taste, texture and colour. Some olives are picked unripe, while others are allowed to fully ripen on the tree. The colour of an olive is not necessarily related to its state of maturity. Many olives start off green and turn black when fully ripe. However, some olives start off green and remain green when fully ripe, while others start of black and remain black. In the United States, where most olives come from California, olives are typically green in colour, picked in an unripe state, lye-cured, and then exposed to air as a way of triggering oxidation and conversion to a black outer colour. Water curing, brine curing, and lye curing are the most common treatment processes for olives, and each of these treatments can affect the colour and composition of the olives.

Click here to see our range of Olives.

Truffles & Truffle Oil

Truffles are one of the most expensive and prized delicacies on earth, this is because of their scarcity. It’s not unheard of for large ones, which are very rare, to reach six figure prices.  Truffles are typically roundish, but lumpy in appearance. They have an intense flavour and are typically used sparingly, due to their strong earthy flavour – but also because of their expense.

Specially-trained truffle dogs and pigs in Europe, both of which have a keen sense of smell, are used to locate truffles buried underground. The fungus that makes truffle can only survive in certain soil conditions and have relationships with the roots of specific species of trees. The fungus attaches itself to a tree root, which is typically oak, beech, hazel or birch and produce one truffle per year. The aroma and flavour of truffles differ, depending on the type of tree where they grew.

Prized truffles include the French black truffle, which is found in the Périgord region of southwest France. Italy is known for its white truffles, many of which are from the Piedmonte and Umbria regions.