Category Archives: Food talks

It can’t all be about smoked salmon, can it?

John Ross Jr celebrates oysters - not smoked salmon - as part of the 2016 Whitstable Oyster Festival.

John Ross Jr celebrates oysters – not smoked salmon – as part of the 2016 Whitstable Oyster Festival.

No, it can’t.

 

Of course smoked salmon is very dear to our hearts as you would expect, however sometimes it’s nice to put someone (or something) else in the spotlight and for this week, we’ve chosen oysters.

 

Why oysters? Two reasons. First of all, they’re delicious and, like smoked salmon, are often aligned with all things luxury when it comes to fish and seafood. Secondly, it’s the Whitstable Oyster Festival up until 31 July.

 

From oyster trails and quizzes through to food fairs and oyster eating challenges, there isn’t a celebration quite like this anywhere else in the UK.

 

The festival celebrates its 32nd year in 2016 and aside from oysters you can expect to find a wide selection of entertainment ranging from live music and comedy through to art and film.

 

Even if live music and some of the freshest seafood isn’t what you’re looking for, then simply enjoy Whitstable’s laid back atmosphere and traditionally British feel, which never fails to disappoint.

 

When it comes to food, if you’re looking for more than oysters (and by that we mean fresh fish) then visit the Fishermen’s Feast, where you can buy the freshest fish Whitstable Bay has to offer. And if you’d prefer the confines of a restaurant, then Wheelers Oyster Bar, which also happens to serve John Ross Jr smoked salmon, is hugely popular.

 

Over 80,000 people are expected to descend on what we believe is one of Kent’s finest destinations so be prepared for a busy week. And make sure you have an appetite, too.

 

Finally, if a blog post on oysters alone was too much for our core readers, then here’s an oyster AND smoked salmon recipe to redress the balance.

 

Will you be going to the 2016 Whitstable Oyster Festival? If so, share your pictures via our Facebook page or via Twitter.

Curb the carbs at breakfast time

When it comes to the first meal of the day there is no shortage of mixed messages as everyone has a view on what’s healthy, and what’s not.

Take cereal, for instance. Marketed as a healthy start to the day it’s a quick and easy option yet the irony is that many of the ready-to-eat cereals found in shops and supermarkets throughout the UK are full of carbs, high in sugar and arguably the worst way to start your day.

So, what’s the alternative for those who are high on hunger but low on time in the mornings?

Quite simply, it’s protein.

Scrambled egg and smoked salmon on toast

Protein reduces hunger as it’s filling and means that you consume less food. It also takes more calories to digest so the more you eat (in tandem with reducing your carb intake, of course), the more energy your body burns to process it.

And that’s why smoked salmon is the ideal protein partner. After all, it’s ready-to-eat, so you don’t have to spend precious morning time preparing it like you would do with other protein sources such as sausages and bacon. It’s also lean and delicious, too.

But what do I eat it with?

Smoked salmon works well on its own, accompanied by a sprinkling of pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. But if the thought of going ‘carb cold turkey’ or ‘binning the bread’ is too much to bear, then you can complement your smoked salmon with a low carb option – such as rye bread, which is both delicious and filling.

If time is on your side then you could of course go for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or even add smoked salmon in an omelette. Both options are healthy and will leave you feeling full without depending on sugars to power you through your day.

For a full range of smoked salmon breakfast options click over to our smoked salmon  category.

A summer of sport and fine dining

With the polo season well under way and Royal Ascot just around the corner, it’s set to be another superb summer of sport. Add Wimbledon, The Henley Regatta and Cowes Week into the mix and your diary is booked well into August.

But long days outdoors doesn’t mean settling for low quality food. Many sporting venues offer an array of fine dining opportunities, or you can prepare a gourmet picnic.

Naturally we recommend Scottish smoked salmon as the perfect addition to any picnic, and when it comes to smoked salmon sandwiches there are plenty of combinations of ingredients you can include.

Open sandwiches with smoked salmon

Try smoked salmon with soft cheese and a scattering of pepper. With dill or herb butter, as part of a wholesome salad or on its own with freshly sliced cucumber.

If you’ve got a little more preparation time, add creamy avocado to the smoked salmon and cucumber. Or try smoked salmon with goats cheese. Mix the goats cheese with a little plain yogurt for a smoother texture and add a little squeeze of lemon juice before spreading on a slice of bread.

If you find bread a little heavy, try an open sandwich instead. Try rye bread or a pumpernickel, thinly sliced. Add a slice of boiled egg on top of your smoked salmon, or a layer of dill mayonnaise underneath.

The beauty of sandwiches is that they are versatile so you can mix and match the contents to suit all tastes, perfect for family picnics and summer sporting events.

And why not add that bottle of champagne for when you’re celebrating the winner.

Smoked salmon and melted chocolate

You’ll be relieved to know that this isn’t one of our recipe recommendations.

In fact, it’s highly unlikely to be anyone’s recipe recommendation (at least we hope not). Instead, it’s a reference to recent weather reports that this Easter weekend is set to be the hottest on record.

Of course, we’ve heard this before, but when it comes to Easter picnics, by failing to prepare you’re preparing to fail. So, to make sure that you’re armed with an inspiring selection of picnic ideas for Easter – even if it rains – we’ve shortlisted some of our favourites when it comes to dining out(side).

Just remember that if you are planning to buy smoked salmon from John Ross Jr then make sure you order before Monday 30th March so that it arrives before Good Friday.

Smoked Salmon Picnic Hamper

The perfect picnic hamper

  • Everyone loves a Scotch egg. And this recipe, which features on the BBC’s website, is delicious. Just make sure you make – and pack – enough.
  • Smoked salmon sandwiches on wholemeal bread are a staple. The beauty is that not only are they delicious, but they’re so quick and easy to prepare. Just make sure you pack fresh lemon to sprinkle over the top of the smoked salmon before eating!
  • Pork Pies (a bit like the rain) are a very British menu item. But they do taste so good. This recipe for small pork pies with Quail’s eggs provides a fantastic twist on what is a traditional British snack.
  • Scones are like the sweet relation of the pork pie in as much as you can’t get enough of them, particularly if they’re freshly baked and served with strawberry jam and clotted cream.
  • If anyone has the skills to make a fantastic quiche it’s Mary Berry. Fortunately, she’s shared her secret to making a Quiche Lorraine with everyone else, too.
  • If you’re prepared to indulge in a little chocolate this Easter then why not go all out and make sure you’ve packed cheese and pickle, too. Our favourite cheese buying experience to date has been at Neal’s Yard in London. However, if you can’t get to the shop then you can buy some of the world’s most interesting, tastiest and smelliest (poor postie) cheeses.
  • Wine. This needs no explanation.
    For that perfect picnic, also make sure everything’s well chilled – particularly if it does turn out to be that scorcher that everyone’s hoping for. So, whether you’re picnicking, eating in or eating out this Easter, enjoy your Easter weekend from everyone at John Ross Jr.

A Pancake Day with a Savoury Flavour

Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day) is almost here.

However before you go cracking your eggs, mixing your batter and planning your sweet fillings in advance of Tuesday 17th February, we wanted to point out that you don’t have to rely solely on the traditional lemon and sugar or chopped banana and honey to mark the occasion.

In fact, for those trying to kick their sweet cravings (or who just want to try a savoury approach) then look no further as we’ve compiled our top three savoury pancake recipes.

Needless to say, they all feature smoked salmon however we’re confident that once you’ve gone down the savoury route, sweet pancakes simply won’t taste the same again.

Smoked salmon and scrambled egg pancakes

What better way to wake up to pancake day (or any other day for that matter) than with a breakfast that combines the much-loved scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with freshly prepared pancakes?

Ingredients (Serves: 2)

For the pancakes

  • 40g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 75ml milk
  • A glug of oil (to fry with)

For the smoked salmon and eggs

Method

Mix all the pancake ingredients in a bowl until there are no lumps in the mixture and it’s of an even consistency.

Heat a pan (large enough to cook a typical sized pancake), add the oil and when hot, pour in enough mixture to thinly cover the surface area of the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes before ‘flipping’ after making sure the pancake has separated from the pan. Cook for a further two minutes or until cooked.

Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk. Once prepared, heat another pan, add a knob of butter and poor in the beaten eggs. Cook to taste.

Once cooked, take the pancakes and line with the scrambled eggs before placing the smoked salmon on top. Then roll before serving.

Pea pancakes with smoked salmon and a little green soup

We came across this recipe on a website called Cannelle Et Vanille and had to share it for it’s originality and for the fantastic images they use to illustrate the dish. For something very different and very tasty this Pancake Day, then this recipe is guaranteed to please.

Smoked salmon and goat’s cheese pancakes

Just like smoked salmon, goat’s cheese has a very distinctive flavour, which is why we think that this recipe works incredibly well.

Ingredients

  • 100g John Ross Jr smoked salmon
  • 1 x beaten egg
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 x onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 x teaspoons fresh dill (chopped)
  • 100g goats cheese (crumble)

Mix the egg, milk and flour into a bowl and whisk until you’ve created a consistent batter texture. Add one tablespoon of oil and the salt and whisk once more. You now have the batter. Cook your pancakes and then lay to one side.

Then, in a separate pan, heat the chopped onions until soft and then add the dill.

Once this is cooked, take your cooked pancakes and place the desired amount of onion mixture in the middle before adding some of the goat’s cheese and laying a slice of smoked salmon on top. Roll, serve and enjoy.

The essential Burns Night menu

There possibly isn’t anything more Scottish than Burns Night (except maybe John Ross Jr, of course). So, with only a few days to go until this time-honoured celebration is commemorated on the 25th January, we thought we’d show our respect for Scotland’s much-loved figure by providing you with recipes for a three-course celebratory meal.

However before sharing our three favourite Burns Night dishes we’d like to answer the question that we are regularly asked this time of the year, which is ‘What exactly is Burns Night?’

Robert Burns was a poet and lyricist that lived from 25th January 1759 – 21 July 1796. With the title of ‘Scotland’s favourite son’ and often referred to as ‘The Bard’, Robert Burns penned some of Scotland’s most notable poems and is widely regarded as the pioneer of the Romantic Movement. Even in 2009 – 250 years since his passing – the Scottish public chose him as the Greatest Scot.

And as we know, great figures often generate great celebrations and Burns Night is no exception. Whilst each and every Burns Night celebration is different, there are some similarities including the eating of Haggis and the drinking of whisky.

However we’ve gone beyond that and provided you with our own personal favourite feast. So, if you’re hosting a Burns Night party and are in need of menu inspiration, then look no further.

The starter:  Potato wafers with smoked salmon and horseradish cream

Thanks to the BBC for this one, which we couldn’t resist sharing but not before putting our own stamp on it. Perfect as a starter – or as an appetiser for those who are planning a more raucous night – this is simply delicious.

Ingredients

  • 200g John Ross Jr’s Traditional Smoked Salmon
  • 6 x potatoes
  • A VERY generous ‘glug’ of vegetable oil (enough to submerse the sliced potatoes)
  • 30 grams of horseradish
  • 50ml of good quality mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons of crème fraiche
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Watercress
  • Paprika

Method

Slice the potatoes (using a crinkle cut blade, if possible) lengthways and widthways alternatively to get a lattice pattern. Heat the oil and when hot enough, fry the potatoes until golden brown.

In the meantime mix the horseradish, mayonnaise, crème fraiche and lemon in a bowl.

Cut the salmon into enough pieces to match the number of potato slices.

When the potato slices are cool enough, place a slice of smoked salmon on top of each one. Then place a sprig of watercress on top before adding a small spoonful of the horseradish cream on top. When you’ve prepared as many as you need simply dust with a little bit of paprika.

The main course: Haggis with whisky glazed swede pearls

This one is courtesy of www.scotland.org, although we’ve gone down the original haggis route as opposed to the vegetarian option they suggested.

Ingredients

  • 6 x haggis
  • 1 x swede (quartered)
  • 25ml whisky (of your preference)
  • 25g butter
  • 2 x large potatoes (peeled and cut into matchsticks)
  • 200ml double cream
  • 25ml malt whisky
  • 1 x handful of finely chopped chives
  • 25g brown sugar

Method

Boil the swede. Once cooked, and using a melon baller, press into ball shapes.

Add the sugar, whisky and butter in a shallow pan and reduce until a syrup has formed before adding the swede balls to cook for a few minutes until they’re sticky and have developed a golden brown coating.

Boil the wrapped haggis for 15 minutes.

Gently fry the potato matchsticks until golden. Bring the cream, chives and malt whisky to the boil, reducing slightly.

Serve by placing a layer of potatoes on the plate, placing the haggis in the centre (or on top of the potato layer). Add the swede balls around the plate before drizzling the chive and cream sauce on top.

The pudding: Clootie Samosa (who said anything about a January diet?)

This is certainly not a light dessert, but it sure is tasty. The preparation involved is also quite detailed, so we’re going to send you direct to the author of this one. Click here for the recipe.

Thanks again to www.scotland.org for this gem and on behalf of everyone at John Ross Jr, we hope you all enjoy Burns Night 2015!

If you have any Burns Night recipes (or stories) to share, then please do via our Facebook page.

A Twist on a Classic: Leek and Potato Soup

We rediscovered the timeless classic that is leek and potato soup over the festive break, which got us thinking about how this delicious soup would taste with the addition of smoked salmon.

Well, someone from John Ross Jr tried it and verdict is in: it’s very good.

As a result, we’ve listed the recipe here, which we think works wonders as a winter warmer that’s as high in flavour as it is in nutrition.

Ingredients

  • 200g John Ross Jr Traditional Smoked Salmon (chopped)
  • 1kg of potatoes (of your choice)
  • 1 litre of fresh chicken stock
  • Large knob of butter
  • 2 finely sliced leeks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Small handful of chives
  • Cracked black pepper

Melt the butter and add the bay leaves and the leeks, cooking them over a low heat. Once soft add the potatoes, making sure than they’re all coated in the mixture. Then add the stock and once simmering, add the cream.

Once the potatoes are nice and soft add the smoked salmon. At this stage, taste the soup to determine how much seasoning you require bearing in mind that much of the salt will come from the smoked salmon. Even if it’s salty enough for you make sure you add a pinch of pepper, as this really brings out the flavours.

Serve with a fresh piece of granary bread and enjoy.

Do you have any classic dishes in mind that could be enhanced by the inclusion of smoked salmon?

If so, send your recipe in and we’ll publish it on our blog, and share it on social media. Not only that but we’ll send the person who submits the most innovative recipe (and the recipe that’s the biggest revelation) a 454g pack of our Traditional Smoked Salmon.

Get ‘Foodie Fit’ for 2015

So, it’s the beginning of another year, which for many can only mean one thing: the festive period of carefree indulgence is well and truly over and you now think you should focus on shedding those pounds.

We all do it, so all is not lost. However what the majority of us do is cut out ALL ‘good foods’ in a bid to lose that Christmas weight, and who wants to do that in what is possibly the dreariest and coldest month of the year?

Rather than depriving yourself of the things you like, why not just eat more of the things that are better for you?

The good news is that whilst you may have said a temporary fond farewell to cheese and chocolate, you don’t have to say goodbye to good food. And, as a Scottish smoked salmon producer, here’s why smoked salmon should remain firmly on the menu for the New Year.

Smoked salmon: the benefits

  • It’s a great source of protein (there are more than 15 grams in an 85 gram serving)
  • It contains Vitamin D
  • It’s a good source of B-complex vitamins
  • It’s a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • It contains magnesium and selenium
  • The fats found in smoked salmon are those that are good for the heart (monounsaturated fats)
  • It tastes really good.

Smoked salmon: the negatives

  • There aren’t any.

If you’re looking for healthy food inspiration then look no further. This super-food recipe is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and tastes delicious.

Smoked salmon and Quinoa cakes

Ingredients

For the cakes

  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 cup of Quinoa
  • 250g John Ross Jr Traditional Smoked Salmon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large free range or organic eggs
  • 1 egg white (lightly beaten)
  • Large handful of whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup of finely chopped chives
  • ½ cup of fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • Generous pinch of cracked black pepper
  • Generous glug of extra virgin olive oil

For the crème fraiche dressing

  • 1 cup of crème fraiche
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice

Lightly boil the Quinoa in the measure of water until it has absorbed it. Once boiled place on a large plate and leave to cool.

Whilst the Quinoa is cooling mix the smoked salmon, chives, eggs, breadcrumbs, dill and zest in a bowl. Add pepper to taste. Combine the mixture with the cooled Quinoa and compress the mixture into cakes to the preferred size. Then, cook the cakes in a frying pan using the olive oil.

Whilst these are cooking you can make the dressing, which simply involves mixing all the ingredients together. Once the cakes are cooked serve on a plate with a large spoonful of the dressing and enjoy this super healthy meal.

For more great recipes ideas take a look through the blog or our serving suggestions page.

The Leftovers

Ever found yourself in the situation where you have leftover smoked salmon in the fridge? Yes, it’s hard to believe but it can happen.

You may have a half-opened pack hiding in the fridge after entertaining over the festive break. Or maybe you didn’t quite need the full side when you were making that delicious smoked salmon roulade for your sister’s 40th birthday party. Maybe you’re simply tiring of eating it on its own with lemon juice and cracked black pepper (now that really is hard to believe) but are lacking the inspiration to do anything else.

Well, if that’s you, then here are two smoked salmon recipes that will allow you to get the most from your smoked salmon and ensure it’s tasted and not wasted.

Smoked Salmon Cakes (serves 4)

This recipe may not be groundbreaking but it certainly is tasty – and the perfect way to make your smoked salmon go that extra distance. The chive and garlic sauce really adds another dimension, too.

Ingredients

For the cakes…

  • Enough potatoes to make approximately 3 cups of mashed potato
  • Your leftover John Ross Jr smoked salmon – ideally between 300-450g (however don’t worry too much as a little goes a long way when using it to cook)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 small handful of parsley (chopped)
  • A generous glug of olive oil (to cook the cakes in)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

For the sauce…

  • Half a cup of plain Greek yoghurt, such as Total
  • Small handful of chopped chives
  • 1-2 crushed garlic cloves (depending on how much you enjoy garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Method

Chop your leftover smoked salmon into small pieces and mix, in a bowl, with the mash potato and the egg. Juice the lemon, keeping one teaspoon back for the sauce, and place this and the zest of the lemon in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Then add the parsley and flour. Mix well and add salt and pepper.

Scoop up enough of the mixture to form one cake, roll it in flour and then push down on the top so that it’s not longer a ball but a patty. Once you’ve done this with the rest of the mixture you’re now ready to cook them. Simply heat up the olive oil in a large pan and fry until crispy, golden brown.

If you want to make the sauce, too, then mix the lemon juice, chives, garlic and yoghurt together. Again, add salt and pepper to taste before serving alongside your cakes.

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Frittata

Who doesn’t love a frittata – particularly one with smoked salmon and asparagus in, too?
This makes around 4 servings but feel free to scale up depending on how many you’re cooking for (or how much smoked salmon you have left!).

Ingredients

  • 300-350g of your leftover John Ross Jr smoked salmon (or as much as you have)
  • 2.5 – 3kg of your favourite potato (in 1.5 cm cubes)
  • 6 large free range eggs (beaten lightly)
  • 3 egg whites (also beaten lightly)
  • Half a cup full of chopped red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano (dried)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 250g asparagus cut into 2cm pieces
  • A generous glug of olive oil
  • A generous pinch of salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes until they become tender. Mix eggs, egg whites and salt and pepper and put aside. Gently fry the onion, pepper and oregano in a large frying pan until they’re nice and soft before adding the asparagus and drained potatoes. Once the vegetables are nicely cooked add the salmon. Once it’s turned pink, which won’t take long at all, pour in the egg mixture. Keep stirring until it has set and then cook for around seven minutes – or until it’s firm enough to move from the pan and lay onto a grill. Grill until a golden brown and then slice, serve and enjoy.

Keep your eye out for more of our cooked smoked salmon recipes and remember, you can never buy too much smoked salmon!

John Ross Jr. at the Stag on the River, Surrey

The Stag on the River(Image: © Facebook)

Our products grace the plates of many fine dining establishments across the country, but today we’re taking a look at The Stag on the River which serves our traditional Scottish fine foods to patrons in Godalming, Surrey.

What to Expect at The Stag on the River

The Stag on the River logo

The Stag on the River is a fabulous riverside village pub in the scenic Surrey countryside which serves delicious British classics with a fine dining twist.

This historic inn has been serving food and providing a bunkhouse for hunters and travellers for years. And they’ve mastered the art of country dining, using only the freshest and finest quality ingredients sourced here in the UK.

At The Stag on the River you can sink into its tartan armchairs surrounded by country-chic toilet wallpaper and rustic soft furnishings, and keep yourself warm thanks to the roaring open fire.

Or if there are a few of you, the pub’s brown leather circular booths allow you to enjoy an intimate meal under exposed wooden beams and bespoke antler lighting fixtures.

And whether you opt for the seasonal winter menu or the light lunch version you can rest assured that you will not be disappointed when your food arrives.

With a detailed list of locally produced ales, such as Hogstar lager or Oyster Stout, and specially-selected red, white and rosé wines, you will always find the perfect pairing of flavours.

What’s on the Menu at The Stag on the River?

The food at The Stag on the River changes with the seasons, to assure only the best seasonal produce is served. And we are proud to have appeared on a number of the menus here.

We recently appeared on the Sunday menu. Salt cod brandade wrapped in John Ross Jr. smoked salmon, on toasted brioche with caper and parsley dressing, was a very popular starter.

And if you intend on visiting at lunchtime soon, John Ross Jr. now features on The Stag on the River’s light lunch menu. Take a look at this below:

The Stag on the River Menu

For more information about The Stag on The River, take a look at its website.  And If you won’t be in the South East this winter, don’t worry. There are plenty of quality restaurants across the country, and further afield, who use our products in their culinary creations. Find out where these are in our blog.