January food roundup - light and healthy
January is a month to step back, get a little healthier, and keep eating delicious, fabulous food
January is, unsurprisingly, a bit less busy on the events front, with everyone still recovering from Christmas excess and wanting to take it easy. That means we moved from the indulgent treats and comfort food of December and onto bright, healthy dishes to get people ready to go for the new year.
As well as a special ceviche bar that our chefs toured to the units, that also meant some tweaks to our existing menus and Shake Ten - an entirely new salad service that lets people mix and match their own salads from a range of freshly prepared ingredients and dressings.
New to the menu
Shake Ten salads Introduced at our first lunch service for 2017 at several of our client sites, Shake Ten has proved incredibly popular with diners. The concept is simple - just grab a pot, throw in whatever ingredients you like the look of, and give it a shake. We make sure all of the ingredients available are full of flavour and texture so whatever people choose, they can't lose.
Added value events
Added value are the events we organise to keep the work day interesting, at no extra cost to the client.
This has probably been our most successful added value event yet. There's something so perfect about ceviche - refreshing, satisfying, colourful and shouting with flavour.
Not to be satisfied with just one ceviche dish, Development Chef Susi Hester designed three separate options - a Tahitian style poisson cru prepared with coconut milk, a Peruvian style ceviche served with coriander and chilli, and salmon ceviche flavoured with pink grapefruit and avocado.
You can see from the photos below that it looked amazing, and our customers tell us it tasted just as good. Nice one Susi!
And if you're after a recipe for one of these delightful dishes, you can get one here.
Teatimes and tastings
Each week we work with our clients to arrange treats and tastings their teams will love. Here are a few of the highlights.
January 13 - Mozzarella bar Our teatimes are often just about showcasing the very best of an ingredient. At this teatime we made mozzarella the star by serving it with amazing breads, dressed salads and our own specially made dressings.
January 20 - Fruits and chocolate fountain Sometimes you want to really dive into an ingredient and draw out all of its complexity and nuance. And sometimes you just want to give your customers a great big chocolate fountain.
January 26 - Breakfast with Nojo gluten free crepes Teatime in the morning? Well, it works when you're serving crepes like these ones, from food business Nojo. They describe them as "guilt-free crepes" and they're committed to healthy eating and fuel for the mind.
Their chefs visited the Twitter office with some of their fantastic crepes, and got the team inspired with a delicious, healthy breakfast. Thanks Nojo.
This month’s best three dishes
We’re not only about the special surprises - here are some of the day-to-day dishes that got our customers truly over the moon.
As usual we've cheated a bit this month, picking a whole menu instead of just one dish. But this Thai menu really blew us away, with development chef Susi taking inspiration from her recent trip to the Far East to offer a menu bursting with Thai flavours.
Everything from our Chinese New Year menu
It's no surprise this is one of our most popular menus. To mark the start of the Year of the Rooster, we served up as many dishes as we could get away with, including kung poa chicken with cashews and peppers, ginger and shaoxing steamed bream and springs rolls stuffed with shiitake mushrooms and savoy cabbage. The unquestionable highlight, though, had to be the chunky prawn toast, which were piled up with freshly cooked prawns.
Spiced lamb with carrot and cumin rice, beetroot yoghurt, roast brassicas and nigella seeds
You know how it is, everything's going fine, you're writing up your monthly food roundup, just finishing off the top three dishes, and then lunch happens and you eat the best darn meal you've had all month. This might be a rushed entry but it couldn't be left out. Not only were the flavours of the rice, lamb and yoghurt perfectly balanced, but the brassicas and nigella seeds gave a nice fresh contrast.
It also involved a favourite trick of ours. Because people are always divided between those who can't eat spicy food and those who say the hotter the better, this dish was prepared with whole chillis that added just a tiny bit of heat to the main dish but could be eaten alongside the lamb for a good dash of fire, if you want it.
Carrot, tomato, spinach and pine nut salad with sherry vinegar and chilli dressing
We picked this salad to mention another change we made for January. All of our salads are now served "naked". By that we mean we put the dressings on the side and let people add as much or as little as they want. Sometimes people just want a shot of fresh crunchy vegetables without worrying about the fat content in the dressing, and sometimes people want to pile on the flavour. Now they have the choice!
Whisky Treacle Tart
As if the treacle tart wasn't enough, our chefs had to go and add some whisky too. Evil geniuses.
Bits and bobs
Dean heads back to the floor The big Just Hospitality goings on this month were all about Managing Director Dean spending days shadowing members of our team from all over the business. His goal was to experience firsthand how people work and think of ways to make their everyday lives easier.
So far he's worked on the pot wash with our Kitchen Porters, helped prep vegetables in the kitchen, spent a day with the drivers and laid and and served the food at the units themselves. The feedback from staff has been great, with Catering Manager Giusy saying her team "benefited hugely" from having him on the team. Driver Dion felt he was "great fun to have around" and Porter Koffi said "it's great to have him here, but he's a bit slow getting through the pans." Well, that's an almost 100% score then.
Using up the fruit
Here's a very unglamourous looking bag of fruit. This is the fruit that one of our catering teams bought for a breakfast service or to go in the fruitbowls around the offices we manage, that's become a little bit too ripe to eat on their own. To make sure it still gets put to good use, our team blends these up into fruit smoothies that we hand out to any diners that want them. A great idea from them to keep food waste down and give yet another treat to our customers!
Coming up in February
Like every other month, February is chock full of fun and events! We're most looking forward to showing some of the students from Highshore School around one of our sites, and we're incredibly excited for Pastry Chef Marius, who has two days of work experience with chocolatier William Curley lined up. On the menu front, we're marking Black History Month by preparing special weekly menus of dishes from the diaspora. And of course we'll prepare some special treats for Valentine's Day and Pancake Day, because how could we not?
Wait, there's more! Read our December roundup to find out how we marked the festive season.