The origin of ketchup – the UK’s favourite condiment

March 29, 2016 3:18 pm

Some people smother it on their chips, others prefer to squirt a dollop on the side for dipping. You might put it in burgers or even use it as an ingredient in a marinade or sauce. However you like to eat it, its bold red colour and savoury-sweet flavour will be instantly recognisable. We are, of course, talking about tomato ketchup.

Known and loved across Europe and the US, there is no doubt a bottle in almost every refrigerator (or cupboard, depending on where you stand on the controversial ketchup storage debate) in the Western world. In fact in the UK, the average person consumes 2.4kg of the red sauce each year. But how did a simple tomato-based condiment become a household staple?

The origins of ketchup

Commonly thought of as a Western product, a notion perhaps...

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Chinese storecupboard ingredients: the absolute essentials

March 22, 2016 3:19 pm

Chinese food is big: a report by Mintel last year revealed that 78% of Brits tuck into a Chinese takeaway at least once every three months . And whilst we used to rely on a takeaway, more and more of us are becoming interested in how to cook our favourite dishes at home. In recent years, the likes of Ken Hom, Ching’s Kitchen and Chinese Food Made Easy have given those considering a homemade Chinese dinner some food for thought.

The instructions are one thing, but you need to make sure you’ve got the right ingredients. So here are the storecupboard essentials you need to make great Chinese food at home.


Sesame oil – Should be your go-to dressing or used as a flavouring during the final stages of cooking. Drizzle...

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Frozen vs. chilled: the difference, and why pay more?

March 18, 2016 4:43 pm

Chilled vs. frozen. It’s a conflict that’s been raging since 1917, when Mr Birdseye froze his first fish. A century on, frozen foods continue to fight against chilled for market share, with 2015 sales showing steady year-on-year growth. But as younger consumers show themselves to be increasingly health-conscious, refrigerated ‘fresh’ foods are once more increasing in popularity. One-fifth of consumers see refrigerated foods as healthier and more natural than frozen alternatives. But is this really the case?

The Facts

The definition of frozen food is simple: it’s produce put on ice after being picked, caught, dug up or slaughtered. We’ve been preserving food in this way for 3000 years, with the first ice cellars used in China around 1000 BC. Frozen foods save time spent shopping, and they allow consumers to eat foods out of season, thereby expanding the range of flavours...

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Cafe Asia food industry news: March 2016

March 8, 2016 5:28 pm

Welcome to the Cafe Asia March newsletter. Our sector never sleeps, but don't worry, we’re on hand to bring you the top food industry news from the catering, manufacturing, cash and carry and foodservice sectors from the last month.

Global food manufacturers unclear on supply chains

New research, conducted by risk management firm Achilles, reveals that 53% of large global food manufacturers have no way of finding out just who is in their supply chain. The research, spanning 42 firms across the Middle East, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Spain, the US and the UK, also showed that 19% of firms surveyed have no way of uncovering the names and addresses of the firms involved in their supply chain: running the risk, say Achilles, of supporting unethical working practices, slave labour or hidden child labour. Furthermore, 12% of these firms stated that they do not have corporate ethical and health and safety...

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Decoding dim sum

March 4, 2016 1:45 pm

We’ve all been there. The lunchtime Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet, with a dozen small but perfectly formed delights. But which to choose? What’s in them? And why are they just so darned pretty? These are dim sum and they have been charming Chinese diners for a thousand years. Let us demystify this Far Eastern staple, so you don’t feel so dim at the dim sum trolley. It all started with a cup of tea. The drinking of tea is referred to as “yum cha” in Cantonese - which is a name we can all agree with. Whereas we might indulge in a Hob Nob or Ginger Nut with our milky brew, the Chinese (being much more civilised in all things tea-related) wanted a more sophisticated snack to accompany their drink of choice.

Some time in the third century, when it became clear...

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