Tips for the Perfect Hog Roast

 

As the weather takes a chilly turn, thoughts drift to crackling fires, warm fuzzy blankets and hot chocolate designed to hit that sweet spot deep in your belly. Everybody has their favourite type of Christmassy, wintery meal that they love to get stuck into, and while hot soup is a popular meal for most festive gatherings, sometimes people prefer something a little meatier. A full on winter hog roast can be the perfect addition to your Christmas do, however unless you’re already a professional chef it can be a bit tricky to set up. We have a look at some great DIY tips on the perfect winter Hog Roast.

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Image:  Kenniford Farm

Buy a Kit, don’t Make Your Own

There are a wide variety of DIY hog roasting kits available online or available to hire from professional companies, and they can get quite expensive. However they provide all the proper materials for a hog roast and will be able to ‘take the heat’ for a longer period of time than a home-made spit. Go with what the professionals recommend, particularly if you are entertaining guests!

Taking it to the Market

The perfect hog roast isn’t just a pig slapped on a spit for 6 hours until it is cooked. A lot of work goes into preparing the pig before it has been slaughtered, choosing your perfect pig, seasoning the roast and taking care of it while it cooks. Your local farmer’s market or butcher shop will be able to provide you with fresh meat that they themselves have sourced, giving you more information as to the size and the condition of the pig. You can also pick up some great roasting herbs and spices which will give your hog that extra kick when you finally bite into the meat. It may take a little more time and effort, but it will be worth it!

Keep to Your Time

There is normally a 30-45 minute time period where the pork is perfectly cooked, so although this is a fairly wide window for the experienced it is still important to keep checking the time so that you don’t over or undercook the pig. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to cook your hog, as depending on the size of the pig certain hogs take up to 8 hours to fully cook through! Get yourself a temperature probe and check up on it regularly, as although an overcooked hog can be a disaster and undercooked hog can be even more dangerous as it could lead to food poisoning.

It is also important to bear in mind that because of the cold weather, if you are planning on roasting your hog outside (which you will unless you have a rather large conservatory) it may need a bit longer than the required time to properly cook. Take the weather and climate of the day into account when planning your roast time, and make sure the hog is properly covered in the unfortunate event of rain.

Eyes on the Prize

Hog Roasting is not an easy affair! It takes time to roast the perfect pig and even then you have to keep an eye on it to check that the pig is cooking evenly and isn’t burning. It is a fine line between burning the skin (which is needed to make the delicious pork crackling) and actually getting the heat into the meat so that it cooks properly.

Enjoy It!
At the end of the day, you’ve worked hard to create the perfect hog roast to share with your family and you should get a piece of the pie, so to speak. Make sure to stay diligent during the preparing and the cooking process and once the hog is off the spit and served up and ready to eat, now you can have your golden moment. Also, if you’re the head chef you can always try to squirrel away a few extra pieces of crackling for later!

From Mike James, Content Editor @ www.stylemarquee.co.uk

Delicious Vegan Dishes in London Restaurants

 

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That London offers ample opportunities to the vegan people to indulge in an array of mouth-watering dishes at the vegan restaurants of the city. So your visit to the majestic city of London is going to be double exciting with its scrumptious plant-based products which you will get in these fine restaurants in plenty. You are wrong if you think that the vegan restaurants in London keep their offerings limited to the fish free Sushi, wholesome lasagne or fresh fruit curry only, the vegans will be delighted to find a plethora of other lip-smacking dishes to pamper their palate at the London vegan restaurants.

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Let’s take a look at some of the most popular vegan restaurants in London offering some diverse, delicious vegan dishes:

Loving Hut

Nestled in trendy Camden Town, this favourite eatery in London offers tasty vegan dishes with love. The delectable offerings like baked beans, noodles, curries, and vegetables are here to tickle your taste buds and these are absolutely perfect for your health-conscious lifestyle. Do not miss the mouth-watering Tom Yum Soup, special vegan cakes and yummy summer rolls over here.

Saf Kensington

An exclusive selection of tasty cooked and raw vegan cuisine keeps this vegan restaurant on top of the list. Saf Kensington serves delicious salads, sandwiches, wraps and curries. You simply cannot miss the yummy house burger of this place featuring a patty of seasonal, fresh veggies and this is topped with pickles, lettuce, grilled onions, tomato, tarragon aioli and tomato fig jam. Pad Thai, Jasmine Tart and White Chocolate are some of the other top picks which you cannot miss.

Tibits

This stylish boutique vegan restaurant is nestled in Heddon Street, the food quarter of Regent Street. Tibits serves fresh, absolutely delicious and super-healthy food in a funky atmosphere. A selection of mouth-watering dishes stimulated by flavours from across the world is waiting for you over here to tickle your taste-buds. Take the delight of feasting on spicy Thai Tofu Salad with organic tofu and melon, Indonesian Sweet Corn Pudding and Mango Banana Curry with soy-cream sauce and cilantro. You can spot the Hollywood celebrities dining there.

Amico Bio

This is an Italian-Restaurant serving fabulous all vegetarian-organic food. The foodies will be delighted to find an extensive menu comprising traditional antipasti, meat-free appetizers, dolci and home-made pastas. You will get myriad options as most of the dishes are vegan. Some of the must try options over here include Paccheri Pasta with Sage and Pumpkin Sauce, Pan fried Polenta with Tomato and Chickpeas and especially Chargrilled Tempeh with Turnip Tops. Amico Bio is known for creating traditional Italian dishes made from using only fresh seasonal products. An organic silky red wine will add more delight to your dining extravaganza over here.

Sagar

This South Indian vegetarian restaurant will be your ideal destination if you are looking for the best Indian food in London. Sagar serves a superb range of veg-friendly Indian food which is simply fabulous in taste. The specialities of this place which you must not miss are Masala Dosa, spicy vegan curries and lentil pizzas topped with chilies, potato, fresh coconut and various other traditional ingredients. You should also try the crispy rice along with lentil wrapper stuffed with onions, carrot and potato with coconut chutney and sambar.

Vitao

Any list of vegan restaurants in London would remain incomplete without a mention of Vitao. This popular vegetarian eatery is known for raw, healthy foods. Delicious raw or hot meals are offered at affordable prices. When you at Vitao, you must pamper your palate with the specialty items like zucchini noodles along with miso dressing, Raw Lasagna Terrine and Pizza with seed-based cheese.

With so many vegan and vegetarian restaurants out here, it is easy to go vegan in London. At the supermarkets you will find soya milk and various dairy-free products.

Information supplied by Jennifer Rogers who has written many articles on best Indian food in London. In this article she is providing us with some valuable information on vegan restaurants in London.

Spicing Up A Restaurant Or Cafe With A “Theme Day”

 

Restaurants and Cafe owners! Are you looking for ways to bring in new customers? What about redesigning your interior and bringing a bit of life back into your everyday working world? Why not host a themed day or week?! Both the complicated themes like ‘1940’s Gangsters’ in addition to the more simple themes like ‘Polka-Dot’ can really help break up the monotony of the work place every day. It will paint your cafe or restaurant as a fun loving, great place; you’ll get to have fun while doing it and the chances are that you’ll bring in a load of new customers, particularly if you make it a regular event! Local advertising and events listings can help increase your exposure and give the impression that you have a restaurant that is one to visit regularly in order to keep up to date with new menus or dining experiences.

We’ve compiled a list of great hints and tips to get you started on making your themed day as successful as possible.

Props

Little things make a big difference. Whether it is just a few beach style posters stuck to the counter, or a small inflatable palm tree in the corner, props will really help add to your themed day. Plan your props for your space and your budget however; giant stuffed animals aren’t going to work if your customers spend half their time edging around them. The aim is to add to the atmosphere and not detract from or disrupt your core business. Be sensible, but be fun!

Drinks

A cocktail of the day is even better when it is themed. Renaming drinks to suit the theme will make the whole experience more enjoyable, and comically named drinks almost always go down well with guests, especially if you can fit some bad puns around the names as well! This works just as well for non-alcoholic cocktails and so any restaurant or cafe can benefit from this idea.

Menu
Equally as important as the drinks; themed dishes are a must for themed days. Don’t spend hours changing your whole menu as it can be complicated and time consuming. Add maybe one or two dishes to each course that represents the theme you are currently celebrating. Changing the names of some of the other dishes to suit the theme would work well too! You may want to add your themed dishes alongside your most popular regular dishes so as not to deter any regular customers.

Costume
Make fancy dress optional for your employees. It really works well if they get involved with the theme day as well. However don’t force your employees to wear a costume, instead provide some simple garments (eyepatches for pirate themed etc.) that they can put on if they feel left out. Let your employees really get into the themed days, it’ll be more fun that way!

Mask Backdrop

Costumes do not fail to delight youngsters and being served your meal from a pirate is also a sure-fire way to get your child to eat their meal. Just remember to keep it professional and age appropriate at all times.

Competition

Hosting a themed competition can be a great way to encourage people to sit and dine. Just a simple raffle for a free dining experience for 2, or a themed quiz that you can hand in along with your bill will engage people, and they’ll ultimately have a more enjoyable experience. Who knows, next time they might bring friends! In offering incentives or prizes you are seeking to engage your customers with your business and connect with them on a different level that can add to the regular customer service they can expect from you.

The possibilities for themes are endless, but it is better to make sure that they are all child friendly, as you could be isolating potential customers who want to dine out with their children. Always bear in mind your regular clientele and even canvas some for their opinions if you have the chance to. The idea is to ensure that all guests feel they are listened to and looked after whilst they are eating at your establishment and if you only have small premises, the personal approach will always be noted and appreciated by your customers. Regardless, setting a regular themed day or evening for your cafe or restaurant is a fun experience, and can prove extremely successful in the long run!

Mike James is an entrepreneur and self-starter who is also passionate about Design and Technology and as keen writer he also writes about issues concerning SMEs such as office design and interior design for Engaging Interiors.