Archive for the ‘Steenbergs’ Category

STEENBERGS BUYS OLD HAMLET WINE & SPICE

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Axel and Sophie Steenberg are pleased to announce that Steenbergs Limited (Steenbergs), the organic and Fairtrade spice experts, has acquired the business of Old Hamlet Wine & Spice (Old Hamlet), the mulled wine specialists.

Old Hamlet Wine and Spice product range includes Fairtrade mulling wine and cider sachets in their distinctive cloth bags, made in the UK.

Old Hamlet Wine and Spice product range includes Fairtrade mulling wine and cider sachets in their distinctive cloth bags, made in the UK.

Old Hamlet was established in 1975 Bury St Edmunds and has been owned by Tim and Rachel Bell since 1991. Under their enthusiastic management, Old Hamlet has become a leader in making hand-crafted mulling wine mixes in cotton bags.

Not only does Old Hamlet fit neatly with Steenbergs existing spice and mulling spices products, but Old Hamlet’s ethical principles dovetail with those of Steenbergs, with both businesses committed to fair trading.

Further, both Tim and Rachel Bell have committed to provide Steenbergs with consultancy to ensure a smooth handover for customers, suppliers and to help with production quality.

Axel Steenberg commented: “We have long admired the work of Tim and Rachel at Old Hamlet and their strong ethical principles, so we were delighted when the opportunity to buy the business came along. We will look to build on their fabulous products and, perhaps, bring in a few new ones as well.”

Tim Bell said: “We are very pleased that Axel and Sophie Steenberg will be taking over the running of Old Hamlet and are looking forward to working with them to ensure a trouble-free transition for our customers.”

Win a box of Steenbergs Fairtrade goodies to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight 2017!

Friday, February 17th, 2017
Click here to view this promotion.

 

Congratulation to John Lock for winning this prize, which has been sent to him. Many thanks to all who entered.

31 Steenbergs Products Become Halal Certified

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Following a detailed certification and audit process that’s taken several months, we’re pleased that Steenbergs now has 31 products certified as conforming to Halal requirements in accordance with Islamic law.  We’ve been certified by Halal Certification Europe, who are approved by JAKIM (Malaysia) and MUIS (Singapore) as well as other Halal authorities.

The products that conform to Halal are all mixes prepared at Steenbergs and include: Baharat, Garam Masala, Madras Curry Powder, Chana Masala, Harissa, Lebanese 7 Spice and Tagine Spice Mix, as well as Steenbergs English Breakfast Tea and Earl Grey Tea.  For a full list, please contact sales@steenbergs.co.uk.

Individual spices and herbs are not certified as Halal, because they are not processed at Steenbergs’ factories, but at the ingredients’ source.  Over time, we hope to be able to get some of the original suppliers certified as Halal, but that’ll take time.

Steenbergs Extracts and Flower Waters now registered with Vegan Society

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

We’ve successfully registered Steenbergs’ extracts and flower waters with The Vegan Society. This is the start of a process that will see Steenbergs include vegan branding into our bakery range over the next few months.

As part of this, we’ve delisted anything that is not vegan within the range of Steenbergs-branded products. So, for example, all the baking decorations have been delisted, because some included shellac and others carmines, while milky oolong has been removed because it contained milk flavour.

We feel this tidies up what Steenbergs does, so that we can now say Steenbergs’ products are animal-free, vegetarian and vegan. Not all are registered (in fact most aren’t) but we’ll work on it over the next few years.

We’ve still got to review non-Steenbergs products and what we’re doing with them…but that’s for another month.

Update 26/1/2017: Following a review of branded products on www.steenbergs.co.uk, we are delisting the Fish4Ever range of fish and seafood, and the Pukka ghee.  This will mean that by mid-year (when these have sold through) Steenbergs will be a strictly vegan brand across all its activities.

Steenbergs Becomes Kosher Certified

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

We’ve been working during the last few years on upping our game in our certifications.  It’s alright saying that Steenbergs is good at this and that, but quite another thing to prove it.

In 2016, we began working on both halal and kosher certification.  So far, we have completed kosher certification with the London Beth Din (Kosher London Beth Din) – finalised on 16 December and confirmed 3 January 2017.

After an audit visit and lot of paper trails to be proved, this has enabled over 250 products to achieve kosher certification.  At the start, we won’t have any logo showing that our products are kosher certified, but as new labels are printed we will be incorporating the KLBD logo for certified lines.  This will begin with a rebranding of the organic extracts range in the first half of 2017.

Now, we’ve started on halal certification with Halal Certification Europe.  Because of a different methodology , it means that only those products we blend can be certified and so it will be a much, much shorter list.

At Steenbergs, the key theme is that we must be able to demonstrate that we both appreciate and are addressing customer’s differing requirements for Steenbergs herb, spice and tea products.  This is not only about environmental (Organic) and social (Fairtrade; SEDEX), but also about religious and other ethical factors.

We will address vegan and/or vegetarian in the near future, but have slightly put that to the back of the queue because Steenbergs’ products are plant-based and we seek (so far as possible) to ensure no animal products are used in fertilisers.

2016 – A Truly Weird Year

Friday, December 30th, 2016

2016 has been a strange year, with political events intruding on our best efforts at Steenbergs.  These external factors will impact the business for many years to come, and will make everything trickier and riskier.  However, they will not deflect us from our values – good spices, herbs and teas from good suppliers, where good reflects both quality and ethics.  That’s something to cling to when the economics become ever more unpredictable.

We’ve stuck with our quality, social and environmental values, and are getting these increasingly checked by external auditors.  Once again, we’ve been audited by Organic Food Federation (organic), SALSA (food quality), The Fairtrade Foundation (social), and have kept Steenbergs’ details on SEDEX (social) current, if unaudited.  During 2016, we had our first kosher audit with Kosher London Beth Din and are ongoing with our first halal audit with Halal Certification Europe, slated for January 2017.  Also, for 2017, we’re looking at vegan accreditation.

As for our additional premises, we’ve got to where we intended even if several months later than planned.  The phone system is finally in at 11 Hallikeld Close and the IT systems and offices moved over, with our spice factory at 6 Hallikeld Close connected by phone and to our servers via a VPN.  The tea packing facility and machinery is now installed at 11 Hallikeld Close, with a mezzanine floor for tea storage, and will, be fully functional in January 2017.  Shifting the tea and then the small orders picking and packing from 6 Hallikeld Close will free up space for labelling and finishing of Steenbergs spices and flavourings lines.

So operationally, we’ve got to where we intended despite the twists and turns in the road.

But, in 2016, you simply cannot get away from the politics.  The list of issues is long and includes:

  • Brexit has affected our raw materials’ and packaging costs unilaterally by about 15%, with the weakened pound. We’ll live it by increasing prices – our own Marmite moment that all businesses must face.
  • Some of our staff are from within the EU, and we’ve been working with them to get their residencies in order in while the politicians argue over what Brexit means in practice.
  • The Living Wage and Autoenrolment have directly affected staffing costs definitely for the better in the short term. Everyone is now paid the same rate – from director to new recruit – so we’re our own small socialist republic.
  • The problems in the Middle East has made trading with the Lebanon harder, and for Persian saffron impossible.  Whereas politically possible and there is a Fairtrade-certified chain of custody from saffron co-operative through to the EU, British banks refuse to permit any transactions, because of prohibitive US sanctions.  This is not only embarrassing in that Fairtrade cannot deliver on its commitments, but also prevents poor farmers from earning a living wage or making a return on their investments in becoming Fairtrade-certified and food-safe.

But I worry that wages will become a political football that will, over the medium term, prevent flexibility in wage rates and so affect the competitive ability of businesses.  Over time this could result in increased automation and more jobs to shift from the north of England to the south-east…because if it’s no cheaper to work outside the south-east it will suck more people away from the north to the south-east – just like HS2 will, also, probably do.

Higher wage rates are usually initially good for local economies, but the consequent inability to compete in national and international markets over the longer is a long term threat [note: no-one will actually think about this until years later].  This inflexibility in EU labour markets in contrast to the USA is one of the many reasons why the EU does not work, Southern European states are economically broken and provides the pull that brings economic migrants into the UK that was one of the factors in the Brexit result.

But we’ll stick to our course and stick to our values whatever the world throws at us.

Steenbergs Phone Lines – Update

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Finally, we’re almost at the end of the saga of Steenbergs’ phone lines.  After complaining to BT’s Chief Executive, because none of our other complaints succeeded in getting any traction, we have been slowly moving towards achieving what we originally ordered in May this year.

Yesterday, the ISDN lines were completed (2 lines, 4 channels), the switch and phones completed and the Internet phone set-up (Avaya switch and phones); we’ve had 80GB optical fibre installed direct to both units for really fast broadband.  We are not actually moving the phone numbers over until 16 December, so the new system is on a dummy number for the moment.

But after 7 months, we may finally get a functional phone and broadband system – it’s been a long gestation period with lots of turbulence along the way, but hopefully it will be worth the wait.  Not a bad level of technology for rural North Yorkshire.

Win a new Vegan Food Pimp Cookbook!

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

To enter our competition to win a fabulous Vegan Food Pimp Cookbook, simply fill in the details below.
Good luck!

Click here to view this promotion.

Win a Divine Chocolate Tasting Set!

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

To enter our deliciously divine competition to win a Tasting Set of Divine chocolates, simply fill in the firm below.
Good Luck!

Click here to view this promotion.

Cook For Syria with Baharat spice blend

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

This November sees a fantastic initiative #cookforsyria, set up by influential instagrammer Clerkenwell Boy and Suitcase Magazine in support of Unicef UK’s Children of Syria fund. A month long celebration of Syrian cooking, there will be events, supper clubs and sharing of recipes, in order to raise money through the power of food.

“We hope that through the #CookForSYRIA campaign we will not only be able to raise significant and much needed money for Unicef UK’s Children of Syria Fund, we will also increase awareness of the plight of children in the war-torn country. Through cooking, sharing recipes and the power of social media, we invite everyone to help make a difference and positive contribution towards this important initiative.” Clerkenwell Boy

For more information on the initiative please visit http://cookforsyria.com/. In the meantime, we’d like to share a recipe and information on one of our Middle Eastern spice blends, Baharat, which is popular in Syrian cuisine.

Baharat

baharat-organic-arabic-spice-blend-48gSteenbergs Organic Baharat Spice Mix is based on a traditional general spice mix used throughout the Near East or Levant, especially the Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Palestine.  In fact baharat means spices in Arabic.  In the Levant, Steenbergs Organic Baharat is used on almost everything from lamb and mutton to fish.  Steenbergs Organic Baharat version is a Tunisian style recipe.

Steenbergs Organic Baharat contains (amongst other ingredients) organic paprika , organic black pepper , organic cumin and organic cloves and organic cardamom powder.  Try it rubbed onto chicken drumsticks for an Arabian inspired alternative to standard roasted chicken drumsticks or try the tasty recipe below.

Pan-fried Beetroot Pasta with Baharat, Orange & Walnuts

Beetroots that have been pan-fried in orange zest take on a whole new taste sensation, especially when combined with Baharat spice blend.

INGREDIENTSbaharat pasta

WHAT TO DO

  1. Toast the walnuts in the oven on 200’c for 5-10 minutes till light brown, but watch as they will burn if left unattended.
  2. Wash and slice the celery sticks and put into pan with beetroot (below)
  3. Cut the beetroot into 1/4’s and put into a deep frying pan with the butter, Baharat and orange zest
  4. Cook on high till the sugars in the beetroot start to caramelise and bring out the flavours
  5. Set aside and make the pasta
  6. Put pasta into a pan of water with the veg bouillon and bring to the boil.
  7. Cook the pasta till al dente (still with a slight chew when you bite into a piece), which should take about ten minutes, but follow packet instructions.
  8. Drain and add the nutmeg and spinach to wilt down.
  9. Put into hot bowls
  10. Divide the beetroot mixture between the bowls of pasta
  11. Top with the walnuts
  12. Serve with warm crusty bread