Posts Tagged ‘Green & Black’s’

Recipe For Milk Shake

Sunday, August 15th, 2010
You spend hours and hours creating delicious home cooked food from scratch, buying the best ingredients you can find, then you hear you kids discussing the best type of chocolate or sweet and flavour of crisps (chips) in the back of the car*.  You feel deflated and slightly aggrieved that all that hard work is for nought.

Then, Jay, our eldest, says that he hates school chips (french fries) and much prefers Daddy’s home made fried potatoes, while Emily, our youngest, cannot eat enough of home-made roast chicken with all the trimmings made yesterday, and they both love home-made Yorkshire puddings.  Emily enjoys making a salad for us all today for lunch, while Jay even helped to mix the batter for baking cheesecake yesterday, which they both wolfed down greedily.

You justify yourself that it is all the fault of strong advertising that they see on the TV, plus the treat factor of eating what they rightfully call “bad food”.

Actually, I think it is only fair that you let your children have the choice and experience of eating all the manufactured foods as well, although strictly only once in a while.  You do not want them becoming cranky like you are yourself. 

So today, in the miraculous heat that appeared on this mid August day, after weeks and weeks of cold, rainy weather, and after the Premier League football season has recommenced, I decided that we should trial recipes for milkshakes for Emily’s birthday that’s coming up in October.  This was with some trepidation as it would open the floodgates to some seriously evil food groups, and lo and behold, I was dead right.  The chosen flavours were banana (me), strawberry (Soph), Snickers and separately Skittles (Jay) and for Emily Curly-Wurly and Rolos, respectively.

We played around with combinations of the basic ingredients and the recipe below is what we came up with; you can ignore the banana but we felt that it needed something to add some body to the milkshake, and a small amount of banana seemed to do the trick – too much and the banana flavour started coming through in the other flavours.  By the way, Jay could not finish the Skittles as they were too sweet and revolting, but they did enjoy the other flavours (“the horror, the horror, the horror” to paraphrase Kurtz in Apocalypse Now).

The Milk Shake Base

2 good sized scoops of vanilla ice cream, relatively soft scoop (we use Brymoor or Cream Of Yorkshire)
225ml / 1 cup full fat milk (don’t go all skinny and healthy here, as it’s pointless)
3cm / 1 inch of ripe banana

Your Flavours

This is really up to you, but it should be about 3 tablespoons in volume, so:

1 Curly-Wurly, 1 Pack of Rolos, 1 Snickers Bar
10 strawberries, ½ a banana

Or whatever you want, but some things really are just too sickly sweet, e.g. Skittles and Starburst.

Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or juicing machine and mix up thoroughly.

Ingredients For Milk Shake

Ingredients For Milk Shake

Preparing The Milk Shake Base

Preparing The Milk Shake Base

Jay Chopping Snickers Bar

Jay Chopping Snickers Bar

Milk Shake Ready For Whizzing

Milk Shake Ready For Whizzing

Mixing It Up

Mixing It Up

Sophie Enjoying Strawberry Milk Shake

Sophie Enjoying Strawberry Milk Shake

* For those intrigued, the answer for sweets/chocolate was Curly-Wurly, Snickers and Starburst and (for the crisps/chips) BBQ Beef Hula Hoops and Ready Salted and Cheese & Onion Walkers Crisps.  And they both love Green & Black’s Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate slabs of chocolate.

Two Business Decisions That Will Shape Steenbergs Over Years Ahead

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

We’ve made a couple of small, seemingly innocuous commercial decisions in the last 10 days that will probably have a dramatic impact on Steenbergs as a business over the next 5 – 10 years.

Firstly, we had a visit from Waitrose at their behest to discuss some own label lines of flavoured salts that they would incorporate into exclusive recipe based adverts by Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith.  We decided to turn down with working with them any further for many reasons, but the key thing really just boiled down to the fact that own label,  non organic work for a high street retailer just didn’t fit with where Steenbergs wants to go, particularly where neither of these chefs have any leanings towards “green issues”, i.e. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall might have made our decision harder.

Secondly, we have just asked to stop our FLO-Cert Trader Status for Fairtrade spices as the commercial basis for it didn’t stack up.  We can still trade Fairtrade spices in the UK and Ireland, but having to market Fairtrade spices across Europe for tiny margins was just not economic for us – we were actually not making any money on that side at all except for some sales of organic Fairtrade vanilla extract, but that work died away for us late last year when Divine switched their supplier.  Also, allied to that, there was no real interest from major chocolate makers for good Fairtrade vanilla as Green & Black’s has managed to get a derogation and so uses a non-Fairtrade vanilla extract in its Fairtrade chocolate bars, while Cadbury’s Dairy Milk contains industrial vanillin rather than a gorgeous vanilla alongside it’s “glass and a half of fresh milk from the British Isles”.

Why have we said no to both?  We believe that the next stage for small, ethical food producers is building out our use of the Internet.  We believe that media, communications and shopping will come closer together and over time those specialists with a web presence that has rich media content will be able to more than hold their own against the big behemoths that are the high street retailers.  The key is rich, unique content and the creation of web personality, rather than just being a database of products loitering on the world wide web. 

Why can small businesses like us succeed? (a) we have a personality that is not created in the marketing department; (b) software and technology is free and open on the Internet ranging from blogging tools to Twitter and via Youtube, which will kill any uniqueness that big business gets from their technology investments as it will all become free – look what the Internet is doing for newspapers and music and watch it creep out into the physical world; (c) who really would want the hassle of managing a portfolio of expensive freehold/leasehold property like Tesco or Sainsbury or Whole Foods or Holland & Barrett which cannot be moved around nor is it being constantly advertised as in the retailing etherworld?