Thursday, 29 July 2010

Eating out report warns of long term effect of recession

The UK eating-out market is starting to see green shoots of recovery, but while the amount spent on dining out of the home in 2010 is marginally up from last year the recession will have an enduring impact on consumer attitudes, according to new research.

The report, Eating Out in the UK 2010, produced by industry analysts Allegra Strategies, revealed the value of eating out would rise 1% from last year to £40.5b in 2010, with one in 10 meals eaten away from the home, down from one in nine in 2009.

The findings come in an extensive piece of research into the size of the UK informal eating-out market, which includes pubs, fast-food restaurants, staff restaurants and coffee shops.

The report, which tracked the eating habits of more than 2,000 consumers, found that there had been a decline in visits to outlets typically charging more than £10 per head, while outlets charging less than £10 have seen the strongest increase in trade. Moreover, discounting has become a permanent feature of the market, with nearly four in 10 adults using vouchers on a regular basis.

Eating Out in the UK 2010 predicted that growth would continue over the next five years, with the market hitting £49b in 2015. However, it warned that the market would be affected in 2011 by the outcome of the emergency budget and the rise in VAT to 20%.

The report also found a major trend towards healthier eating, sustainability and food provenance. It said that half of consumers claimed that healthier eating now formed part of their overall eating-out behaviour and said that local sourcing was the most important sustainability initiative for operators to engage in.

Steve Gotham, project director, Allegra Strategies, said the evidence of the market recovery after a difficult 2009 was encouraging. "However, with trading conditions set to be impacted by continuing economic uncertainty and the VAT rise to 20% in 2011, which will only serve to widen the price gap between the cost of eating in versus going out, short-term market prospects are set to remain challenging," he said.

"Foremost among customers' emerging needs are healthier eating and greater sustainability responsiveness from operators. Consumer awareness and knowledge of healthier eating and sustainability issues continues to grow - and more engagement in both of these areas from eating out businesses will be essential to strengthen customer affinity."

Centre Parcs to open more luxury accommodation

Luxury accommodation at Center Parcs in Nottinghamshire and Wiltshire is to be increased with the opening of three tree houses and five exclusive lodges, in 2011.

The two-storey, four-bedroom tree houses at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire will each feature en-suite bathrooms and balconies to all bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, a separate games and entertainment den and a private hot tub.

Meanwhile, the exclusive lodges at Longleat Forest, Wiltshire, will each have four en-suite bathrooms, a spa area with steam room, sauna and hot tub, as well as a dedicated games room with pool table and games console.

"The exclusiveness of the new lodges and tree houses make them very appealing not only for leisure guests but also for corporate bookers, offering a unique delegate experience," said Ian Linley, head of corporate sales, Center Parcs.
Over the past three years, more than £150m has been invested in improving the range of activities, upgrading the restaurants and introducing new luxury accommodation at the four Center Parcs in the UK, which include Elveden Forest in Suffolk and Whinfell Forest, Cumbria. A fifth site is currently under development in Bedfordshire.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Bhupinder Virdee-Lace Indian Recipes - Lamb Saag



400g roast lamb (cubed)
2 tins of spinach well drained or 750g baby leaf spinach
1kg of onions (finely chopped)
100g of butter or ghee
4 chillies finely chopped
1 thumb sized piece ginger finely sliced
2 heaped teaspoons of coriander seeds
2 teaspoons of turmeric
1 teaspoon of salt
Left over stems of coriander

  1. Cook the onions in butter or ghee for 2 hours on a low heat with crushed coriander seeds, stirring frequently to ensure that a crust does not form
  2. Add chillies & root ginger and cook for a further 10 minutes
  3. Add salt & turmeric and cook for a further 5-7 minutes
  4. Add diced lamb and coat well with sauce
  5. Heat for 10 minutes or until meat is piping hot
  6. Add drained spinach or fresh spinach leaves and cook for 5 minutes
  7. Add chopped coriander
Serve with rice or chapattis

Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 2.5 hours
Serves: 6