British Pie Week – It’s time to celebrate all things shortcrust!

March 8, 2016 at 10:52 am

This month sees the return of British Pie Week – a celebration of pies in all their many forms.

Meat-Potato-pie-web1Pies have long been a favourite in the colder months of the year and homemade varieties present a great opportunity to be both frugal and creative. Like soups, pies can be a fantastic way of using up spare meat and vegetables. Cheese, too, makes a tasty addition for very little cost.

Favourite British pies – such as meat and potato, cheese and onion, chicken and mushroom – all hint at their traditional rustic origins: for hundreds of years, families have been making the most of good, simple, staple ingredients through home-baked pies. The same is true in many other parts of the world: cheese and spinach pies in Greece; lamb and onion sfeehas in Lenanon; Bombay potatoes and spinach pies from India. The list goes on.
There are obvious, traditional combinations such as beef and onion, chicken and sweetcorn, chicken and mushroom, cheese and potato, cheese and spinach and so on, but sausage, peppers, asparagus and a whole host of other ingredients are equally tasty. KQF Halal Macon Rashers can also add a wonderful smoky flavour to simple favourites such as potato and onion, or any pie featuring cheese.

The choice is almost literally endless, but if you have any special favourites of your own, please let us know, or share them with us on Facebook.

Finally, of course, there is always the ready-made option and being British Pie Week, we have our own range of halal pies on special offer price. Buy now.

 

Treat your Mum with these 3 delicious Recipes!

February 29, 2016 at 9:52 am

From full English style breakfast to an elegant brunch & an over-the-top dream dinner, Mum will feel like a queen when served with these homemade recipes. Show your love with a heart-healthy-delicious meal.

KQF team have put together few recipe ideas along with secret top tips. Enjoy shopping with KQF and take pleasure of cooking at home for that special lady in your life.

KQF Macon RashersBreakfast in Bed
A long lie in and breakfast in bed is what Mother’s Day is all about. Get off to a good start with a luxurious plate of Halal Macon Rashers, beans, eggs, toast, grilled tomatoes, polonies & sausages with freshly made juice of her choice. Shop now
Top tip: Always leave the eggs till last, because there’s nothing worse than overcooked egg yolk.

LambCurryMothers Day Family Lunch
Simple, yet delicious, Lamb curry is also easy to put together. This is quick and all time favourite recipe when you want to cook a simple, wholesome meal for my family. With Lamb curry mix meat pieces, the curry will have a heartier, richer taste. Lamb curry is delicious served with plain rice, a salad and Raita. If you thicken the gravy, it tastes just as good with hot, freshly made Chapatis or naan.
Top tip: Use a pressure cooker to cook Lamb Curry and it will be done in half the time it takes to cook in an open pot!

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Royal Sunday Dinner with your Superwoman
How do you say thank you to the superwoman in your life? By taking care of the cooking of course. Get your hands on the layered Chicken Biryani, rich rice dish, where rice is cooked with spicy chicken and seasoned with delicious herbs and spices. Biryani, an evergreen classic, it’s aromatic, it’s heavenly and one of the most loved delicacies around the globe.
Top tip: Marinate the chicken pieces in 1 cup yogurt, 2 Tsp garlic paste and little salt, for a good 8 hours.

 

 

Go Green Week: 8th to 13th February 2016

February 12, 2016 at 10:32 am

go-greenGo Green Week is a national awareness-raising scheme that encourages people at home, in education and at work to think about more sustainable ways of living their lives.

For ordinary families, there are many environmentally positive steps that can be taken that also make great financial sense. Many of these are very simple things like keeping the home thermostat turned down to a sensible level, keeping doors and windows closed to reduce draughts, or turning lights off when not in use. These simple actions cost absolutely nothing but they can deliver noticeable savings on energy costs.

As a business, we’re always looking for ways to reduce waste and the amount of energy we use. One of the most important of these is our policy of using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. Our factory is based in Lancashire so we aim to source all our fresh meat from suppliers in our region. Our halal policies processes mean that we work only with specialist HMC-accredited suppliers, but we do all we can to keep our supply base local.

In celebration of Go Green Week, our latest recipe idea is Thai-style Green Curry.

Thai Green Curry

Main ingredients:
•    750g halal chicken (e.g. tikka-cut breast meat or thigh with the bone removed)
•    500g vegetables (your preferred selection: onion, carrots, broccoli, sweetcorn, mushroom, bamboo shoots, mange tout etc.)
•    2 spring onions
•    1 tin of coconut milk
•    1 stock cube
•    1 handful of lime leaves (5 to 7)
•    fresh coriander leaves (small bunch)

For the curry paste:
•    4 cloves of garlic
•    4 shallots  or half a red onion
•    3cm piece of ginger
•    2 stalks of lemongrass
•    Green chillies (2 to 4, depending on heat required)
•    Green Peppers
•    2 tablespoons of fish sauce
•    Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
•    Juice and zest of 2 limes
•    Freshly ground peppercorns (to taste)

ThaiGreenCurry-Ingredients The key to this dish is preparing the curry paste. With a food processor, it’s a simple matter of roughly chopping all the ingredients of the paste, adding them to the machine and blending them to a smooth consistency. (However, special care is required with the lemongrass; remove any stringy, woody bits and then finely chop the remainder before adding to the processor. Otherwise, there will be spiky bits in the finished curry.) If you don’t have a processor, then chop the ingredients finely and grind to a paste using a mortar and pestle.

The curry itself begins as a simple stir-fry, beginning with the diced chicken. Many cooks prefer to take the chicken out once it has turned golden brown and only then add the other main ingredients. Separating the meat in this way prevents it from over-cooking. However, for simplicity, or to produce tender chicken that takes on the full flavour of the curry sauce, it can be left in.

With a very hot wok, stir-frying the vegetable ingredients should not take long – just enough to begin to colour and soften them. Then add the coconut milk, the stock, the lime leaves and the curry paste.

Next, turn the heat up and bring to the boil. If you took the meat out, return it to the mix, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. (Test the vegetables after about 6 minutes; they shouldn’t be allowed to go too soft.)

Near to the end of the cooking time, stir in most of the roughly chopped coriander, but leave some for garnish.

ThaiGreenCurry
Serve in a bowl with rice.

Celebrate Go Green Week and share the message
•    Be environmentally responsible and ultimately ‘Go Green’.
•    Separate waste and recycle
•    Save energy and water
•    Raise awareness of sustainability issues and engage the community.

KQF Get-together Reviews a Busy 2015

December 23, 2015 at 11:59 am

On 16th December, KQF managing director Faruk Vali hosted the company’s annual staff meeting, which looked back on an eventful 2015.

Speaking at the annual group dinner and staff awards, Faruk noted the key achievements of the last twelve months, which included:

  • Retaining KQF’s Class A rating under the BRC quality standard for food
  • Investing further in more efficient production plant and processes
  • Launching a joint venture with the Post Office in August 2015
  • Launching a joint venture with SPAR in September 2015
  • Introducing significant improvements to stock control systems
  • Formally re-launching the KQF Superstore in October 2015
  • Launching several successful new product ranges, including Halal Macon Rashers, three varieties of hot dog, five varieties of Gourmet burger and six varieties of Jumbo burger.

IMG_5095_eHe also made the point that KQF now stands ready to enter the twentieth year of its history – the original ideas behind the company having been developed back in 1996. It took five years to see the first KQF production run in April 2001, so in 2016, the production department will be celebrating its fifteenth anniversary.

After a presentation that considered the rapid growth of halal consumer markets in the UK and the wider world, the KQF team then went on to review how the company’s latest foods fit with growing market trends and better general levels of awareness about health and diet. The Halal Macon rashers, for example, are not only the first HMC-certified alterative to bacon, they are also lower in fat and salt. Likewise, the new Gourmet range – also HMC certified – uses 90% lean beef, so these burgers are a great source of protein but they keep the fat content to a minimum.

The highlight of the event was the annual staff awards. Announcing them, Faruk noted that all the teams within KQF had made great efforts this year and that they had each made a vital contribution to the company’s continuing growth. However, certain individuals had stood out and these included:IMG_5129_e

  • Lifetime achievement award – Umerji Musa Ahmed
  • Bes Sales Performance – Hanif Dashu
  • Best individual performance – Siraz Tadha
  • Innovation – Vaishakhi Chhotai-Doshi
  • Best retail butcher 2015 – Mohammed Idris
  • Directors’ award 2015 – Shafi Mohammed & Iqram Patel

The evening concluded with a staff meal at East Lancashire Cricket Club in Blackburn.

Warm up with KQF’s hearty winter recipe

December 17, 2015 at 11:37 am

 

What’s better than a warm fire and a big bowl of comfort food on a cold winter night? Nothing beats a warming homemade supper on a chilly winter evening

Winter’s darkest days will soon be upon us and as the temperatures drop, so we usually like to turn to something warm and satisfying for our family meals. Happily, there are plenty of good options to choose from – soups, curries, stews and hearty pies to name just a few. In this post, we’ll take a look at the first of these: soups.

When it comes to soups and broths, there are all sorts of ready-made convenience products to choose from but sometimes, the tastiest and most rewarding are those we make at home. What’s more, soups are a great way to use up various items in the fridge and cupboard that might otherwise go to waste, so they’re a good idea economically, too.

soup-475077KQF Winter Soup

The internet is crammed full of interesting soup recipes so you should never be short of ideas. However, the point of this one is that it’s a just a base, and you can add to it whatever you fancy (or whatever you happen to have left in your fridge.) Tasty and a great money saver, it’s also a recipe that offers endless healthy options.

They key to a good soup is to get the base right. To ensure good underlying flavour, a tried and tested combination is a medium onion, together with one carrot and one stick of celery. (People sometimes add a leek, too.) For more traditional soups, these basic vegetable ingredients are cut up into small pieces and then fried gently in butter. However, for healthier, Mediterranean-themed soups, you could use a little olive oil instead. Whichever you choose, ensure the vegetables are well coated, cover the pan and leave over a gentle heat to soften them. This will take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on how big you like the chunks.

The other important flavour-booster is the stock. This can be made at home by boiling the bones/carcasses of chicken or turkey, together with a few vegetable pieces and perhaps some herbs. This is a great way of getting extra value from your poultry but if time’s pressing, a much easier solution is to buy ready-made stock from your local supermarket.

Soup meatballs-518503

The thickness of the soup is up to you, of course, and there are different ways of adding substance and texture. Some add corn flour to the base vegetables at the beginning of the process, while others add a diced potato, lentils or sweet potato to the starting mix. A further option is to blend some or all of the vegetables to create more of a pureed consistency. Some people will blend the soup mix part way through the process to create a creamy base, but then add further ingredients, such as pre-cooked meat chunks or some of the more delicate vegetables to ensure the soup retains an interesting texture.

Pre-cooked meats can include pieces of sausage, left-over chicken, beef or lamb, or slices of polony, which can be added to the pan close to the end, just long enough to heat through.

The choice of vegetables, spices, herbs and seasonings is where you can get really creative. Some of the most popular vegetable ingredients include butternut squash, sweet potato, broccoli and tomato but there’s really no limit to how you can experiment.

Whatever you choose, a scattering of fresh herbs, some finely chopped chilli or a spoonful of cream can make a nice finishing touch.

Guest blog by Richard Hall, Public Affairs Manager for the Post Office

November 20, 2015 at 11:40 am
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Faruk Vali (KQF), Faryad Hussain (Mayor), Andrew Hall (SPAR) & Julie Kemp (Post Office)

Regular followers of our news blog will remember that in October 2016, we re-launched the KQF Superstore in conjunction with our two new partners – the Post Office and SPAR. In the following guest post, Richard Hall, Public Affairs Manager for the Post Office explains how this new partnership, together with others like it, is part of a national strategy of modernisation and expansion.

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Richard Hall, Public Affairs Manager, Post Office

“We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents in Whalley Range and I am confident that this new modern Post Office will meet the needs of the local community and our partnership with KQF will secure services for the future.

The modernisation of the branch is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office, and marks a commitment to no more branch closures programmes.

Many Post Office branches are extending weekday and weekend opening hours.  We have already transformed 5,000 Post Offices across the UK with more than 152,000 additional opening hours across the modernised branches and 3,000-plus branches open on Sunday.  The programme is helping us become better for customers by being there when they need us.  In 2016 we expect to become the largest retail network open on a Sunday.  Our transformation is also about ensuring that our products and services are perfect for what our customers need.

But to achieve our goals and modernise the network it is crucial that we have strong retail partners such as KQF who are vital in helping us sustain the network of Post Office branches and of ensuring that we remain at the heart of communities. “

Host the Ultimate Summer Barbecue with the Best Cuts of Halal Meat

August 28, 2015 at 12:19 pm

This is the moment you’ve been planning for all year: You’ve buffed the grill, iced down the drinks, and stocked up on every imaginable condiment. All that’s left is to select your BBQ menu. Choosing the perfect meat for your party from among the many cuts at the butchery or supermarket can sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to feel like a daunting task. From affordable halal butcher’s cuts to a whole brisket, here are the meats that will leave every guest well-fed and happy, no matter the size of your crowd.

Beef-ExoticBurger-ThaiBurgers

Find a butcher you trust, order freshly ground meat, and you will never, ever go wrong with a burger. We like ours with 55% meat in our Classic range to 90% meat in our Gourmet range, which yields a juicy burger that won’t cause flare-ups on the grill when excess grease hits the coals.

A variety of burgers with mild to hot level in spice, all your guests are going to walk away super satisfied. And the best part is you don’t need to do anything to it, grill it to medium-rare, put a slice of cheese on it, and it is ready to serve.

 

Lamb SausagesSausages

Sausages are a specialty at the KQF, with flavours that blend moderate heat from the chilli as well as hints of onion, garlic and peppers. Pick up a variety at our KQF online store, grab some buns and toppings, and make your own hot dogs.

Our customers love to throw KQF sausages on the grill because they’re low-maintenance, easy to share, and a total crowd-pleaser.

Kebabs

Available in HMC certified lamb, beef and chicken, they’re great for barbeque parties and our British-made Classic Kebabs make a delicious starter. They combine high quality meats with authentic spice blends to deliver intense flavours.

ChickenSchnitzelsMeats for BBQ Group Party

Choose a wide range of marinated products that are tender, moist and memorable, with a flavour that is enhanced by a spicy or tandoori style marinade. Order your marinated meat now.

Few essential tips for BBQ:

The Day Before the Barbecue

  • Do some last-minute shopping. Get a sufficient supply of ice, condiments, drinks, meats and other perishable foods.
  • Prep the meat. Get our marinated meat to save time on marination and store them in the fridge.
  •  Make last-minute dishes. Prepare and store all the perishable foods you’ll be serving at the party.

The Day of the Barbecue

  • Finish decorating. Make the final adjustments to your décor and seating arrangements. Organize cups, plates, utensils, salads, side dishes, condiments, etc., on a buffet-style table. Make sure any food items are covered to protect them from heat and bugs!
  • Set up the drinks station. Fill your cooler with ice and stock it with plenty of drinks so they’re nice and cold by the time your guests arrive. Remember to frequently replenish the ice supply throughout the day.
  •  Prepare fresh appetizers. Cut and prep fresh fruits and veggies and keep them in the fridge until guests arrive.
  • Fire up the grill. Set up your grill and start cooking! Keep an eye on the meats and ensure they’re being grilled at the proper grilling temperatures.
  •  Enjoy! Spend the day having fun with your family and friends!

Eid Mubarak to all customers, friends and colleagues from everyone here at KQF

July 17, 2015 at 9:43 am

Eid wishes

This week around the world, we will join 1.8 billion Muslims celebrating the Islamic festival of Eid ul Fitr. Marking the completion of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, it is a day of great joy and new beginnings. After Ramadan’s physical and spiritual challenges, Eid heralds a bright future bursting with hope and potential.

The festival is now upon us and with it comes a time to enjoy the company of family and friends – often accompanied by a celebratory meal.

Though all Muslims recognise this as a very special time of year and most mark it with a hearty family meal, preferred dishes vary by country and region. For example, families originating from Pakistan might opt for rice with meat, naan and curry, together with samosas, rolls and kebabs. Roast chicken is also very popular (after all, when isn’t it?) and the same can be said of chicken drumsticks and sweet Asian dishes like ras malai.

Whilst some of these may also be enjoyed by families with Indian origins, alternative national favourites include biryani, tandoori chicken and meat karahi. For dessert, homemade sweets, cakes and biscuits often appear on the table.

Variety, they say, is the spice of life and so, regardless of their ethnicity, most Muslims will tend to mix and match their ingredients, choosing chicken as the principal ingredient in one dish and then lamb or beef as the basis for another.

Every family has its cherished recipes for special occasions and, at a time such as this, we’d never presume to offer our own suggestions as an alternative. We’re sure you all have plans and favourite dishes that you’re looking forward to so, instead, we’ve kept ourselves busy by planning our EID sale in a way that we hope makes life easier for everyone.

All the major ingredients for home-cooked celebratory meals – tikka-cut chicken breast, diced lamb, beef cubes and many other fresh halal meat cuts – are included in our seasonal sale, and there are savings, too, on a range of convenience foods. Samosas, kebabs, polonies and burgers are just some of the many foods on special offer. The EID sale runs until 25th July 2015.

If you have a particular favourite dish for Eid al-Fitr, or if there’s an important ingredient that you’d like us to include in next year’s Ramadan sale, please do get in touch. We really welcome your feedback and we’ll always do our best to provide the foods that are of most value to you.

At this very special time, KQF wishes you a blessed and prosperous Eid, filled with brightness and joy in the coming days.

From all the team at KQF, Eid Mubarak!

Tasty seasonal party foods for Eid celebration

July 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm

buffet-315691_1280With Eid fast approaching, we thought we’d offer some tips and suggestions for some tasty seasonal party foods.

If you’re having friends and family round for the evening, the last thing you’ll want to do will be to spend the whole time in the kitchen. Parties mean people – so what’s the best way of making sure you get to spend the maximum possible time with them?

Planning is important.  Not everyone will arrive at the same time but you can heat up the oven in advance and prepare a small quantity of hot nibbles to welcome your first guests. Chicken sticks or nuggets, cocktail sausages and similar fun-sized bites are ideal because they can be placed in a bowl – with cocktail sticks for easy picking – alongside dips and cold snacks such as nuts, crisps and crudités.  You can also prepare a small quantity of samosas and rolls, of course. Leave the oven on and prepare additional batches as you go along. This means latecomers can still be greeted with something warm and tasty.

The oven is your friend on a night like this because, provided you keep a watchful eye on the timings, it can get on with most of the hard work whilst you mingle and entertain. (That’s the planning again.) In addition to the initial snacks, you can also use it to prepare more substantial items such as pizzas, ready cooked kebabs, marinated meats and pies.

A mix of hot and cold foods will help to keep your workload down. Cold sliced meats, together with halal cheeses and a nice mixed salad can all be prepared in advance and then left in the fridge until the appropriate time. Breads are another key element that can be heated in the oven and they can provide at least some of the filler without demanding a lot of your time.

Of course being Eid, to all this you might well want to add a few signature touches of your own – a curry or a special rice dish, for example – but by keeping everything else simple and low maintenance, you’ll have more time to concentrate on making it a really striking centrepiece. KQF Chicken cut curry pieces can easily be used in dishes such as curries, stews and layered biryani dishes.

If Beef is on your menu, try KQF Minced Beef which is lean, flavoursome and exceptionally versatile. Seasoned and shaped, it makes excellent beef kofta, but it can also be used to make wonderful savoury fillings or used in traditional minced beef curries.

Or if you prefer a Lamb dish on Eid, KQF Lamb Curry Mix Meat would be ideal. It is cut into handy, bite-sized pieces that are ideal for curries and other family favourites.

Last but not least, no celebration is complete without a sweet dish. For kids, preparing homemade biscuits and cakes would be the most popular item. Traditional sweet dishes are a great hit. So why not rustle up with Barfi, Gulab Jamun (a ball shaped milk based dessert immersed in a sugar syrup), and ras malai (dish prepared with milk). They are all time favourites and will keep everyone happy.

We wish you and your family a happy Eid in advance and wish you every success.

AHF visit – In their own words…

May 29, 2015 at 10:22 am

In a recent post, we reported that we’d had a welcome return visit by members of the Abu Hanifah Foundation Cub Scouts Group – or, more precisely, AHF Beavers. We’ve already spoken about it but we thought you’d like to hear the views of the boys and girls themselves. After their visit, they very kindly sent us all sorts of letters of thanks – even some pictures. We’ve listed a few examples below.

“I thought that the day was so amazing. They make so many burgers and sausages in a day. I really enjoyed making and eating the sausages.”
Hafsa

“I wish  we could have breakfast  like this every Sunday!”

Hamza-Yusuf

Hakim and Zaki sent us a lovely drawing, which describes the fun they had.

AHF visit - KQF factoryIn it, they note that their favourite part was the food tasting – saying: “I loved the taste of the KQF chicken and I’m sure all the other cubs/ scouts enjoyed it too! I also liked the part when we saw how KQF made the delicious sausages… The overall experience was outstanding!”

Another of the visitors, Mohammed sent us a thoughtful report, which described all that he’d done during his stay with us. He noted how the children had all put on hygienic protective clothing and that they’d learned a great deal about the production process. He wrote: “We saw men making sausages… one of the machines could make 3,800 burgers in ten minutes!”

We also received text messages from parents describing how interesting and enjoyable trip their children had at KQF factory. The message says  – “My son really enjoyed his trip at KQF factory. The visit has converted not only their son but entire family to eat delicious sausages for the breakfast. We will definitely buy them again and again”.

We’re very glad that the children enjoyed their trip. It was a pleasure to welcome such bright and appreciative visitors, and everyone at KQF looks forward to seeing our friends from AHF again.