Recipe of the Month – Irish Barm Brack

As the autumn nights draw in, this delicious fruit cake was traditionally served at Halloween in Ireland.  There’s no butter in this recipe, but try a slice of this warm with lashings of butter on it!

Preparation time – 10 minutes plus 8 hours soaking the fruit

Cooking time – 1hr 30 minutes


275g raisins

100g sultanas

60g mixed peel

300ml warm, strong black tea

1 or 2 teaspoons black treacle (optional)

200g dark brown demarara sugar

225g self raising flour

1/4 teaspoon mixed spice

1 egg


Mix the dried fruit, mixed peel, warm tea and treacle in a bowl.  Cover and set aside overnight

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / gas mark 4

Grease and line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin or a 20cm / 8 inch round cake tin

Add the brown sugar, self raising flour, mixed spice and egg to the dried fruit – tea mixture and stir well

Pour into the tin and bake for 1hr 30 mins until it feels firm to the touch

Transfer to a wire rack and cool

Stored in an airtight container, this cake will keep for 10 days (if you can resist it!)

Recipe of the Month – Veggie Stew with Dumplings

This is a big, thick, rich stew  with cheesy herby dumplings, perfect for the colder evenings that’s really easy to make.

Serves 6



For the dumplings:

50g butter, softened

125g self raising flour

40g cheddar cheese, crumbled

1 tbsp thyme leaves

For the stew:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, roughly diced

2 celery sticks, roughly diced

3 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp Marmite

1/2 tbsp tomato puree

2L hot vegetable stock

3 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces

4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces

450g swede, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces

2-3 rosemary sprigs, plus extra, chopped, to sprinkle

1 bouquet garni

150g orzo pasta

80g pack of cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped

salt and pepper



Start by making the dumplings.  Rub the butter into the flour and mix with the cheddar and thyme.  Add just enough cold water to bring the mixture together to a soft dough and divide into 6 small dumplings.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees fan / Gas mark 5.  Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onion and celery over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft and translucent.  Add the flour into the pan, whisking constantly to make a roux.  Add in the Marmite and tomato puree followed by the stock a glug at a time, whisking all the while to make a smooth base to the stew.

Throw the carrots, parsnips, swede, sweet potatoes, rosemary and bouquet garni into the dish and bring to the boil.  Cook the stew with the lid off for 5-7 minutes.  The vegetables should be cooking nicely but still have a bite to them.

Rinse the orzo pasta well in a sieve and pour into the casserole along with the chestnuts.  Season well and place the dumplings on top of the casserole.  Sprinkle over a little chopped rosemary and bake in the oven, lid off, for 20-30 minutes until the dumplings are puffed up and nicely cooked and the vegetables are tender.

Service with crusty bread (preferably hot!)




Recipe of the Month – Plum Crumble

With the first hints of Autumn approaching, this warming plum crumble is so versatile –  you can add other fruits, or change the crumble mixture to make it taste perfect for you!

Serves 4



1 punnet of plums 750g approx.
Handful of sugar to cover plums
100g plain flour
1tsp cinnamon
50g ground almonds
100g butter
75g light brown sugar
Handful of flaked almonds



Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Butter your oven dish.

Cut the plums in half and remove the stones.

Place in the oven dish and cover with a generous handful of sugar.

To make the crumble mix, measure the flour, cinnamon, ground almonds and butter in to a bowl and rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. A few chunky bits of butter will add texture to the finished dish so do not overwork it.

Add the sugar and flaked almonds. Stir to combine.

Put the crumble mix on top of the plums but do not press down as this keeps the crumble nice and light.

Bake in the oven for 30/35 minutes.


If you are allergic to nuts, replace them with oats or more flour. Or if you like you could add some muesli. Also, if you can eat nuts, you could try adding a mix of walnuts and hazelnuts just after you have added the crumble topping. You could also use wholemeal flour, but half and half is best as wholemeal flour tends to be quite dry.

Review of Nutritional Requirements for Food & Drink in Schools (Scotland)


The recent review, published in June 2018, points to some significant changes ahead:

  • Introduction of food based standards alongside nutrient standards
  • Energy standards to be measured on a daily basis rather than weekly basis
  • Increased fruit and vegetable provision
  • Removal of fruit juice & fruit juice combination drinks
  • New standards for provision outwith lunch
  • New standards for red and red processed meat
  • Analysis of Secondary School lunch to be based on a 2 choice, 2 course lunch

How can Inhouse Manager help?

Our fully integrated nutritional analysis uses your bespoke menus and recipes with the actual ingredients you purchase to automatically analyse your offering.

You can choose whether the reports produced are based on an even take up across your menu or on the actual numbers of each meal choice served.

The ability to identify food that requires analysis on food based standards as well as nutrient standards enables schools to analyse all aspects of the provision.

Multiple menus can be set up within the system to measure the lunch provision separately from provision outwith lunch.

All analysis can be carried out on both a daily and weekly basis.  The weekly measurement will still show a daily analysis which is then averaged for the week.

Allergens are automatically identified and reported on.

Our catering management software saves time and money by automating your procurement, ensuring you are using the most cost-effective ingredients across your schools. The daily production reports provided to your kitchen staff ensure the right amount of meals are prepared, using the right amount of ingredients, and including the recipe method brings consistency across your service.

By integrating the nutritional analysis module with the catering management module, your level of accuracy increases significantly whilst reducing the amount of work required to provide the analysis.


For more information about how Inhouse Manager can support your catering operation, please contact us

Fàilte gu Inhouse Manager: a’ lìbhrigeadh sheirbheisean air feadh na h-Alba bho 1964. Obraich nas Glice. Sàbhail Airgid.

Recipe of the Month – Asian Chicken Salad

A delicious and filling salad suitable for lunch or dinner!

Serves 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes



1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil


1 piece of ginger, peeled and cut into slices against the grain

2 spring onions, chopped

1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2″ cubes

1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 seedless cucumber, cut into ribbons with a peeler

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into matchsticks

2 romaine heads, shredded



To make the dressing: Add the rice vinegar, vegetable oil, salt and ginger to a blender.  Start on low and increase speed until well blended.  Add the spring onions and stir with a spoon.  Pour half of the dressing into a medium mixing bowl and the other half into a small jar and set aside

Add the chicken to the mixing bowl and let marinate for 2 minutes.  In a large skillet over a medium heat add the chicken and marinade.  Stir occasionally until chicken is cooked through (5-7 minutes)

In a large serving bowl, toss the carrot, cucumber, bell pepper and romaine.  Top with the warm chicken and sauce and garnish with spring onions and serve with the remaining dressing (from the jar)

Inhouse Manager proudly sponsors the One McPeake Challenge

We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of The One McPeake Challenge, launched by Allergen Accreditation to support and raise funds for The Anaphylaxis Campaign.

In order to raise awareness of how difficult it is to live with a food allergy Jacqui McPeake, from Allergen Accreditation, invites chefs and caterers (& those with an interest in food!) to eliminate one or more allergens from their diet for 2 weeks.

This will enable the volunteer to understand the daily issues that someone with allergies face. The challenge will highlight the problems going shopping and checking labels for allergens, cooking at home with other family members who do not have any restrictions in their diet and going out to eat at work, a restaurant or bar etc. (And just going out for a drink!)

The challenge will help those within the catering industry to appreciate the problems that customers with food allergies face.

At Inhouse Manager, we understand the difficulties faced by those with allergies, and also the challenges faced by caterers in providing safe food for sufferers.  Our catering software automatically identifies and report on the 14 legislated allergens across your ingredients, recipes and menus.  For more information on how our software can support caterers please get in touch 

In order to gain an insight into participants experiences during the 2 weeks challenge participants are invited to share these with Allergen Accreditation.

Once the #onemcpeakechallenge has concluded the team at Allergen Accreditation will analyse all feedback, blog posts and social media to produce a report highlighting the learning outcomes from participants. The report will contain experiences and highlights of the challenge but will not refer to the names of participants.


  • Remove one or more of the key 14 allergens for a 2 week period.
  • Visit local supermarkets and smaller shops to purchase appropriate foods suitable for your chosen allergen challenge and remember to look for may contain and made in a factory with!
  • Dine out at least once and ask about your chosen allergen!
  • If you managed to order a takeaway, what was your experience?
  • Feedback any difficulties you experience e.g. taking a packed lunch to work, finding snacks to eat, eating with family members.
  • Feedback reactions of family, colleagues etc.
  • If working in the industry, feedback the response from your colleagues.
  • Feedback any learning from the challenge. What did you learn from the experience if anything?
  • Will you do anything differently as a result of #onemcpeakechallenge ?

Please do get involved.  Perhaps get a team together?  For more information about how you can take part and donate, please visit

The money raised from this campaign will go STRAIGHT to The Anaphylaxis Campaign.  During their conference taking place on 18th September 2018 the amount raised up to that point will be announced. The final amount raised will be publicised on social media.

At Inhouse Manager, we will all be choosing one allergen to avoid during the two week challenge – we’ll let you know how we get on!



Recipe of the Month – Chocolate Avocado Pudding

This is such a quick and easy pudding to whizz up which is almost guilt free, as we all know just how good avocados are for us!

Serves 4



2 large avocados – peeled, pitted and cubed

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup coconut milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 pinch ground cinnamon



Well, it doesn’t get easier than this – place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate until chilled – about 30 minutes





Effective Procurement

Here at Inhouse Manager, we don’t just write great software – we’re also procurement specialists.  During our 20 years of experience, we’ve seen it all – good and bad!


Good procurement is a time consuming task, and one that often gets overlooked, potentially costing organisations thousands of pounds each year.  Being able to keep abreast of pricing changes from multiple suppliers can be difficult – people get into the habit of ordering ‘that particular fish’ or ‘those potatoes’ and don’t have the time to ensure they’re using the best or most cost effective options.  Quite often, the realisation that there has been a jump in prices is when the invoice lands on the desk – and at this point the food has been eaten so there’s no choice but to pay up!

How often do we find that deals have been done on particular products, but that only half of the organisation are utilising the correct product code?  The common problem of rounding up when ordering, ending up with excess ingredients that usually end up being wasted.  All too often, I’m afraid!

Changing suppliers often leaves people cold – “we’ve always used them” is not always a great reason to stay faithful.  We’re not suggesting a change for changes sake – but regular bench-marking checks should be carried out to ensure that you are still receiving good pricing – but who has time for that?

At Inhouse Manager, we offer a fully managed service that sees us procuring your ingredients on your behalf, and you simply pay a fixed price per person per day.  You won’t lose control – if you want to stay with your local butcher that’s absolutely fine – that’s where we’ll buy your meat from.  We take the risk of managing the cost of the ingredients within that fixed price so you don’t have to. We also manage the input of all the information into the software to save you more time, and meet with you every couple of weeks to ensure the service is running smoothly.

Using our software and our relationships with both national and local suppliers, we ensure you receive the ingredients you want, when you want them.

For more information about our services, please contact us to discuss your needs with a member of our team.


Recipe of the month – Quick charred spring onion and sweet potato salad

In this recipe, charred sweet potatoes are flavoured with za’tar and combined with spring onions, lambs lettuce and feta to make a salad that’s hearty enough for a midweek dinner.  Don’t worry if you can’t get hold of any za’tar – you can replace with an equal mixture of dried thyme an sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Hands on time 30 minutes


1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing

1.5 tablespoons za’tar (or replace with an equal measure of dried thyme and sesame seeds)

250g spring onions, trimmed and cut in half

1/2 clove of garlic, crushed

1.5 tablespoons cider vinegar

150g lamb’s lettuce

60g feta, crumbled

60g pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan


Put the whole sweet potatoes in a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for about 20 minutes until tender but still firm.

Drain, slice into 1cm discs and put in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the 1 tablespoon za’tar.  Turn gently to coat.

Put a griddle pan over a high heat until smoking.  Brush the spring onions with olive oil, then griddle for 1-2 minutes on each side until char lines appear (you might need to do this in batches).  Add the charred sweet potatoes to the bowl with the spring onions.

To make the dressing, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic, cider vinegar and half a tablespoon of za’tar.  Add the lamb’s lettuce, feta and toasted pumpkin seeds to the griddles veg, then toss together with the dressing.


Inhouse Manager Case Study – Harbour House Care Home, Dorset

Harbour House in Bridport is a Quaker residential care home located in beautiful grounds with seaside and harbour views.  It is home to 35 residents, and also provides short break rooms for individuals or couples.  The home opened in 1964.

Shane Affleck, Head Chef,  takes a very fluid approach to catering for the residents, preferring not to stick rigidly to a menu, but instead tries to provide as much variety as possible using seasonal produce.

Every day, families and friends join residents to enjoy a three course lunch.

Prior to working with Inhouse Manager, Shane was spending valuable time organising and placing orders with suppliers and then checking multiple invoices each week.

Looking at how Shane prefers to operate, we recommended that Harbour House use our Procurement Only service, which would still give Shane the freedom to order what he wants, when he wants – but now this is done electronically, and we take care of the submission of orders and any issues with ingredients or deliveries.  Because of our collaborative procurement, we were able to save them over 15% on their food costs.  And as we pay all of the supplier invoices, Harbour House now only receives a single weekly invoice from Inhouse Manager – saving both time and money.

Shane Affleck, Head Chef, says:

Inhouse Managers’ ordering works wonders for me, I save so much valuable time using their quick and simple service. The team are always on hand and will go the extra mile every time to help.   My only regret is that I didn’t find out about them sooner!


If you would like to find out more about the services we offer to the catering industry, please contact us on 0333 123 6987 and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs.