- Autumn on a Plate Food Lovers Club

March – Gateway to Spring

Zero Alcohol Beer. We sample a handful and share our very positive thoughts. A truly precious link in the food chain is our British Butcher. Their skill, product and enthusiasm is essential to keep ‘quality’ on the table. Fine sausages; fine pies; fine alcohol-free beer. Enjoy.


0.0% ABV Beers - No Hangover!


So, when it comes to being asked to ‘do a wine tasting‘, or to ‘travel the country tasting the ales of our finest family-owned breweries‘, there really isn’t a problem. But, being asked to ‘taste and report on a selection on zero-alcohol beers‘ I got quite a shock…

No hangover!

In their infancy, Zero Alcohol Beers were little short of dreadful. But now, technology has caught up with the increasing demand to enjoy a few beers, then drive home safely and legally.

The most common way to do this is by adding water or steam to the liquid and boiling it under pressure. This releases the alcohol as vapor into a condenser, where it’s collected and sent away. The remaining liquid is then sold as non-alcoholic beer.

San Miguel 0.0: So close to the real thing, rich, flavourful and delicious. For a non-alcoholic beer, this was a real pleasure to drink, if perhaps a little sweeter than its big brother.

Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5: According to Adnams, they produce Ghost Ship “in their usual way and then remove the alcohol without damaging the flavour”. Can’t argue with them. This truly is a great low-alcohol alternative – it IS the real thing.

Asahi 0.0: Well chilled, this is certainly a beer that will quench a thirst. It’s a nice lager, with a hint of shandy sweetness, but is saved by a nice underlying bitterness.

Brewdog Hazy AF: A New England IPA that does literally what it says on the tin, delivering all those Brewdog trendy complications is a refreshing, hazy beer.

Days 0.0 Lager: Well, what a refreshing discovery. A really clean lager that doesn’t try too hard to please, and in so doing really pleases a lot. My days just got a whole lot better.

Erdinger’s Alkoholfrei is marketed like a sports drink. The label promotes it as a ‘refreshing isotonic drink’. It’s basically a nice drink, a little bit darker for a non-alcoholic German beer. Not for me, but perhaps one for the weissbier or pilsner person.

Top of the zeroes pops for me is the Days – all day long … and no hangover!!!


Good luck to you all.


So, it’s good luck to Ireland on their way to the Six Nations Grand Slam; good luck to all at Cheltenham; and a special good luck to everybody celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Good Luck / Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat!

Super Saturday Nations:Wales v Italy and one of the finest Welsh Rarebits for Wales. Chef, Andy adds Stokes Real Brown Sauce to the cheese sauce for added sweetness from the dates and aroma from the Persian spices.And for Italy, a tasty Salami & Mozzarella Bruschetta, bound with the sweet pepper jam and sparkling chilli finish of our Chilli Jam. See the recipe HERE.

Ireland v Scotland. For Ireland, a full Irish Breakfast with Lorne sausage to get the guys ready for their big day. Which of Stokes’ Breakfast Sauces do you think they’ll choose.For Scotland, perhaps their famous ‘Fish Supper’ on the Friday before the match. And, is that a sachet of Stokes Real Tomato Ketchup I see there? Good choice lads.France v England. For France we thought, instead of a Croque Monsieur we would up the energy anti by adding an egg to make it a Croque Madame, with our Dijon Mustard adding a little je ne sait quoi, alors.And finally England, and part of her heritage in the form of Coronation Chicken. Cold cuts of juicy chicken wrapped in Coronation Sauce, so sympathetically made by Stokes.

Good luck to you all.

The Great British Butcher


Meet Alan from ‘The Sausage Shop’ near Bury St Edmunds. His is just part of the timeless traditions that make British food production GREAT.

RJ Balson & Sons is the oldest continuing high-street butchers to have continued to trade as a family business. The business has been trading since 1515 according to the Institute of Family Business.

The Romans brought with them different skills and approaches to meat, introducing the chopping block and cleaver. This caused game-changing adaptations to the world of butchery.The Middle-Ages introduced ‘The Butcher’s Guild’, a moral code within the trade to unify some health and safety regulations.

A trip to the butcher was a daily occurrence for many in a Victorian households to ensure a fresh and nutritious meal.

The beginning of the 20th century saw huge improvements for the local butcher, with the industrial use of refrigeration and health a safety acts being implemented, the butcher continued to thrive, even during the war when meat was rationed.This all began to change with the introduction of the supermarket in the late 1940s. By the time the 60’s arrived, several supermarkets had opened across the UK, and we began to see a decline in local butcher services, with some being forced to close.

According to a study conducted by the AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board), “over the last 25 years, the number of independent butchers in the UK has reduced by 60%”, thanks to the influx of supermarkets as grocery providers.

Diversity – moving with the times 

Butchers have had to move with the times, offering a broader range of ready(ish) foods to make their wares less daunting to younger generations.

As a result, there has been a steady return to the traditional butchers’ shop, with more people looking to shop local, and support more independent traders.

Sausages, Pies, Chef & Butcher's Tips


The long, slow cooking of the beef ensures the tenderest, tastiest fillings for this delicious pie. Adding our Real Brown Sauce gives the gravy a wonderful depth of flavour, sweet with dates and aromatic with Persian spices.

Enjoy Andy’s full recipe and video – HERE.


Butcher’s Choice BreakfastBeing able to select our pork direct from our chosen farm, we know its quality matches that of the animal husbandry that runs through the food chain.

The bacon is cured and cut to customer preference, sausage varieties use the best ingredients, yet traditional pork still wins over, and the secret recipe in our black pudding continues to win its way onto that all important breakfast plate.

The Classic Pork PieWho doesn’t adore British Pork Pies, which have three key components:

  1. A traditionally made, coarsely chopped and simply seasoned pork recipe,
  2. With the stalwart of hand-raised crispy pastry and,
  3. Filled deliciously with a fine jelly made from bone stock.
  4. Then, choose your chutney, pickle or relish – from the classically British Piccalilli to the Patron Saint of Pork Pies – our Beer Chutney.

These and many more chutney pairings – HERE.

Food Lovers love – QualityPrime cuts of meat spiced delightfully and cooked with juicy vegetables, wrapped and baked in quality, crispy pastry. Can’t beat it!

Which of Stokes’ sauces would you have with your Butcher’s Pasty?

Choose from our full range – HERE.


Product Feature - The Chilli Tasting Collection


We asked our Food Lovers what their favourite Stokes’ chilli sauces are, and took the top three to wrap in our Chilli Tasting Collection.

It makes a great gift for anyone who likes things a little on the hot side

Here is what you get!

Habanero Hot SauceHot, fermented Habanero chillies balance intense depth with a subtle fruity finish, this is a 2 Star Great Taste Award Winner.

Sweet Chilli SauceMade with red chillies and red peppers our Sweet Chilli Sauce overflows with the vitality of the orient.

Chilli KetchupA twist on the best – savour the naturally rich tomato, then feel the heat of the curry spices gradually kicking in.

Together, they are three pillars of taste that make snacking an absolute pleasure.

The Chilli Tasting Collection.