- Macknade Fine Foods

Asa Wheeler

Asa is a weekly shopper here at Macknade and always makes sure to visit his favourite department… the deli!

Tell us a bit about yourself

I have been married to my wife Lindsay for eleven years and have three wonderful children, Amelia 4½, Caleb 3 and Elliott 1, living in Sittingbourne. I am an electrical engineer working for a company that installs, tests and commissions driverless train signalling.

What food do you especially like to eat/cook?

I love most foods, but especially enjoy cooking for my family; roasts, curries and have recently really got into baking. I love sticky ginger ring and chocolate and orange tea cake, although I do have to say my muffins are fab, as are my scones. Even my wife’s mum said they are better than hers!

What cuisines inspire you/do you enjoy most?

Having been lucky enough to visit India, Thailand and Africa, I do love to cook those cuisines, but love good British fare too. For far too long us Brits have been known for bad, heavy foods but I think both professional and home cooks have turned that around. Anyway, what’s wrong with fish and chips, a good fry up and jam roly poly with custard!

How long have you been shopping with us?

Since I moved from London over six years ago.

What's your best memory of Macknade?

My first time there, I thought this is fantastic. So many times I have been to shops where it seems to be so promising but falls at the first hurdle. Macknade always have great produce throughout the year. Over the time I have shopped there it has evolved into more with more choice, a butchers and changed shop floor layout.

How would you describe Macknade to someone who hasn't been before?

An Aladdin’s cave full of fare to create, enjoy and eat!

What do you regularly buy?

I do my weekly shop there. I plan my meals on a weekly basis, so fruit and veg, meat, cheeses, deli items and dried goods. Basically everything you stock!

What from Macknade would you take to a desert island?

That is a tricky one. Can I take it all? The deli counter would be a must, Roy’s rolls (the butcher’s sausage rolls) especially!

What three products from Macknade would you recommend to a friend?

The olive oil from the deli. The selection of meats, cheeses and antipasti like the olives and stuffed peppers from the olive island. This time of year it is great for a glass of wine, lots of cheeses, meats, olives and sitting out in the garden.

Is there a recipe or food tip you can share with us?

To cook a good steak,  always make sure that it is not stone cold from the fridge. This ensures that you get a good even cooking throughout and, if you like your meat rare or even medium, you do not get a centre part of the meat which is cold and under done, you should do this with fresh tuna and scallops too.

Making your own Yorkshire puddings is dead simple! I use equal amounts of flour, eggs and milk, salt and pepper and a dash of malt vinegar and make them the night before. Take out of the fridge about an hour before you use it, give it a really good whisk (I use a stick blender) and straight into preheated muffin moulds in a super hot oven. They will rise and rise and rise! Don’t ask me why adding vinegar helps, I don’t know.

I make Tom Yum at home after being lucky enough to visit Thailand and sample a delicious bowl at a family’s home. I have made it up and changed it over the years but it really is down to individual taste, such as heat from chillies and sourness. I think it is called Tom Yum for a reason. Yum Yum! Here’s my Tom Yum recipe.

Which local producers/products would you recommend?

Well at this time of year the local Faversham strawberries are just fantastic. The muffins are really tasty. Local new potatoes are lovely and buttery and full of flavour, who needs jersey royals! The cheese counter has so many great local cheeses, just ask for a taste, and Roy’s rolls just out of the oven are lovely. Not forgetting the butchers Italian sausages; great seasoning with a nice hit of chilli flake. You always seem to remember food from your travels and one for me was Tuscan sausages, it is like I am back there when I have them from the butchers.

Which local restaurants/pubs would you recommend?

For me,  The plough Inn at Lewson Street is great. We go there often for lunch; the staff are fantastic and really look after the children and Bob the African parakette is always there to impress. Darjeeling Heights in Rainham , for me, is the best Indian around. You have to try the Dhaal makhani made overnight with Urid Dhal, lentils and lots of ghee! The best I have found outside of India!

What would you tell someone visiting us to do locally while they are in the area?

Visit Doddington Place Gardens about 10 minutes from Macknade, take a walk through Faversham and the creek, check out the fishmongers next door and if you dare, Hercules Wines. Slightly further afield is Bredgar and Wormshill railway (1st Sunday of the month from Easter to October) and Minster leas on the Isle of Sheppey is a nice stroll.

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