Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beautiful Eton # 1 - Parish Church Tower

I've been taking a lot of photographs of Eton recently. In the mornings, when I take our Internet shopping orders to the post office before opening the shop, the light has been lovely. I thought I would share a few high lights of our high street. Starting with the Church. Or a little bit of it anyway.
The foundation stone of the present neo-Gothic building was laid on October 21st 1852, by Prince Albert. The church tower shown in the photo, was apparently built in 1954 to replace an earlier spire. The magnificent spire having been removed in the 1940s after a series of cycles of damage and repairs. Looking at the tower over the roof tops, the church is assumed to be much smaller than it actually is. Looking from ground level, where you can see the building itself reveals it to b about 2/3 of the size of the college chapel. Far larger than perhaps was ever necessary for a town the size of Eton.

The nave is now the Eton College Sanatorium, and the tower provides accommodation for staff. The ground floor of what was the Sanctuary and Cancel is now the town's GP surgery, and above this is the present church of St John the Evangelist. What a fantastic example of a building being adapted to suit the needs of the town's people.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Happy Anniversary Anila

It's 20 years since Anila Vaghela sold her first jar of homemade curry sauce at an Easter fair in Weybridge, Surrey. Now a supplier of award-winning curry sauces, chutneys and pickles to top delis, speciality stores and farm shops across the UK, Anila's Authentic Sauces is unveiling a new product to mark the occasion.

The spicy Indian salsa is handmade with fresh ingredients; a delicious blend of tomatoes, red peppers, green chillies and spices, the salsa is the perfect accompaniment to Anila's range of eight authentic curry sauces.

"I started by using old traditional family recipes and I still use them today as the basis of my products, 20 years on," said Anila Vaghela. "We continue to make our curry sauces and accompaniments in small batches. The new spicy Indian salsa is also based on a family recipe, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with our customers."

Growing up as the eldest child and grandchild in the family, Anila learnt to cook alongside her mother, her grandmothers and her great grandmother while they were living in Zimbabwe. Years later, as a busy mum living in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, Anila would make large batches of curry sauce for convenience. Her cooking had always been popular with friends and family, and in the early 1990s she began selling jars of curry sauce on a very small scale in her local community. She sold all 80 jars at her first fair at Easter in Weybridge in 1992. Phone calls from very satisfied customers followed, and Anila began fulfilling small orders.

In 1997 she was made redundant from her job as a PA and decided to seize the opportunity to form her own company to develop Anila's Authentic Sauces. Before long Anila's curry sauces were on the shelves of a range of health stores, delicatessens and independent specialist shops.

Anila outgrew her kitchen at home and moved to a catering kitchen in Surbiton in 2002. A year later the business needed larger premises once more, and Anila's re-located to a 1400 sq ft unit in Hounslow. In 2006, husband Dan also joined the team as operations manager and is in charge of production, whilst Anila takes care of sales & marketing.

"It's amazing to think that it's been 20 years since I made my first proper sale," said Anila. "At the time, Indian food wasn’t anywhere near as popular as it is today, and there were very few small producers like myself, only large manufacturers supplying the supermarkets. I started with four flavours of curry sauce – additional sauces and the chutneys and pickles came later as a result of demand from customers."

"I was 40 when I was made redundant, and having set up my own business, I haven’t looked back. Since I was a child I have had a great love of food and of cooking, and it's been a dream come true to run Anila's."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Web Site Update

I spent some time this weekend checking over our web site to make sure it complies with the new EU legislation. As far as I can tell it does, but the legislation is very new and includes quite a few "probably"s which don't give me a lot of confidence. Whilst I was at it, I decided to change the home page. I wanted to add our video to the front page, which of course meant moving everything around, so I changed the photographs as well, and the words. I think it looks far more bright and summery. Now if only the weather would do the same...

Friday, June 08, 2012

Mario Solinas Winners Announced

Yet again one of our most popular olive oils, Oro Bailen, has scooped Gold at one of the world's most important olive oil competitions; The Mario Solinas Extra Virgin Olive Oil Quality Award. You can read all about the prestigious competition in the Olive Oil Times.