Meet the Nowt Poncy® Managing Director, Julian Abel who has a passion for simple, no-nonsense, tasty cooking sauces. Farm Shop & Deli Show is his start-up company’s first major exhibition experience.
NOWT [pronounced now-t] noun, pronoun - the plural of which is still nowt
British Dialect - meaning: Nothing
PONCY [pronounced pon-see] adjective
British dialect - meaning: Pretentious or affected.
Where does your story start and how did you get into making sauces?
I could not have started further from the sauces. I am a time-served mechanical engineer by trade and have spent the past 25 years in the photographic equipment repair industry. I love cooking and food (as my waistline will attest) and I just became really disappointed and disillusioned with the quality of sauce available. It’s highly processed, full of sugar or salt or preservatives and it just looks like baby food. I wanted something that was authentic in flavour and style, something that you would expect to be served in the homes of the Italians or Indians. I wanted to use the minimum of ingredients to achieve the best flavour and not use anything poncy, just great produce and a little time and love.
A few years ago we gave some of our sauces away as Christmas presents and after some amazing feedback from family, friends and strangers I got fed up with the “you really need to sell this” comments and decided that if we didn’t do it now we never would and The Nowt Poncy Food Company was born.
What was your first creation?
The Tomato & Basil. It’s simple, and it’s a classic. Made from just six ingredients it’s got some fantastic nutritionals too AND it’s been certified as being gluten free so it’s suitable for coeliacs.
What’s your personal favourite?
You can’t ask that! I’m torn between the Tomato & Basil and the Curry. I love my curries but I don’t however like all the oil or the chilli powder that takeaways use. I do like a good hot curry but on the other hand I love the simplicity and pleasure of a spaghetti marinara or neopolitana. Do I really have to choose? Curry no Tomato & Basil no aaaarrrrgggghhh.
If they don’t contain any preservatives, how long do your jars stay fresh?
They are undergoing shelf life testing with a UKAS lab as we speak and we are up to 8 months minimum but we expect them to be in excess of 12 months once fully certified, which is fab given there are no preservatives (except some citric acid in the tomatoes to reduce the Ph). Once opened, they need to be refrigerated and used within 3 days.
How do your sauces stand out from the crowd – especially in terms of the levels of sugar, salt and preservatives a lot of these jars have?
The Tomato & Basil sauce has 38 Kcals/100g and the Curry Sauce 47 Kcal/100g. Friends who are trying to lose weight assure us that they are ideal for the most popular weight loss programs. What is verified is that they are legally low in fat, saturated fat and also sugar and salt. One of our testers is diabetic and she had no rise in blood sugars after eating them nor any adverse effects either.
Where did you get the inspiration for your Curry Sauce? And does it have a similar taste to any Curry Sauce we might recognise?
The Curry Sauce is nothing like you will get in a takeaway here, after all the majority of “Indian” take away food is either Bangladeshi or Pakistani in origin and the flavours are anglicised. Our Curry Sauce is from a traditional Northern Indian recipe and is one that would be found being eaten at home using, once again, ingredients that are easy to obtain.
How hot is your Curry Sauce?
Hmmm – that’s difficult to answer as each person’s idea of hot varies. We use fresh chillies and very little chilli powder (and the chilli powder is the cause of the very unpleasant side effects of hot takeaway curries) so you get the heat without the burn.
Hot does not always mean flavourful. The Indians tend to reduce the heat but ensure the flavour is exceptional. Make it spicy and flavoursome and NOT blisteringly hot and inedible.
The best thing to do is come over to stand C50, and try it for yourself!
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