No. 43 - April 2006

Welcome to the free monthly newsletter and April 1st sees our 6th Birthday and I am very pleased to be able to say that we are still growing,  not only with regards to  additions to the site, but also as to the amount of visitors we are getting.  Once again, I'd like to thank you for your continued support and here's to the next 6 years!


If you have any suggestions for additions to this newsletter,   please write to me at . 


Happy Cooking ! 



Florence Sandeman, Editor




Did you know……


50% of all the world's rice is eaten within 8 miles of where it is grown

What's New This Month



Ingredient Analysis




Click the picture to find lots of information about Kiwifruit plus lots of recipes



Cooking Tip of the Month

Ingredient Tip

If a recipe calls for butter and yours is hard, you can grate it. The grated pieces blend into recipes more easily and come to room temperature quickly.



What's in Season


Asparagus, broccoli carrots, chervil,  early cucumbers,  Jersey Royal Potatoes,   kale,  morel mushrooms, radishes, rocket  rhubarb, rosemary, spinach, early strawberries, watercress -  don't forget  cockles, spring Lamb, brown crabs, lobsters and langoustines!



How does your  Kitchen Garden grow


Sowing is still the order of the day but unlike March April is a time when you can sow the majority of vegetable and herb seeds outdoors unless there is an unusually long cold snap.



Continue to sow Broad beans, Brussels sprouts, dill, summer cabbage, carrots, turnips cauliflowers, Kohl Rabi, Leeks, peas, lettuce, marjoram, parsnips,  radish, spinach, spring onions


Start thinning out seeds which were sown last month but in order to prevent large gaps occurring, only thin to half the final distance.


Continue to sow Aubergines, Capsicums (Sweet peppers), Chives, mint,,  oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage,    sweet basil, thyme, tomatoes


Start thinning out seeds which were sown in pots or trays last month once they  are about 12mm/1/2" tall.. Don't delay too long as crowded plants not only fight for light, making them grow tall and spindly, but they are also more prone to damping off disease


For detailed growing instructions visit growing herbs and vegetables section


Easter Special


To celebrate Easter Day this year (16th April) , I’m going to feature a recipe using Passion Fruit, the reason being that the plant was given it’s name by Christian missionaries who used the flower to symbolise the “Passion of Christ” i.e. his suffering at the crucifixion, to the indigenous natives in South America.

When you look at the flower, it’s easy to see why. The double row of coloured filaments (the corona) represented either the crown of thorns and a halo. The ten sepals and petals represented the disciples (apart from Judas and Peter, who both distanced themselves from Christ prior to the crucifixion – mmmmm, a little contrived but...... The five anthers were the five wounds on his body, and the three stigmas the nails. And it doesn’t stop there! The leaves represent the spear that the Roman soldiers used to pierce his side or in some cases the clutching hands of the soldiers and the tendrils (which you can’t actually see in this picture) the whips which were used to scourge him.

So, here’s a lovely cake to bake for your Easter tea…..or any other time for that matter.



Coconut & Passion Fruit Layer Cake


This is a thumbnail. Click on the picture for a larger version


Prep and Cooking time:

50 minutes plus cooling
Makes 1 x 20cm/8-inch two-layer  cake

225/8oz  Butter or Margarine
225/8oz Caster Sugar
3 Eggs, beaten

½ - 1 teasp Vanilla Extract
100g/4oz Desiccated (Shredded) Coconut
150g/5oz Self Raising flour
For the filling
175g/6oz Cream Cheese or Mascarpone
200ml/7fl.oz. Crème Fraîche
1 tbsp Caster Sugar
4 Passion Fruit













1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4 and grease and line 2 x 17.5cm/7 inch round sandwich tins with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

3. Gradually add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Don’t worry if the mixture starts to curdle, just add a spoonful of the flour and carry on.

4. . Fold in the coconut and flour and mix well. Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes. try not to open the oven door before 20 minutes cooking time.

5. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Carefully peel off the paper and allow to cool completely.

6. Place the cream cheese, crème fraîche and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until well blended. Set aside.

7. Cut each passion fruits in half and scoop the seeds and pulp out into a bowl.

8. Once the cakes are completely cold place one on a serving platter, spread the cheese filling evenly over the top, making sure you take it completely to the edges of the cake.

9. Top with the passion fruit pulp, once again allowing it to go right to the edges, then place the other cake on top and sprinkle with icing sugar.






Whether you're looking for everyday,  exotic or unusual food and drink,  visit 

Food shopping has never been easier !



Two for the price of One


Not only is it St. George's Day on 23rd April but it’s also Shakespeare’s birthday.


Well, actually the exact date of Shakespeare's birthday isn’t known. However we do know that he was baptized on 26 April 1564, so 23rd April has become his “official” date of birth – I assume allowing for a few days for the parties involved to have recovered sufficiently from the birth! He also happened to die on 23 April in 1616 so it’s as good a date as any to celebrate his life and works.


We have some super traditional English recipes on both the St. Georges day page and the England Cooking by Country page.

Why not remember Shakespeare and St George by making a good old English recipe from Elizabethan times. Never fear, you won’t have to find any swans or blackbirds or a quarter of Stag to spit roast. Below is a recipe for Syllabub which dates back to those times but which is still made today, albeit in a slightly modified form.

Originally syllabub was made as a drink. It was seasoned with plenty of nutmeg and decorated with cream. However, by the seventeenth century the traditional milk and ale had been replaced by cream and wine and/or brandy and it has evolved into a dessert which can be made to look quite stunning when served in tall glasses.


Ye Olde English Brandy Syllabub

Serves 6    Prep time:

10mins plus infusing and chilling

The Rind and Juice of 1 Lemon
75g/3oz Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Cognac or Brandy
5tbsp Sweet White Wine
300ml/10fl.oz. Double Cream





1. Place the lemon rind, juice, sugar, brandy and wine in a bowl, mix well and leave to stand for 2 hours.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks.

3. Strain the infused brandy mixture into the cream and whisk until well blended.

4. Transfer to small serving glasses and chill for at least 1 hour. Serve chilled.

And to get you more in the mood, here’s a couple of quotes from Shakespeare’s writings. . . . all with a culinary theme of course!

Quote from All's Well That Ends Well
“Go to, sir; you were beaten in Italy for picking a kernel out of a pomegranate; you are a vagabond and no true traveller
   (That’s telling him)

Quote from Romeo and Juliet
LADY CAPULET: Hold, take these keys, and fetch more spices, nurse.
NURSE: They call for dates and quinces in the pastry. 
(Sounds very yummy to me)


New and featured Recipes 

V = Vegetarian       GF = Gluten/wheat Free      DF = Dairy Free


Kiwifruit Dressing    Vegan  GF   DF

Coriander Kiwi Salsa    Vegan  GF   DF

Kiwi Bulgur Salad     V

Kiwifruit Ginger Spiced Squash       GF

Broad Beans with Chervil        GF

Roast Potatoes with Rosemary     Vegan  GF   DF

Baked Cauliflower Cheese        V

Stilton Sour Cream Dressing      V

Yorkshire Pudding        V

Clapshot        GF


Desserts Cakes & Bakes

Kiwifruit Syllabub        GF

Kiwifruit Sorbet      Vegan  GF   DF

Golden Kiwi Tart      V

Kiwifruit and Banana Pavlova       GF

Kiwifruit Muffins     

Bakewell Tart   V

Steamed Suet Pudding

Banoffie Pie   V

Bread and Butter Pudding   V

Victoria Sandwich   V

Singing Hinnies     V

Soups, Appetisers & Starters

Avocado with Kiwifruit       GF   DF

Gingered Prawn and Kiwi Brochettes    DF

Kiwi Glazed Camembert      GF

Stilton and Spinach Parcels     V

Creamed Broccoli Soup        V

London Particular    GF

Apple and Wensleydale Pate      GF

Salmon and Cucumber Mousse


Main Courses 

Fried Fish With Kiwifruit       DF

Kiwi Lamb Skewers      DF

Stir-fried Kiwi Pork       DF

Beef with Kiwi Sauce     DF

Kiwi Fish Curry       DF

Potato Hash      GF   DF

Cod with Apples

Kedgeree      GF

Lancashire Hotpot         GF   DF

Cidered Chicken

Duck with Raspberry Sauce       GF   DF

Devilled Kidneys

Red Leicester and Potato Bake        GF

Macaroni Cheese          V


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