No. 76 - April 2009


Welcome to the April 2009 Recipes4us Newsletter. is celebrating its 9th birthday on 1st April and thanks to you, is stronger than ever with around 4,500 recipes and over 8,000 people visiting the site per day. I'd like to thank you for your continued support and don't forget - keep the faith - spread the word.


If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at . Also, if you come across any publications mentioning, don't forget to let me know.


Don't forget every month I will be slightly changing the layout of this newsletter, so make sure you go right to the end to ensure you don't miss anything.


Happy Cooking !






Florence Sandeman, Publisher



Saturday 4th April

National Cordon Bleu Day


During the 16th century, King Henry III created one of the most important orders in France, “L’Ordre du Saint-Esprit” which was symbolised by the cross of the Holy Spirit hanging on a blue ribbon or un cordon bleu.  But what exactly is Cordon Bleu cuisine and why did it take this name?

> > > > More



Sunday 19th April

National Garlic Day

                        Did you know.....



the smaller you chop garlic, the more pungent it becomes. Garlic cloves which are cooked whole are generally quite mild.


You can read all about Garlic and its wonderful properties by clicking the link below or visit the Garlic Recipes page for lots more garlic recipes .


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Win a pair of standard tickets to the world’s greatest restaurant festival.


Competition closes:  29th May 2009


Famous chefs from the capital’s best restaurants will be on hand to serve up their signature dishes and share their best kept kitchen secrets while 150 star food and drink producers dish out the samples and top up your glass.


Taste of London is the social event of the year for `foodies` and socialites who can combine a great day out with tasting and learning about food and drink, experiencing London’s top restaurants and meeting an array of fabulous culinary talent.


Taste of London: the ultimate day out for the discerning foodie. Click the banner above to enter.

Here's a really tasty recipe to celebrate National Garlic Day.  It's fabulous as a starter but equally as nice as a light vegetarian main course.


Garlic Mushrooms




Vegetarian   Eggless


Prep and cooking time: 30mins

Serves 4  as a starter or

Serves 2 as a light main course



4 Very Large Mushrooms

50g/2oz Butter

2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

Salt and Black Pepper

4 tbsp Freshly Chopped Parsley

4 Pieces of Ciabatta Bread




1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4 and lightly grease a shallow oven dish which is large enough to take the mushroom caps in one layer.


2. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and set aside. Place the mushrooms in the prepared dish, dot each with a dot of butter, season with salt and pepper then cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.


3. Meanwhile, cut the pieces of ciabatta almost in half lengthways as if you were going to make a sandwich, open up so that they lie flat, lightly butter and place on a baking tray.


4. 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time of the mushroom caps, place the ciabatta in the oven to toast and chop the mushroom stalks.


5. Meanwhile, place the remaining butter in a frying pan together with the garlic and heat until sizzling.


6. Reduce the heat a little then add 3 tablespoons of the chopped parsley and the chopped mushroom stalks and sauté, stirring,  for 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.


7. To serve - place the toasted ciabatta on individual serving plates, place one mushroom cap on each, pile the garlic mixture on top and sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley. Serve immediately.


Garlic Nutrition Facts

Amount Per 1 clove
Calories 4.47
Calories from Fat 0.135

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

% Daily Value *

Total Fat      0.015g


Saturated Fat            0.00267g


Cholesterol   0mg


Sodium   0.51mg


Potassium   12.03mg


Total Carbohydrate   0.992g


Dietary Fibre     0.063g


Protein   0.191g



Vitamin A

0 %


Vitamin C

2 %


1 %



0 %

Vitamin D

0 %


Vitamin E

0 %


0 %



0 %


0 %



0 %

Vitamin B-6

2 %


Vitamin B-12

0 %


0 %



0 %


0 %



0 %



Sunday 12th April

Easter Day


Here's the latest Recipes4us video and you can watch me making these scrumptious triple chocolate cupcakes to delight your family and friends at Easter.

For the full sized video and written recipe click here.



Recipe of the Month

Apricot and Pecan Simnel Cake

 Here's a recipe which is a twist on the traditional Easter simnel cake.

175g (6oz) butter, softened
175g (6oz) light soft brown sugar
3 large Lion Quality eggs, beaten
225g (8oz) self-raising flour, sieved
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g (3 1/2 oz) sultanas
225g (8oz) no-soak apricots, chopped
zest and juice of 1 orange
100g (3 1/2 oz) pecan nuts, chopped
To decorate
675g (1 1/2 lb) marzipan
3 tablespoons apricot jam, sieved
50g (1 3/4 oz) plain chocolate, melted



1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/170 degrees C / 320 degrees F. Grease a 20cm (8 inch) round, deep cake tin and line with baking parchment.

2. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth and glossy.


3. Fold in the remaining ingredients and spoon into the tin. Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours until risen and firm.

4. Use a sharp knife to split the cake in half through the middle. Roll out two thirds of the marzipan on an icing sugar-dusted surface and cut out two 20cm (8 inch) rounds. Brush both cut surfaces of the cake with jam and sandwich together with one of the marzipan rounds.

5. Brush the top of the cake with jam and arrange the second marzipan round on top, crimp the edges. Roll the remaining marzipan into eleven balls and arrange on top of the cake, attaching with more jam.

6. Spoon the chocolate into a greaseproof paper piping bag and drizzle over the top of the cake.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2hours
Serves: 10-12


Photo and recipe Courtesy of BEIS


The making of Simnel cake was a tradition in the 17th century, when servant girls would take one home to their mothers as a gift. To read more about it and other Easter related foods, visit our Easter Page.









Thursday 23rd April

St. George's Day


I was very pleased to hear Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, bringing St. George's day to the forefront by confirming that London will celebrate St George's Day with a with a week of free events, claiming  "St George's Day has been ignored in London for far too long" and further saying "St George's Day is a time to celebrate the very best of everything English and the Cross of St George will proudly fly outside City Hall on April 23."


Why not celebrate St. George's Day by cooking a traditional English recipe. You can find lots on the England recipes page or try this all time favourite, Bread and Butter Pudding.


6 slices well buttered Bread
50g/2oz Sultanas
4 Eggs
25g/1oz Sugar
600ml/20fl.oz. Milk
Freshly Grated Nutmeg
A little extra Sugar

Serves 4  -  Prep & Cooking time: 60mins


1. Preheat the oven to 170C, 325F, Gas mark 3. Grease a 7.5cm/3 inch deep ovenproof dish.

2. Remove the crusts from the buttered bread and cut into quarters (triangles or squares). Reserve 4 quarters for the top and arrange the rest in layers in the dish, sprinkling the sultanas between each layer. Top with the reserved quarters.

3. In a saucepan, heat the milk to hot but not boiling. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar then add the hot milk, stirring well then stir in a little freshly grated nutmeg.

4. Slowly strain over the bread and fruit, being careful not to dislodge the top layer of bread. Leave the bread and butter pudding to stand for 10 minutes.

5. Sprinkle the bread and butter pudding with a little extra sugar and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the top is browned and crispy


To read more about St. George click here


What's in Season in  April


Click here to see what's in season this month, how to cook it and to find a UK Farmers' Market near you.




Weekday Menus



Click the picture to find this month's  weekday menus to help you plan your meals and shopping weeks ahead.  Each weekday has a main course, suggested vegetable accompaniments plus a dessert which have been planned to supply you with a balanced diet. It's also been designed so that you can interchange one day's menu with another in the same grouping. Most of the main courses are ready to serve in less than 40 minutes - great for working people.





Culinary Videos

Click the picture to find the latest additions including Phil Vickery's latest pudcast



Reader's Questions


Q.  What's the easiest way to peel garlic without a special tool?

A.  If the garlic is going to be crushed or chopped, then place the clove on a sturdy surface, take a broad bladed knife and place it flat side down on the clove, place a cloth on top then give it a firm bash with your hand to flatten it. The skin will loosen and can then be easily removed.

Alternatively, if you are using more than 2 cloves for a recipe, place in the microwave for 15 seconds on high until they are just warming. The skins will slide off.



Other food related Celebrations in April


Wednesday 1st April - Sweet Potato Day

30th April - Raisin Day

30th April - Oatmeal Cookie Day



April in the Kitchen Garden


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 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




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.



For detailed growing instructions visit growing herbs and vegetables section


The Kitchen Garden

* * * 2009 Garden Experiment * * *

I'm off to a slow start as I missed the first waxing moon phase which was right at the beginning of March.

In order to keep things as even as possible, I have decided to sow the "normal seeds" on 25th March which is just after the waning moon phase, and the "moon seeds" on the 29th March which is the very beginning of the waxing moon phase.

The seeds are Thompson & Morgan's "mixed leaves" lettuce. There's nothing to see yet ... even the power of the moon can't make seeds germinate in 2 days in the current cool March weather.



Food in the News . . .



Could salt be a mood booster?


Cravings for salty foods may be related to a mood boost from savouring the savoury, suggests new data from the University of Iowa.

> > > > More  External Link







A fantastic range of properties including cottages in England, farmhouses in Wales, holiday homes in Scotland, apartments in Ireland or gîtes in France




Whether you're looking for everyday,  exotic or unusual food and drink,  visit  Food shopping has never been easier !


Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb

The Rhubarb season is upon us but did you know  that it is classed as a vegetable, not a fruit? 
Here's an easy recipe for you to try. You can find lots more sweet and savoury rhubarb recipes on the Rhubarb recipe page.

Roasted Rhubarb and Vanilla Desserts

Serves 4

Cooking & Prep Time: 15mins plus cooling

400g/14oz rhubarb, roughly chopped
40g/11/2oz golden caster sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 x 125g Alpro soya vanilla desserts or 450g Vanilla Yoghurt
ground cinnamon


1) Preheat the oven to 220ºC/Fan 200ºC/Gas Mark 7. Line a baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper and spread the rhubarb out over this.

2) Sprinkle the golden caster sugar over the rhubarb and squeeze over the lemon juice. Roast for 10 mins until the rhubarb is just tender. Cool without moving.

3) Spoon the vanilla desserts into four glass compote dishes. Spoon the rhubarb on top, sprinkle each one with a pinch of cinnamon and serve.

Photo & Recipe courtesy of

Alpro Soya


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