No. 47 - August 2006

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


Happy Cooking ! 



Florence Sandeman, Editor

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Hammond who?
Hammond eggs!

What's New This Month


Ingredient Analysis



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



Food in Film


Click the film to see the fourth in the series.



A Cut Above

The fourth  in a short series about the different cuts of meat





Click the picture to find out about the various cuts of venison - what they're called, where they're from, how they're cooked. plus recipes for each cut.



What's in Season

Apples,  Aubergine, Beetroot, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Blueberries, Broad Beans, Cabbage, Capsicums (sweet peppers) Cauliflower, Celery, Chillies, Courgettes, Cucumbers, Damsons, Endive, Garlic, Green Beans, Leeks, Lettuce, Melons, Mint, Onions, Pears, Peas, Plums, Potatoes, Raspberries, Redcurrants, Runner Beans, Rocket, Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnips



How does your  Kitchen Garden grow



Continue to feed plants such as courgettes, marrows,  cucumbers, aubergines, tomatoes and capsicums and keep the soil well watered though not very wet.


Make final small sowings of crops such as loose leaf lettuce, radish  and spring onions at the beginning of the month..


Check the ties and staking of taller plants such as beans and tomatoes , loosening or tightening as necessary and continue to keep all plants well watered.



Bend the leaves over the developing curds (heads) to protect from the sun.


Aubergines and Courgettes

Cut fruit as needed once they have reach a good size and colour (between 10-17cm/4-7" depending on the variety) but before the shine disappears from the skin.


Beans, peas and Mangetout

Continue to  harvest regularly as and when the pods reach a suitable size.


Don't forget, when harvesting spinach, leaf beet and loose leaved lettuce, only harvest a few outside leaves from each plant, allowing the plants to keep throwing up new leaves


Start harvesting crops such as beetroot, khol rabi and  turnips when they have reached golf ball size, pulling every other plant to make room for the remaining plants to grown on.


For detailed growing instructions visit our specialist  growing herbs and vegetables section







To have and to least for a while

No, I'm not talking about marriage but at this bounteous time of year my mind immediately turns to preserving fruit and vegetables whilst they're at their best.


Last year in the August issue I talked about preserves. If you missed that article you can read it here. This year I'm going to talk about another form of preservation, namely drying.


Most of us will immediately think of herbs and indeed, they are prime candidates for this method. However, many fruit and veggies can be successfully dried at home using a conventional oven, be it electric or gas.


Although particularly useful if you grow or pick your own, with the prices of many locally grown seasonal vegetables dropping in stores and supermarkets, one might as well take advantage and buy extra to preserve.


Many of us can now enjoy vegetables which are out of season in the areas where we live throughout the year, but in many cases, the imported produce which ends up on supermarket shelves are less flavoursome than  more locally grown produce which is actually in season due to the fact that they are often picked before they are mature so they can be shipped without fear of spoiling before they get to us.


The one which springs to mind is tomatoes. Despite the fact that certainly in the UK, we can now buy tomatoes on the vine all year, in my experience, many of these are inferior in taste.


When you open the packet and get that whiff of tomato, what you're actually smelling is the vine which often bears little relation to the taste of the actual fruit.


There are a few "rules" to adhere to when drying produce at home to ensure good results.


1. Always use produce when it's at its peak.


2. Blanch vegetables before drying. This helps to stop enzyme activity which can cause changes in the flavour and texture during storage.


3. Ensure adequate ventilation and constant temperature during the drying process. This is best achieved by preheating the oven to (60C/140F), then  prop the oven door open and adjust the thermostat to maintain a consistent oven temperature of 60C/140F. The door being ajar allows the  moist air to escape.


4. Package the produce in air tight containers/bags and store in cool dark conditions (6-12 months).


5. Dry to the optimum degree. Dried vegetables should be hard and brittle. Remove a small amount of the dried food and cool for a few minutes before testing for dryness.


Below is a chart with a few examples of vegetables which can be dried, showing preparation, blanching and drying times plus dryness test.

Happy drying!

Drying vegetables



Blanching Time (mins)

Drying Time (hrs.)

Dryness test



Wash, trim, cut into 1/4" slices.



Leathery to brittle

Beans, green

Wash. Cut in pieces or strips.



Very dry, brittle


Cook as usual. Cool, peel. Cut into shoestring strips 1/8" thick.



Brittle, dark red


Wash. Trim, cut as for serving. Quarter stalks lengthwise.



Crisp, brittle


Wash. Remove outer leaves, quarter and core. Cut into strips 1/8" thick.



Crisp, brittle

Capsicums (sweet peppers)

Wash, stem. Remove core and seeds. Cut into 1/4 to 1/2" strips or rings.



Tough to brittle

Carrots and Parsnips

Use only crisp, tender vegetables. Wash. Cut off roots and tops; peel. Cut in slices or strips 1/8" thick.



Tough to brittle


Trim stalks. Wash stalks and leaves thoroughly. Slice stalks.



Very brittle


Wash thoroughly. Slice or leave whole if small.



Shrunken, dark red flexible


Wash, remove skin, top and root ends, cut  into 6mm/ "  slices.



Very brittle


Wash thoroughly. Separate sprigs if necessary





Shell and wash.



Hard, green wrinkled

Spinach, Kale, Chard

Trim and wash very thoroughly. Shake or pat dry to remove excess moisture.





Wash, trim, cut into 1/4" slices.



Leathery to brittle


Husk, trim. Wash well. Blanch until milk in corn is set. Cut the kernels from the cob.



Crisp, brittle


(click here for Sun Dried Tomatoes recipe)

Plunge into boiling water to loosen skins. Chill in cold water. Cut into slices 12mm/" thick





Recipe of the Month


Courgette, Cherry Tomato & Goat's Cheese Quiche

Make use of the summer glut of courgettes with this exquisite rustic flan. Keeping the filling ingredients in larger pieces ensures each ingredient's flavour is distinct and can be enjoyed to the full.



Serves 4


60 minutes



200g/7oz Shortcrust Pastry
1 Onion
1 tbsp Olive Oil

25g/1oz Butter
2-3 small Courgettes ( zucchini)
Salt & Pepper
3 Eggs
120ml/4 fl.oz. Double or Single Cream
A little Milk
Ground Nutmeg
125g/5oz Semi firm Goat's Cheese e.g Chevre

8 Cherry Tomatoes

1. Heat the oven to 170C, 325F, Gas mark 3. Roll the pastry out and line an 22cm/8 inch flan dish. Cover this with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.

2.  Cut the onion into 6mm/ inch slices lengthways. Heat the butter and olive oil in a small frying pan until quite hot then fry the onion until golden. Remove the onion from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

3. Cut the courgettes into pieces no smaller than 12mm/ inch . Reheat the oil and butter until very hot  then fry the courgette until well coloured on all sides. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the pan with the slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

4. Combine the eggs and cream  in a measuring jug and whisk thoroughly, adding enough milk to make the mixture up to 300ml/10fl.oz. if necessary. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper and grated nutmeg.

5. Cut the goats cheese up into 12mm/-inch pieces and arrange evenly in the pastry case together with the onions, courgettes and cherry tomatoes. The object is to have discernable pieces of filling once the quiche is cooked.

6.  Pour the egg mixture gently over the filling, taking care not to dislodge the pieces of vegetables and cheese then bake  in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until set and golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

New and featured Recipes 

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


Orange-Honey Marinade     V   DF

Orange Dressing    V

Coriander Kiwi Salsa     Vegan  GF  DF

Beetroot and Orange Salad   V  GF  DF

Brussels Sprouts with Sesame   V

Orange Rice     Vegan  GF  DF

Potato Pancakes With Juniper     V  GF  DF

Sweet Potato Rosettes in Shells    V  GF

Peas alla Romana      GF   DF

Fijian Courgettes    DF


Desserts Cakes & Bakes

Oranges with Grand Marnier      V  GF  DF

Barbecued Oranges     V  GF 

Flamed Fruit Salad     V  GF 

Orange Biscuits     V  DF

Florentines     V 

Ipswich Almond Pudding      V 

Orange Caramel Custard      V  GF 

Tahitian Sweet Bread     V 

Soups & Starters

Orange Blueberry Soup    V  GF  

Oranges with Red Onion Appetiser    Vegan  GF  DF

Oranges with Anchovy   GF  DF

Salmon Ceviche    GF  DF

Beetroot and Orange Soup     GF  DF

Chilled Carrot and Orange Soup   Vegan  GF  DF

Mozzarella and Parma Parcels    GF

Chicken Teriyaki Appetisers


Main Courses 

Braised Liver with Orange    DF

Citrus Stuffed Monkfish    GF  DF

Baked Halibut with Oranges 

Duck with Cumberland Sauce     GF  DF

Citrus and Cheese Salad     V

Beef with Orange    GF 

Osso Buco with Orange    DF

Lamb Stuffed with Orange and Dates

Tarragon-Chicken Salad    GF  DF

Roasted Red Snapper Salad    GF 



Next  newsletter due out 1st week in September  - to unsubscribe click here