No. 69 - August 2008

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

Happy Cooking ! 




Florence Sandeman, Editor


What chefs do when they're bored?

Click the picture to enlarge.

This Month's Features



History of Food

New Additions !


More articles on culinary subjects  have been added



Culinary Videos

New Additions !



We've added even more instruction videos to this new section. Remember. there's no need to download anything. Click the picture to go to the main Cooking Videos page.






This is the latest addition to the Kitchen/Cookware section where we tell you everything you need to know about  choosing and using knives in this very comprehensive article. Click the picture.



Food in Film



Click the film to see the next in the series.


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 side dishes and 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 and most of the main courses are ready to serve in less than 40 minutes - great for working people.



What's in Season in



Click here to see what's in season this month and to find a UK Farmers' Market near you. There are Lots of seasonal recipes too




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 reached a good size and colour (between 10-17cm/4-7" depending on the variety) but before the shine disappears from the skin.


Beans, Peas &  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, carrots, 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. Same goes for carrots.


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

* * * Winner of  the June New subscriber prize draw * * *

MB of California, USA





Revised Recipe Index Page


As part of the ongoing task of making navigation of the site even more simple,  I've altered the main Recipe Index Page  to show  recipes by CourseTypeTheme and  Ingredient.


The latest page to be added is Cheese Recipes, so now you can find all the recipes for, say, Gorgonzola,  all in one place. I've also added general information about the various cheeses and more cheese varieties will be added over the coming weeks.




3rd August is Watermelon Day


Samples of Watermelon carvings: how much patience does this require?


Popular the world over, today there are more than 1,200 varieties of watermelons grown worldwide in 96 countries but where do you think they originated?

> > > > More




Food in the news.......


Is  Watermelon the new Viagra?
According to Dr Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M University's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Centre, watermelon contains citrulline which is converted by the body into  Arginine,  boosting nitric oxide levels, "which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has"

> > > > More  External Link




August is Peach Month (USA)


August is the perfect time to celebrate and enjoy peaches whilst they are at the peak of perfection. Not only are they delicious but they're full of goodness too.

> > > >  More



August is Harvest Month

August is usually a bumper month for harvesting home grown produce as well as buying fruit and vegetables which is in season in your area.


Whether you grow your own or just taking advantage of lower the prices of seasonal vegetables, if you are getting them at their peak of ripeness, then it's just as well to preserve any excess bearing in mind that eating produce which has been properly preserved when it was at its best, is as nutritionally as good as eating imported out-of-season

produce which often loses some nutrients during the shipping process.


Visit our Preserving Fresh Produce pages for clear instructions on the various preserving methods.


If you'd rather eat your veggies fresh, don't forget to check out the Vegetables Pages which give you full information on individual vegetables including preparation, suitable cooking methods and cuts with pictures, timings and serving allowances



Other food celebrations in August include:-


5th National Mustard Day

(see the Mustard Page)

8th National Hot Dog Day (UK)

(see the Hotdog Page)

19th Potato Day

National Picnic Month

(See the Picnic Section)



Readers' Questions


I want to do a recipe which uses lots of egg yolks. Can I freeze the whites?



Yes you can but make sure there's no yolk mixed in before doing so otherwise when you come to use them in the future, they won't whisk up properly. Simply pour them into a freezer tray making sure you make a note on the label of the number of egg whites frozen. There's no need to add salt or anything else.



* * * Gardening Challenge * * *


Recap:  Whilst looking at an online seed catalogue, I found two items which caught my imagination.  Strawberries which bear fruit the same year the seeds are sown and outdoor watermelons. Having never grown either of these from seed before, I decided I'd put my money where my mouth is and document  the various stages in this newsletter.   Remember, I'll be growing these on in containers as I don't have a "proper" garden. . . . . just a large terrace.


The Challenge - Part  Six

Same year fruiting Strawberries

The variety is Sarian

Outdoor Watermelons

The variety is Yellow Baby


Hoping for an Indian Summer

Oh joy of joys. I had already written this piece saying I still didn't hold up much hope of getting any fruit this year  then suddenly, like a bolt out of the blue, this flower seemed to appear from nowhere.

This is a thumbnail: click for larger picture

As I mentioned last month, I doubt very much that I'll get any fruit from  these this year - unless we get an Indian Summer..... lasting through to December ! Still, you never know.

This is a thumbnail: click for larger picture

The weather in my part of the UK has been a little hit and miss with quite cool weather  and a fair amount of rain. Having said that, I've already harvested  lots of other produce including green beans, lettuce, leaf beet, courgettes and herbs such as coriander and parsley, all grown in pots and sown this year and my other veggies such as beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, chillies and broccoli are all doing well - even sweet potatoes  - so maybe I just didn't get the knack with the watermelons.  Serves me right for trying to be a clever-dick.



Recipe of the Month


Chocolate Orange Tart

A sophisticated little number for adults only. Serve in thin slices with a spoonful of thick cream.


Makes : 10 servings
Preparation & Cooking Time : 65 minutes



For the orange pastry
225g/ 8oz Plain flour
25g/ 1oz Caster sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 Spanish oranges
150g/ 5oz Butter, at room temperature
1 Medium egg
For the filling
150g/ 5oz Ricotta cheese
150g/ 5oz Mascarpone cream cheese
2 Spanish oranges
2 Medium eggs
125g/ 4oz Muscavado sugar
2 x 15ml tbsp brandy
100g/ 3 oz 70% cocoa solid dark chocolate
50g/ 2oz Ground almonds



1. Make the pastry. Place half the flour with the caster sugar, orange zest, butter and egg in a medium size bowl. Add 3 x 15ml tbsp of orange juice and mix together with a fork to a stiff paste. Add remaining flour and mix to form a pastry finishing off by hand. Lightly knead on a surface dusted with flour until smooth. Wrap and chill for half an hour to rest.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6.  Roll out and use to line a loose base 22cm/9 flan tin.

3. Line with baking parchment, fill with baking beans or dried pulses. Rest on a preheated baking sheet and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove parchment and baking beans.

4. Prepare filling. Place chocolate in a bowl resting over a pan of simmering water until melted. Grate orange zest and whisk with remaining filling ingredients except chocolate to a smooth consistency. Stir in the melted chocolate. Spoon into pastry shell.

5. Cut away skin and pith from the oranges. Thinly slice into rounds. Place on top of the filling around the edge of the tart with one piece in the centre.

6. Oven bake for a further 20 25 minutes until the filling is just set. Leave to cool and chill until ready to serve. Cut in thin slivers and accompany with thick cream or ice cream.



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


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