No. 41 - February 2006


Welcome to the first Recipes4us Newsletter of 2006.


This year I am hoping to introduce new sections to the newsletter, the first of which is featured below. I hope you find them both interesting and informative. As usual, if you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions  for the newsletter, please write to me at .  Even if I can't answer your queries, with over 2000 subscribers, I'm sure someone out there will be able to help.


Happy Cooking ! 



Florence Sandeman, Editor


Did you know.....

The average domestic laying hen lays 255 eggs per year ?

This Month's Features


Ingredient of the Month



Sweet Potatoes

Click the picture to find out about  Sweet Potatoes including its origin, history and of course lots of recipes



What's in Season

Apples, Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery,  Chestnuts,  Leeks, Onions, parsnips, Pears, Potatoes, Turnips, Walnuts, naval oranges,



How does your  Kitchen Garden grow

If you're thinking about growing potatoes you should buy "seed" potatoes now. These are just small potatoes which have been certified as virus free. When you've got them, set them with the rose "eyes" uppermost in a light frost-free place. They will begin to sprout in about 6 weeks.


You can start sowing the seed of Aubergines in late February indoors in small pots 7.5cm/3" diameter filled with compost..


By now you should have ordered all your veggie seeds, but even if you haven't, they will be appearing in garden centres and stores very soon.


For detailed growing instructions visit growing herbs and vegetables section



At your convenience


This is one of the new additions for 2006.  Practically everyone uses convenience foods of one kind or another; stock cubes, tinned tomatoes, dried herbs, pasta, bread, jam, sauces, breakfast cereal;  the list is endless.  Every month we will feature a convenience food, be it tinned, frozen, dried, in a packet or jar and we'll give you a recipe or  tip on using it.


In a jar......


How long has your jar of mint sauce been in your fridge? A few weeks.... Months? NO MORE. Don't just save it for roast lamb. Add a couple of teaspoons to boiled potatoes or peas when you're cooking them for a wonderful minty taste. Especially handy during the winter months when fresh mint may not be to hand.



February 28th is Shrove Tuesday better known as Pancake Day.  We have lots of lovely recipes for dessert pancakes and lots of savoury ones too including fillings of  seafood, chicken, meat and  vegetables plus some background information about the tradition



February 14th is Valentines Day. Prepare a wonderful romantic 3-course meal for your loved one.....and tell them you love them in 3 different languages...that's one for each course !  Find out why we sign cards, letters, emails with an "X"



Here's an extra special Valentines day recipe


Share my Heart Gallette


A scrumptious pear and chocolate tart - just enough for 2 on Valentines day. Spiced poached pears set on a sea of chocolate sauce encased in an airy pastry case.




1.  Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6.


2. Meanwhile, cut one thin slice from the middle of the orange and set aside.  Squeeze the juice from the remainder of the orange into a small saucepan then pare thick strips of peel from the remaining orange shells and add them to the saucepan together with the sugar, water, vanilla and cinnamon. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring.


3. Once the sugar has melted, add the pear halves and, if necessary  enough extra water to just cover. Reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer for 15-25 minutes or until the pears are just tender. Don't overcook or you will find it difficult to slice them.


4.  Meanwhile, roll the pastry out to a thickness no less than 5mm/1/4 inch then cut into a heart shape.  Using a sharp knife, make a very shallow cut around the edge to form a border about 12mm/ 1/2- inch wide, making sure not to cut all the way through. Place the on a baking sheet which ahs been lined with parchment paper then brush the surface with a little beaten egg. Bake at the tope of the preheated over for 10-15  minutes until risen and golden.


5. . Once cooked, remove the saucepan containing the pears from the heat and allow to cool.


6. Once cooked, remove the pastry from the oven. Very gently remove the centre heart from the case. You may have to carefully run over the cuts with the tip of a sharp knife. Cool  on a wire rack.


7. Once the pears and pastry are cold, make the chocolate sauce by placing a small heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in the bowl together with the butter and water. Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is well combined.


8. To assemble the dish: Remove the pears from the poaching liquid, remove the cores and thickly slice lengthways. Pour 3/4 of the chocolate sauce into the pastry case then arrange the pear slices over the top. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the pears (best done using a piping bag) then garnish with the peel of the slice of orange. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream if desired.





click on the plate for a larger picture


Serves 2   Preparation and cooking time:  40mins plus cooling



1 Orange

100g/4oz Sugar

240ml/8fl.oz. Water plus extra

1/2  Vanilla Bean, split

1 x 5cm/2-inch stick Cinnamon

1 large Pear, peeled and halved lengthways

150g/+5oz Puff  Pastry

1 Egg, beaten

100g/4oz Dark Chocolate

A large knob of Butter

1 tbsp Water

Whipped Cream to serve (Optional)

























A little late for the very beginning of the  Chinese New Year (29th January) but it's still worth a mention. 2006 is the year is the year of the dog.  Why not cook an authentic Chinese meal to celebrate. What year were you born in?




Recipe of the Month


Creamed Leeks

Serves 4

900g/2lb Leeks, thickly sliced
25g/1oz Butter
150ml/5fl.oz. Crème Fraiche

Salt and White Pepper
Freshly grated Nutmeg




1. Place the leeks in a large saucepan of boiling salted water and cook for 10 minutes until just tender. Drain well then plunge into very cold water and leave for 15 minutes.

2. Drain again and dry well on  kitchen paper then transfer to a food processor and pulse to roughly chopped. Remove half, then process the remainder until very smooth.

3. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add all the the chopped and pureed leeks and stir over a high heat.


4. Add the crème fraiche season to taste and continue to cook, stirring,  until hot. Serve sprinkled with fresh grated nutmeg.




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

Food shopping has never been easier !

New and featured Recipes 

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


Sweet Potato Rosti    V  GF   DF

Stir Fried Bok Choy    Vegan    GF   DF

Szechuan Aubergine       V   DF

Spiced Coconut Sweet Potato    Vegan    GF   DF

Sweet Potato Fry    Vegan    GF   DF

Sweet Potato Sauce for Pasta       V

Sweet Potato Bake       V

Pineapple and Sweet Potato Bake       V

Sweet Potato Rosettes in Shells   V   GF   DF

Noodles with Black Bean Sauce       V

Plum Dipping Sauce    DF

Mandarin Pancakes        V   DF


Desserts Cakes & Bakes

Nutty Sweet Potato Biscuits        V

Caramel Apples or Bananas        V   DF

Silky Apples        V   DF

Apple Sweet Potato Muffins       V

Spiced Sweet Potato Pie       V

Sweet Potato Cream     Vegan    GF   DF

Sweet Potato Pone     V   GF   DF

Sweet Potato Cheesecake     V

Passionfruit Pavlova      V   GF

Chocolate Éclairs      V

Soups, Appetisers & Starters

Leek Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup  GF

Chinese Fried Scallops

Sweet Potato and Pepper Soup Vegan    GF   DF

Sweet Potato and Fish Chowder     GF

Cauliflower Terrine  V

Hot Chicken Liver Mousse

Prosciutto Roasted Figs

Anchovy Ramekins

Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup     DF

Potstickers (Dim Sum)


Main Courses 

Lamb with Garlic and Sweet Potatoes    GF   DF

Duck with Almonds     DF

Chicken with Sweet Potato      DF

Vegetable Couscous  Vegan    DF

Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry       DF

Squid with Black Bean Sauce        DF

Lentil Tagine  Vegan    GF   DF

Braised Swordfish      GF   DF

Pork Curry with Bananas    DF

Central Mexico Meat Stew    DF

Sweet and Sour Chicken      DF

Stir fried Prawns with Noodles



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