No. 46 - July 2006

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


Knock Knock
Who's there?
Wanda who?
Wanda have another hamburger?

What's New This Month



Cooking by Country



Sri Lanka (Ceylon)


Click the picture to find out all about Sri Lankan cuisine including culinary history, information and, of course, lots of recipes



A Cut Above


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




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



Food in Film



Click the film to see the second in the series. Once again it's a film which heavily features all kinds of food.




How does your  Kitchen Garden grow



Plants such as courgettes, marrows, runner, dwarf and green beans and outdoor cucumbers should be romping away by now. Make sure you keep them well watered and weed free.


Continue to make small sowings of carrots, lettuce, radish, spinach and spring onions to ensure a continuous harvest. although a good alternative is to just harvest every other plant. that way, you can have young small tender veggies now whilst leaving some to grow on. This method works especially well with Carrots, spring onions, turnips  and beetroot.


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.


Check the ties and staking of taller plants such as beans and tomatoes , loosening or tightening as necessary.


Cordon tomatoes

Pinch out side shoots which will appear where the leaves join the stems, when they are about 2.5cm/1" long. Once tomatoes have developed on 4 or 5 trusses, pinch out the growing tip.

Aubergines and Capsicums

Fine spraying of plants with water helps encourage fruit to set. Limit to 5 or 6 fruits per plant. Once the fruit start to swell, feed with tomato food each time you water.


Courgettes and Marrows

Pinch out growing tips of trailing varieties when they reach 60cm/2ft long or have 6-8 leaves. Keep very well watered but only water around the plants and feed with liquid fertiliser once the fruits begin to form.  Continual cropping is necessary to prolong the harvesting period. Start cutting courgettes at about 10cm/4" and Marrows at about 20cm/8".


For detailed growing instructions visit growing herbs and vegetables section







The Great British Menu?


As many of you will already know, The Queen of England (Elizabeth II) is celebrating her 80th birthday this year. Her actual birthday was on 21st April, but she had her "official" celebration on 17th June.

To honour this milestone in her life, certain well known/professional chefs from all over the United Kingdom  were invited to take part in a competition to cook a 4 course British meal for her banquet at Mansion House in London at which, not only would she be present, but also around 200 guests would be munching their way through the meal.


The chefs had to devise and cook all four courses, starter, fish, main and dessert, and the heats were divided into regions, e.g. Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Midlands,  South-west England etc., and all the dishes were  initially judged by an "expert" panel of 3 food related professionals, with the final dishes open to the public to choose which would be served at the banquet.


All the stages of the "cook-off"  were televised making for  some truly entertaining TV including one where a very well known chef managed to burn his main course (thanks Anthony Worrell Thompson - made me feel a lot better about my culinary mistakes!).


So, why am I writing about this now? Well frankly, I was astonished at something some of these professional chefs did. To me, it was an elementary error. So what was it?


Serving a fish starter when there was a fish course to follow. 


Now, there is an art to serving a "well balanced" menu. It's not always simple and sometimes its a bit of a chore for example when you have 3 favourite recipes but they all use pastry as a base (a scenario I encountered myself, but 1 or 2 of them just had to go) but I would have thought that professionals would be perfectly au fait with menu planning.

Perhaps I'm being moronic as even the professional judges didn't seem to bat an eyelid  ...... though they did argue over other things such as whether a "soufflé" should be considered British. But with all the other wonderful things one could serve for a starter, why choose to echo something you HAVE to serve later in the meal?


And talking about a well balanced menu, they should also have considered the time of year - mid June - HOT and the fact that it would be served mid day. Is casseroled oxtail, treacle pudding or Lancashire Hotpot, though all scrumptiously British, really suitable for a summer luncheon?


Those particular dishes didn't make it to the finals, but they were on some of the original menus devised by professional chefs.


All this has made me decide to add a feature to the site about meal planning, hopefully later this year. In the meantime, here's the final menu which was served to her Majesty:-


Smoked salmon with

Irish soda bread, woodland sorrel and cress

* * * * *

Pan-fried turbot with cockles and oxtail

* * * * *
 Loin of roe venison with

rosti, celeriac, cabbage, carrot and game gravy
* * * * *

Custard tart with Garibaldi biscuits



National Ice Cream Month (USA)


I first featured this last year as those of you who are "long timers" of this newsletter may remember. At the risk of boring you, I'm going to highlight the different types of ice cream again because I'm so fond of home made ice cream.



The two traditional types of ice cream recipes are ones made with an egg-custard base and ones made with cream as the base but there are now many variations which stray from these including ones using yoghurt, evaporated milk, crème frâiche and tofu - the letter being ideal for vegans.


There are a few examples of all these types of ice creams listed at the end of this newsletter  in the Featured Recipes section however there are many more throughout the main site. Use the search form  to find them all.


For me, cream based ice creams are the easiest as basically, they are just cream with added flavourings in the form of chocolate, fruit etc. However, although custard based ice creams involve more "cooking", they have the advantage that they can be adapted to contain less calories by substituting milk (including skimmed) for the cream.. They also tend to have a lighter, softer texture.


The nice thing about home made ice cream is that you can adjust the flavourings to suit your own tastes. I love the taste of plums with cinnamon (don't ask me why I just do) which is how I came up with the Cinnamon Plum ice cream recipe (below). So, if you like the taste of honey, for example, you can substitute it for some of the sugar content.


Below are some additional recipes for sauces and other accompaniments to serve with your home made ice cream including meringue cases and Tuilles - a light biscuit, which also helps to use up the leftover egg whites from custard-based recipes. Waste not want not.


And don't forget sorbets too - much more refreshing on a hot summers day.


Happy Ice Cream making!




Readers' Questions


Do you have any recipes for white currents. I have grown a quantity and do not know how to use them


As White currants are generally the sweetest of the "currants" you shouldn't have any problem substituting them in many recipes using either red or black currants. The only consideration is the colour.



What's in Season

Artichokes, Asparagus, Aubergines, Basil, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Coriander, Courgettes, Cucumbers, Endive, Lemon Grass, Lettuce, Melons, Mint, Peas, Plums, Radish, Raspberries, Runner Beans, Rocket, Sage, Sea Kale, Spinach, Spring Onions, Strawberries, Tarragon, Tomatoes, Watercress


New and featured Recipes 

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


Bean White Curry      Vegan   GF   DF

Sinhalese Curried Pumpkin      Vegan   GF   DF

Sinhalese Toasted Curry Powder       Vegan   GF   DF

Mint Sambol       Vegan   GF   DF

Tomato And Onion Sambol        Vegan   GF   DF

Coconut Spinach       Vegan   GF   DF

Sinhalese Fried Rice        GF   DF

Sinhalese Okra       Vegan   GF   DF

Spiced Fried Aubergine       Vegan   GF   DF

Sweet Onion Sambol        DF

Sinhalese Date Chutney       Vegan   GF   DF

Godhamba Roti       Vegan    DF

Hoppers       Vegan    DF

Artichokes Du Barry      V

Swiss Chard in Cream Sauce         GF

Cider and Cucumber Salad      V    DF


Desserts, Sweets Cakes & Bakes

Chocolate Sauce           GF

Toffee Sauce       GF

Tuilles  to serve with ice cream   V    DF

Meringue Nests  to serve with ice cream    V GF   DF

Strawberry Yoghurt  Ice cream          GF

Tofu Chocolate Ice Cream      Vegan   GF   DF

Mango Evaporated Milk Ice Cream      GF

Honey Ice Cream        V

Vanilla Ice Cream        GF

Crème Frâiche Ice Cream        GF

Sesame Balls        Vegan   GF   DF

Yoghurt with Jaggery Treacle         GF

Milk Toffee        GF

Watalappan      V   GF   DF

Sinhalese Coconut Cake     V   DF


Soups & Starters

Sri Lankan Fish And Lentils Soup         GF  

Chilled Asparagus Soup      GF

Chilled Curried Apple Soup

Caponata     GF   DF

Cucumber and Prawn Salad

Liver Pâté with Sherry        GF  

Thai Chicken Sates   GF   DF

Tomatoes Stuffed with Chicken

Courgette Salad       Vegan   GF   DF

Goat Cheese Gallettes with Raspberry Sauce      V

Stilton and Spinach Parcels      V



Main Courses 

Sinhalese Curried Pumpkin      Vegan   GF   DF

Sri Lankan Frikadells (Meat balls)

Sinhalese Pan Roasted Pork            GF   DF

Ceylonese Beef Stew            GF   DF

Mild Yellow Fish Curry       GF   DF

Chilli Baked Crab        GF   DF

Ceylonese Chicken Curry          GF   DF

Marinara Sauce for Pasta        Vegan   GF   DF

Chicken Kebabs with Coriander       GF   DF

Spinach Frittata         V   GF

Bacon with Broad Beans

Bajan Pork Roast          GF   DF

Brawn       GF   DF

Barbecued Spare Ribs       GF   DF

Crubeens       GF   DF

Feijoada Completa        DF

Cannelloni with Pork

Gammon Steaks with Cider

Honeyed Pork Chops       GF   DF

Pork Loin Boulanger       GF  


Next Newsletter due out 1st week in August  - to unsubscribe click here