* * * 100th Issue * * *
A trip down memory lane . . .
I can't believe I sent the first newsletter back in 2002 - seems like yesterday.
For this special issue, I thought it might be fun/interesting to feature articles and updates from past July issues. They may jog your memory about some of the sections on the site which have been launched during the past ten years but which may not have been featured recently such as the Cooking by Country and Ingredient of the month sections. I've also put in links to the old newsletters so you can see the originals which were very different to current ones.
I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane and don't forget, if you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at Newsletter@Recipes4us.co.uk .
July is National Ice Cream Month (USA)
This isn't an age-old National Month in America. In fact, it was President Ronald Regan (1981-1989) who designated July as National Ice Cream Month and further, that the third Sunday of July be National Ice Cream Day.
I know there are some wonderful ready made ice creams on the market now, but I'm going to take this opportunity to give a very big plug for home made ice cream.
It's not difficult to make ice cream at home and you don't have to have an ice cream maker either although they do make an easy job even easier.
So, what do you need?
Well, it depends on what recipe you're using. You must have a freezer or freezer compartment in your fridge. For many you can get away with a mixing bowl, sieve, freezer proof container and utensils like a wooden spoon. For others you can add to that list a saucepan and a blender or food processor.
A word about Ice Cream Machines
I admit to having one! Being a kitchen gadget freak, I bought a very basic ice cream maker many years ago. It's the type where you freeze the bowl beforehand then attach the motorised paddle before adding the ice cream mixture which is then churned for about 20 minutes.
The drawback of these simple machines is that you have to pre-freeze the bowls for a few hours. Also they tend to be quite small, only making enough ice cream to serve 4-6 people BUT the resulting mixture is very smooth and much lighter than if it wasn't used so it's worth it.
If you only make ice cream occasionally, these are the machines for you as they are relatively compact and cheap.
If you want to go the whole hog, there are some very fancy machines on the market which are more or less, automatic and only need to be turned on 5-10 minutes beforehand because they have their own freezing units built in. They are more expensive, but if you want to be able to eat your home made ice cream within 30 minutes of having had the idea to make it, these are the ones for you.
Types of 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 (no, not the bacon and egg one) 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.
Just as an aside, this brings to mind the story of a chef we have in England who serves unusual dishes at his restaurant including Bacon and Egg Ice cream! Sounds weird to me but that restaurant has been voted one of the best places to eat in the world.
I've also featured some recipes for sauces and other accompaniments to serve with your home made ice cream including meringue cases and Tuilles, a light biscuit, which also help to use up the leftover egg whites from custard-based recipes.
Happy Ice Cream making!
Other special food celebrations which fall in July include:-
4th - Independence Day (US)
14th Macaroni Day
17th - National Ice Cream Day
July is National Hotdog Month (USA)
To most of us, hot dogs are intrinsically linked with the USA and baseball, but as with many foods, where they end up being the most popular doesn't necessarily prove their origins.
July Site Updates
What's in Season in July
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
COOKING BY COUNTRY
Click the picture to find out about Greece's culinary culture and history, present day cooking and customs plus lots of recipe.
INGREDIENT OF THE MONTH
Click the picture to find out all about coconut plus 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.
HISTORY OF FOOD
New Section (July 2008 Newsletter)
Whilst researching on the internet for a couple of this month's features, I came across some interesting historical data, so I've decided to start a new section which will feature information about the origins of recipes or culinary related items such as ingredients, dining, farming and agriculture. There are a few articles were already on the site in some form or another, so you may have come across them before, but it's well worth you taking a look
As usual, I hope to be adding lots more over the coming months.
This is the latest addition to the Kitchen/Cookware section where we tell you everything you need to know about choosing and using pasta makers. Click the picture.
Cooking Skills . . .
One huge leap in the preparation of dressings is the option to make them in blenders or food processors which allows the addition of solid ingredients for extra flavouring.
Here's a short video I've recently made showing how to easily make exciting and unusual blender with additional solid ingredients such as onions, celery, sweet peppers and even fruit - not to mention numerous seasonings - many of which would even be suitable for serving as a "drizzle sauce" with fish, chicken and vegetables as well as salad leaves. . . . just in time for National Salad Week (see below).
Click here for the full sized video
* * * Special Feature * * *
Flans, Tarts & Quiches
Flans, tarts and quiches are a great way to combine different ingredients, flavours and seasonings in a compact format, with the additional advantage that many can also be served cold and are therefore suitable for picnics and buffets or advanced preparation and cooking.
I've set up a whole new page on the site dedicated to these versatile items in which you can find the answer to all manner of questions such as what is the difference between tarts, flans and quiches, the best pastry to use, how to make perfect flans, including a couple of short instructional videos, plus some handy pastry quantity weights and measures. And to make things easy, there's also a whole page with lots of sweet and savoury flan/tart/quiche recipes - over 60 in all.
2 in 1 . . .
Caesar Salad Day & Salad Week
To celebrate both Caesar Salad Day on the 4th and National Salad Week 7th-13th (UK) and 25th-31st (USA here's an easy recipe courtesy of www.britishleafysalads.co.uk which is perfect for picnics and lunch boxes.
CHICKEN CAESAR WRAPS
Prep and cooking time: 5 minutes
4 large Tortilla Wraps
120ml/8 tbsp Caesar dressing
100g/4oz Sweet Romaine lettuce, trimmed
350g/12oz cooked Chicken, sliced
30g/1oz Parmesan Cheese, shredded
60ml/4 tbsp toasted Pine Nuts
1. Place the tortillas on a board, divide the dressing between the two, then spread all over. Top with half the lettuce, tearing it into bite sized pieces.
2. Top with the chicken, remaining lettuce, parmesan and pine nuts. Fold the two side edges in, then starting at the side nearest to you; start rolling up the tortilla to make a neat wrap.
Cut in half diagonally, then wrap in clear film and chill until ready to eat.
> > > > More about National Salad Week
And I quote.....
"Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone"
L(July 2005 Newsletter)
Q What do you call a stolen yam?
A A hot potato.
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.
Click the hamper for lots of exciting picnic recipes
Not Egg Sarnies Again?
One of the nicest things about picnics is that it gives you a chance to eat several different dishes all at the same time....a bit like Chinese... without the formality of different courses or having to wait for everyone else to finish.. It's almost sensual being in the open on a warm summers day having a spread of fresh foods laid out in front of you, each one in turn almost winking at you and begging you to eat it.
Every year hubby and I go to Hever Castle in Kent (Ann Boleyn's old haunt) with some friends to see a play and have a picnic and I have to say that they have proven to be among the most delicious and enjoyable meals we've shared together and not a sandwich in sight.
I tend to plan the picnic as I would a dinner party. I never
serve sarnies at dinner parties so I don't serve them at picnics. The nearest I get to that is smoked salmon with brown bread as something to nibble on whilst I lay the rest of the food out.
So, if you want a great picnic, my advice is to plan and prepare just as you would a dinner party....only using cold recipes such as quiche, cold meats/poultry or pies, leaf salads (washed and DRIED or they'll go manky) and/or pasta, rice or couscous salads plus salt, pepper and accompaniments such as dressings.
Most of the preparation can be done at least one day before, wrapped well and refrigerated, only transferring to cold bags (with ice blocks) just before you leave the house. Dressings are best in small jars with screw tops and only added to the salad once
on site and ready to eat.
Be a stickler about keeping cold food chilled by whatever means and try to choose foods which are capable of being well cooked.
The only exceptions to this are quiche and some salads, such as pasta or rice. These tend to taste better at "room" temperature. By all means make them in advance and refrigerate but if the journey's not too long, don't bother cluttering up your cool bags with them.
Oh, and don't forget the plates, cutlery, paper towels, glasses rubbish bags and CORK SCREW.
3 ways with . . .
Fresh coriander, also known as Cilantro, belongs to the parsley family "Apiaceae", however whilst it may look like flat leaf Parsley, the taste and smell is much more pungent.
If you usually buy fresh coriander, you may find it on sale in rather large bunches - often way too much to use in one recipe - however, rather than leaving it to go yellow then having to throw it away, here are 3 great recipes so you can use it all up.
There are lots more recipes using coriander on the site. Simply use the search form to find them all.
Of course, to avoid having a surplus of fresh coriander, you can always grow your own. It doesn't require very hot conditions, can be sown outside in the border or in pots and indoors. And to prove it, here's a picture of some coriander which I sowed a few weeks ago outdoors. It's not too late to sow seeds now.
For detailed information on how to grow coriander visit
Recipe of the Month
Grown Up Jelly
This fabulous jelly dessert is beautiful and "adult" enough for any grown up. Makes a great to end any dinner party. Easily made with ordinary "kids" jelly but with the addition of seasonal raspberries, pomegranate and lots of port. (July 2007 Newsletter)
Serves 4 - 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes plus setting
1 x 135g tablet Raspberry Jelly
60ml/2fl.oz. Boiling Water
1 teasp Sugar
100g/4oz Fresh Pomegranate Kernels
100g/4oz Fresh Raspberries
Double Cream to serve
Basil Leaves to garnish
1. Cut or tear the jelly tablet into squares, place in a heatproof measuring jug or bowl together with the sugar and water and microwave on high for 1 minute.
2. Remove from the microwave and stir until the jelly is completely dissolved. If you don't have a microwave just stir until the jelly is dissolved.
3. Add the port and mix well.
4. Divide the fruit between 4 serving individual glasses then slowly pour in the liquid jelly until 2/3rds full.
5. Refrigerate to set (about 3 hours).
6. When ready to serve, pour some double cream over the top to create a layer then garnish with a spring of basil.
The basil should be eaten with the dessert - goes beautifully.
If you want the angled effect, simply tilt the glass at an angle when placing in the fridge, making sure they are secured sufficiently.
The Kitchen Garden
* * * 2011 Garden Experiment * * *
Recap: Under normal circumstances, true watercress grows in shallow running water. The instructions for the variety I've purchased - Watercress: Aqua - suggests it is sown in pots which are stood permanently in trays of water. It also recommends growing in a shady place which suits me down to the ground as most parts of my little plot don't get that much sun. The texture of the land cress I've grown previously was a little coarse, so hopefully this "proper" watercress will be more delicate as promised.
I have been harvesting small amounts of watercress for a couple of weeks now and have been impressed with both the flavour and texture.
For some reason, I assumed I would be able to treat the plants as "cut and come again" salad leaves which would mean I could be harvesting fresh watercress for many weeks. The plants have a tendency to flower, so I have had to pinch the flowers out regularly which, I would have thought, might encourage them to bush out and produce more edible sprigs. So far, that hasn't happened and it looks as though it's not going to.
I am going to further experiment. As I have two pots, I am going to give one a severe haircut, what some gardeners call the "Chelsea Chop" (the pot on the left below) but I'm going to leave the other one and just keep harvesting small amounts to see what happens.
If you're interested in how the rest of my new garden is doing, visit my blog at http://cepsinthecity.blogspot.com/
July in the
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. Alternatively 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.
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 & 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.
Butternut Squash, Courgettes & 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 and butternut at about 20cm/8".
For detailed growing instructions visit growing herbs and vegetables section
Take some . . .
This is the moody teenager of store cupboard ingredients as it often stays shut away because nobody understands it. But it’s simple really. Polenta is corn meal, that’s to say it is ground up sweetcorn (or “maize”). There are three sorts of ways you can use it:
Cook it and let it set into a sort of loaf, then use it as the base for bruschetta or canapés. (You can add herbs or stock before cooking if you like.)
Grilling it with some bacon and Dolcelatte on top makes a brilliant lunch
Use it to make your cornmeal porridge, popular in Caribbean cooking. Ours will cook in 1 minute
Use it like breadcrumbs to coat chicken or skinned sausages before cooking. You get a nice crispy coating, and kids love it
Polenta is a really easy-to-use, versatile ingredient.
In this video chef Alex Mackay shows how to make different types of Polenta, and he uses them to cook up 3 yummy meals -
1. Fluffy Polenta Mash with Sausages and Onion Gravy
2. Polenta Fritters with Tomato Sauce and Basil
3. Salmon with Polenta Chips and Mushy Peas
More ideas for using Polenta from Merchant Gourmet:
.... Chop set Polenta into small cubes and deep fry. Allow to cool and use as croutons in soups and salads
.... Add some flavour to your Polenta by adding grated Parmesan, fresh herbs, pesto or sun dried tomato sauce during cooking
.... Mix soft polenta with pesto and line a tart tin, leave to set. Once firm, fill with your favourite tart fillings such as cheese, peppers, onion or ham
.... Chop set polenta into cubes and thread onto kebab skewers, alternate the Polenta with SunBlush® Tomatoes and chunks of halloumi cheese, then grill on the barbecue
Whether you're looking for everyday, exotic or unusual food and drink, visit
UKFoodOnline.co.uk Food shopping has never been easier !
Next Newsletter due out 1st week in August
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