No. 108 - July/August 2012


Welcome to the July/August 2012  Recipes4us Newsletter.  If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at Newsletter@Recipes4us.co.uk .  You can now quickly share this page with your friends and family via twitter, facebook, email plus lots of other options by using one of the buttons below. There's even a print button.


  Happy Cooking!






Florence Sandeman,



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Key: = Veg/Vegan    DF = Dairy Free    GF  = Gluten/Wheat Free




Back in the 70's Crepes Suzette were all the rave in quality restaurants, when  when the dish would be prepared at the table side by the head waiter, who would flambé it with great panache to the ooo's and ahhh's of the diners.


As the name implies, the dish consists of light, soft, sweet crepes, which are flavoured with orange zest plus a little orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Sugar is caramelised in a frying pan to which more liqueur and cognac is added and flambéed, then orange juice is added to create a sauce before the crepes are added and heated through.


These delights are one of my favourites and have always made an appearance at my dinner table, even when it's just me and my ol' man. Below is a link to the recipe I've been using for over 30 years.


I often use tangerines or mandarins instead of oranges. For some reason I always thought they were used in the traditional recipe,  however I can't find any evidence to support that now.  They give a slightly different flavour which is absolutely delicious but oranges work beautifully too so use whichever you have to hand.



Crepes Suzette Recipe    Veg  


Who was Suzette?

As with many recipes, there are a couple of alternatives as to whom this recipe was named after.

One version says it was named after the youngest guest at a dinner attended by the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII)  where the dish was first prepared by accident. Apparently the sauce caught fire and, not wanting to keep the Prince waiting, the dish was served flambéed.  Another story  claims it was named  after a French actress.


Food celebrations in July include:-


1st National Gingersnap Day
4th Independence Day
7th National Herb Week (UK)
11th Blueberry Muffin Day
17th National Cherry Day (UK)
21st National Crème Brulée Day

23rd National Salad Week
27 July British Food Fortnight
29th National Lasagne Day
30th National Cheesecake Day
3rd Sunday Ice Cream Day
National Hot Dog Month
National Pickle Month


Food for beautiful people

What have Clark Gable and Jean Harlow got to do with anything food related?

Well, even good things sometimes need a bit of publicity to promote their virtues, and so it was with the Caesar Salad. This world famous recipe has its own day on 4th July - the date it was first invented in Tijuana, Mexico some time during the 1920s.

The events  which influenced the creation of this recipe included the prohibition of alcohol, Hollywood film stars and the inevitable gossip columnists who stalked their every move. To find out how, and for some Caesar salad recipes, visit the History of Caesar Salad page. In the meantime here's a recipe for a sort of deconstructed Caesar salad.

Caesar Salad Bruschetta

Courtesy Bobby Flay and Hellmann’s/Best Foods


120ml/4fl.oz. Hellmann’s® Real Mayonnaise

1 teasp Dijon Mustard

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 French baguette sliced into ½-inch thick slices

Shredded Lettuce, Romaine or Cos

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Parmesan cheese Shavings


1. Preheat the grill.  Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, anchovy paste and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Remove half of the dressing to a small bowl and spread one side of each slice of bread with it.


2. Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet and place under the broiler, dressing-side up and broil until lightly golden brown.  Remove and let cool slightly.


3. Add the lettuce to the remaining dressing, add the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste, mix well and top each crouton with some of the salad and a shaving of parmesan cheese.


In my Kitchen



Whilst I have several piping bags and nozzles of varying sizes, I have always found it easier to use a piping tube - a rigid plastic gadget with a plunger - which can be used one-handed. However the one I had was getting really worn (must have been well over 20 years old) and it finally got cracked when we moved.  So when I came across this unusual piping set, I decided I just had to give it a try.


The set consists of 5 flexible plastic bottles  - 2 large and 3 small - which is really useful when you are working with  more than one colour icing,  5 interchangeable nozzles,  round for writing and flood filling, leaf, star, basket weave or ribbon,  allowing you to create many effects, a small pliable spatula which can be used for spreading icing and to facilitate the filling of the bottles, plus an instruction book.


The short concertina-like bottles actually squeeze up and can be used one-handed making piping short bursts easy, which is especially useful when creating stars and for more intricate work and makes writing or turning cakes whilst icing  a piece of cake.


The larger flexible bottles are also great for decorating plates and for drizzling. All the bottles stand upright and the concertina ones are particularly useful for people with dexterity problems.

There are some downsides. It takes a little more patience to fill and wash the bottles than with a conventional piping bag. Also the concertina bottles aren't that big, so if you have more than a few cupcakes to decorate, you will have to refill them. Also, if the icing mixture is too stiff, for instance if it is straight out of the fridge, it can be difficult to pipe it out using just one hand. However,  these were minor points which didn't bother me too much.


Conclusion: Whilst this product can't totally replace piping bags, especially when it comes to piping larger items such as meringues,  they are very handy for icing cupcakes,  biscuits and for writing or intricate piping. 


Carpaccio Crostini

These crostini are a mix of tender thin slices of finest Scotch beef and rich beetroot and orange chutney. They make quite a substantial pre dinner canapé, perfect for serving  with drinks.

1 baguette
Olive oil
Garlic clove, cut in half
Beetroot and Orange Chutney
1 Avocado
Cold Smoked Beef

1. Cut the baguette into slices.
2. Heat the oil in frying pan, add the sliced bread and sauté on both sides, till golden.
3. Rub toasted bread with a cut side of garlic to give a subtle garlic flavour.
4. Spread the Beetroot and Orange chutney liberally on toast, add a slice of avocado and top with half a slice of smoked beef such as Rannoch Smokery Cold Smoked Beef and serve.

* * * * *
Passion flower Cocktail

Try this long cool cocktail -erfect for long summer days and evenings.

Serves 1

25ml Rubicon Mango juice
25ml Rubicon Passion fruit juice
Champagne for topping up

Pour all the ingredients into a chilled champagne flute and stir to mix well.


Veg/Vegan    DF   GF 

Cupcake Corner


4th August is National Chocolate Chip Day so what better than a cupcake which utilises these little sweet treats.


This recipe is flavoured with orange in the form of finely grated orange zest plus fresh orange juice in the cake mixture. Chocolate and orange are a classic and delicious combination. If you wanted an extra orange element, you could always mix up some orange flavoured glacé icing to drizzle over the tops of the cakes.

The ratio of flour to butter in this recipe is higher than in most recipes, to ensure the chocolate chips don't sink to the bottom of the cakes during cooking, but as an extra precaution the chips are only added to the mixture once in the paper cases and briefly stirred through with a knife just before placing in the oven.

Orange Choc Chip Cupcakes

Makes 12   -  Veg

100g/4oz Butter - softened
100g/4oz Castor Sugar (superfine)
175g/6oz Self-Raising Flour
2 Small Eggs
The grated Zest of 1 Orange
2 tbsp Freshly squeezed Orange Juice
50g/2oz Milk or Plain Chocolate chips


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4.  and line a 12 hole patty tin with cup cake papers.
2.  Place all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips in a large mixng bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, until light, creamy and well combined.
3. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases then divide the chocolate chips between the filled cases and stir through briefly using a small knife. Remember they may sink slightly so don't bother mixing too thoroughly.
4. Bake for 15 -18 minutes until risen and firm to touch.
5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Culinary Videos






Although I haven't been able to make any new videos myself, I have managed to find a really good source of cooking videos so I've added a few to our collection. Click the picture to find the latest additions.





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



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

Book Review ....


The Practical Encyclopaedia of Fish and Shellfish
By Kate Whiteman
RRP  $24.99 | ISBN 978 184476 6130| Soft back 256 pages
First Published November 2008


Just in case you are wondering, don't be put off by the price being in dollars - the weights and measures in the book are in imperial and metric.


Despite having a very large cook book collection, many of which include fish recipes, I really wanted a single book which covered everything to do with fish and shellfish, including information about individual fish and seafood plus other general information.


I happened across this book on Amazon and as it wasn't that expensive,  given the description and the word "encyclopaedia", I decided to buy it blind.  I am so glad I did.


Not only does it have over 100 recipes but it also has sections on buying, preparing and cooking fish,  identification of fresh fish, smoked and salted fish, tinned and pickled fish, shellfish and seafood. 


In Detail

After a brief introduction, there are a few pages covering equipment - from basic scissors to fish smokers - all of which have accompanying photos and full descriptions. Next  comes a comprehensive section about buying, preparing and cooking fish and shellfish. Just about everything you will ever need to know.  Once again there are numerous accompanying photos which are really helpful to clarify processes such as preparing whole crab or lobster and filleting or skinning fish, especially for the less experienced cook.


The next section is entitled "A catalogue of fish and shellfish" and in the intro it states "This chapter is designed to help you identify the fish and shellfish you may find on the fishmonger's slab and give you an indication of how it can be cooked".  It does a lot more than that, with each specimen featured having information about the family it belongs to, habitat, other names, buying, cooking and alternatives.


The chapter is divided into several sections to enable the reader to find what they are looking for easily namely, sea fish, freshwater fish, dried and salted fish, pickled fish, canned fish, smoked fish, fish sauces and pastes, crustaceans, gastropods, molluscs and other edible sea creatures - most with a full colour picture.  As well as covering the more common fish/shellfish, it also features items which readers may never have heard of or seen such as sea squirt.


The recipe section is divided into several chapters i.e. soups, starters, mousses, pates & terrines, salads, everyday main courses, pasta and rice dishes, light and healthy dishes, elegant dishes for entertaining and sauces for fish and shellfish. 


Every recipe has several colour photos showing various stages of the preparation and cooking, a short introduction/description and nutritional values which include calories, carbs, fats, sodium and proteins. Many also have a "cook's tip" or "variation".


All in all a good range of recipes from around the world, suitable for all sorts of occasions and for all skill levels, using practically every type of cooking method, including classics such as  Bouillabaisse and Lobster Thermidor  to modern Asian Fusion recipes.


If you want to broaden your knowledge about fish and shellfish or improve your fish cooking skills, this is the book for you. I am very pleased to have added it to my collection.


Food celebrations in August include:-


3rd Watermelon Day
4th National Chocolate Chip Day
7th National Mustard Day
8th National Zucchini  Day (US)
9th National Rice Pudding Day
19th Potato Day (US)
23d National Sponge cake Day
Peach Month
National Picnic Month



Food in the News . . .



New website aims to underline differences between natural and artificial trans fats

                                                           > > > > More  External Link


Recipe of the Month: July


Almond Soup with Picota Cherries


Courtesy of www.picotacherries.co.uk


Fresh Picota cherries are now available in supermarkets but be quick as they’re only in season until the end of July. Uniquely stalk-less, these cherries are produced by family run Picota farms in the Jerte Valley of western Spain  and are protected by a denomination of origin (DO) status, which means they can't be grown anywhere else.  



Serves 4       Veg     DF

60g crustless, day-old white bread, in rough pieces
750ml water
250g blanched whole almonds
1 garlic clove, chopped
12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or to taste
Sea salt
20 Picota cherries, pitted
3 sprigs of mint, leaves removed and chopped


1. Soak the bread in the water for around 15 minutes until the pieces are soggy.

2. Next, put the softened bread and the water in a food processor with the almonds, garlic and olive oil and blitz until smooth.

3. Season to taste with sherry vinegar and crushed sea salt.

4. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate until the soup is well chilled; this will take 2–3 hours. Chill the cherries at the same time.

To serve -  give the soup a stir and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Ladle into soup bowls (the traditional Spanish bowls with a green glaze inside make this soup look beautiful) and divide the cherries between them. Drizzle with a little olive oil and finish with a scattering of mint leaves.

Chef's tip....


Don't worry too much if you can't get these particular cherries - just substitute with another sweet variety..

3 in 1 . . .

July - Pickle Month  |  27th  July– 12th August British Food Fortnight  |  7th August National Mustard Day

What better way to mark these three food celebrations than with a typically British pickle, in which mustard plays a major part. It's the ideal time to make this recipe as most of the ingredients are in season, so you should either be able to buy them at a reasonable price or, if you're lucky , harvest your own home grown veggies.


I'm not sure when the recipe was first made, however it is certainly mentioned in the 1758 cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse, under the heading "to make Paco-Lilla" -  India Pickle, possibly so named because of the use of turmeric which not only gives flavour, but is jointly responsible (with the mustard) for the bright yellow colour.  Here's a recipe for you to try.



Piccalilli      British  90mins plus soaking   Veg     GF    DF



 3 ways with . . .



Although 3rd August is Watermelon Day, I think it's just as well to eat any type of melon, especially as they are in season so should be at their sweetest and most succulent.


Most common  melons are interchangeable in recipes apart from watermelons, which is not due to taste but rather to texture - they have a much higher water content.


Below are three recipes using different types of melon



  Focus on . . .                               

                        Chop Suey


29th August is Chop Suey Day

Apparently, chop suey is one of the most popular Chinese take-away dish in the US and is also very popular in the UK. My local Chinese take-away has a section on their menu featuring a few chop suey dishes.

I have always believed that chop suey wasn’t an authentic Chinese dish, having been devised in the US by Chinese immigrants who worked on the railways in the mid 1800s. However, my research has revealed evidence suggesting that it originates from Toisan, a rural area south of Canton. The fact that many of the immigrants came from that region underpins this as naturally, they would cook in a style with which they would have been familiar even if they couldn't get all the ingredients they were used to.

Chop suey is the English pronunciation of the Cantonese words tsap seui which translates to "mixed pieces" which is a very apt description of the dish, as it is traditionally made up of mixed vegetables and shredded, often pre-cooked or left-over, meats or poultry or fresh prawns which are stir-fried.

Just about any combination of vegetables  can be used in a chop suey recipe, which traditionally almost always includes beansprouts, but what differentiates chop suey from any other stir-fried recipe is the thickened sauce/gravy in which it is briefly cooked once it has been quickly stir-fried.  It is also sometimes served with a fried egg or omelette-type affair on top. As mentioned, those original immigrants wouldn’t have had all the authentic ingredients from China, which accounts for the use of items such as western tomato sauce.

Making chop suey at home is a great way to use up bits and pieces you may have left in the fridge so below is the recipe for a basic chop suey sauce. Simply stir-fry your ingredients in the usual way then add the sauce and cook, stirring, until it is heated through, thickened and coats the ingredients.


Basic chop suey sauce

Serves 4


1 level tbsp Cornflour (cornstarch)

2 tbsp Water

3 tbsp Soy Sauce

2 tbsp Rice Wine or Dry Sherry

1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup or Purée

1 teasp Sugar

60ml/2fl.oz. Cold Stock




1. Place the cornflour in a small bowl, add the water and mix until smooth.


2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well blended.



Take some  . . .



Adding alcohol to recipes adds another dimension to the taste and can even transform an ordinary recipe into something spectacular and worthy of dinner parties or special occasions.  To find out more about using all types of alcohol in cooking plus lots of recip0es, visit our section " Cooking with Alcohol ".


Kronenbourg is a pils-type beer with a slight bitter note and good malt and hoppiness. The name comes from Cronenbourg a historical district of Strasbourg, where the brewery was built in the early part of the 19th century. The beer is made from selected barley, water drawn from the underground source below the brewery and hops, mainly the more bitter varieties. The result is a well-balanced brew with a smooth, well-rounded bitter note that is ideal for all occasions.


Kronenbourg Blanc is a fruity white wheat beer which is fresh and fruity slightly bitter with citrus notes.


Below are a couple of recipes using these beers to whet your appetite. You should be able to get them at your local supermarket or off-licence/liquor store.

Mussels and beer make a perfect match and the sweet rich flavours of Kronenbourg Premier Cru works great with the tang of lemon and the zing of fresh chilli to create an ideal starter or light meal.

 Serves 2

1 kilo of cleaned mussels
1 bottle of Kronenbourg Premier Cru
4 cloves of garlic - crushed
1 red chilli – chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Small handful of chopped parsley
2 plum tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 small red onion sliced
2 oz/50g unsalted butter


Simply place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot, cover with lid and steam until the mussels open. Strain the cooking liquid into a  separate pan and boil until the liquid is reduced by one third.

Then season this with salt and pepper, add butter and mussels back into the sauce and mix thoroughly.

Divide between bowls and serve with a hearty piece of crusty bread to mop up the leftover sauce.

Chicken, mushroom and tarragon is a classic combination and the addition of Kronenbourg Blanc to the sauce adds new zest and depth to the flavour.

 Serves 2

2x8ox/200g chicken supreme
¾ bottle Kronenbourg Blanc (drink other ¼!)
Large handful of sliced button mushrooms
I small onion – finely sliced
2 rashers bacon
large handful frozen peas
125ml double cream
1 tablespoon of dry tarragon
20g knob of butter
Teaspoon of Dijon mustard


Melt the butter in a wide frying pan then add the chicken and lightly brown.

Add the onion, bacon and mushrooms to this and fry for 5min over medium heat. Now add the tarragon and Kronenbourg and boil until reduced by half.

Add the crème fraîche and Dijon mustard and simmer for around 10min or until it’s slightly thickened and chicken is cooked.


Recipe of the Month: August


Melting Choice Ploughman's Kebabs


These clever kebabs are like a mini ploughman's lunch ­ on a stick! Cook over the barbecue or under the grill until the cheese begins to melt and the bread toasts.





225g (8oz) PILGRIMS CHOICE Mature Cheddar cheese, cut into 16 chunks
1/2 French stick, cut into 16 chunks
16 small tomatoes
2 red apples, cored and cut into chunks
8 pickled onions
8 fresh rosemary sprigs or bay leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice

Prep and Cooking time 20 minutes       Serves 4  



1 Thread the chunks of cheese onto 8 wooden kebab sticks with the French bread, tomatoes, apples and pickled onions, alternating the pieces and adding a fresh rosemary sprig or bay leaf to each one.

2 Make the baste by mixing together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and chopped rosemary with a little ground black pepper.

3 Preheat the barbecue or grill. Brush the kebabs with the lemon juice baste. Cook the kebabs for about 2-3 minutes, turning often, until the cheese just begins to melt and the bread begins to toast. Serve at once, drizzled with any remaining baste.

Chef's tip....


Try cooking these kebabs in a char-grill pan for a barbecued effect when preparing them indoors..



Find the best of UK produce online - even unusual or hard-to-find items UKFoodOnline.co.uk  Food shopping has never been easier !




   Shopping Arcade  


Below are some items you may need to purchase in order to more easily prepare,  cook or serve recipes or ingredients featured in this newsletter. They are all available from Amazon - click the links/pictures and get them delivered direct to your home or office.


Crepes In my Kitchen Book Review Chop Suey Recipe : July
Caesar Salad Crostini cutters Recipe of the month - Skewers Pickles


The Kitchen Garden


July in the

Kitchen Garden

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.

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 trusse
s, 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".

August in the

Kitchen Garden


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 Swiss Chard, 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.


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