No. 67 - June 2008

Welcome to the free monthly newsletter. As usual June's issue is packed with national food days/weeks/months plus all the site's updates during the past month.


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?

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JA of Maidstone, UK

This Month's Features


Ingredient Analysis





Click the picture for a wealth of information about avocados plus, of course, lots of recipes.



Culinary Videos


New Additions !



We've added a few "celebrity chef" videos to this new section.


And remember. there's no need to download anything either. Click the picture to go to the main Cooking Videos page.



Ice Cream Makers



This is the latest addition to the Kitchen/Cookware section where we tell you everything you need to know about  choosing and using ice cream makers. Click the picture.



Food in Film



Click the film to see the next in the series.


Weekday Menus


Click the picture to find May'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




You can now sow the seeds of more tender plants such as courgettes, marrows, runner, dwarf and green beans and outdoor cucumbers in their permanent positions.


Continue to make small sowings of carrots, lettuce, radish, spinach and spring onions to ensure a continuous harvest.. Continue gradually thinning out seedlings to their final spacing


Keep the young plants well watered but do not over-water.


Keep on top of weeds, removing them as and when you find them.



Continue potting up plants which are getting to large for seed trays or small pots.



Hardening off indoor sown plants should be completed by the end of June. This should be done gradually putting them outside during the warmest part of the day and increasing the time the plants are outside.


Once acclimatised, plant out in their permanent positions in mid/late June.


Early staking of taller plants such as beans, peas and tomatoes will keep wind damage to a minimum.


For detailed growing instructions visit growing herbs and vegetables section

Don't forget

26th May to 2nd June 2008 is National Barbecue Week (UK)


I know this was mentioned last month, but as the week runs into June, I think it's worth another reminder.  Also, I've added another page to the section relating to recommended additional accessories to ensure your bbq is both successful and safe. Below are quick links to the various BBQ recipe sections





Even if you don't have a barbecue, you can still eat like royalty al fresco, with our wonderful selection of picnic recipes - just the ticket for  International Picnic Day on 18th June.  Click the picture to find them all.




17th Eat your Vegetables Day (US)


This is a slightly naughty day because, really, you should eat vegetables EVERY day. However, in the spirit of things, I'm giving it a mention here. More importantly,  it has thrown up a HUGE error on this website.



Whilst there are hundreds of vegetable recipes on the site, there isn't a section which just deals with the basic preparation and cooking times of different veggies. So, in an effort to rectify this, I've started to do just that...... individual pages dedicated to various vegetables, both everyday and more unusual ones, which explain how to buy, store and prepare  each one PLUS the suitable basic cooking methods and timings.


In addition the main page of this section has photos and descriptions of the various "cuts" suitable for veggies e.g. Julienne and Batons etc.  So now you can differentiate between  dice and cubes;  mashed and puréed;  grated and julienne.  For those who want to go that little bit extra, it has some more unusual "cuts" such as Sulfrino and Paysanne

> > > > More



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28th National Tapioca Day

Once a very popular ingredient in Europe and the US, Tapioca seems to have fallen from grace in these cuisines in the last 100 years or so. However, perhaps it is ready to make  a comeback with professional and home cooks alike.  Indeed, one of the UK's top chefs,  Elisha Carter,  who was awarded the “Somerset Life” Chef of the year 2007 and  the Silver Medal for Bath  chef of the year 2007,  made a  rhubarb tapioca recipe as part of his dessert for  Great British Menu competition this year.

As a quick reminder, The Great British Menu is a televised competition in the UK, where top chefs from the various regions of  the country have to devise and cook a 4-course menu using the best of local ingredients. The winners of each course then get to reproduce their recipes at a gala lunch/dinner - the first of these back in 2006 was for The Queen's 80th birthday lunch and you may recall that I wrote a piece questioning the judges' final selections. (You can read it here if you want to be reminded of my "beef".) 

This year the chefs get to reproduce their dishes for a bunch of world-famous chefs at a dinner hosted by Chef Heston Blumenthal  at the iconic  "Gherkin"  in London.

Anyway, back to the subject in hand. Tapioca is a starchy ingredient obtained from dried cassava (manioc) root which is processed into a flour/meal, flakes or pearls and is most commonly cooked with milk to make a pudding similar to rice pudding. Although it has a somewhat bland flavour on its own,  the addition of fruit, spices such as cinnamon or other ingredients, makes it a good basis for desserts.  It has the added advantage of being gluten free.



National Papaya Month


June is National Papaya month. Often incorrectly called Paw Paw (Asimina) papaya is different genus (Carica). It is a tropical fruit native to Central America but can now be found growing throughout tropical regions. Strictly speaking the plant is not a tree, but a herbaceous plant which grows to 30 feet. This wonderful fruit is packed with vitamins and nutrients as well as the enzyme Papain

> > >  More



* * * 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  Four

Same year fruiting Strawberries

The variety is Sarian




Now only 1 out of the 9 which germinated has  survived.  If it wasn't for the fact that everything else I've sown (apart from the malicious melon) has survived I would seriously consider giving up.


This is a thumbnail: click for larger picture

Outdoor Watermelons

The variety is Yellow Baby




Last month I had to report that as my seedlings died I'd be sowing more. Well, it must be me because the next 3 seeds I sowed either didn't germinate at all or died within a week of germinating. I have sown some more - one indoors which has just germinated and a couple outside which I'm keeping in a make-shift  cold frame. 




Hopefully I'll have a photo for next month



Other special food celebrations which fall in June include:-


3rd National Egg Day (US)

4th National Cheese Day (US)
7th National Chocolate Ice Cream Day (US)
10th Herbs & Spice Day (US)
National Dairy Month (US)
National Seafood Month (US)
National Soul Food Month (US)

Food in the news.......


Too little salt may pose CVD risk, suggests study


Low sodium levels may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, say researchers in an observational study, contradicting recent evidence from intervention trials indicating the dangers of too much salt.


> > > > More   External Link


New Sporting Events


This month I've added a new sporting event which was inspired when I watched a fantastic race on TV live from Le Mans (France) which was full of drama and excitement - The MotoGP World Championship (motorbikes).  If it's genuine thrills you want,  this is the sport for you - forget Formula 1. As usual, this section comes complete with a little general information,  calendars and themed recipes. I just can't believe it took me so long to get the page up. Click the picture to visit the new page.


Recipe of the Month


 Thai Orange Chicken with Pak Choi


1. Combine marinade ingredients. Cut chicken into thin slivers and place in marinade for at least 2 hours.

2. Thread chicken onto wooden skewers. Grill for 5 – 6 minutes until browned.

3. Meanwhile prepare noodles. Stir fry the spring onions with the garlic, ginger, black onion seed for 2 – 3 minutes.

3. Add the pak choi and cook for a further 2 minutes then add the noodles with the orange zest and juice, coconut milk and salt. Bring to a simmer and serve topped with the orange chicken skewers.

Serves 2


Prep and Cooking time:  30minutes



For the marinade
Grated zest and juice of 2 Spanish oranges
2 x 15ml tbsp Fresh chopped coriander leaf
2 x 15ml tbsp Fresh chopped basil
2 Bird Eye red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 x 15ml tbsp Light and mild olive oil
2 Chicken breasts, skinned
For the noodles
1 x 15ml tbsp Light and mild olive oil
6 Spring onions, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
2.5cm/1” Fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 x 5ml tsp Black onion seeds
2 Heads pak choi,  shredded
400g Stir fry rice noodles, ready to stir fry
Grated zest and juice of 1 Spanish orange
5 x 15ml tbsp Coconut milk
Pinch Salt






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