No. 78 - June 2009

Welcome to the June 2009 Recipes4us Newsletter. If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at .

Happy Cooking!





Florence Sandeman,



  Focus on . . .


Weekday Menus


Click the picture to find June'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 mins - great for working people.

I was recently watching some old re-runs of Floyd around the Med and for some reason it struck me that his preparation of this classic soup seemed a little strange. So I decided to do a little research and here's what I found.

Gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup, which originates from the southern region of Andalucía.  It is widely consumed throughout Spain, Portugal and parts of Latin America and is most commonly consumed during the summer months.

Although there are local variations, typical ingredients used include tomato, cucumber, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, soaked stale bread, fresh parsley, olive oil, Sherry vinegar, lemon juice, water and salt.

Like many soups, the preparation is pretty basic, however there is one point which should be always be adhered to, namely that fresh tomatoes should be used and should be always have the skins removed.

Gazpacho is often served with garnishes such as croutons, chopped hard boiled egg, extra chopped raw vegetables and chopped Serrano or ibérico ham all of which are served separately so diners can help themselves.   Here's a version for you to try Gazpacho Extremeno.


An Eggs-periment


I have been meaning to experiment with cake making for ages, in particular the method of weighing the ingredients against the eggs, as I have heard that's the only way to get perfect results every time. So, as it's National Egg Day on the 3rd June,  it spurred me on to try it out on a cake recipe with which I'm very familiar, namely coconut cupcakes (fairy cakes).


Under normal circumstances, this type of cake mix is supposed to use the same quantities of butter, sugar, flour and eggs.   I generally reduce the weight of the flour and make it back up to the required amount with additional desiccated coconut. So for my 12-cake mix I use 100g/4oz each of butter, sugar, flour/coconut mix and 2 eggs.


However, when I weighed the two eggs (in their shells), they came to 135g (almost 5oz), so for the experiment I increased the butter and sugar to 135g and when it came to the flour, I weighed out 110g then I added enough coconut to make it up to the required 135g. I then proceeded to make up the mixture in the usual way by creaming the butter with the sugar, gradually adding the beaten eggs, then stirring in the flour and coconut.  As is my habit, I also added about ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract.... it gives cakes a wonderfully rounded taste.


When it came to filling the paper cases, there was, of course, a little more of the mixture than usual by virtue of the fact that I had used more butter, sugar and flour - this just resulted in 12 slightly larger cakes. More for me :-)  To compensate, I baked them for a couple of minutes longer - in my fan oven it took around 15 minutes instead of 12-13 minutes.

The Results.....

The taste was fabulous and the texture superb.  Logically, it should have been dryer than usual,  but it was deliciously light yet still moist.

The other thing I noticed was the way the cakes rose. My cakes always rise a lot in the centre which can make decorating them more difficult.  But not this batch.


I think this will be really useful if, like me, you tend to buy different size eggs at different times.

In particular, if you buy small eggs, rather than having to guess at whether to add an extra 1 or 2 eggs to make up for not using a standard sized egg, you can just weigh them first then use the equivalent weight of the other ingredients.

I'm really glad I finally got around to trying this out - I was egg-static with the results and this is the way I'll be making all my future cakes.


Egg Nutrition Facts

Amount Per 1 medium
Calories 65.56
Calories from Fat 39.68

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat 4.41g                                 7%
Vitamin A 6 %     Vitamin C 0 %

Calcium 2 %     Iron 4 %

Vitamin D 6 %     Vitamin E 1 %

Thiamin 1 %     Riboflavin 11 %

Niacin 0 %     Folate 5 %

Vitamin B6 3 %     Vitamin B12 7 %

Phosphorus 8 %     Magnesium 1 %

Zinc 3 %     Copper 0 %


Saturated Fat 1.36g                7%

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6g

Monounsaturated Fat 1.68g

Cholesterol 187mg                       62%
Sodium 55.44mg                             2%
Potassium 53.24mg                        2%
Total Carbohydrate 0.537g          0%
Dietary Fibre 0g                               0%
Protein 5.5g                                    11%

An Egg-cellent idea

I'm not sure eggs-actly what I've got against eggs, but here's another egg related idea which I've been meaning to share with you since my dear Canadian friend (Dan (m'man) Hunter ) sent it to me almost a year ago.

Omelettes made in plastic zipped freezer bags (e.g. Ziploc) are a great idea for a fun get together with friends and family. Best of all is that everyone can make up their own unique recipe without having to wait and without having to use several mixing bowls. Everyone can get involved and it becomes a great conversation piece.

1. Place a variety of ingredients such as grated cheese, chopped ham, sweet peppers, spring onions and tomatoes etc., on plates and supply guests with 2 eggs each and a medium sized freezer bag on which you should write their name with a permanent marker.

2. Each guest then cracks their eggs into the bag and shakes to combine them (don't be tempted to use more than 2 eggs per bag) and adds their choice of the prepared ingredients to their bag, shaking it to mix  all the ingredients well.

4. Make sure to get the air out of the bag then zip it up.

5. Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelette bags in 1 large pan.  Then after the 13 minutes, each guest cuts their own bag across the top and the omelette should roll out easily.

They are just as good when you're on your your own and are great for a quick breakfast, lunch or supper.


June Site Updates

Cookware: All About Steamers


Steamers are becoming more and more popular as people discover the benefits of steaming their food versus boiling, sautéing, or frying.


Choosing the right steaming cookware is often a daunting task, so in the latest update to our kitchenware and cookware guide,  I'll explain about the benefits and different types of food steamers currently on the market to help you choose the type most suitable for your needs.

> > > >  More




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



Culinary Videos


Click the picture to find the latest Recipes4us additions plus the next in the Phil Vickery pudcast series





Food in Film

Click the film to see the next in the series.


Cooking Skills . . .

         Making perfect meatballs

The beginning of the summer months (for many of us) may seem a strange time for me to do a feature on meatballs however they can make excellent summer eating, especially if they are not cooked in a sauce and served with pita or baps and salad...much like burgers.


In one of the latest Recipes4us videos (on the right) I show you how to make perfect meatballs which won't fall apart when you cook them, but I've also set up a whole page dedicated to these wonderful tasty morsels  which covers all aspects of making them in detail, including the best type of meat to use, whether to add breadcrumbs or eggs, preparation of ingredients, making them up, cooking and even freezing them plus, of course, lots of meatball recipes. Everything you'll ever need to know.

> > > > more





Recipe of the Month


Exotic Coriander & Ginger Lamb Chops

From The GrillMaster, Brian George, President of the  National BBQ Association:
‘Staying in is the new going out!’


Although National BBQ Week™ will be almost over by the time you receive this issue, I'm hoping the weather sets fair for lots more barbecues in the coming weeks. I've chosen this bbq recipe as it uses Papaya in celebration of Papaya Month. Papayas contain the enzyme papain which acts as a meat tenderizer. Papain is also an effective natural digestive aid, which breaks down protein and cleanses the digestive track. To read more about Papaya, click HERE.

6 Best-end lamb chops (bone in)
50g ginger, grated
1 ripe papaya, peeled and rough chopped
30g  fresh coriander, finely chopped
50ml  extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 hot green chillies, finely chopped and deseeded
100ml thick plain yoghurt
30g unsalted butter

Serves 2



• Mix ginger, papaya, oil and coriander in a liquidiser, then mix in the chillies and yoghurt

• Take the chops and remove fat/meat from top 2 inches and flatten out meat, removing any extra fat.

• Coat the chops with marinade and refrigerate in sealed bag for at least 4 hours

• Sear over high heat, then grill for around 10 mins on medium heat and then a further 5 minutes on low. Keep turning to prevent burning and baste with melted butter.

• Season with salt & pepper and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.




June in the Kitchen Garden



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


Food in the News . . .




Gluten-free diet not friendly to gut bacteria: Study

Following a gluten-free diet may be detrimental to gut health, which may also affect immune health, according to a new study from the Spanish National Research Council.

According to results of a small study with 10 people consuming a gluten-free diet, populations of beneficial gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, decreased, while counts for Enterobacteriaceae and Escherichia coli increased.

> > > > More  External Link




The Kitchen Garden

* * * 2009 Garden Experiment * * *




Well, contrary to my comments last month, everything seems to have more or less evened up. In fact, the largest leaves are among the "normal" batch of seeds (on the left) which were sown 4 days before the "moon" seeds although germination was better on the moon seed side. Having said that, there's every possibility that I unwittingly sowed the moon seeds more thickly than the normal seeds.

This lot will, of course, need thinning so I'll be very careful to thin both sides evenly and I'll report how they fare in the July newsletter.


17th June is Eat your Vegetables Day (US)


Just a quick reminder about the section I set up last year of 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. 

A very fine dice up to  2mm/¹/12th inch square. Usually cut before cooking. Often used as a garnish.

Strips of vegetables usually 3mm/ ⅛- inch square up to 5cm/ 2 inches long standard. Often a mandoline is used for accuracy. Often used as a garnish.

Pieces of  vegetables from 12mm/½ -inch to 36mm/1½-inches square.  Can be cut before or after cooking.

Sulfrino Balls
Sulfrino vegetable balls are made with a very small melon scoop, sometimes called a Parisienne scoop, up to 12mm/½-inch in diameter. Most usually used for garnishes.

> > > > More


Other special food celebrations which fall in June include:-


4th National Cheese Day (US)
7th National Chocolate Ice Cream Day (US)
10th Herbs & Spice Day (US)

18th June - International Picnic Day

28th June - National Tapioca Day
National Dairy Month (US)
National Seafood Month (US)
National Soul Food Month (US)

Reader's Questions


Q.  Is there a way of peeling hard boiled eggs so the shells come off without taking the whites with them?


A.  As soon as the eggs have boiled, pour off the boiling water and place the pan under a slow running cold water tap. Leave them for a few minutes (with the tap running) and once they've cooled a little, gently roll them on a work surface to crack the shells then shells should slip off very easily.


Whether you're looking for everyday,  exotic or unusual food and drink,  visit  Food shopping has never been easier !

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