No. 89 - June 2010

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,




3 ways with . . .


Many years ago, when rocket (also known as Arugula) first became an "in" ingredient with prices to match, I worked with an American chap who told me that when his mother was young, rocket used to grow wild all over the place and she would just go out and collect it for nothing. 

Although the price has come down quite a lot since then, it's still worth growing your own. They have quite pretty little flowers which are also edible, a long growing season, readily self seed and need very little attention. In fact, I grew some in pots on my terrace a few years back, and I was getting rocket for a few seasons without having to re-sow.  They even grew between the paving slabs!

If you like rocket (I know people who absolutely hate it) don't relegate it to garnishes or salads as it easily adapts for use in various recipes like the ones below.

Rocket and Watercress Soup    20mins

Rocket Pesto    10mins

Edam and Salmon Omelette Wraps    15mins

The Cookery Murders Masterchef meets CSI


* * * New Series * * *


The Underground Cookery School in London has launched a new web cooking show called The Underground Cookery Murders where food is "murdered."  


This is the second video of the series, in which Detective Chef Matt Kemp finds a Rump of Lamb murdered (overcooked and stabbed!) on the backstreet's of Shoreditch, London. Together with his assistant he will not only bring it back to life with a delicious Lamb Salad with Mint Sauce he will also demonstrate how to correctly prepare Rump Lamb with Morel Mushrooms and Kale!

Click here for full sized video.


Coming Next Month  .....

The team investigates the murder of a chocolate fondant pudding


BBQ Week:  31st May - 6th June

5 Handy BBQ Tips

After watching my video on liver and bacon brochettes, a long time reader (Elaine Halford from the US) wrote to me with the following tip which I thought was really useful especially when barbecuing - less food ending up slipping through the grill. Here's her tip:-


"If you use two parallel skewers through each batch of food, about half or inch or more apart, the food NEVER flops or slips whilst being turned or handled.  Try it; you'll like it.  It works with vegetable segments, sausages, liver/bacon parcels, chops, fruit pieces, meat/veg combos -- everything!"



Thanks Elaine.


I was looking for a picture to demonstrate how it would work and lo and behold, I found double skewers for sale on Amazon. They aren't that expensive so if you're thinking of buying some new skewers anyway, they are well worth the extra.


Below are 4 more handy tips to help ensure your BBQs are memorable, tasty and safe during BBQ Week  or at any other time.


Forward thinking: With a little forethought you can cook the whole meal on the BBQ - 1st course, main course, vegetable accompaniments and desserts, especially good in foil parcels.


Preparing ingredients:  Don't forget to marinate ingredients in advance as not only does it add flavour, but with meat and fowl, it has the added benefit of tenderising it.


Cooking:  Keep a watchful eye on foods being cooked as they can burn before you know it. Frequent basting with the marinade or other liquids such as olive oil or melted butter helps keep food moist and succulent.


Safety:   Use long handled utensils such as tongs or spatulas when cooking food on the barbecue as it can be deceptively hot even 1 ft away from the coals


You can find lots more tips on the BBQ Page plus links to other BBQ information such as equipment and accessories, cooking time charts and hundreds of delicious BBQ recipes.


June Site Updates

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



History of Food


Click the picture  to see the latest addition



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.


 Cooking Skills . . .

             Homemade Gnocchi

Did you know....

Gnocchi are very popular in many South American countries. There's even a Gnocchi Day in Argentina. In fact Argentina has 12 Dia de Ñoquis (Gnocchi Days) every year on the 29th of every month. To find out why and for more interesting historical info visit the Gnocchi History  page.

Click here for full sized video

Gnocchi (singular gnocco) is the Italian name for what can best be described as a mini dumpling.  The word gnocchi translates to lumps, but it is thought it may have derived from the word nocchio which means a knot in the wood or possibly from nocca  which means knuckle.  The smaller forms are called gnocchetti but despite these Italian sounding names,  they probably originated in the Middle East.


Traditionally they were made from semolina or wheat flour and eggs, however after the introduction of the  potato to Europe in the 16th century, they started being made made with a mix of mashed potato and flour.

Gnocchi are generally served and eaten much as pasta would be, often as a main course and always served with accompaniments - from simple melted butter or finely grated cheese to more elaborate sauces.


Today they are widely available to buy ready made in various forms including dried, frozen or fresh but as with many dishes, making your own is relatively simple and has the added advantage that you can create your own flavours to suite your families' preferences.


They are also a fantastic standby when your cupboards (fridge) seem bare.


You can see how easy it is by watching me make them in my latest video (left). For more detailed information plus lots of recipes, visit the brand new Gnocchi page.

17th June is Eat your Vegetables Day (US)



We all know that eating vegetables is good for us, but below is a little list which was sent to me by my sister Jeannie, which highlights some of the benefits particular vegetables offer. Don't forget, the less you cook vegetables, the fewer of the vitamins are lost.


Artichokes Aids digestion Lowers cholesterol Protects your heart Stabilizes blood sugar
Beans Prevents constipation Stabilizes blood sugar Lowers cholesterol Combats cancer
Beets Controls blood pressure Combats cancer Strengthens bones Protects your heart
Broccoli Strengthens bones Saves eyesight Combats cancer Controls blood pressure
Cabbage Combats cancer Prevents constipation Helps haemorrhoids Protects your heart
Carrots Saves eyesight Protects your heart Prevents constipation Combats cancer
Cauliflower Protects against Prostate Cancer Combats Breast Cancer Strengthens bones Banishes bruises
Chilli Peppers Aids digestion Soothes sore throat Clears sinuses Boosts immune system
Garlic Lowers cholesterol Controls blood pressure Fights fungus kills bacteria
Mushrooms Strengthens bones Lowers cholesterol Kills bacteria Combats cancer
Onions Reduce risk of heart attack Combats cancer Kills bacteria Lowers cholesterol
Sweet Potatoes Saves your eyesight Lifts mood Combats cancer Strengthens bones
Tomatoes Protects prostate Combats cancer Lowers cholesterol Protects your heart

New Sporting Page: FIFA World Cup

11th June sees the first games being played in the FIFA World Cup tournament which is being held in South Africa. The competition is due to end with the final being played on 11th July.

As there are 32 countries taking part in the group (play-off) stages, I thought it a good opportunity to highlight recipes from the various countries. Even if you're not a football fan, it's a good excuse to cook up and sample recipes from around the globe.

I must admit, at the time of writing this editorial, there are a couple of countries' recipes missing, but hopefully, I'll get those posted before the tournament starts.

Visit the FIFA World Cup page for extra FIFA information such as history, groups, fixtures and, of course lots of recipes. If you are a football fan or if you are a football widow or widower, why not cook up a corresponding recipe for whichever match is being played.

Other special food celebrations 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 Papaya Month
National Seafood Month (US)
National Soul Food Month (US)


Food in the News . . .


Fruit & veg advice gets nutrigenomic boost

Increased intakes of fruit and vegetables may decrease markers of inflammation linked to a range of chronic diseases, says a new study from Spain.

> > > > More  External Link


The History of 'APRONS'

This was sent to me by my sister-in-law, Vivienne, and as it struck a nostalgic chord with me,  I thought I'd share it with you.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath. Because she only had a few dresses, it was easier to wash aprons and they used less material. But, along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

When the weather was cold Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot coal or wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.

After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron... but, I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron.



Recipe of the Month


Sticky Lamb Cutlets with Minted Pea and Tomato Relish

This recipe is courtesy of which is great for the BBQ but if the weather lets you down, can be cooked just as well under the grill.


12 lean lamb cutlets or chops
30ml/2tbsp clear runny honey
30ml/2tbsp Dijon mustard
For the Herb Marinade:
45ml/3tbsp olive oil
15ml/1tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
30ml/2tbsp freshly chopped chives
2 fresh bay leaves, torn into pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the Minted Pea and Tomato Relish:
175g/6oz shelled peas (fresh or frozen), cooked and drained
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
Small handful freshly chopped mint
15ml/1tbsp olive oil
30ml/2tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
50g/2oz cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

Serves 4

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes plus marinating

Cooking time: 12-16 minutes



1.      In a small bowl mix the mustard and honey together and set aside.

2.     In a large, shallow bowl mix all the marinade ingredients together.  Add the cutlets, cover and marinate for up to 1 hour in the refrigerator.

3.     Place the peas, spring onions, mint, olive oil, vinegar and seasoning into a food processor or blender and whizz very briefly.  Stir in the tomatoes and transfer to a serving plate.

4.      Brush the steaks with the honey and mustard glaze on both sides and cook on a prepared barbecue for 12-16 minutes, until any meat juices run clear.  Turn the chops occasionally, brushing with the remaining honey and mustard mixture.

5.      Serve the chops with the relish and crusty bread.

Cook's Tip....


Make sure your BBQ coals are hot enough before adding the chops. You can usually tell they are ready as  they'll have a thin coating of white ash all over.


The Kitchen Garden


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 middle 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


Garden Experiment 2010

RECAP:  This year I'm going to try growing summer pumpkins. I've chosen the variety "Summer Ball (Sahara)" because not only will the plants produce 1kg/2lb pumpkins, but the fruit can also be cut when they are small and used like courgettes (Zucchini). They are suitable for containers as well as open ground.

So far so good.  Having germinated successfully, I had two pumpkin seedlings ready to plant out as per my last newsletter - one in a pot and one in the open ground.

There was a slight blip in that the weather  at the beginning of May was dire - really chilly with threats of frost - so I couldn't even start hardening them off (gradually acclimatising them to outdoor conditions) which under normal circumstances should take a couple of weeks.

Then the weather perked up so well, I just took the chance and after a couple of days just leaving them out for 2 hours protected by some panes of glass, I took the plunge and left them out all day and night - still protected by the glass.

I have now put them out in their final positions (although the one in the pot will need to be transferred to a larger container at some point).

I just hope the weather, which has returned to more normal May temperatures,  doesn't do anything silly.

Take some . . .

      Ready Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnuts are often used as a festive ingredient at Christmas time or for stuffings, but they are actually a very versatile ingredient to use in  meals all year round. Unfortunately, you often can't get fresh chestnuts at other times of the year but these ready-to-eat chestnuts have been roasted, peeled, and vacuum packed to seal in all of their delicious flavour and texture. 

Below are a couple of short videos courtesy of featuring ready roasted chestnuts. The first video is an intro to preparing and using their product and the second is a recipe for Roast Chestnut and Butternut Squash Pasta , both by chef Alex Mackay who will tell you some tips for using Merchant Gourmet's Whole Chestnuts.



Click here for the full sized video and written recipe




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


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