No. 112 - March/April 2013


Welcome to the March/April 2013 Newsletter. 


As I had quite a few positive comments about the change of format of the last issue, I have decided to more or less stick with it for this issue although I have added the odd comment here and there.  Once again, the recipes will feature either foods which are in season, are based on food celebration days/weeks/months  or are just great for Spring eating. They are all are listed at the beginning of the page with the titles having links to the recipes which are written out fully further down on this page so you can go straight to the recipes which take your fancy.


If you prefer the old format or if you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at .


Happy Cooking!






Florence Sandeman,


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

HT = Hot        CD = Cold      SP = Soup      HD = Starter      MC = Main Course ACC = Accompaniment      DP = Dessert/Pudding     CBF = Cakes/Baked Fayre


NB Most of the following recipes have been submitted by various PR agencies so some will state specific brands of ingredients. As a courtesy to the agencies, I have left these brand names in the recipes (marked in red) however do use your imagination with regards to substitutes. E.g.  You can use your favourite brand of baked beans instead of Jo Blogg's baked beans.


Click the titles to go straight to the recipes on this page


Soups, Starters, Snacks & Party food


Main Courses


Accompaniments & Side Dishes


Desserts, Cakes & Bakes

Food celebrations in March include:-

1st St. David’s Day
4th National Pound Cake Day
6th National Frozen Food Day
4th – 10th Jus-Rol British Pie Week
9th National Crabmeat Day
17th St Patrick’s Day
10th Mothers Day
20th Ravioli Day
21st National French Bread Day
25th International Waffle Day
26th Spinach Day
26th National Nougat Day
27th National Spanish Paella Day
31st Oranges & Lemons Day
31st Easter Day
National Celery Month
National Flour Month
National Noodle Month
National Peanut Month
National Sauce Month
1st week - National SPAM Appreciation Week



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



Click the banner for lots of spring recipes


Roasted Rhubarb and Vanilla Deserts

Did you know .... rhubarb is classed as a vegetable, not a fruit? 
Serves 4     Cook & Prep Time: 15mins + cooling


400g/14oz rhubarb, roughly chopped
40g/11/2oz golden caster sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
450g Vanilla Yoghurt
ground cinnamon


1) Preheat the oven to 220ºC/Fan 200ºC/Gas Mark 7. Line a baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper and spread the rhubarb out over this.

2) Sprinkle the golden caster sugar over the rhubarb and squeeze over the lemon juice. Roast for 10 mins until the rhubarb is just tender. Cool without moving.

3) Spoon the vanilla yoghurt into four glass compote dishes. Spoon the rhubarb on top, sprinkle each one with a pinch of cinnamon and serve.

Stuffed Chicken Parcels on Spring Cabbage

Serves 4   Prep & Cook  time: 40 minutes 


4 150g/5oz boneless, skinless free-range/organic chicken breasts
75g/2 ¾ oz Edam cheese (grated)
12 sweet antipasto cherry tomatoes or sun-blush tomatoes, roughly chopped
1tsp fresh thyme leaves
6 slices/85g pack Parma ham
for the Savoy Cabbage:
11/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
350g/12oz Savoy cabbage or spring greens, cored and very finely shredded
squeeze lemon juice.


1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas 6, fan oven 180C. Remove the small fillet from the underside of each chicken breast and set to one side. Using a sharp knife make a vertical cut down the length of each chicken breast, but not all the way through to form a pocket.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the Edam, tomatoes, thyme and season well.

3. Spoon the Edam mixture into each chicken breast pocket. Fold over the flaps of the pocket and cover with the reserved chicken fillets to enclose the filling.

4. Wrap 1 ½ slices of Parma ham around each breast.

5. Heat a non-stick frying pan or griddle pan, lay in the chicken and sear for 2 minutes each side until golden. Transfer to the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

6. Just before serving, heat the olive oil in a wok, add the garlic and fry gently for 30 seconds. Add the cabbage and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until just wilted but still retaining a bite. Season well adding a squeeze of lemon juice. Divide in the centre of 4 warm serving plates.

7. Slice each chicken breast in half on the diagonal and place on top of the cabbage. Serve straight away.

Carrot and Ginger Soup with Lemon Cream
Serves 4     Prep and cook time: 35mins




600g of carrots peeled and chopped
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp medium curry powder
1 1/2 litres good stock, chicken or vegetable
Sea salt and black pepper
Pared rind of one lemon
Lemon herb cream:
1 x 200g crème fraîche
finely grated rind of one lemon
2 tsp chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped chives



1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onions and carrots, cook for several minutes, stirring from time to time. Do not brown the vegetables. Then add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook for a further minute.

2. Add the stock and lemon strips to the pan, half cover the pan with its lid, and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the carrots are tender.

3. Cool slightly, then liquidise the soup until smooth. Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper. Reheat to serve.

To make the cream:

1. Stir all the ingredients together gently, or the crème fraîche will go runny, and then spoon a dollop into the middle of each bowl of soup, garnish with chives or parsley if you wish. Serve with wholemeal crusty bread.


Stuffed Roast Shoulder of Lamb

Serves: 4-6    Prep & Cook time: Appx 2 hrs


1.3kg/3lb lean boneless lamb shoulder
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
15ml/1tbsp dried mixed herbs
10ml/2tsp olive oil
For the Stuffing:
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
45ml/3tbsp freshly chopped mint
1 x 100g bag watercress, roughly chopped
125g/4oz firm goats cheese, diced


1. To prepare the stuffing; in a large bowl mix all the ingredients together.

2. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4-5, 180-190°C, 350-375°F.

3. Place the joint on a chopping board, remove any butcher’s string or elasticated meat bands (reserve for later), unroll skin side down and season on both sides with salt, pepper and dried mixed herbs. Spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the joint, but do not overfill. Roll up and secure with new butcher’s string or the reserved elasticated meat bands.

4. Weigh the joint and place on a metal rack in a large non-stick roasting tin, and drizzle with the oil. Roast for the preferred, calculated cooking time. Cover with foil if browning too quickly.

Remove from the oven, cover and set aside to rest for 15-20 minutes.


Grilled Mackerel with Carrot & Cucumber Salad

Serves 4       Prep & Cook time: 15 mins + marinating



225g/8oz cucumber
225g/8oz carrots, peeled
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
4 mackerel, filleted


1. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, then use a teaspoon to remove the seeds. Use the thin slicer blade on the side of a cheese grater to finely slice the cucumber and carrots (alternatively very finely slice them with a knife).

2. Place in a bowl, add the coriander, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar then mix well. Leave to marinate for at least 10mins.

3. Preheat the grill to high. Line a grill rack with foil. Season the mackerel fillets on both sides then place skin side up on the rack. Grill for 6-8mins or until the skin is crisp and the flesh flakes easily.


4. Divide the salad between four plates, place 2 fillets on top of each and decorate with watercress. Serve with new potatoes if liked.


Lambs Lettuce Soup
Serves 2     Prep and cook time: 15mins



1 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, sliced
2x (50g) bag lambs lettuce
600ml/1pt chicken or vegetable stock
6 tbsp single cream
a large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 squeezes of lemon juice


1. Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the onions and lettuce. Sauté for 1 min.


2. Add the stock then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins.

3. Blend the mixture with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth.


4. Return to the pan and stir in the cream, nutmeg and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


5. Serve topped with a swirl of cream and sprig of lambs lettuce if liked


Jobs to do in the kitchen garden in March

Although March is thought to be the usual time for sowing many vegetable seeds, don't forget to keep an eye on the weather and delay sowing outdoors until the soil is workable.
Below are some of the seeds you can start to sow outdoors if the weather in your area is sufficiently clement:-

Broad beans, Brussels sprouts, dill, summer cabbage, carrots, turnips cauliflowers, Kohl Rabi, Leeks, peas lettuce, marjoram, parsnips, radish, spinach, spring onions
You can also start sowing certain less hardy vegetables indoors so they get a head start before being planted outdoors including:-

Aubergines, Capsicums (Sweet peppers), Chives, mint, oregano parsley, rosemary, sage, sweet basil thyme, tomatoes
Before sowing seeds indoors,  bear in mind that once they’ve germinated, it won’t be long before they start to romp away, and extended delays in planting them out could leave you struggling with weak lanky plants. If in doubt, sow a couple of weeks later than you had anticipated.

For more herb and vegetable growing instructions visit our growing herbs and vegetables section or for more detailed information on growing fruit as well as herbs and vegetables, plus lots of in-depth gardening articles, visit our sister site

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1st March is St. David's Day

Although these recipes aren't necessarily traditional welsh recipes, they do contain Leeks - one of Wales' national emblems.


Leek, Potato & Caerphilly Bake

Serves 2    Prep & cook time: 90 mins



2 Medium Potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
25g/1oz Butter
75g/3oz Welsh Caerphilly Cheese, grated
1 Large Leek, well washed and thinly sliced (including the green part)
300ml/10fl.oz. Milk
Salt and Black Pepper
A little extra grated Cheese to finish the dish


1. Preheat the oven to 190C, 375F, Gas mark 5 and well butter a relatively deep ovenproof dish.

2. Place a single layer of potatoes in the bottom of the buttered dish, sprinkle over a little of the cheese, top with a single layer of leeks and season well with salt and black pepper.

3. Continue with these layers until all the ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of potatoes - remembering to reserve 1-2 tablespoons of the grated cheese for later use.

4. Dot the top with butter, pour over the milk then cover with a double layer of aluminium foil and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes.

5. Remove the foil, test for doneness using a sharp knife. The potatoes should be soft however depending on how thickly you sliced the potatoes, it may need a further 15-20 minutes covered baking.

6. Once the potatoes are cooked, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the potatoes and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese has melted and is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Turkey Fricassee with Carrots
Serves 4    Prep and cook time: 25mins



30ml/2tbsp vegetable oil
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
350g/12oz baby carrots
450g/1lb left over cold turkey, torn into bite sized pieces
2tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 2tsp dried
100ml/4floz dry white wine
300ml/1/2pt Chicken Stock
60ml/4tbsp half fat crème fraîche
salt and freshly ground black pepper
rice to serve



1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the leeks and carrots and sauté for 4mins.


2. Add the turkey, tarragon, wine and gravy and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 6mins.

3. Remove the lid, and simmer for a further 5mins. Stir in the crème fraîche and season to taste. Remove from the heat. Spoon into a serving dish, scatter over the parsley and serve with rice.


Ham, leek & Cheese stove-top Pasta
Serves 4 Cook & Prep time: 30mins



350 g spiral pasta
15g olive oil
3 leeks, sliced fine
100g frozen peas
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 litre chicken stock, warmed
80g thick cut ham, chopped into strips
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
150 ml double cream
90g MU Mature Cheddar, finely grated


1. Heat the olive oil a large pan on the hob.

2. Put the leeks into the pan and cook for 3 minutes

3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute

4. Add the pasta and tumble the leek mix through the pasta

5. Pour the warmed stock into the pan and cook for approx 13 mins making sure the pasta is still firm to the bite

6. Add the peas, cream, ham, sage and mustard, and stir through

7. Finish with the grated Cheddar stirred through and some on top

8. Serve straight to the table





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4th - 10th March is Spam Appreciation Week

When the Hormel Food Company of Minnesota found they had an excess of off-cut pork shoulder bits left over from other pork products, they decided to utilise them by mixing them with ham which was then tinned  to create a long life meat product. SPAM® Chopped Pork & Ham was first sold in the US on July 5th 1937 and was first exported to the UK in 1941.


SPAM® Cake Canapés

Makes approx 30   Prep & Cook time: 30 mins



1 x 340g can of SPAM® Chopped Pork & Ham - cut into 1/4" cubes
100g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 egg beaten
150 ml milk
1 small tin sweetcorn - drained
4 spring onions finely chopped (including the green parts )
Vegetable oil for frying


1) Whisk together the flour, baking powder, egg and milk.

2) Mix in the cubes of SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham, drained sweetcorn and chopped spring onions

3) Heat a non- stick pan with 2 tsp oil and cook spoonfuls of the batter until golden. Turn over and cook the other side. Continue this until all mixture is used up

4) Drain on kitchen paper - keep warm to serve straight away otherwise allow to cool,

SPAM® Bruschetta

Makes approx 40     time: 20 mins

CD  CD Snack PFC


1 X 340g tin of SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham - cut into 1/4" slices and then into triangles etc.
4 mini baguettes cut into 1/2" slices - should get 10 slices per baguette
1 x 190g Jar Basil Pesto
1 x 190g Jar Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Black and green olives, also sun dried tomatoes cut in half, chopped parsley to garnish


1) Toast slices of mini baguettes on both sides and allow to get cold

2) Spread half the bruschetta with Basil Pesto and the other half with Sun dried tomato Pesto

3) Place a triangle of SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham on each Bruschetta

4) Garnish with the olives and sun dried tomatoes. Put onto serving plate and sprinkle with chopped parsley


SPAM® with Noodles

Serves 4      Prep & Cook time: 10 mins



1 (16-ounce) bag dumpling noodles
1 340g can of SPAM® Chopped Pork & Ham
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/3 cup sliced green onions
3 tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce



1. In boiling salted water, cook dumpling noodles according to package directions; drain.

2.Meanwhile, slice SPAM®, then cut into lengths. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add SPAM®, mushrooms and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until SPAM® is golden and onions and mushrooms are tender.

3.Add teriyaki sauce to skillet; toss to combine. Stir noodles into SPAM® mixture. Toss gently to combine.

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4th - 10th March British Pie Week


Cheese and Onion Pie

Serves: 4-6


3 large onions, roughly chopped
225g (8oz) PILGRIMS CHOICE Mature Cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g pack fresh ready to use shortcrust pastry
Plain flour, for dusting
1 tbsp milk, to glaze
Salad, to serve


1 Cook the onions in lightly salted simmering water for about 20 minutes, until tender. Drain them really well, then mash them with a potato masher. Stir in the grated cheese and season with black pepper. Cool.

2 Cut the pastry in two and form each piece into a ball. Roll out one piece on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 25cm (10 inch) metal pie plate. Roll out the second piece of pastry to a diameter of about 28cm (11 inches). Cover and chill the lined pie dish and the rolled-out piece in the fridge until required.

3 Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6.

4 Spoon the cheese and onion mixture into the lined pie dish and spread out evenly. Dampen the edges with water, then place the pastry lid on top. Seal and trim the edges, then make 2 - 3 small cuts in the centre of the lid to escape. Use the pastry trimmings to make leaves to decorate the top of the pie. Brush the surface with milk, then bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked and golden brown.


Cool for a few minutes before serving with salad.

6th March National Frozen Food Day

Edamame and Pea soup
Serves 4


200g/7oz frozen soya beans (also called edamame beans)
200g/7oz frozen peas
500ml/18floz hot vegetable stock
6 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
1 small bunch basil leaves
1 handful (50g/2oz) rocket leaves
Alpro soya Light alternative to milk


1) Put the frozen soya beans, frozen peas, vegetable stock and spring onions together in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for five mins.

2) Add the basil and rocket leaves and Alpro soya Light. Blend half of the mixture until smooth, leave half of the soup chunky. Combine and warm through to serve.


Make up this and freeze into individual portions so you've plenty of low cal, low cholesterol soup portions ready when you feel peckish.


31st March Oranges & Lemons Day


Orange Crema Catalana
Serves 4      Total time: 20mins plus chilling


For the filling
2 Spanish oranges, diced (save zest)
For the crema
1litre/40fl oz milk
10 dessertspoons sugar
Grated zest of 1 Spanish orange
8 egg yolks
2 dessertspoons cornflour
For the caramel praline topping
110g/ 4oz Granulated sugar
6 x 15ml tbsp water
40g/ 1 ½ oz Flaked almonds


1. Prepare praline. Once made this will be fine for a few days stored in an airtight container. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer without stirring and simmer until the liquid reduces into thick foaming bubbles and turns to a rich golden caramel.

2. Meanwhile spread flaked almonds out in a single layer on a sheet of baking parchment paper. Pour over hot caramel and leave for 15 minutes to go brittle hard. Whizz in a processor to make praline caramel crumb.

3. Place diced orange in 4 individual glasses or ramekin dishes.

4. Prepare crème. Place the milk, orange zest and 6 dessertspoons of the sugar in a large saucepan and heat slowly.

5. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks together with 4 dessertspoons of the remaining sugar and the cornflour until smooth.

6. When milk is just reaching boiling point, remove from the heat and pour slowly over the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Mix well.

7. Return mixture to the saucepan and cook slowly for 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Chill the crema in the fridge before spooning over the diced orange.

8. Just before serving sprinkle a thick layer of caramel praline on top of the crema

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26th March is Spinach Day

Creamy Salmon & Spinach Tagliatelle
Serves 4     Prep & Cook time: 25 mins



225g/8oz tagliatelle
1 (100g) bag spinach leaves, washed
2 (180g) cans skinless and boneless pink salmon, flaked
½ x 200g tub reduced-fat sour cream and chive dip
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Cook the tagliatelle in a large pan of boiling salted water for 10-12mins or until just tender. Meanwhile, drain the salmon well, then pick over discarding any skin or bones. Flake the salmon.

2. Place the spinach in a colander. When the tagliatelle is cooked, pour it into the colander over the top of the spinach to drain – the boiling water will wilt the spinach without overcooking it.

3. Return the pasta and spinach to the pan. Stir in the sour cream and chive dip and pink salmon. Heat through for a few minutes until the salmon is hot. Serve immediately and season to flavour.


Prawn, Mushroom & Spinach Curry
Serves 4   Prep and Cook time: 35mins


30ml/2tbsp vegetable oil
100g/4oz button mushroom
1 (250g)pack open cup mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2.5cm/1in root ginger, peeled and grated
45ml/3tbsp medium curry paste
225g/8oz sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (400g) can chick peas, drained
300ml/1/2pt vegetable stock
225g/8oz raw tiger prawns
225g/8oz fresh leaf spinach
salt and ground black pepper
brown rice to serve


1. Heat the oil in a large pan, or wok, add the mushrooms and sauté over a high heat for 4-5mins or until nicely golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. Add the onions to the pan and sauté for 5mins. Stir in the garlic, ginger, curry paste, sweet potatoes, chick peas and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15mins or until the potatoes are tender.

3. Stir in the mushrooms, prawns and spinach and simmer uncovered for 5mins or until the prawns have turned pink. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve hot with brown rice.

Spinach Nutritional Values

Per 30g/1oz = 11 Calories

Total Fat 0.105g



Saturated Fat 0.0168g



Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0438g



Monounsaturated Fat 0.003g


Cholesterol 0mg


Sodium 23.7mg


Potassium 167.4mg


Total Carbohydrate 1.05g



Dietary Fibre 0.81g


Protein 0.858g


Vitamin A

40 %


3 %

Vitamin D

0 %


1 %


1 %

Vitamin B-6

3 %


1 %


1 %


Vitamin C

14 %



5 %


Vitamin E

1 %



3 %



15 %


Vitamin B-12

0 %



6 %



2 %

Growing spinach in your back garden is relatively simple to do. The only thing you have to worry about is if the weather is particularly hot and dry. Spinach even grows well in containers including pots and troughs, so why not give it a go this season.

For an even easier task, Leaf beet is a superb substitute and although the taste is a little more earthy and less refined, leaf beet is really hardy and not prone to going to seed (bolting) as easily as spinach.

To find out how easy it is to grow  visit our growing spinach page. For as more comprehensive guide, visit our sister site

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31st March is Easter Day

Coconut & Passion Fruit Layer Cake

Makes 1 x 20cm/8-inch two-layer cake       Prep & Cook time:  50 mins plus cooling


225/8oz Butter or Margarine
225/8oz Caster Sugar
3 Eggs, beaten
½ - 1 teasp Vanilla Extract
100g/4oz Desiccated (Shredded) Coconut
150g/5oz Self Raising flour
For the filling
175g/6oz Cream Cheese or Mascarpone
200ml/7fl.oz. Crème Fraîche
1 tbsp Caster Sugar
4 Passion Fruit


1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4 and grease and line 2 x 17.5cm/7 inch round sandwich tins with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

2. Gradually add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Don’t worry if the mixture starts to curdle, just add a spoonful of the flour and carry on.

3. . Fold in the coconut and flour and mix well. Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes. try not to open the oven door before 20 minutes cooking time.

4. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Carefully peel off the paper and allow to cool completely.

5. Place the cream cheese, crème fraîche and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until well blended. Set aside.

6. Cut each passion fruits in half and scoop the seeds and pulp out into a bowl. Set aside

7. Once the cakes are completely cold place one on a serving platter, spread the cheese filling evenly over the top, making sure you take it completely to the edges of the cake. Top with the passion fruit pulp, once again allowing it to go right to the edges, then place the other cake on top and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Did you know  . . .


Passion Fruit was given it’s name by Christian missionaries who used the flower to symbolise the “Passion of Christ” i.e. his suffering at the crucifixion, to the indigenous natives in South America.


The double row of coloured filaments (the corona) represented either the crown of thorns and a halo. The ten sepals and petals represented the disciples (apart from Judas and Peter, who both distanced themselves from Christ prior to the crucifixion. The five anthers were the five wounds on his body, and the three stigmas the nails. The leaves represent the spear that the Roman soldiers used to pierce his side or in some cases the clutching hands of the soldiers and the tendrils (which you can’t actually see in this picture) the whips which were used to scourge him.


Apricot and Pecan Simnel Cake


Did you know . . . The making of Simnel cake was a tradition in the 17th century, when servant girls would take one home to their mothers as a gift.


Serves: 10-12   Prep & cook time: 110 mins


175g (6oz) butter, softened
175g (6oz) light soft brown sugar
3 large Lion Quality eggs, beaten
225g (8oz) self-raising flour, sieved
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g (3 1/2 oz) sultanas
225g (8oz) no-soak apricots, chopped
zest and juice of 1 orange
100g (3 1/2 oz) pecan nuts, chopped
To decorate
675g (1 1/2 lb) marzipan
3 tablespoons apricot jam, sieved
50g (1 3/4 oz) plain chocolate, melted



1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/170 degrees C / 320 degrees F. Grease a 20cm (8 inch) round, deep cake tin and line with baking parchment.

2. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth and glossy.


3. Fold in the remaining ingredients and spoon into the tin. Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours until risen and firm.

4. Use a sharp knife to split the cake in half through the middle. Roll out two thirds of the marzipan on an icing sugar-dusted surface and cut out two 20cm (8 inch) rounds. Brush both cut surfaces of the cake with jam and sandwich together with one of the marzipan rounds.

5. Brush the top of the cake with jam and arrange the second marzipan round on top, crimp the edges. Roll the remaining marzipan into eleven balls and arrange on top of the cake, attaching with more jam.

6. Spoon the chocolate into a greaseproof paper piping bag and drizzle over the top of the cake.

Cocoa coated Rack of Lamb with hot cross bun stuffing balls

Allow: 2 cutlets pre person  Prep &Cook: about 40 mins

2 Lean racks of lamb
15ml (1tbsp) Cocoa powder
15ml (1tbsp) Soft dark brown sugar
5ml (1tsp) Dried red chillies

2 Hot cross buns or teacakes
25g (1oz) Butter, melted
25g (1oz) Marzipan


1. Preheat oven to Gas 4-5, 180oC, 350oF.

2. Mix together on a plate the cocoa, sugar, chillies and seasoning.

3. Add the lamb racks and thoroughly coat all over with the mixture then place on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for about 30-40 minutes for medium cook.

4. Meanwhile make stuffing: Place hot cross buns into food processor and whiz until fine breadcrumbs. Add melted butter and combine into small balls (makes about 8-9 balls).

5. Place on a baking sheet. Take small pieces of the marzipan and roll in your hands to make thin strips for the stuffing ‘crosses’. Place over each ball to form a cross then bake for about 10-15 minutes until balls are crispy and crosses browned.

6. Allow the racks to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into cutlets.

Chocolate Easter Torte

Serves: 12    Prep & cook time: 60mins


100g (3 1/2 oz) butter, softened
100g (3 1/2 oz) light soft brown sugar
100g (3 1/2 oz) ground almonds
4 large Lion Quality eggs, separated
50g (1 3/4 oz) fresh brown breadcrumbs
150g (5 1/2 oz) plain chocolate, melted
225g (8oz) marzipan
4 tablespoons apricot jam, melted
200g (7oz) plain chocolate
200ml (7 fl oz) double cream
To decorate
foil-wrapped mini Easter Eggs


1. Grease a 23cm (9-inch) springform cake tin. Line the base. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180c/350f.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the almonds, egg yolks, breadcrumbs and melted chocolate. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture.


3. Spoon into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. Cover the cake with a damp tea towel and leave to cool in the tin.

4. Remove the cake from the tin and place upside down on a wire rack. Roll out the marzipan and cut out a 23cm (9 inch) circle.


5. Cut the cake in half, brush the cut surfaces with jam, place the marzipan between and sandwich together. Brush the apricot jam all over.


6.Melt the chocolate and cream together in a small pan, stirring until melted and smooth. Cool icing slightly.

7. Place a baking tray under the wire rack. Pour the icing all over the cake, gently shaking the wire rack to ensure the cake is completely covered. Leave to cool.


Decorate with the Easter eggs.

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Food celebrations in April include:-
4th Cordon Bleu Day
8th Empanada Day
11th Cheese Fondue Day
13th Thai New Year begins
14th National Pecan Day
2nd Week – National Egg Salad Week
16th – 22nd National Bread Week
19th National Garlic Day
20th National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
22-28th Food Allergy Awareness Week (UK)
23rd St. George’s Day
23 – 29th National Allergy week
23rd Shakespeare’s Birthday
24th National Pigs-in-a-blanket Day
25th Anzac Day
30th Raisin Day

2nd Week in April is National Egg Salad Week


When I first came across this food day I thought it referred to a salad which was served with boiled eggs. I was So wrong.


Egg salad is typically made of chopped hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, minced celery, salt, pepper and paprika and is often used as a sandwich spread.


National Egg Salad Week seems to be more of a US celebration which always falls on the week right after Easter Sunday, when many who celebrate Easter with painted eggs will have lots of left over boiled eggs.


Here's a basic Egg Salad Recipe

Serves – 4   Prep & Cook time – 20 mins
Veg CD Snack GF

8 eggs
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste


1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes.

2. Drain and cool under cold running water, then peel and chop quite finely and place in a large mixing bowl.

3.. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, dill,  salt and pepper. Mash well with a fork or wooden spoon.

4. Serve on bread as a sandwich or over crisp lettuce as a light lunch..

11th April is Cheese Fondue Day

Fondue with Roasted Root Vegetables
Great for parties


1tbsp honey
2tbsp olive oil
2tsp chopped fresh thyme
Zest of 1 lemon
300g each parsnip, carrot, small potatoes and raw beetroot, all peeled
250ml dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g Tickler or other Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
Pinch cayenne pepper
1tsp English mustard
3tsp corn flour, mixed with 2tbsp milk


Baking tray, small skewers, fondue bowl and burner (optional)

1. Preheat oven to gas Mark 7/ 210C. Cut vegetables into bite sized pieces and mix with honey, oil, thyme and lemon. Season well and place on a baking tray. Roast for about 40 minutes, turning occasionally until tender and golden.

2. Place garlic and wine in a saucepan and boil until it has reduced to 100mls. Remove from heat and mix in the cheese, cayenne and mustard. Stir well, add corn flour and place over a very low heat, stirring until it thickens, allow to simmer for a minute then transfer to a fondue bowl.

3. Remove vegetables from oven and place in a serving bowl with fondue forks or skewers, or carefully skewer vegetables to make kebabs.

Traditionally, bite-sized pieces of crusty bread are served to dip into cheese fondues but other bite sized foods can be served such as, apples, pears, grapes, sweet peppers, blanched cauliflower, asparagus or broccoli, cherry tomatoes, celery, cubes of cooked ham

14th April is National Pecan Day

Apple, Plum & Cinnamon Pudding
Serves – 8-10   Prep & Cook time – 70 mins
Veg HT  DP

For the pudding;
150g unsalted butter, softened
150g unrefined golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs
3 tblspn Belvoir Fruit Farms’ Apple, Plum & Cinnamon cordial
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g pecan nuts, chopped
2 dessert apples, peeled, cored and diced
6 plums, stoned and diced
For the sauce;
200g unrefined golden caster sugar
250ml whipping cream
3 tblspn Belvoir Fruit Farms’ Apple, plum & cinnamon cordial


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Grease and line an 8” 20cm deep round cake tin with baking parchment.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then add the beaten egg, cordial and one tablespoon of the flour and mix well.

3. Add the remaining flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon and mix until evenly combined.

4. Fold in the nuts, apple and plums ensuring they are evenly distributed, then spoon into the prepared baking tin.

5. Place in the oven and bake for 55-1hr minutes or until golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed. Remove from the oven.

6. To make the sauce heat the sugar in a heavy based pan until it melts and becomes caramel, try not to stir. Then set aside to cool slightly.

7. Gently heat the cream in a saucepan then whisk this into the caramel until you get a smooth sauce. Stir in the cordial.

8. To serve cut the pudding into portions and pour over the caramel sauce.

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13th April Thai New Year


Thai Orange Chicken with Pak Choy and Noodles
Serves 2   Prep & Cook 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 thin red chilli peppers, seeds removed 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” piece Fresh root ginger, skin removed and very finely chopped
2 x 5ml tsp Black onion seeds
2 Heads pak choi, divided into individual leaves, large leaves 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

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


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

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


Add the pak choi and cook for a further 2 minutes.


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.

Thai Green Curry with Prawns
Serves 4    Prep & Cook Time: 20 mins

·200g Bellaverde® broccoli (Tenderstem)
 225g/8oz Thai fragrant rice
 1 (400g) can reduced fat coconut milk
 30ml/2tbsp Thai Green Curry paste
 5ml/1tsp fish sauce
 1 tsp granulated sugar
 500g/1lb raw peeled tiger prawns
 1 (220g) can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
 4 spring onions, sliced
 The zest and juice 1 lime
 45ml/3tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves


1. Prepare the bellaverde® by trimming a little off the end of each spear. Place the rice in a sieve, rinse under with cold water, then cook in a medium pan of boiling water for 10 mins or until tender.

2. Whilst the rice cooks place the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and sugar in a large frying pan or wok. Slowly bring to the boil, then add the bellaverde®, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 3-4 mins or until just tender.

3. Stir in the spring onions, prawns and bamboo shoots and stir well. Bring the mixture back to the boil, then simmer for 2 mins, stirring occasionally until the prawns have turned pink. Stir in the lime zest and juice and coriander.

4. Drain the rice in a sieve and divide between four bowls, top with the prawn curry and serve

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16th - 22nd April is National Bread Week
If you find the thought of making bread a chore with all that mixing, kneading, proving etc., then the following recipes may be for you.

Beer Bread
Cooking & Prep time 60 mins
Makes 1 x 20 x 10cm/8x4" Loaf

375g/13oz Self Raising Flour (see note below)
1 tbsp Sugar
½ teasp Salt
360ml/12 fl.oz. Beer (fizzy)
Melted Butter (Optional)


1. IMPORTANT - Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6 and grease a 20 x 10cm/8x4" Loaf tin BEFORE you start to make the bread.

2. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and salt then use a balloon whisk to mix together and lighten the mixture.

3. Make a well in the centre of the flour then add the fizzy beer all in one go and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula. It is important to mix thoroughly but as quickly as possible, using as few strokes as possible to ensure the carbon dioxide isn't knocked out of the mixture as it helps to make the bread rise. The mixture will be very soft - more like a cake mixture rather than a dough.

4. Immediately pour into the greased tin and, if using, brush the top with melted butter. Immediately place in the preheated oven and bake for 50 - 55 minutes until risen and well browned.

5. Remove from the tin and test to make sure the bread is cooked by tapping on the base with your finger: it should sound hollow. Place on a wire rack to cool.

NB If using plain flour or a mixture of plain and wholemeal, you will need to add 3 teasp of baking powder at step 2, mixing well before adding the beer.


Warm Butter Paratha
Makes 2
Cooking & Prep Time: 45 mins

75g/3oz Plain Flour
50g/2oz Melted butter
¼ teasp Salt
approx 90ml/3fl.oz. Water
Extra Flour for dusting


1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter and salt and stir.

2. Add most of the water and knead well to form a medium soft dough, adding a little more water or flour as necessary. Knead for 5 minutes. Place it back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and set aside for 20 minutes.

3. Divide the mixture into two and roll out one piece into a circle about 15cm/5-inches in diameter.

4. Brush the circle with melted butter, fold into half, so it looks like a "D" then brush with more melted butter or ghee then fold the “D” in half again so it looks like a triangle.

5. Roll it out into to about 3mm/1/8th inch in thickness. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough

6. Heat a heavy frying pan until hot (do not add any oil or butter to the pan) then add a paratha and cook for about 30 seconds. Brush the upper side with melted butter then turn and cook the buttered side for 30 seconds whilst you brush the top with melted butter.

7. Continue to cook as above for a total of 1-2 minutes, turning frequently. Repeat with the second paratha. Serve warm.

Irish Soda Bread
Makes 2 x 20cm/8-inch round bread
Total Prep & Cooking time: 40 minutes

225g/8oz Plain Flour
225g/8oz Wholemeal Flour
1 level teasp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 level teasp Cream of Tartar
1 level teasp Salt
25g/1oz Butter or Margarine
300ml/10fl.oz. Buttermilk (approx)


1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6 and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl the rub in the margarine.

3. Add most of the buttermilk and mix to form a fairly soft dough, adding the remaining buttermilk if necessary.

4. Turn onto a floured surface and need for a few minutes until very smooth.

5. Divide the dough into two, form each portion into a round flatish loaf, then make a fairly deep X cut in each. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Best eaten the day it is made.


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19th April is National Garlic Day
Did you know . . . the smaller you chop garlic, the more pungent it becomes.

Ale Braised Carrots with Shallots
Serves 4
600g carrots
250g peeled shallots
3 celery stalks
3 tbsp olive oil
30g butter
Sprig of thyme
2 cloves garlic
150ml ale
100ml tomato juice
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
250ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Sea salt and black pepper

1. Peel the carrots and cut into 2cm rounds. Peel and halve the shallots. Cut the celery into 2cm baton lengths. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the butter.

2. Put the celery and shallots on a low heat and season with the sea salt and black pepper. Add the sprig of thyme. Fry gently until lightly golden brown. (Approx. 5mins)

3. Add the carrots and garlic and let them fry for 2-3mins turning all the time. Add the ale, tomato juice sugar, stock and parsley and let it reduce as it cooks.


Garlic Mushroom on Croutons

Serves 4 as a starter or
Serves 2 as a light main course

Prep and cooking time: 30mins

4 Very Large Mushrooms
50g/2oz Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
Salt and Black Pepper
4 tbsp Freshly Chopped Parsley
4 Pieces of Ciabatta Bread


 1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4 and lightly grease a shallow oven dish which is large enough to take the mushroom caps in one layer.

2. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and set aside. Place the mushrooms in the prepared dish, dot each with a dot of butter, season with salt and pepper then cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cut the pieces of ciabatta almost in half lengthways as if you were going to make a sandwich, open up so that they lie flat, lightly butter and place on a baking tray.

4. 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time of the mushroom caps, place the ciabatta in the oven to toast and chop the mushroom stalks.

5. Meanwhile, place the remaining butter in a frying pan together with the garlic and heat until sizzling.

6. Reduce the heat a little then add 3 tablespoons of the chopped parsley and the chopped mushroom stalks and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

7. To serve - place the toasted ciabatta on individual serving plates, place one mushroom cap on each, pile the garlic mixture on top and sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley. Serve immediately.


Mince Masala
Serves 4    Prep and cook time: 45 minutes

450g/1lb lean beef mince
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 x 2.5cm/1inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 x 425g can chopped tomatoes
1-2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
10ml/2tsp garam masala
2 handfuls freshly chopped coriander


1. Heat a large, shallow, non-stick frying pan until hot and cook the mince, onion, garlic and ginger for 5-7 minutes.

2. Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, chillies, seasoning, garam masala and half the coriander.

3. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Garnish with the remaining coriander and serve with plain basmati rice, poppadums and a cucumber raita, or a selection of relishes.


If preferred, replace the garam masala with a prepared curry paste of your choice.


Lamb, Redcurrant and Rosemary Cobbler

Serves 6

For the lamb:
700g diced lamb for stewing
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunky 2cm rings
1 large onion
1 small leek cut into rings
1 bay leaf
1 dsp redcurrant jelly
2 cloves garlic finely diced
850ml good lamb or vegetable stock
3 tbsp olive oil
Seasoned flour
Salt and pepper
Pinch dried rosemary/tsp fresh
For the cobbler/scones:
225g self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
50g hard butter
120 ml milk
2 eggs
1 tsp dried rosemary
50g strong Cheddar cheese, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan or 150C/325F or Gas Mark 3.

2. Put the olive oil into a sautée pan. Coat the lamb in seasoned flour. Fry the meat until browned. Throw in the vegetables and bay leaf. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Add the redcurrant jelly and dried rosemary. Add stock. Season to taste.

4. Transfer the meat to a casserole dish then cover and bake for 1¼ -1½ hrs or until the meat is tender.

For the cobbler/scones:
1. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C/Fan or 200°C/425°F or Gas Mark 7.

2. Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes. Toss it into the flour. With fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add salt and pepper. Add the rosemary and cheese.

3. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, beat the egg and milk together and bring the mixture together with a knife. The mixture will be sticky. On a floured surface, knead the dough two or three times until smooth. Roll or pat into a flat block about 21/2 cm / 1" thick. Cut into rounds with a floured cutter.

4. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining beaten egg for a golden crust. Put the scones directly on top of the casserole and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until well risen and golden brown.

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23rd April is St. George's Day


Not only is it St. George's Day on 23rd April, it’s also Shakespeare’s birthday.  We have some super traditional English recipes on both the St. Georges day page which includes an interactive mapand the England Cooking by Country page. 

> > > > More


25th April is Anzac Day


Anzac Biscuits

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and ANZAC day marks the anniversary of the 1st key military battle fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC biscuits are thought to have been baked by women in Australia and New Zealand for sending to the soldiers fighting overseas.

Prep and Cooking time:  60 minutes plus cooling
Makes 1 x 23cm/10-inch Ring Cake

Veg CD CBF 35mins plus cooling

75g/3oz Rolled Oats
125g/+4oz Castor Sugar
75g/3oz Desiccated Coconut
100g/4oz Plain Flour
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
1 teasp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 tbsp Boiling Water
100g/4oz Butter, melted


1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4 and line some baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, coconut and flour.

3. Place the golden syrup, soda and boiling water in a saucepan, heat gently then add the butter and mix well.

4. Add to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly.

5. Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto the lined baking sheets, allowing room for biscuits to spread then bake for approx 15minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

30th April is National Raisin Day


Savoury Cheese Nut & Raisin Biscuits

Makes approx 30     Prep & Cook time: 50 mins + chilling


175g plain flour
Pinch mixed spice
1tsp English mustard powder
100g cold butter, grated
100g Tickler or other Mature Cheddar, coarsely grated
25g raisins, chopped
1 small shallot, coarsely grated
½ Cox’s apple, coarsely grated
25g pecans or walnuts, chopped small
1tbsp balsamic vinegar


1. Place flour and spices in a large bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.


2. Using your hands squeeze out juice from shallots and apple, and place in a clean tea towel. Squeeze again to remove as much liquid as possible and add to the bowl.


4. Mix in Tickler, raisins and pecans then add vinegar. Mix using your hands, forming the mixture into a dough. Mould the dough into a log shape, about 6cm diameter and wrap in cling film. Chill for at least 30minutes.

5. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180C. Using a very sharp knife, slice rounds from the log, about 4mm thick and place on the baking sheet, spacing a 2cm apart. You will need to bake the cookies in two or more batches. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cookies are firm and golden brown. Leave to cool for a minute, before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

With a chunk of Cheddar and some chutney


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