No. 75 - March 2009


Welcome to the March 2009 Recipes4us Newsletter. If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at . Also, if you come across any publications mentioning, don't forget to let me know.


I've slightly changed the layout of this newsletter, so make sure you go right to the end to ensure you don't miss anything.


 Happy Cooking !





Florence Sandeman, Publisher


Sunday 1st March

St. David's Day

                        Did you know.....

Although the leek has been recognised as the emblem of Wales  since the 16th century, its association with the Welsh can be traced back to 633 AD when, at the battle of Heathfield, a monk suggested the Welsh  soldiers wore leeks in their caps to distinguish them from their Saxon opponents. 

> > >  More


If you've never tried leeks, I would strongly urge you to do so. A much underrated veggie, their sweet and mild flavour goes well with lots of ingredients. Furthermore, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in garlic which are linked with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels plus additional vitamins and minerals as you can see in the chart below.


Here's a wonderful recipe to celebrate both St David's day and the leek for which I've also done a video so you can see me making it.


Leek, Potato & Caerphilly Bake



Click here to watch the Video


Vegetarian Gluten & Wheat Free Eggless


Prep &  cooking time: 90 minutes
Serves 2 as a side dish



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.

This Month

What's in Season in



Click here to see what's in season this month, how to cook it and to find a UK Farmers' Market near you.




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 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. Most of the main courses are ready to serve in less than 40 minutes - great for working people.



Other Food Celebrations

in March


17th - St. Patrick's Day   (Link)

National Noodle Month  (Link)

National Flour Month

National Sauce Month (US) 





Leek Nutrition Facts

 Per 1 leek     *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
        Vitamin A 2 %     Vitamin C 18 %
        Calcium 5 %     Iron 10 %
        Thiamin 3 %     Riboflavin 1 %
        Niacin 2 %     Folate 14 %
        Vitamin B-6 10 %     Vitamin E 2 %
        Phosphorus 3 %     Magnesium 6 %
        Zinc 1 %     Copper 5 %



 Calories =54.29

 Total Fat 0.267g 0%
 Cholesterol 0mg 0%
 Sodium 17.8mg 1%
 Potassium 160.2mg 5%
 Carbohydrate 12.59g 4%
  Dietary Fibre 1.6g 6%
 Protein 1.34g 3%




March is  National Peanut Month

National Peanut Month



Did you know that c 1890 a physician in St. Louis reinvented the ancient recipe for peanut butter as a health food for the elderly? Furthermore, Dr. John Kellogg (of cornflakes fame) patented the process of making peanut butter for patients at his Sanatorium in Michigan.


Peanut butter a health food?  Well, they are an excellent source of extra protein, vitamins B and E and minerals including magnesium, copper, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.


> > > More about Peanuts



Here's a fabulous recipe which is taken from the Recipes4us book "This book may contain nuts". Although it makes a wonderful main course in the summer, I've adapted the recipe below to serve 4 as a starter. If possible, buy both the body and head (tentacle) parts of the squid which gives this dish an even more stunning appearance.




Oriental Squid and Mango Salad


Serves 4   as a starter
Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes


1. In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice water, sugar, fish sauce and chilli pepper. Set aside.

2. Cut the squid tubes into bite sized pieces, leaving the heads whole, and using a small sharp pointed knife, make criss-cross patters in the flesh, being careful not to cut all the way through.

3. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan or wok until very hot then add the squid pieces and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes only. Do not overcook or they will become rubbery.

4. Transfer the squid to a mixing bowl together with the mango, capsicum and onion.

5. Add the prepared lime juice mixture together with the mint and peanuts and mix well.

Serve at room temperature.

1 tbsp fresh Lime Juice
1 tbsp Hot Water
1 teasp Sugar
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
½ Chilli Pepper, very finely chopped
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
225g/8oz Prepared Fresh Baby Squid (calamari)
½  tbsp Fish Sauce
3 spring Onions, sliced on the diagonal
½ Large fresh Under-ripe Mango, peeled and cut into julienne strips
½ Red Capsicum (sweet pepper), sliced
1 tbsp freshly chopped Mint
25g/1oz Dry Roasted Peanuts, chopped




Culinary Videos

Click the picture to find the latest additions


Food in Film

Click the film to see the next in the series.



If you've been toying with the idea of getting a slow cooker then perhaps now is the time,  as not only do slow cookers allow you to cook meals that retain the goodness and flavours of your food but they are also particularly good for cheaper cuts of meat as the long, slow cooking breaks down the collagen in the connective tissue ensuring very tender melt-in-the-mouth results. Furthermore, as they are low on energy consumption cooking with slow cookers saves even more money. Better still, although there are some more expensive models on the market, many are relatively cheap to buy - no more than the cost of a large saucepan.

If you're still not sure, I've put together a handy guide which tells you everything you need to know about these wonderful appliances.

> > >   More

Calling all Young Chefs

Closing date: 15th March 2009

Applicants must be 16 years of age and over on the closing date

The search is now on for the UK's top young talent in an ambitious new BBC Three series, Young Chef of the Year 2009.

If you are a talented young chef they want to hear from you. Or if you know someone who fits the bill please get in touch.  They are looking for someone who can be a true ambassador for their trade, who is aged 16-25 years, up for a challenge and wants to show the world their skills! 


If you want to know more or apply for an application form

Email:   or
Write: Send a SAE to Young Talent Casting Team,   Room 3136,   BBC Television Centre,   London W12 7RJ


Food in the News . . .



Eggs not dangerous for heart health: Study


Concerns over egg consumption and cholesterol increases are unfounded, according to new findings from British researchers.

> > > > More  External Link


The Kitchen Garden


* * * 2009 Garden Experiment * * *


As mentioned in the February newsletter, this year I will be experimenting with sowing seeds according to the moon phases. It's still a little early for me to start, but in the meantime I've done my research, and have decided to use the most simple lunar planting method called the Synodic Cycle which is based on the waxing and waning of the moon.

Of course, nothing is simple as the time I sow will depend on the crop I'm growing which will be a leaf crop i.e. lettuce, and it doesn't stop at just sowing either. In lunar planting, one should also water and fertilize at particular moon phases.


What is Waxing and Waning


The Moon goes through an entire cycle of waxing and waning about every 29 days. This is called a Lunar Month.


The waxing moon grows larger from right to left in the sky, changing from a narrow crescent just after the new moon towards the full moon.  It is called the 'right-hand moon'  because the crescent is like the curve between the right-hand's index finger and thumb. During the first quarter of the waxing moon phase the moisture level in the soil is at it's highest, and because the earth is  "exhaling" and releasing and the growing energies are drawn into the upper plant. So this is the time recommended for sowing seeds of plants whose edible parts are above the ground as it is supposed to encourage rapid germination and growth.

The Waning  moon decreases in size from right to left from the full moon back towards a crescent as the new moon approaches.        It  is 

March in the Kitchen Garden


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 star 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 detailed growing instructions visit our growing herbs and vegetables section

called the  'left-hand moon'  because the crescent is like the  curve between the right-hand's index finger and thumb.  At this time, growing energy is pulled down towards the roots so this would be the ideal time to sow root crops such as carrots, potatoes etc .  This is also the best time to water and fertilize as both will be better absorbed by soil and into the plants.


So, in short, as I will be using lettuce for this experiment,  I should sow seeds  when the moon is waxing (right hand moon) and fertilize when the moon is waning (left hand moon) and preferably around the time of the new moon. The exact dates will depend on the weather here,  but I anticipate sowing the Lunar Seeds between the 26th- 29th March and the normal ones during the 1st week in April. More about that next month, plus the variety of lettuce I'll be sowing.



Application closing date: 31st March 2009.

Raymond Blanc is once again on the lookout for a couple to join him in opening and running a restaurant. Couples will be chosen to compete for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the third series of BBC2’s The Restaurant.

If you are a talented cook or host this is your chance. You could be a married couple, in a relationship, relatives, friends or colleagues as long as you share a dream of running your own restaurant – we’d love you to apply.

Click here for or more details on the BBC website



Recipe of the Month

Smoked Pork Sausage and Bean Casserole


- Feed your family for less than £3 a night -

    Serves a family of 4


1 Mattessons Smoked Pork Sausage, sliced - £1.43
1 onion diced – 18p
2 carrots – peeled and diced – 16p
1 jar of tomato and basil sauce – 90p
415g can of baked beans – 29p
300ml water



1. Heat a splash of oil in a large pan and fry the onion and carrots for 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add the sausage and baked beans and cook for a further 10 – 15 minutes until the carrots are tender.

Tips: Serve with warm garlic bread.


Photo and recipe Courtesy of Mattessons


If this recipe doesn't take your fancy, check out our Credit Crunch Recipes page for other economical recipe ideas






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


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