No. 44 - May 2006

Welcome to the free monthly newsletter! If you have any suggestions for additions to this newsletter,   please write to me at . 


Happy Cooking ! 




Florence Sandeman, Editor


...and I quote


"Don't take a butcher's advice on how to cook meat.  If he knew, he'd be a chef."

Andy Rooney

What's New This Month


A Cut Above

The first in a short series about the different cuts of meat




Click the picture to find out about the various cuts of beef - what they're called, where they're from and how they're cooked..



Food in Film


Here's the first in, what I hope to be a long series of recipes or food featured in films. The aim is to post recipes which have been featured in films. Click the film to see the first in the series.



Cooking Tip of the Month

Measuring sticky substances

When measuring sticky substances like honey, golden syrup  or treacle, lightly oil the spoon  or cup first. The sticky substance will just slide off.  It really doesn't affect the taste at all.



What's in Season

Asparagus, early beans, broccoli, carrots, cherries, chervil, early cucumbers,  green apricots, kale,  lettuce,  new potatoes,  pears, radish, rosemary, spinach, spring greens, early strawberries, watercress




How does your  Kitchen Garden grow



By the end of May the temperature and low risk of frosts means you can start sowing the seed of more tender plants such as courgettes, marrows, runner, dwarf and green beans and outdoor cucumbers however if any frosts are expected, be prepared to cover the new seedlings with cloches or fleece.


Continue to sow beetroot, broad beans, cabbage,  turnips, cauliflowers, peas, and parsnips through to mid-may and further small sowings of carrots, lettuce, radish, spinach and spring onions to ensure a continuous harvest.. Continue gradually thinning out seedlings to their final spacing


Continue to sow tomatoes Aubergines, and Capsicums and sow dwarf and French  beans  3 to a 7.5cm/3-inch pot.


Continue thinning out seeds which were sown in pots or trays last month



Plants such as tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, courgettes and capsicums which were sown indoors last month should be potted up individually to 7.5cm/3-inch pots by the time they have reached 10cm/4-inches tall.


Once all danger of frosts have passed, start hardening off indoor sown plants. It's best to leave this until very late in May.


For detailed growing instructions visit growing herbs and vegetables section



See the extra article on Hosepipe bans below


It's National Vegetarian Week

Monday 22nd - Sunday 28th May 2006


What is a Vegetarian  ?

This may seem like a silly question, but it the answer may surprise you. I used to think a Vegetarian just didn't eat meat or fish - but that's not necessarily true.


According to the International Vegetarian Union (IVU),   for membership  purposes "vegetarianism includes veganism and is defined as the practice of not eating meat, poultry or fish or their by-products, with or without the use of dairy products or eggs. " Vegetarianism is often further broken down into OVO-LACTO- eats eggs and dairy products, and LACTO eats dairy products but no eggs. And then there's cheese - another mine field. They can be made with or without rennet which is derived from the stomach tissue of a slaughtered calf.


So, what's the difference between vegetarians and vegans? As far as I'm concerned, it's HUGE.  Vegans exclude all animal flesh including meat, poultry, fish and seafood plus animal products such as eggs, dairy produce and even honey."  They also avoid items which may have animal products used in the manufacture such as certain wines, beers and cereals. When making wines/beers  they sometimes use Albumin (found in egg whites) or isinglass (obtained from the swim bladders of fish) to clarify or  "fine" it. That's why you find Vegan wine on sale. As for cereals, some have Vitamin D3  added which apparently is of animal origin.

Whilst researching, I came across some other terms used, a couple  of which I'd never heard of and one which, I must admit,  made me smile. Which one? I'll leave it to you to guess.

Pescetarian: Similar to a vegetarian, but also consumes fish.

Fruitarian: Same as Vegan, but only eats foods that don't kill the plant (apples can be picked without killing the plant - carrots can't).  wow!

Herbivore: Mainly eats grass or plants. Not necessarily a Vegetarian.

Plant-Eater: Mainly eats plants. Not necessarily a VEGETARIAN.


Pseudo-Vegetarian: Claims to be vegetarian, but isn't. Often used by vegetarians to describe semi-vegetarians, and Pescetarians.

Non meat-Eater:  Does not eat meat. Most definitions do not consider fish, fowl or seafood to be meat. Animal fats and oils, bonemeal and skin are not considered meat.



If you have a particular ingredient you want to use, why not use the search form to find a vegetarian recipe for it by adding "vegetarian"  to the search.  e.g. Cheese MC vegetarian. I just tried it and there are well over 70! The word "Vegan" can also be added to the search criteria as can "dairy" for dairy free recipes or "Eggless" for egg free recipes.



Recipe of the Month


Mandarin Meringue Pie

This is a twist on an old favourite. The idea came to me when I found out my best friend, Simon,  loves Lemon Meringue Pie, but as I always try  to cook him something he's never had before,  I thought about replacing the lemons with oranges. Unfortunately, my local supermarket didn't have any loose ones so, as I was on foot and couldn't carry a heavy load, I bought 3 Mandarins instead. I hope you'll agree when you try it, that it worked out brilliantly. He loved it!




Serves 4-6    

Cooking and Prep time:   

70 minutes plus chilling


200g/7oz Shortcrust Pastry

The juice and grated zest of 2-3 Mandarins

Cold Water
3 Level tbsp Cornflour
A large knob of Margarine
75g/3oz Sugar
3 Egg Yolks
For the Meringue
3 Egg Whites
50g/2oz Caster Sugar














1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas mark 6.

2. On a floured board, roll out the pastry and use to line a 23cm/8 inch flan tin. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, place the mandarin juice and zest in a measuring jug and make up to 300ml/10fl.oz with cold water. Whisk the cornflour into the water mixture.


4. Transfer the mixture  to a small saucepan and cook gently until thickened, stirring constantly. The mixture should be quite stiff.


5. Remove from the heat and add the margarine, sugar and egg yolks and stir vigorously until well blended.

6. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C, 3255F, Gas mark 3. Remove the beans and paper from the pastry case and pour in the filling. Set aside

7. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, stir in most of the caster sugar and pile or pipe over the mandarin filling, making sure the edges are well covered.

7. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 140C, 275F, Gas Mark 1 and continue to bake for a further 20 minutes. This slower baking will help the meringue stays crisp when cold. remove from the oven and allow to cool.

NB     If the top gets soft before you serve it, just flash it under a very hot grill - but only for 30 seconds or so. Once it's cooled, it will be crisp again.


Hosepipe Bans

If you only grow a few veggies or herbs here and there, you won't have too much trouble utilising a watering can. But if you have anything more than a few pots, hosepipe bans can spell disaster, especially at this crucial time in a plant's growing cycle.


Certain parts of the UK already have hosepipe bans in place, so here are a couple of tips to make sure you save young plants from suffering too much.


Try collecting rain water from the down pipes on your house and/or garage by plumbing in 1 or 2  water butts. This may seem extreme, but if you've got a large area it's well worth the effort. You'll be surprised how much water runs off your roof.


Add lots  of well-rotted manure or compost to the soil and planting hole before planting. This will increase the water retention capacity of the soil.


Do your planting in the evening  so that the new plants

 don't get immediately scorched by the sun.


After planting make a circular ridge of soil surrounding individual plants. Then when you irrigate the water won't run off to the sides but will be contained within the moat.


Make sure you weed regularly. Weeds are notoriously good at competing for moisture  and seem to survive when other wanted plants don't.


It's better to give a good watering which penetrates right down beyond the roots once a week than to just wet the top inch of soil. Water close to the stems without the rose fitted, but be careful not to dislodge very small plants.



Readers' Questions


I am planning to cook scallops as a Chinese dish. Can you please let me know whether I need to remove any part of the scallops or can I cook and eat the whole thing.



It seems to have become popular to just use the white fleshy part, especially with many TV chefs,  however once shelled, they can be eaten in their entirety although quite often the roe (the orangey bit) does come away from the scallop (the white bit) during cooking.





Whether you're looking for everyday,  exotic or unusual food and drink,  visit 

Food shopping has never been easier !


New and featured Recipes 

V = Vegetarian       GF = Gluten/wheat Free      DF = Dairy Free

Soups & Starters

Asparagus Cocktail       GF

Asparagus Milanese     V    GF

Balsamic Asparagus    V    GF

Spinach Soufflés      V

Spinach Pate     V    GF

Mozzarella and Parma Parcels       GF

Cucumber and Prawn Salad

Oysters Rockefeller

Carrot and Ginger Soup          GF

Lentil and Lemon Soup    Vegan     GF   DF  

Chilled Cherry Soup    Vegan     GF   DF  

Aubergine Salad     Vegan     GF   DF  


Desserts, Cakes & Bakes

Cherry Cobbler     

Strawberry Yoghurt Ice cream      V    GF


Panna Cotta      GF

Grand Marnier Soufflé      V

Compota de Peras      Vegan     GF   DF  

Baked Mango       Vegan     GF   DF  

Hazelnut Scones        V

Lime Shortbreads         V

Sun Dried Tomato Bread          V



Dauphinois Potatoes       V    GF

Walnut Tossed Potatoes      Vegan     GF   DF  

Roman Broccoli       Vegan     GF   DF  

Asparagus with Capers       Vegan     GF   DF  

Carrots with Bacon      GF

Brazilian Kale      DF  

Kale with Cream       V    GF

Creamy Spinach with Pine Nuts       V    GF

Fried Green Beans with Coconut       V    GF

Lyonnaise Butter Beans      V    GF

Creole Rice      GF   DF  

Mango and Chilli Salsa       Vegan     GF   DF  


Main Courses 

Beef in Burgundy

Bolognese Sauce

Crispy Szechuan Beef     DF  

Steak with Balsamic Prune Sauce      GF   DF  

Lamb with Garlic and Sweet Potatoes   GF   DF

Potato Rosti with Bean Salsa    Vegan     GF   DF  

Burmese Tofu Salad      V  DF  

Penne with Artichokes and Tomatoes        V

Roasted Vegetables with Goats’ Cheese       V    GF

Spinach and Feta Omelet       V    GF

Four Cheese Fettucine       V


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