No. 55 - May 2007
Welcome to the Recipes4us.co.uk free monthly newsletter. This month is a whopper where national food days/weeks/months are concerned. There are the usual suspects which most of you will have heard of plus some more obscure ones which even I hadn't heard of before I started researching.
If you have any suggestions for additions to this newsletter, please write to me at Newsletter@Recipes4us.co.uk .
Happy Cooking !
Florence Sandeman, Editor
And I quote......
Kissing don't last: cookery do!
Meredith, George (1828 - 1909)
What's New This Month
Ingredient of the Month
Click the picture to read about watercress. This feature differs from the usual format to take account of National Watercress Week (15th-21st May) and includes some interesting medicinal information as well as the usual botanical, historical and culinary info, plus OF COURSE lots of recipes.
Food in Film
Click the film to see the next in the series.
To peel tomatoes and peaches quickly and easily: Drop them in boiling water for 20 seconds, then into a bowl of ice water. The skins will slip right off. You can make this even easier by making a small X cut into the bottom of the fruit; the skin around the cut will pull away from the fruit in the water.
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.
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SY of France _______________________________________________________________
7th - 13th May is National Doughnut Week (UK)
Most of us associate doughnuts or donuts, with the USA but fried dough has been eaten in many European countries for hundreds of years, probably for as long as bread has been made and well before the "new world" was colonised. So, it's a European invention? Well, perhaps not. Here comes the spanner in the works.
> > > > More
* * * STOP PRESS * * *
Do you live in the UK? Are you an enthusiastic amateur cook? Do you want to be on TV? Well now's your chance!
> > > > More
9th - 15th May is National Herb Week
There isn’t a chef alive who wouldn’t agree that the use of herbs plays an important roll in cooking, from relatively mild parsley which you can use by the handful, to sage whose pungent aroma and taste ensures it’s usually used sparingly. By the way, garlic, onions, leeks and celery are botanically included in the term "herbs" however, for the purposes of this editorial (and as far as most cooks are concerned) they are considered to be vegetables so I haven't included them in this article but never fear, there are still plenty to be getting on with.
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Food in the news.......
Organic kiwis healthier than non-organic?
The nutritional profile of kiwi fruit grown organically is healthier than conventionally grown fruit, American researchers have reported.
> > > > More External Link
13th -19th May is British Sandwich Week (UK)
Even if you are British, you may not have heard of this National food week, but I can assure you, it exists. In fact, so seriously do we take our sandwiches, we even have an official sandwich organisation! And so we should, after all, they do get their name from the Englishman who invented them, namely John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich.
But is there really the need for a whole association just for sarnies or is this one of those British idiosyncrasies?
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15th - 21st May is National Watercress Week
Watercress has seen a surge in popularity in the last few years, especially since Liz Hurley (actress) mentioned in 2001 that she relies on watercress to maintain a nutritious diet. More recently, (February 2007) and more importantly, the results from two years’ research carried out by the University of Ulster showed it to have extraordinary medicinal qualities.
> > > > More
16th - 22nd May is British Tomato Week
I must admit I'm a little puzzled as to why this should be in May as, unless forced in a greenhouse, tomatoes don't naturally come into season until much later in the year. Perhaps it's because this is the time of year when, generally, you can put tomato plants out in the open without fear of frost damage. No long editorial here, just tomato recipes....though not necessarily British ones. You can find lots more by using the Search form.
Don't forget, there's still time to sow tomato seeds for growing in in pots, grow bags or in the garden. You can find full growing details in the growing vegetables section
21st - 27th May National Vegetarian week
Even if you're not a vegetarian, you probably already eat more vegetarian dishes than you think: things like Rice stuffed peppers, cauliflower cheese, omelettes and frittatas not to mention many MANY homemade cakes, breads and desserts. I guarantee you there are loads of vegetarian recipes you could try and you wouldn’t even miss the meat or fish.
> > > > More
Other special food weeks/months which fall in May include:-
National Allergy Week
National Raisin Week
National Asparagus Month
National Strawberry Month
National Burger Month
National Salad Month
You can use the search form to easily find lots of recipes using the above ingredients
More Hosepipe Bans?
Last year at this time in the UK we were already experiencing hosepipe bans and it looks as though we might be headed the same way this year. So just in case, I'm going to repeat this short piece. 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. 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.
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