No. 55 - May 2007

Welcome to the 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 . 


Happy Cooking ! 



Florence Sandeman, Editor



And I quote......


Kissing don't last: cookery do!

Meredith, George (1828 - 1909)
British novelist

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.



Preparation Tip

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.




* * * Winner of March new subscriber prize draw * * *

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.

> > > > More



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?

> > > > More



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


Salmon stuffed Tomatoes

Tomatoes Stuffed with Chicken

Herby Tomato Bruschetta Veg

Caerphilly and Tomato Salad Veg

Parmesan Fried Green Tomatoes Veg

Salada de Tomate Veg

Rice and Tomato Soup Veg

Simple Tomato Soup

Fennel and Tomato Salad Veg

Tomato and Parsley Salad Veg

Tomato and Basil Salad Veg

Prune Tomato and Feta Salad Veg

Huss with Tomatoes in Wine

Cheese and Tomato Bars Veg

Ratatouille Veg

Baigan Tamatar Veg

Lamb Provencal

Catalan Chicken

Tomato Sambal Veg

Tomato Salsa Veg

Melitzanes Imam Bayldi Veg

Rice with Courgettes Veg



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.



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


Watercress Mayonnaise    V   GF

Pear and Goats Cheese Salad      V   GF

Watercress and Stilton Spread      V 

Green Salad with Roquefort        V 

Watercress and Marmite Croutons       V 

Chervil Dumplings V H 20mins

Parsley Dumplings      V 

Thyme Pesto        V   GF

Mint Sambol   Vegan  GF   DF

Fried Parsley   Vegan  GF   DF

Herb and Tomato Salsa      Vegan  GF   DF

Herb Dumplings     Vegan    DF


Desserts Cakes & Bakes

Rosemary Cake    V 

Rosemary Bread   Vegan   DF

Minted Nectarine Sorbet       V   GF   DF

Fresh Mint Ice Cream     V   GF

Dairy Free Garlic Herb Bread      Vegan  GF

Soups & Starters

Pan Fried Figs With Chorizo 

Watercress and Mushroom Soup  Vegan  GF   DF

Watercress Soup   V  GF  

Russian Green Soup     V   GF 

Hot Sole Mousse with Creamed Watercress

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Herby Tomato Bruschetta       V 

Courgette and Herb Pate       V   GF 


Main Courses 

Squid with Watercress      DF

Cidered Herrings      DF

Goat's Cheese Parcels with Watercress Sauce     V

Oriental Lamb Noisettes     DF

Poussins with Grapes      GF 

Boeuf Bourguignon

Calves Liver with Onions

Herb Baked Flounder

Herb Crusted Trout

Omelettes aux Fines Herbs       V   GF 


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