No. 66 - May 2008

Welcome to the free monthly newsletter. As usual May's issue is packed with national food days/weeks/months, and we've even found a new one.


If you have any suggestions for additions to this newsletter,   please write to me at . 


Happy Cooking ! 



Florence Sandeman, Editor



What chefs do when they're bored?


Click the picture to enlarge.

Just in case you're wondering, they're peppers.

This Month's Features


Culinary Videos

New Section !



This is a new section which will be built up over the coming months. Most of the videos are quite short - just a few minutes - but all are clear, good quality, culinary based "how to" videos showing general preparations or techniques rather than full recipes - from lining a cake tin to knife skills to filleting a fish.


No need to download anything either. I may even do some myself in the future. Fame at last! Click the picture to go to the main Cooking Videos page.



Summer Eating

New Section !



Now you can find all your favourite summertime recipes in one place from bbqs to picnics - chilled soups to salads.  Click the picture.




Mini Electric Food Processors

This is the latest addition to the Kitchen/Cookware section where we tell you everything you need to know about  mini food processors. Click the picture.



Food in Film


Click the film to see the next in the series.


Weekday Menus


Click the picture to find May'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 and most of the main courses are ready to serve in less than 40 minutes - great for working people.



What's in Season in




Click here to see what's in season this month and to find a UK Farmers' Market near you. There are Lots of seasonal recipes too




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 later in May.


For detailed instructions visit growing herbs & vegetables section

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

BB of Staffordshire, UK





* * * Announcing some changes to the site * * *


You may have noticed a change in the general design of the website this year, but I've also been making other changes in particular  the splitting of some of the sections into more pages. This has been done in an effort to make finding specific recipes more easily as there are now so many recipes in certain sections, that some of the pages became very long.


For instance, the Poultry & Game Main Course section has now been split up so that all the chicken recipes are on one page with the other items such as big game and game bird recipes on separate pages. In Particular, take a look at the Fish and Shellfish section which has been expanded to include descriptions and recipes relating to specific fish.


I've also started adding additional recipe only pages featuring recipes for a particular ingredient e.g. chocolate, and am in the process of placing appropriate links on all recipe pages to similar recipes. So, for example, a recipe whose main ingredient is chocolate may have a link to the new "chocolate recipes" page.  It's a long and very manual job (with over 4000 recipes to get through) but hopefully, most recipes will have these links within the next 2 months or so.



5th - 11th May is National Honey Week (UK)


This is the "new" food celebration week I found. Actually, both those statements are untrue. Firstly I didn't find it - my friend who also happens to own the food website found it. Thanks Simon! Secondly, it's not new - it's celebrating its 10th year in 2008. Still, better late than never.


 Did you know.....

  • The bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man

  • Bees can fly for up to six miles, although one or two is more common.

  • Bees collect pollen and nectar in the spring when most plants are in bloom.

Click the picture to read all about the week and for recipes,  information and more interesting facts about honey.


Photo © Leonid Nyshko -



May is National Burger Month and

26th May to 2nd June 2008 is National Barbecue Week (UK)


A happy coincidence though perhaps a little early for  BBQs in the UK with our weather the way it is. However, being optimistic, I've not only set up a page which just features Burger recipes but also one featuring just Kebab recipes.. Both are just as good cooked conventionally in your kitchen.

Furthermore, the BBQ section has been updated and extended to include lots of additional information, hints and tips to ensure you have a successful and safe BBQ.



7th - 10th May 2008 is National Herb Week


There isnít a chef alive who wouldnít 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 itís usually used sparingly.


Find out more about herbs and which herbs go with specific ingredients.

> > > > More



Food in the news.......


Export bans would further fuel food crisis

Countries should not use export bans to cope with the current food crisis as it would place further strains of the global situation, said the World Bank.

> > > > More   External Link



19th - 25th 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.


> > > > More



Other special food weeks/months which fall in May include:-


National Allergy Week

National Doughnut Week

British Tomato Week

British Sandwich Week

National Watercress Week
National Strawberry Month
National Salad Month

National Asparagus Month

National Raisin Week

If the above are underlined they are linked to articles or special pages. You can also use the search form to easily find lots of recipes using the above ingredients



New Sporting Events



This month I've added two more iconic sporting events to the section in anticipation of a good summer - Wimbledon and Royal Ascot. Complete with a little general information,   calendars and themed recipes. I think you'll particularly like the Ascot theme. Click the pictures.




* * * Gardening Challenge * * *


Recap:  Whilst looking at an online seed catalogue, I found two items which caught my imagination.  Strawberries which bear fruit the same year the seeds are sown and outdoor watermelons. Having never grown either of these from seed before, I decided I'd put my money where my mouth is and document  the various stages in this newsletter.   Remember, I'll be growing these on in containers as I don't have a "proper" garden. . . . . just a large terrace

The Challenge - Part Three

 Same year fruiting Strawberries


Recap:  The variety is Sarian which is an F1 hybrid which is supposed to bear fruit in the same year as the seeds have been sown.

OH DEAR  Only 3 out of the 9 which germinated have  survived and they are so small, I'm not holding my breath as to whether I'll get to eat any produce from them. 

Outdoor Watermelons


Recap:  The variety is Yellow Baby and, as the name suggests, it is yellow rather than red, and capable of being grown outside


DISASTER! Last month you may recall that only one or the two seeds I sowed germinated. Well, it's got worse. Over a period of just a few days it withered and died. A reader wrote to me saying the last time she'd watered seedlings with rainwater they all died. However, as all my other seedlings are doing OK, I don't think this can be the reason. As it's still not too late, I've  sown a few more seeds to see what happens.


Too distressed to take a photo of the dead seedling !


Recipe of the Month


 Stir-fried Chantenay Carrots

with Noodles & Soy-Honey dressing

Available now from many outlets, Chantenay carrots are crisp, sweet and 'carroty'. The seed is widely available so you can even grow your own.  Here's a fabulous recipe supplied courtesy of which is particularly apt to celebrate National Honey Week.


Serves 6

Prep and Cooking time:  25minutes



2 tbsp vegetable oil
200g/7oz Chantenay carrots washed and cut in half lengthways
8 spring onions cut in 2.5cm/1 inch lengths
1 medium red pepper seeded and cut into strips
2 cloves peeled garlic chopped finely
1 dessertspoon peeled ginger chopped finely
1 red chilli chopped
200g/7oz cooked fine rice noodles
1/2 tbsp vegetable stock
A handful of fresh coriander chopped
2 tbsp dark soy sauce


1. Rinse the carrots. Boil or steam for 2 minutes then place on a baking sheet and toss through the oil.


2. Season well and bake in a hot oven at 230c 450f gas mark 8 until golden - approximately 10 minutes.


3. Coat the carrots using a brush with the mustard mixture. Return to the oven for a further 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately.


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



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