No. 77 - May 2009


Welcome to the May 2009 Recipes4us Newsletter. If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at .


Happy Cooking!





Florence Sandeman,






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


3 ways with . . .


15th - 21st May is Watercress Week Here are three simple but very  different ways you can serve fresh watercress which is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables known to man and can be traced back more than 3,000 years, to the Persians and Ancient Greeks .

Watercress Soup    Veg

Goat's Cheese Parcels with Watercress Sauce    Veg

Watercress Mayonnaise    Veg 


Watercress Nutritional Values:  Watercress contains beta-carotene, a host of vitamins (A, C, B1, B6, K and E), iron (more than spinach) , calcium (more than milk), magnesium, manganese, zinc, Lutein and Zeaxanthin - types of carotenoids which act as antioxidants.



3rd - 9th May 2009


National Herb Week


One of the easiest ways to add a new dimension and flavour to your favourite foods. Below are the most common pairings, however with so many herbs available to most of us today, the possible flavour combinations are almost limitless.

Beef - Thyme
Pork -  Sage
Lamb - Rosemary
Veal - Bay Leaves
Poultry -  Tarragon
Fish and Seafood— Parsley
Eggs and Cheese  - Chives

Pasta and Pizza - Basil

Vegetables - Mint


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

> > > > More


Mother's Day



Naughty me - I forgot to include this in the March newsletter for the UK.  But for those of you in North America who will be celebrating Mother's day  on 10th May, click the picture to find some great ideas and recipes to treat your mother on her special day.

May Updates

Culinary Videos

Click the picture to find the latest additions including the first of Phil Vickery's new Pudcasts



Culinary History


Click the picture to find the latest articles on culinary related history



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 mins - great for working people.


Focus on . . .

                        The Club Sandwich


Whilst The Club Sandwich is more associated with the US, as the sandwich is named after a British Lord, I think it's a suitable candidate to be celebrated during British Sandwich Week (10th-16th May 2009).


Believe it or not, I've never actually eaten a pukka Club Sandwich....but I can nevertheless tell you what goes in it and how it's made.


Traditional  Ingredients


Warm Chicken, Warm Bacon, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Mayonnaise and not forgetting sliced bread.


     Photo © Monkey Business -



Although the original club sandwich was only made with two slices of bread,  it quickly  became customary to make it with three which creates what is known (in other circumstances)  a "double-decker" sandwich.


The bread should be thinly sliced and toasted and the fillings should be relatively thinly sliced - no door-steps here please. You can vary the order of the ingredients according to your personal preferences but here's my take on it.


1. Place some lettuce and a generous layer of mayonnaise  on the first slice of toast, top with the chicken then place another slice of toast on top.


2. Place the bacon, tomato slices on the 2nd piece of toast, spread with more mayonnaise if you like, then top with the last slice of toast.


It's traditional to secure the sandwich at the four sides by spearing through all the layers with long wooden toothpicks before cutting into quarters which helps keep the fillings in order....and in place.


Variations and substitutes

Turkey (instead of chicken) = Turkey Club

Thins slices of Roast Beef (instead of chicken) = Beef Club

Sliced ham (instead of bacon)

Additional thin slices of cheese

Additional Honey Mustard


More about the history of The Club Sandwich  and British Sandwich Week

 2 in 1. . .

25th-31st May

Mango Week

May is

Burger Month

Homemade burgers couldn't be more simple in this recipe which is courtesy of Rubicon. Children and adults alike will enjoy these moist, juicy burgers.

2 tsp arrowroot
150ml/1/4pint Rubicon mango juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 mangoes, stoned removed, peeled and flesh finely chopped
500g/1lb2oz minced pork, thawed if frozen
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh chopped mint
1 medium egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 little gem lettuce
4 burger buns, split

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4
Cost per portion: £1.60


1 Mix the arrowroot with a little of the mango juice until smooth and then add the Worcestershire sauce and simmer until thickened slightly. Stir in two-thirds of the mango and allow to cool. Season to taste.

2 Meanwhile, mix together the remaining mango, minced pork, spring onion, mint, salt and pepper and egg until well combined. Shape into four burgers and arrange on a foil lined tray. Grill under a preheated grill for 8-10 minutes on each side.

3 Fill the buns with some lettuce leaves, mango and pork burger and tomato and onion salad if liked. Serve with the mango chutney on the side.


Don't forget to check out the Burger Recipes page for more tasty burgers and visit the  Mango Week page to find out more about mangoes.


18th -24th May

British Tomato Week


It's still a little early in the UK for home-grown tomatoes (unless you've really forced them), nevertheless, I'm sure the British Tomato Growers' Association have their own reasons for holding this food celebration day so early.


To celebrate, this month's Recipes4us Video production features a really tasty salad which is excellent served with grilled, baked or barbequed meats or poultry.


Click here for the full sized video and written recipe



May is National Asparagus Month


Asparagus is thought of as being one the most quintessential of English ingredients, and by many, the queen of vegetables. However, it's not native to England, having been introduced by the Romans in the 1st Century AD. 


So prized were these perennial shoots by the Romans that fast chariots would take fresh asparagus from the Tiber River area to the Alps where it was frozen and would keep for six months.


Today the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire is the best known area for growing English asparagus, however back in the 17th Century one of the major areas where it was grown was Battersea, London, from where they were sold as "Battersea Bundles". Asparagus was so popular that Samuel Pepys, the diarist, recorded that he bought a bundle of "sparrow grass" in Fenchurch Street for 1s.6p.


 For more interesting facts and information about Asparagus visit our new Asparagus page. 


Asparagus Nutritional Values

Amount Per 1 medium spear (5-1/4" to 7" long)
Calories 3.68

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat 0.032g 0%

    Saturated Fat 0.00736g 0%

Cholesterol 0mg 0%

Sodium 0.32mg 0%

Potassium 43.68mg 1%

Total Carbohydrate 0.726g 0%

    Dietary Fiber 0.336g 1%

Protein 0.365g 1%
Vitamin A 2 %     Vitamin C 4 %

Calcium 0 %     Iron 1 %

Vitamin D 0 %     Vitamin E 1 %

Thiamin 1 %     Riboflavin 1 %

Niacin 1 %     Folate 5 %

Vitamin B-6 1 %     Vitamin B-12 0 %

Phosphorus 1 %     Magnesium 1 %

Zinc 0 %     Copper 1 %

Other food related Celebrations in May

National Honey Week

National Allergy Week

National BBQ week

National Doughnut Week

National Vegetarian Week

National Watercress Week

National Strawberry Month

National Salad Month

National Egg Month

If the above are underlined they are linked to articles or special pages.



May in the Kitchen Garden



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



Reader's Questions


Q.  What is half and half milk?

A.  It's a half milk half cream mixture which must be 10-12% fat. It's therefore richer than whole milk and ideal when you want to add an extra creamy taste, such as in coffee however, it cannot be whipped.




Food in the News . . .



Carotenoids linked to fewer hip fractures


Increased intakes of antioxidant pigments from plants may lower the risk of hip fracture in older men and women, according to a 17-year study from the US.

> > > > More  External Link



The Kitchen Garden

* * * 2009 Garden Experiment * * *


I  sowed the "normal seeds" on 25th March which was just after the waning moon phase, 4 days earlier than the the "moon seeds" on the 29th March which was the very beginning of the waxing moon phase.

Maybe it's just me, but I think the moon seeds (on the right) have a slight edge on the others, particularly when you consider they were sown 4 days later.


Recipe of the Month


Here's a delicious recipe for a flavourful Italian Focaccia to celebrate National Bread Week (4th-10th May).  For more historical and culinary information about bread and National Bread Week click here.


Red Onion, Rosemary & Olive Focaccia


Prep & Cooking time:   50mins plus proving
Makes 1x 30cm/12 inch bread
Vegetarian  Italian Bread

15g/½oz Active Dry Yeast ( level tbsp)
180ml/6fl.oz. Warm Water
350g/12oz Plain Flour
1 teasp Salt
2 teasp Fresh Rosemary Leaves, finely chopped
12 Black Olives, pitted and halved
1 large Red Onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 tbsp Olive Oil
Coarse Sea Salt


1. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in 120ml/4fl.oz. of the warm water, and set aside for 10 minutes until frothy.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, yeast mixture and remaining water and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

3. Bring the dough together with your hands, adding a little more water if necessary, then transfer to a floured work surface and knead well for a few minutes until smooth and elastic.

4. Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm, and place in a warm place to prove for about 1-½ hours or until doubled in size.

5. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, Gas Mark 7 and lightly oil a baking tray.

6. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, punch down then sprinkle in the chopped rosemary and knead for a few minutes. then place the dough on the oiled baking sheet, pulling it into an oval, oblong or circle shape about 2.5cm/1-inch deep.

7. Dimple the top surface with your finger tips or knuckles, then sprinkle the onion slices and olive halves evenly over the surface, drizzle with the oil and sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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