No. 88 - May 2010


Welcome to the May 2010 Recipes4us Newsletter. If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at Once again,  the layout  may have changed slightly, so make sure you go right to the end to ensure you don't miss anything.


Happy Cooking!





Florence Sandeman,



Monthly Updates

Culinary Videos


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




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


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.


Cooking Skills . . .

        Making Sauces (Part II) 


Last month I talked about the first of the two basic sauce making techniques, so in this feature, I am going to deal with the second of the main techniques - making a sauce using the emulsion method. 

This method can be used to make warm or cold sauces and although these sauces are less versatile than those made using the roux method, they can however be made thin enough to pour such as hollandaise or thick enough to bind together ingredients such as mayonnaise and can have added ingredients to create many different flavoured sauces.

The main components of emulsified sauces are egg yolks and oil or melted butter (depending on the sauce) which are whisked together until thickened. The addition of the oil/melted butter to the egg yolks must be done slowly to prevent the mixture splitting.

Of course, traditionally, this was done using a hand balloon whisk, however many find it easier  to use an electric hand whisk or, in the case of mayonnaise, a food processor which means you only have to concentrate on adding the oil rather than on whisking or steadying the bowl.

About the Mother Sauces

Mother sauces are so named because you can make lots of variations from the basic sauce recipe.  There are two mother sauces in this category - Hollandaise and Mayonnaise.


The difference between the two emulsion mother sauces is that a Mayonnaise is very thick and always served cold, whilst Hollandaise  is generally of pouring consistency and mostly served warm.


Popular sauces derived from these include:-


Béarnaise,  Caper, Maltaise,  Noisette,  Vin Blanc

Aioli, Marie Rose (prawn cocktail),  Tartare as well as a myriad of herb flavoured varieties.

In the above video I make a classic mayonnaise using the emulsifying method.    Click here for the full sized video.

  4 in 1 . . .


3rd - 9th  May

National Bread


9th-15th May

British Sandwich Week

17th-23rd May

British Tomato


Where's the fourth one? Well, staying on the theme of emulsified sauces, mayonnaise also features in this article about BLTs..


The letters BLT stand for "bacon", "lettuce", and "tomato" and these delicious sandwiches are an old favourite having first gained favour during late Victorian era when they were served at teatime.

They became even more popular after World War II due of the increase of supermarkets which meant all the ingredients were more readily available to buy in one place and the whole year-round.


Traditionally strips of well-done or crispy bacon, lettuce leaves and slices of tomato are dressed with mayonnaise and placed in layers between slices of bread, which are most often toasted. The sandwich is actually served cold, that is to say the bacon is allowed to cool before using.


Today, BLT's are sold at most sandwich shops and fast food chains in the UK and US - probably lots of other places too - and certainly in the UK,  they are most often eaten  for brunch/lunch.  Variations include the addition of cheese and making triple decker sandwiches.


Why not make your own at home....using fresh homemade mayonnaise of course!


3 ways with . . .


May is National Strawberry Month. UK strawberries aren't usually at their best until later in the season, so this is good opportunity for me to highlight three recipes using strawberries which perhaps aren't that sweet and could therefore do with a helping hand to bring out their flavour.

Strawberry Purée

Strawberry Vodka Mousse

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

And don't forget smoothies - an excellent way to use up less-than-perfect strawberries


Strawberry Nutritional Values

Amount Per 25g/1 oz - Calories 8
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



Saturated Fat 0.00736g


Cholesterol 0mg


Sodium 0.32mg


Potassium 43.68mg


Total Carbohydrate 0.726g



Dietary Fiber 0.336g


Protein 0.365g


Vitamin A

0 %


Vitamin C

26 %


0 %



1 %

Vitamin D

0 %


Vitamin E

0 %


0 %



1 %


0 %



1 %

Vitamin B-6

1 %


Vitamin B-12

0 %


1 %



1 %


0 %



1 %

The Cookery Murders Masterchef meets CSI

* * * New Series * * *

The Underground Cookery School in London has launched a new web cooking show called The Underground Cookery Murders where food is "murdered."

In this first instalment of The Underground Cookery Murders. Detective Chef Matt Kemp and his assistant find a murdered Sushi Roll which they will bring back to life and demonstrate how to avoid common cookery mistakes when making Sushi Rolls at home.


Click here for full sized video.


Coming Next Month  .....

The team investigates the murder of a rump of lamb



Take some . . .

     Sun Dried Tomatoes


Sun Dried Tomatoes have their flavour concentrated to its full intensity by sun drying which also keeps their bright red colour.  Below are a couple of short videos courtesy of featuring sundried tomatoes. The first video is an intro to preparing and using their product and the second is a recipe for Gnocchi with Sun Dried Tomato Sauce, Melting Mozzarella and Basil, both by chef Alex Mackay who also gives some hints and tips for making the most of their great flavour.



Click here for the full sized video and written recipe

Other food related Celebrations in May


9th - Mother's Day  (N. America)

National Asparagus Month

National Honey Week

National Allergy Week

National Herb Week

Burger Month

National Doughnut Week

National Vegetarian Week

National Watercress Week

National Salad Month

National Egg Month

Click the links above for more information


Custom Printed Aprons

Full length white chef's aprons with exclusive fun designs for him and her. Buy from stock or have your own unique design professionally printed.




The Kitchen Garden

I have been an advocate of eating locally grown produce for a very long time, and whilst I realise it's not always possible particularly in the case of exotic fruit and vegetables, there are many fruit and vegetables which we can grow at home. 

The news article below discusses how our food imports are having adverse effects in other parts of the world (worth a read) - even more reason why growing your own is a worthwhile pastime.  Coincidentally, there's another full article later in this newsletter submitted by a reader, which also touches on the subject.

Food in the News . . .


Developed nations’ food imports threaten world water supplies

The UK and other developed countries’ food supplies could be badly affected by global water shortages – and exacerbate the problem, according to a new report from an alliance of engineering bodies.

> > > > More  External Link


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 more herb and vegetable growing instructions visit our growing herbs and vegetables section  or for more detailed information on growing fruit as well as herbs and vegetables,  plus lots of in-depth gardening articles,  visit our sister site

Garden Experiment 2010

Around the 23rd April I sowed the pumpkin seeds in small pots indoors - 2 per 7.5cm/3" pot covered with about 4cm/1½" of compost. I watered (a little too well)  so didn't bother placing the pot in a sealed polythene bag as suggested on the packet as I didn't want the seed to rot.

I kept an eye on it and continued to leave it uncovered (the compost still seeming very damp) and lo and behold.... 29th April the 1st seed germinated.

Now, there has been a slight change of plan as to growing them on.

I moved house in mid-April (which is why this newsletter is a little lighter than usual) and now have a postage stamp sized garden. There's still room for my containers, however there's also a small  "proper" garden bed so I am going to try growing one plant in a pot and one in the open ground.

One drawback is that it's very shady with no part getting sun for more than a couple of hours at the moment.   An additional experiment to see how well different veggies grow in shady areas.

Hopefully as the days get longer, there will be more sun.


Make your cooking More Green

There are thousands of people who want to lessen their carbon footprint and there are many ways that this can be achieved, but what is not always obvious is the fact that they can lessen their carbon footprint in the kitchen.

In general food prepared at home is healthier because you have total control over all the ingredients; you know that you have not used transfats or that the sodium content is not too high. Cooking is an art and a science and both can be beneficial to our environment. Now there is a limit to what we can do, for instance we cannot insist that our electricity provider uses wind power but we can ensure that we make the best use of heat so that we are as economical as we can be on fuel and other resources.

The food that we eat can have travelled massive distances from the field where it was grown to our table and that has made a huge impact whether it has travelled by road, rail ship or airplane it has increased the amount of carbon dioxide on the atmosphere and that has increased the level of global warming. For instance if you live in Europe and you buy New Zealand butter then it has travelled half way across the globe to get to your table.

Sometimes whole businesses have been set up to provide food choices to the first world all the year around. For instance Kenya grows lettuces and tomatoes so that people in Europe can eat salad at Christmas. This has had its impact on Kenya in the first place growing imported food often talks more water so it can reduce the water table. Also it restricts the choice that Kenyans have in their food, whilst they are growing and exporting food they reduce the choices for their nationals.

Create Seasonal Recipes
Create whole menus around what is in season rather than what you want to eat. What can be better and healthier than fresh fruits and vegetables at optimal conditions packed with vitamins and minerals because they are fresh and have to travel no more than thirty miles to get to you rather than half way around the world. Take advantage of your local farmers’ market and check out their fresh produce.

The benefits are twofold you first of all support your local community because the farmers get the best price for their produce and cut down on air miles and your family gets food in tip top condition.

Create an herb Garden
Herbs are easy to grow they will grow well in pots on a sunny kitchen windowsill if you do not have a garden and they flavour fresh food like nothing else. Try throwing in a good handful of fresh herbs into an omelet, or flavour a casserole or soup.

Make a Compost Heap
Keep a plastic bowl in the kitchen whilst cooking and throw in all your peelings, egg shells and bio-degradable waste, which is everything other than plastic and tins and glass. Buy a small compost machine and toss the garbage in it to have fresh and free compost for your herb garden.

Use the Correct pots and Pans for the job
This is the least obvious way to go green but there are ways that it can be done. The non stick surface Teflon chips off the surface of the pan at 4500F and guess where those pieces go, you’ve got it in the food. Choose cookware that uses ceramic based non stick surfaces as these are heavy enough to conserve fuel as the heat is transferred to the pot more evenly and you can cook with less fuel. Try to buy at least one pan which also have a removable steamer which is a useful way to become greener in the kitchen. If you already have a pan boiling potatoes you can pop the steamer on the top to cook the vegetables thus reducing the fuel used to cook your meal.

Article provided courtesy of Best Cookware - a consumer guide to cookware, stainless cookware and cast iron cookware


Recipe of the month



Beef, Pasta and Pea Salad with Herb Dressing


Courtesy of


Serves 4, as part of a picnic

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking time: No cooking required


375g/12oz thinly sliced cooked roast beef
175g/6oz dried small pasta shapes, cooked and cooled
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
175g/6oz green beans, topped, tailed and blanched or fresh peas
75g/3oz cherry tomatoes, quartered

For  the Herb Dressing:
45ml/3tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
15ml/1tbsp freshly chopped dill
60ml/4tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly milled black pepper



1. Prepare the herb dressing; in a small bowl mix all the ingredients together and set aside.

2. Place the pasta, onion, peas or green beans and tomatoes in a large salad bowl and stir through the dressing.

3. Add the beef and toss lightly. Serve immediately with crusty bread.


Cook's Tip....


If you use this recipe for a picnic, add the dressing just before serving


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

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