No. 98 - May 2011


Back to normal and welcome to the May 2011 Recipes4us Newsletter. If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at . 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,



May Updates

Food in Film


Click the film to see the next in the series.




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.


Focus on . . .



31st May is National Macaroon Day but before I go any further, I have to point out that what many people call a macaroon isn't really a macaroon, but a macaron.  So what's the difference?


Macaroons are basically cookies.  They can be made into relatively flat soft centred biscuits or piled a bit deeper on the tray which, when baked,  are a cross between a cookie and a cake. They can be made with coconut or almonds or both, and are sometimes decorated with chocolate, almonds or glace cherries.



Macarons on the other hand,  are small, light, meringue type biscuits which are sandwiched together with a sweet filling.  They can be coloured and flavoured with additional ingredients - particularly when it comes to the fillings. 



Macarons have become the latest craze in many parts of the world, rivalling the ever popular cupcake, so much so, that I've set up a whole page on the site dedicated to the Macaron where you can find lots of information and recipes.


To celebrate National Macaroon Day,  below are 3 easy to make macaroon recipes. To find recipes and information about macarons click here


Almond Macaroons     Veg    40mins    GF

Chocolate Macaroon Fingers     Veg   30mins plus setting    GF

Coconut Macaroons     Veg   35mins     GF



Treat your mum to breakfast in bed on 8th May (International Mother's Day) with this delicious French Toast recipe. It's quick to make and easy enough for even the youngest of children to help in the preparation.


French Toast   

Veg 10mins


2 Eggs
60ml/2fl.oz. Milk
1 level tbsp Sugar
½ teasp Vanilla Essence
¼ teasp Ground Cinnamon
2 Slices of White Bread
25g/1oz Butter (approx)


Serves 2    Hot Vegetarian Breakfast Brunch Snack


1. Break the eggs into a wide shallow dish then add the milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and beat with a fork or balloon whisk until well blended.

2. Cut each slice of bread in half then place in the egg mixture and leave for 1-2 minutes turning half way through so the bread soaks up some of the mixture.

3. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until hot, then add the bread, gently pouring any excess egg mixture over the slices in the pan.

4. Cook on one side for about 2 minutes until golden brown then turn and cook the other side until golden brown, making sure all the egg mixture is set.  Serve immediately.

Serving suggestions:
Top with fruit slices or sprinkle with caster sugar.


 3 in 1 . . .

26th April - 2nd May

National Bread


May is

National Egg Month (US)

9th-15th May

British Sandwich Week

Whilst bread and meat (or other ingredients) have been served and eaten together for as long as bread has been made, the name " sandwich"  only came into being in the 18th Century.


The story goes that John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was such an enthusiastic gambler that he didn't like leaving the gaming table whilst playing, so instead of breaking for dinner, he asked that someone bring him some meat between a couple of slices of bread. Later on, others would do the same saying something like "I'll have what Sandwich is having" and eventually, people would just ask for "a Sandwich".


Celebrate these three food days by making a quintessentially British egg and cress bridge roll, traditionally served at teatime with other favourites like scones and cakes.


About Bridge Rolls

I'm not entirely sure how they got their name, although I have read (somewhere) that it might have come about because they were often served  at afternoon bridge (the card game) parties. These  small bullet-shaped rolls are generally white and are small enough to be eaten in 3 or 4 bites... depending on how big your mouth is. The dough is enriched with milk, eggs and butter which helps make them very soft  and light including the crust.


Although you can buy these from supermarkets, it's well worth baking your own. Not only do they taste much better, but both the raw dough and baked rolls can be frozen, so it's worth making double or treble the quantity. Here's a recipe for you to try:   Bridge Rolls Recipe       Veg     50mins plus proving


About the Cress

You can use ordinary watercress, however traditionally the smaller leaved mustard and cress mix is used in sandwiches. It adds a wonderful peppery/mustard flavour and the small leaves/stems blend easily into the egg mixture, ensuring an even mix of flavours in every bite. It also saves on chopping. Mustard and Cress is very easy to grow and is a great item to get kids started on growing their own.

About the Egg Mayonnaise

As the name implies, this mixture is made up of eggs mixed with mayonnaise and seasoned with salt.  If you don't have any mayonnaise, you can use salad cream which gives a stronger flavour. The eggs should be hard boiled and completely cooled before being mashed or chopped. Bear in mind it is a filling, so if chopping, chop quite finely. Make sure you season well with salt. When using mustard and cress, there's no need to add pepper.



Making  Egg and Cress Rolls

Allow 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, 2 tbsp of cress and 2 bridge rolls per person if serving at teatime with other cakes or pastries. If you prefer sandwiches, the above proportions will make 1 sandwich.


Simply mix everything together in a mixing bowl and keep chilled until ready to serve.  Rather than cutting the roll like a hotdog, cut a vertical line down the top of the roll and pile the filling into the cut so it can be seen. Garnish with extra cress.  Try mixing in  a little lemon zest for added zing, or anchovies for an extra savoury taste.


   Growing Mustard and Cress
As mentioned above, growing mustard and cress is really easy and a good way of introducing young children to growing food as the crop is ready in a matter of days.

It's best to grow them indoors on a window sill and you don't even need any soil or compost. The only tricky bit is to remember to sow the mustard seeds 3 days after the cress to ensure they mature and can be harvested together. Your home grown mustard and cress should be ready to eat in 10 to 14 days.

1. Line a small shallow container such as an empty butter tub, with a double thickness of kitchen paper, blotting paper or even cotton wool and dampen with water. It should be very damp but not standing in water. Do not put drainage holes in the container.

2. Sprinkle the cress seeds over the top quite thickly, cover with a piece of paper or a box to exclude some light, then leave until the seed has germinated - this might be as quick as 12 hours so make sure you check regularly and ensure the kitchen paper doesn't dry out. As soon as they have germinated, uncover.

3. Three days later, sprinkle on the mustard seed and leave to germinate - do not cover. Once again, keep an eye on the water  and do not allow the paper to to dry out.


Food in the News . . .


15th-21st May is National Watercress Week


Watercress aims for EU protected status

British watercress farmers are one step closer to becoming the ’champagne’ of the cress world after passing the first stage of their battle to gain EU protected status for the age-old method of growing watercress in pure, mineral rich flowing water.

                                                                                                                               > > > > More  External Link

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.


3 ways with . . .

                                   Pink Grapefruit


South African grapefruit are in season from May through to October. Varieties such as Marsh, Rosé and Star Ruby don’t require extra sugar as they are naturally sweeter than other varieties.

Chef Sophie Michell has developed a selection of deliciously refreshing recipes featuring South African grapefruits.


This is Sophie's take on a classic Thai dish which has all those wonderful elements of hot, sweet and sour and is a healthy dish too.  Serve it as a starter or with some rice for a light lunch.

Chicken salad with pink grapefruit     CD  HD  35mins

The fattiness of duck can put people off, but when it is cooked correctly and served with the right accompaniments, that shouldn't be a problem.


In this recipe, the grapefruit and sweet wine sauce cuts through any fattiness and balances it.

Roasted duck with grapefruit sauce HT MC 45mins

Lemon meringue pies are an all time classic. In this recipe Sophie makes them with pink grapefruit instead of lemons which looks amazing.


The curd is also wonderful on toast, pancakes, muffins etc, so it's a good idea to make extra.

Mini Grapefruit Meringue Pies Veg CD DP 35mins


Grapefruit Nutritional Values

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


Nutritional value per 100 g (4 oz)
Energy 138 kJ (33 kcal)
Carbohydrates 8.41 g
- Sugars 7.31 g
- Dietary fiber 1.1 g
Fat 0.10 g
Protein 0.69 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.037 mg (3%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.020 mg (1%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.269 mg (2%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.283 mg (6%)
Vitamin B6 0.043 mg (3%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 10 μg (3%)
Vitamin C 33.3 mg (56%)
Calcium 12 mg (1%)
Iron 0.06 mg (0%)
Magnesium 9 mg (2%)
Phosphorus 8 mg (1%)
Potassium 148 mg (3%)
Zinc 0.07 mg (1%)
Manganese 0.013 mg


Shopping Arcade


Below are some items you may need to purchase in order to more easily prepare,  cook or serve recipes featured in this newsletter. They are all available from Amazon : just click the links/pictures and get them delivered direct to your home or office.


 French Macarons

Egg and Cress Rolls   Individual Meringue Pies

Napkin Fold of the Month

The Marquee

This fold is can be used to stunning effect for larger dining occasions such as weddings or banquets as well as intimate gatherings. Provided your napkin is dead square even small cocktail napkins can be used plus napkins with a decorative edge.

Napkin Size

Suitable Materials

Napkin Design






Thick Cotton



Corner Motif




Opinion:    Industry-led food days

As many of you will already know, I am a believer in eating locally grown produce whenever possible.  I am not a fanatic: indeed, I have been "caught out" many a time when buying fruit or veggies, having not read the the label only to find I have bought things which have been imported from far afield when British equivalents are in season. Shame on me !


Having said that, I do feel the consumer is sometimes being led astray.  A good example of this is British Tomato Week which is  towards the end of May.  Anyone who has grown tomatoes in their gardens in the UK will know it is highly unlikely to have fresh fully ripe tomatoes ready to eat by the end of May.  Yet British grown tomatoes are available in the shops at this time. How is that possible? Because they are grown under glass . . . . with the aid of artificial heating.  It makes me wonder whether the amount of energy used to produce British grown tomatoes in May will make them have the same or possibly higher carbon footprint as outdoor grown imported tomatoes, particularly those grown nearer to home.  It also has to be remembered that even crops grown very far away may sometimes have a lower carbon footprint than expected, as they are transported on passenger aircraft which would be flying anyway.


I'm not sure why the British Tomato Growers Association chose May for British Tomato Week, especially as, according to their website, the glasshouse grown tomato season starts in March, but you can bet your bottom dollar it is probably business driven rather than anything else. Perhaps Britain starts getting lots of imported tomatoes around this time?


So, whilst I try to support British farmers as much as I can, I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep if I inadvertently buy imported tomatoes at this time of year. Hopefully, my home grown tomatoes will do well enough that I don't have to think about it at all for 2 or 3 months later in the year.



Recipe of the month



Veggie Crumble Pie


Courtesy of


Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins
Serves 4 as a main course

Per serving: 669 calories, 32.1g fat, 18g saturates, 1.5g salt

Counts as 3 of your 5-a-day and contains over a third of your RDA of vitamin C, calcium and folic acid


1.2ltrl/2pts vegetable stock
450g/1lb carrots, peeled and sliced
225g/8oz parsnips, peeled, halved and sliced
350g/12oz small new potatoes, halved
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
150g/5oz frozen peas
60ml/4tbsp cornflour
60ml/4tbsp crème fraîche
30ml/2tbsp chopped fresh or 10ml/2tsp dried tarragon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
175g/6oz plain flour
75g/3oz butter
15ml/1tbsp English mustard
75g/3oz cheddar cheese, grated


Cook's Tip....


This recipe is also great served as a side dish. These quantities will serve 6 - 8.


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas Mark 6. Place the stock in a large pan and bring to the boil, add the carrots, parsnips and new potatoes, cover, return to the boil and simmer for 15mins or until they are tender. Stir in the leeks and peas, return the stock to the boil then remove from the heat.

2. Drain the stock and reserve. Place the vegetables in an ovenproof dish. Discard 300ml/1/2pt of the stock, return the rest to the pan. Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with a little cold water and stir into the stock with the crème fraîche and tarragon.

3. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring until you have a smooth creamy sauce. Simmer for 1 min. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and season well.

4. Place all the topping ingredients in a food processor with a good pinch of salt and ground black pepper; whizz together until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. (if you haven’t got a food processor then rub the butter into the flour, then stir in the mustard and cheese and rub together again until you have a crumbly mixture).

5. Scatter the mixture over the top of the vegetables then bake for 20 mins or until the top is golden brown. Serve as a vegetarian main course or vegetable side dish.


The Kitchen Garden



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 2011

Recap: Under normal circumstances, true watercress grows  in shallow running water. The instructions for the variety I've purchased - Watercress: Aqua - suggests it is sown in pots which are stood permanently in trays of water. It also recommends growing in a shady place which suits me down to the ground as parts of my little plot don't get that much sun.

The texture of the land cress I've grown previously was a little coarse, so hopefully this "proper" watercress will be more delicate as promised.


On Sunday 10th April I sowed the watercress outdoors.  I didn't use a very large pot as shown above in the marketing blurb, but decided to sow it in 2 x 15cm/6-inch pots.

As directed, I stood the pots in trays of water.

We had a really good bout of sunny warm weather here which meant I had to keep topping up the water in the tray despite the pots not being in direct sunlight for much of the day.

That weather obviously did some good as the seeds started to germinate, albeit a little patchy, within 7 days. I'll have to prick them out/thin them very soon.



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

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