No. 83 - November 2009

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


Happy Cooking!






Florence Sandeman,



Recipes4us now has a baby sister !

Welcome Pots2Plots - born on 19th October 2009 . . .  to exhausted mother


If this month's newsletter seems a little lighter than usual, I hope you will forgive me, but putting the finishing touches to my latest website has dominated my life for the past month. You can read more about it below.

3 ways with . . .



November is National Pepper Month

I'm not sure whether this refers to the spice pepper or the vegetables but here are three different ways to cook sweet peppers (Capsicums) plus an extra special one below

Capsicum and Celery Soup

Stuffed Peppers

Braised Sweet Peppers





Courtesy of

Preparation: 20 mins   -  Cooking: 15-20mins

  Serves 4

1 each red, yellow and orange pepper
150g/5oz green beans, trimmed
150g/5oz asparagus, trimmed and halved
1 round lettuce
75g/3oz goats cheese
For the dressing:
Juice 1/2 lemon
30ml/2tbsp olive oil
2.5ml/1/2tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Place the peppers in a roasting tray and roast for 15-20mins or until the peppers are tender and charred. Place in a plastic bag and leave to cool for 10mins – this helps the skins to peel easily. Peel away the skins, discard the seeds and slice the flesh into strips.

2. Meanwhile, cook the beans and asparagus in lightly salted water for 4mins or until just tender. Drain in a sieve, rinse in cold water until cold. Drain and place in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together with a fork.

3. Break the lettuce into separate leaves; rinse and dry. Place the large outer leaves in the base of large salad bowl. Add the small lettuce leaves from the heart of the lettuce to the beans and asparagus, add the dressing and peppers and toss well.

4. Heap on top of large lettuce leaves, crumble over the goats cheese and serve.



Peppers Nutritional Values

Amount  per large pepper - Calories 44.28

Total Fat 0.312g



Saturated Fat 0.0459g



Polyunsaturated Fat 0.167g



Monounsaturated Fat 0.0213g


Cholesterol 0mg


Sodium 3.28mg


Potassium 290.28mg


Total Carbohydrate 10.55g



Dietary Fibre 3.28g


Protein 1.46g


Vitamin A

187 %


Vitamin C

519 %


1 %



4 %

Vitamin D

0 %


Vitamin E

3 %


5 %



2 %


4 %



9 %

Vitamin B-6

20 %


Vitamin B-12

0 %


3 %



4 %


1 %



5 %


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


New Website is all about growing  your own edible produce  anywhere - from inner city balconies to suburban gardens to allotments -  in small pots or large plots.

As you may already know, I have been growing my own for over 40 years, and although Recipes4us features growing instructions for many vegetables, Pots2Plots is a natural extension, solely devoted to growing all types of edible crops (although it does also have some cooking guides on the vegetable pages of course!).

Aimed at both beginners and more experienced grower alike, Pots2Plots currently features detailed growing instructions for over 50 vegetables,  25 fruit, 15 herbs and edible flower information, plus many in depth  articles on specific subjects such as fertilisers, companion planting, tools and equipment,  garden planning and container growing,  making it one of the most comprehensive and unique grow-your-own resources on the net.

Whilst I like to grow as organically as possible, the site also caters for those who aren't that bothered, so rather than preaching about organics and carbon footprints, it gives visitors the choice of using chemicals or not. From a personal point of view, I would rather people find the joy of growing their own non-organically, rather than not at all.

Having said that, it does have the organic alternatives too, such as companion planting, which has the added bonus of creating a more bio-diverse environment.

As a further incentive to get people growing their own,  the individual growing pages on Pots2Plots give the heights and spread of all the crops enabling you to easily grow fruit, herbs and veggies in your flower borders.  There really is no need to get rid of all your ornamentals in order to grow your own edibles. And for non-UK visitors there are also seasonal calendars, so no matter where you are in the world, you can find the jobs to do in your current season.

Even if you've never grown anything before or had no plans to start, do take a look as I think you may be surprised at what you can grow, how easily you can grow it and where you can grow  it. . . . especially when it comes to containers.

Of course, it's not completely finished yet and I will be adding more articles and growing instructions for additional fruit, veggies and herbs over the coming months.



How does your Kitchen Garden Grow


As usual below are some tasks for the vegetable garden in November BUT for a much more detailed outline, visit the November calendar at pots2plots which includes jobs for fruit as well as veggies and herbs. 



So long as the frost hasn't got to them, continue to pot up plants of Basil, Marjoram,  Oregano and Parsley and grow them  indoors on windowsills for a fresh supply of herbs.


There are a few vegetable seeds which can be sown now including hardy varieties of broad beans and winter lettuce plus spring greens and early carrots. You can also still plant garlic and shallot sets. Consider making a cold frame which means you can sow seed earlier for earlier harvesting.


If you've grown Brussels sprouts or cauliflower, continue to remove any leaves which have turned yellow.


Don't forget to start planning next years herb gardens and vegetable plots. Many seed catalogues are now available and it's a nice way to spend a winter's evening.



November Site Updates



Culinary History



Click the picture to find the latest addition to the series




Culinary Videos



Click the picture to find the latest Recipes4us additions plus the next in the Phil Vickery pudcast series




What's in Season in



Click here to see what's in season this month plus  recipes



Weekday Menus



Click the picture to find this month'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



Other food celebrations in November include:-


1st – 7th  National Fig Week

2nd - 8th   British Sausage Week

9th    British Pudding Day

2nd Week  Split Pea Soup Week

14th    National Pickle Day

17th   Homemade Bread Day

21st   Gingerbread Day

22nd    National Cashew Day

30th   St. Andrew's Day

National Pomegranate Month

Vegan Month



9th November is British Pudding Day


If you fancy a quick fix on British Pudding Day (or any other day)  this fantastically delicious pudding can be made from start to finish in just 15 minutes in the microwave


Cherry Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4

Cook and Prep time: 15mins

3 tbsp Cherry Jam
100g/4oz Butter, softened
100g/4oz Sugar
2 Large Eggs, beaten
1 teasp Vanilla Extract
75g/3oz Self Raising Flour
50g/2oz Unsweetened Cocoa Powder


1. Lightly grease a 900ml/30fl.oz microwave bowl with some of the butter then place the jam in the bowl, spreading it evenly to cover the base. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the rest of the butter and sugar.

3. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla extract. If you use a whisk it will mix together more quickly.

4. Add the flour and coco powder and mix well then transfer the mixture to the bowl containing the jam.

5. Cover with a microwaveable plate and cook for 3 ½ minutes on high (800w).

6. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with lashings of thick creamy custard.

Can also be steamed for 1½ hours in the traditional way

Cook's Tip....

If possible, use a good quality cherry jam which has whole pieces of cherry in it


      2 in 1 . . .

                                          Curry week and Homemade Bread Day


Did you know the first "Indian" restaurant was opened in London in 1809 and that by 1850 curry  was a well established  dish in British cuisine?


Little wonder then that recently curry has  been  voted one of England's National Dishes.


To celebrate  National Curry Week (22nd - 28th)  and  Homemade Bread Day (17th), here is my most recent video showing how to easily make your own warm flaky Paratha flatbread.  Click here for the full sized video and written recipe


To find an Indian curry recipe to go with your homemade Paratha click here.



Thanksgiving (US)

Thanksgiving Day, sometimes colloquially called "Turkey Day" is a national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the USA and is one of its biggest national celebration days of the year. This year it falls on the 26th November

> > > History of Thanksgiving

©  Olga Lyubkina -


Click the picture for lots of traditional Thanksgiving recipe




Countdown to Christmas . . . . .


Here are some tasks you should consider starting now to ensure a stress-free holiday period. It may seem early, but you'll be glad of the extra time you'll have in December.


2nd week in November
If you want to get a fresh turkey or goose you'd do well to order it now as you may be surprised at how quickly stocks run out, especially free-range and organic birds.  Click here to find out
what size turkey  you'll need.


3rd week in November

Make your Christmas puddings early. The aim is to re-boil/steam then for a couple of hours every two weeks or so, which results in an incredibly dark rich pudding.  Why not try one of these



Christmas Pudding with Guinness

Traditional Christmas  Pudding

Vegetarian Christmas Pudding


4th week in November

If you want to make a traditional cake with marzipan and icing, ideally, once you've covered the cake with the marzipan, you should wait a week before icing....longer if you wish and once iced, it will last for weeks in a cake tin. Click here for a Traditional Christmas Cake  recipe.






Food in the News . . .


Ethical food purchases set to rise
By Caroline Scott-Thomas, 23-Oct-2009

UK consumers are likely to become more interested in purchasing ethically produced foods as the country emerges from recession, according to research from IGD.

> > > > More  External Link



Find the best of UK produce online - even unusual or hard-to-find items  Food shopping has never been easier !



Recipe of the Month


Roasted Mushroom, Squash and Halloumi Salad

Courtesy of


Salads aren’t just for summer. Combining cool, crunchy lettuce leaves with hot ingredients can provide a tantalising taste sensation as well as a delicious alternative to the usual winter stodge.


Serves 4

Preparation: 20 mins   -   Cooking: 15-20mins

350g/12oz butternut squash, washed & deseeded
45ml/3tbsp olive oil
1 (250g) pack chestnut mushrooms
1 (250g) pack halloumi cheese
50g/2oz mixed wild and brown rice
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
45ml/3tbsp sliced fresh basil
juice of half a lemon
15ml/1tbsp honey
1 whole curly leaf lettuce e.g  apollo or batavia
salt and freshly ground black pepper




1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Cut the unpeeled squash into chunks and place in a roasting tin, add 15ml/1tbsp of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 mins, stir in the mushrooms and roast for a further 10mins.

2. Meanwhile, slice the halloumi and place on a baking tray bake for 10-15 mins or until it has become golden and crisp. Leave to cool, then break into bite sized pieces. Cook the rice in lightly salted boiling water for 20-25mins or until tender. Drain in a sieve and rinse with cold water to cool slightly.

3. Place the rice in a bowl, add the onion, basil, lemon, honey and salt and pepper to taste. Add the mushrooms, squash and any pan juices from the roasting tin and toss together.

4. Break the lettuce into leaves; rinse and dry. Divide the lettuce between four plates, top with the rice salad and serve straight away



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