Newsletter #27 - October 2004
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Happy Cooking !
Florence Sandeman, Editor
Q: What did the carrot say to the wheat?
A: Lettuce rest, I'm feeling beet
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October is Cider Month in the UK
As someone who doesn't particularly like beer or larger, cider is the natural alternative to drink when I'm not in the mood for wine or the "hard stuff", which I must admit isn't very often ....but it does happen! However, apart from being a refreshing alcoholic drink, it is excellent to cook with.
I'm not too sure how popular cider is in other parts of the world, but here in England, it holds a special place in many people's hearts and is generally considered a traditional and very "English" drink. But is it really?
Although it's been made here for centuries, it is known that the Normans were drinking it long before we were and it was they who introduced it to England.
Be that as it may, I think it's safe to say that Cider as we know it today, certainly stems from Celtic roots.
In cooking, cider can be used in the same was as wine. Because it's a fermented drink, its properties in cooking are similar.
When cooking with cider, as with wine, the drier ones tend to go better with savoury dishes, especially lighter meats such as chicken and pork and fish and the sweet ones are excellent in desserts.
The alcoholic content is lower and, obviously, the taste is different, however it can be substituted in most recipes which call for wine. It doesn't matter what type you use: still, fizzy or even flat, it's the flavour which is important and bear in mind that it concentrates and deepens with cooking. So if you happen to have opened a bottle of the fizzy kind, don't throw it away just because it has lost its fizz. As with wine, the alcohol content also reduces with cooking so it's
suitable for all the family.
There are lots of recipes on the site using cider, but here are just a few to whet your appetite and to show the diverse ways cider can be used in dishes.
What's New This month
Cooking by Country
Click the picture to find out about Portuguese culinary culture and history plus lots of recipe
If you like fish and shellfish you're going to love this cuisine. Being three-quarters surrounded by water, it's only to be expected that Portuguese cuisine makes the most of the bounties from the sea. Their love affair with fish and seafood has even led to claims that they have 365 recipes just for cod....that's one for every day of the year!
And for those of you who prefer meat...there's something for you too.
The Portuguese Speciality Dish CATAPLANA
The Portuguese Speciality Ingredient BACALHAU
Ingredient of the month
Click the picture to find out all about Lentils plus lots of recipes
Rich in protein and carbohydrates; a good source of calcium; phosphorus, iron and B vitamins; easily digested - no wonder they are often a prime choice for vegetarians and vegans.
The rest of us can just enjoy these little delights for the sheer hell of it......because they're delicious, hearty and versatile. They can be added to soups, stews, salads and stuffings and are also good just by themselves. Did you know they are a seed? Click the picture to find out all about them.
Fruit and Vegetables in Season
Apples, Artichokes, Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chilies, Courgettes, Leeks, Lettuce, Mint, Onions, Pears, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Perpetual Spinach, Squash, Quinces, Turnips, Vegetable Marrow
Recipe of the Month
Scalloped Celery & Cabbage with Bacon
Here's a main course recipe which makes use of two vegetables which are in season this month. If you want a vegetarian version, just leave out the bacon.
Serves 4 30 Minutes
1 Cabbage, shredded
1 head of Celery, diced
8 slices Streaky Bacon
1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
150ml/5 fl.oz. Milk
150ml/5 fl.oz. of the Vegetable cooking water
50g/2oz Fresh White Breadcrumbs
Salt and Pepper
1. Grease a shallow flameproof dish. Place the cabbage and celery in a large saucepan. Barely cover with salted water, bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Preheat the grill to hot then grill the bacon rashers on both sides until quite crispy then chop into pieces (about 2.5cm/1-inch square). Turn the grill to low.
3. Drain the vegetables, reserving 150ml/5 fl.oz of the water and place in the greased dish. Top with the bacon and place under the grill to keep warm.
4. Melt 25g/1oz of the butter in a pan add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes without browning. Gradually add the milk plus the reserved vegetable cooking liquid to the flour mixture (roux) stirring constantly between each addition and cook for a few minutes until thickened.
5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper then pour over the vegetables/bacon and return to the grill to keep warm. Turn the grill to high.
6. Heat the remaining butter and oil in a pan until very hot then toss the breadcrumbs in the melted butter. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the vegetables, return to the grill and cook until browned and bubbling.
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