No. 49 - October 2006

Welcome to the free monthly newsletter. If you have any suggestions for additions to this newsletter,   please write to me at . 


Happy Cooking ! 




Florence Sandeman, Editor


Did you know ?

Apples are more effective at keeping people awake in the morning than caffeine….apparently

October is a busy month food wise in the UK.  British Cheese week, Seafood week, British Sausage Week, National Apple day, National Cider Month and the second week of British Food Fortnight all fall within this month. Check the New and Featured Recipes section at the end of this newsletter to find a variety of dishes to honour these national food days/weeks/months. Oh, and let's not forget Halloween on 31st October.


What's New This Month



Ingredient of the Month



Click the picture to find out about  Mint including its origin, history and of course lots of recipes



Cooking Tip of the Month

No Buttermilk?

If a recipe calls for buttermilk and you don’t have any, you can make a simple substitute by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice to every 240ml/8fl.oz. milk. Mix well and allow to stand for 10 minutes.



Food in Film


Click the film to see the next in the series.



What's in Season

Apples, Artichokes, Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chillies, Courgettes,  Leeks, Mint, Lettuce, Onions, Pears, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Perpetual Spinach,  Squash, Quinces, Turnips, Vegetable Marrow



How does your  Kitchen Garden grow


For a winter supply of Herbs, pot up plants of Basil, Marjoram,  Oregano and Parsley and grow them on indoors on windowsills.


You can plant onion and shallot sets for over-wintering and if you're growing spring cabbage, you should move them to their final positions early this month. Yu could also try sowing the seed of suitable Winter lettuces.


Keep an eye out for caterpillars on brassicas such as red cabbage and pick them off by hand.


Start looking out for 2006 seed catalogues, many of which you can order online and get your seed orders in early. It's a good idea to roughly plan out where you want to grow your herbs and veggies, paying special attention to crop rotation - try not to grow the same veggies in the same place as you did last season to avoid a build up of soil pests/diseases.


For detailed growing instructions visit our specialist  growing herbs and vegetables section



Find UK Holiday Cottages


A superb site where you can search for cottages by district, price, date and size. And not only cottages in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England ....they have many cottages in France and Germany too.





30th September – 8th October is British Cheese week

 This year I thought it would be interesting to focus on a British cheese which despite being a world favourite is often overlooked. Good old Cheddar. Here are a few interesting facts.


•   Cheddar gets its name from the Cheddar Caves in Somerset,  UK  where  it was first stored in the 15th Century

•   Cheddar is the UK’s favourite cheese, accounting for 55% of the market

•   It takes 10 litres of milk to make one kilogram of Cheddar


•   A matchbox sized piece of Cheddar contains about 30% of the recommended daily calcium intake for adults

•   West Country Farmhouse Cheddar has a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and can only be produced in the West Country - Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall

•   King Henry II declared Cheddar cheese to be the best in Britain and records show that in 1170 the king purchased 10240lbs of Cheddar

•   By the reign of Charles I, records show that the demand for cheese made at Cheddar was so high that it was “bespoke” and already sold before it was even made.

•   In 1901 the village of Cheddar despatch 3500lbs of cheese to Captain Scot aboard the ship "Discovery", for his Antarctic Expedition

•   There are 6 main varieties of Cheddar - mild, medium, mature, extra-mature, vintage and West Country Farmhouse Cheddar. The main difference between them is the time they are aged – usually from 2 months for mild to 24 months for vintage

Try some  tasty recipes using the following British Cheeses - just click the name




Double Gloucester


Red Leicester






Lanark Blue




And if none of those take your fancy use the search form to find alternative  recipes using your favourite British cheese - there are well over 100 on the site.


Happy Cooking !





“Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat” – CHARMING!


The history of Halloween can be traced back over 2,000 years. The earliest celebrations were among the Celts who not only worshiped a Sun God but also Samhain who was the lord of the dead. They believed that Samhain called up the souls of the dead who would take the forms of animals and roam over the Earth through the night of the 31st October. It was called the Vigil of Samhain.

Many years later All Saints Day or All Hallows Day celebrated by the Roman Catholic faith on 1st November was established as a means of replacing the pagan Vigil of Samhain however with the increased practising of witchcraft, 31st October became known as the Night of the Witch and later All Hallows Even or The Night of the Dead. Through time, the name was shortened firstly to Hallowe'en and eventually to Halloween.

… so what do pumpkins have to do with it ?

The hollowed out pumpkin (Jack 'o Lantern) was named after a man called Jack, who was an infamous drunkard and trickster. He tricked Satan into climbing a tree then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, thereby trapping the devil up the tree. He made a pact with the devil that, if the devil would never tempt him to wicked ways again, he would promise to let him down the tree.

However, after Jack died, not only was he was denied in to Heaven because of his previous evil ways but was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil. The devil instead gave him a single ember to light his way through the darkness. This was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer. How exactly the pumpkin came to take its place is still a mystery to me.

… so where does “trick or treat” come into all of this?

I always thought trick or treating was a US invention however, once again, its origins can be traced back over 2000 not only to the Celts, but also the Chinese, Egyptians and Aztecs. Still closely tied with the night of the dead, it was believed that spirits required food and drink to placate them and so people would leave out morsels of food for their consumption. Not to do so may encourage them to enter your house, cause havoc and help themselves.

As time went on, people began dressing as spirits and performing antics in exchange for food and drink. It is this practice, called "mumming", which evolved into the present-day trick or treating.

… so what can you do with all the pumpkin flesh afterwards?

One of the easiest things is to make soup – very welcome now the nights are drawing in. Here are 3 soup recipes for you to try


All Hallows Soup  (Veg)     40mins

Leek, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup    50mins

Chicken and Squash Soup      50mins



Whether you're looking for everyday,  exotic or unusual food and drink,  visit 

Food shopping has never been easier !


Recipe of the Month


Sausage and Apple Pie

A scrumptious pie using two of October's national ingredients - Sausages and Apples.  Don't bother going for an expensive sausage - just your ordinary banger will do - making it very economical too. this is another recipe which was originally passed to me by my mother-in-law before she died although I've adapted it a little.



400g/14oz Shortcrust Pastry

450g/1lb Ordinary Pork Sausages or sausage meat

2 teasp Mixed Herbs

2 Small Dessert Apples, peeled cored and sliced

Salt and Pepper

Beaten Egg to glaze



Serves 4   - Prep and cooking time:   70mins




1. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, gas mark 7. Divide the pastry in half and use the first half to line a 20cm/8inch pie plate.


2. Skin the sausages then place in a bowl together with the mixed herbs, salt and pepper and mash well with a fork. Spread half the mixture over the pastry, then add the sliced apples and finally top with the remaining sausage meat.


3. Dampen the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg then use the remaining pastry to cover the pie. Press the edges together firmly, knock up and flute with your fingers or decorate with a fork.


4. Brush the top with beaten egg to glaze and decorate with pastry leaves if desired. Make a small hole in the centre of the pie then place in the oven for 15 minutes.


5. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C, 325F, gas mark 3 and continue to cook for a further 35-40 minutes.


Serve immediately or leave to cool then refrigerate and serve cold.

New and featured Recipes 

V = Vegetarian       GF = Gluten/wheat Free      DF = Dairy Free


Mixed Herb Vinegar       Vegan   GF  DF

Prawn and Cod Stuffing

Bechamel Sauce

Apricot Couscous        V    DF

Bercy Sauce 

Caramelised Shallots       V    GF

Aubergines a la Bordelaise       V 

Breton Beans        V    GF

Yorkshire Pudding        V 

Apple Mashed Potatoes      V    GF

Smoked Cheese Dressing      GF

Savoury Mashed Pumpkin      V 

Apricot Couscous       Vegan    DF

White Cabbage Salad       V 

Caramelised Beetroot with Apple      V    GF


Desserts Cakes & Bakes

Dundee Cake       V 

Manchester Tart        V 

Stilton Scones     V 

Blackcurrant Charlotte      V

Carrageen Peppermint Cream       V

Monmouth Pudding     V 

Sparkling Cider Sorbet      V 

Irish Jig       V 

Plum Souffle        V

Scottish Clootie Dumpling

Stilton, Fruit and Nut Crumble      V 

Buttermilk Scones      V 

Apples in Red Wine       V    GF    DF

Poached Pears in Cider         V    DF

Cider Cake      V 

Soups & Starters 

Champagne Oysters     GF

Escargots de Bourgogne 

Tod Man Plaa (fish cakes)     DF

Nutty Stuffed Mushrooms       V  

Potage aux Panais et Echalotes     GF

Roasted Shallot Soup        V    GF

Lanark Poached Pears     V 

Scallops Florentine

Stilton and Spinach Parcels       V   

Cidered Black Pudding Brochettes

Apple and Wensleydale Pate         V    GF

Leek Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup      GF

All Hallows Soup         GF


Main Courses 

Stilton Topped Mushrooms      V  

Sole Bonne Femme

Beef and Aubergine Salad          DF

Sea Bass in Burgundy      GF

Creamy Potato Pie       V  

Rabbit in Saffron Sauce

Chicken Marengo

Ostrich Steaks with Apples

Sausage 'n Stilton Mash      GF

Dunlop and Spinach Strudel        V 

Prawn Pad Thai

Leek and Stilton Quiche         V 

Baked Gloucester Cod

Pork Meatballs       GF    DF

Coriander Pork Burgers      GF    DF

Thyme & Cheshire Stuffed Chicken Breasts    GF



Next Newsletter due out 1st week in November  - to unsubscribe click here