No. 71 - October 2008

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

What chefs do when they're bored

Click the picture to enlarge.

This Month's Features



Culinary History

New Additions !


More articles on culinary subjects  have been added



Culinary Videos

New Additions !



We've added more instruction videos to this section plus a couple of fun food related videos including the classic Morecambe and Wise breakfast sketch. Remember. there's no need to download anything.



Food in Film


Click the film to see the next in the series.



What's in Season in October


Click here to see what's in season this month and to find a Farmers' Market near you  (UK)..  Lots of seasonal recipes too


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 and most of the main courses are ready to serve in less than 40 minutes - great for working people.



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 next year's 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


* * * Winner of  the August New subscriber prize draw * * *

GH of Mansfield, UK





* * * New Sections* * *


To coincide with the new autumn term, I've just added a series of articles offering advice to students on subjects such as cooking on a budget, shopping for food, store-cupboard staples, cooking tips, kitchen equipment, basic kitchen and food hygiene plus lots of easy, nutritious and delicious recipes which won’t break the bank.


> > > > More



At this worrying time of banks going bust and food prices on the increase, I've added a series of pages featuring advice on saving money on food bills during the credit crunch which seems to be affecting people worldwide. Even if you are not affected, I hope you'll find these pages of general interest as it gives some excellent general food shopping tips.


> > > > More



 National Apple Day and Cider Month (UK)


Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples. Outside of the UK it is sometimes referred to as "hard cider".


It comes in still and carbonated varieties; clear and cloudy;  sweet to dry; and in a range of colours from Chrystal clear white to dark golden.


Whilst primarily consumed as a drink, its attributes also  lend themselves very well to cooking.

> > >  More

 Torsten Schon -




Food in the news.......


Vitamin K2 linked to better heart health

10-Sep-2008 - Increased intakes of vitamin K2 from dietary sources may reduce the build up of calcium in arteries that leads to hardening of the blood vessels, says a new study.

> > > > More  External Link



13th - 19th October is National Chocolate week (UK)

Chocolate contains Phenylethylamine and Serotonin both of which also occur naturally in the human brain. These mood lifting substances are released into the nervous system when we are happy and when we are experiencing feelings of passion, creating  a rise in blood pressure and heart rate and inducing a feeling of well being.

© Nataly Nazarenko -


> > > > More



31st October is Halloween


Apparently 26th October is Pumpkin Day which is a little unfortunate considering many  will have lots of leftover pumpkin flesh to use up from Halloween as pumpkins take pride of place at Halloween celebrations. Check out our Halloween day to find out why and for lots of pumpkin  recipes.

> > > > More



Other food celebrations in October include:-

28th Wild Foods Day
National Pasta Month
National Pork Month
National Chilli Month

National Cookie Month


* * * Gardening Challenge * * *


Recap:  Whilst looking at an online seed catalogue, I found two items which caught my imagination.  Strawberries which bear fruit the same year the seeds are sown and outdoor watermelons. Having never grown either of these from seed before, I decided I'd put my money where my mouth is and document  the various stages in this newsletter.   Remember, I'll be growing these on in containers as I don't have a "proper" garden. . . . . just a large terrace.

The Challenge - FINAL RESULTS

Same year fruiting Strawberries

The variety is Sarian

Outdoor Watermelons

The variety is Yellow Baby

I have to report that the overall results of my challenge were very hit and miss.  The germinating problems I had right at the beginning  had a subsequent knock-on effect throughout the season. In the end, there was no sign of any melons forming  and none of the flowers on the strawberries went on to form fruit. I've now cut off all the flowering stems in an effort to divert the plants' energy  to the root systems.

My only consolation is that I have a few strawberry plants which should over-winter and produce fruit next year.

I have already received my vegetable seed catalogue for next year, and as I've had some positive feedback about this challenge, I will be looking out for something else interesting to grow for next year's challenge.

2008 Rugby League World Cup

The end of October sees the beginning of the 2008 Rugby World Cup tournament but even if you're not a rugby fan, it's worth taking a look at the recipes which include samples of some of the more unusual countries such as Tonga, Samoa and Papua New Guinea. The page also has details of all the 1st round fixtures, including when and where they will be played, as well as the specially selected recipes from the ten countries taking part,  so you can prepare authentic dishes to enjoy whilst you're watching the matches.


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

It also has a whole section on "Box Scheme" suppliers - a great way to get the season's finest delivered straight to your door



Readers' Questions


What is blanching?



Blanching is where food is plunged into boiling water for a very short time as a way to preserve their colour, texture, and flavour. It is often used before freezing fresh produce,  partly to kill any surface bacteria.


Recipe of the Month


Pumpkin Ravioli

Here's a recipe which celebrates both Pasta Month and Pumpkin day courtesy of  TasteItalia magazine


Serves 6

Preparation 40 minutes

Cooking 35 minutes




For the pasta
300g  plain flour
¾ tsp sea salt
3 large eggs

For the stuffing and sage butter
1 small pumpkin, about 1kg
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
6 amaretti biscuits, finely crumbled
100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
90g unsalted butter
handful of fresh sage leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper





Preheat the oven to 180˚C/Gas Mark 4. To make the stuffing, cut the pumpkin into large pieces using a sharp knife and discard the seeds.


Place the pumpkin on a foil-lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, then remove the skin. Put the pumpkin flesh into a food processor with the garlic and seasoning, and whiz to a purée.


Mix the pumpkin purée with the crumbled amaretti and half of the Parmesan. Check the seasoning.

To make the pasta, heap the flour into a mound on a board and sprinkle over the salt. Make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the well and gradually work them into the flour to form a dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.

Split the pasta dough in half and roll out into two very thin sheets of equal size, using a pasta machine if possible. Place small mounds of the pumpkin mixture on one pasta sheet, spacing them about 5cm apart.


Top with the second pasta sheet and press lightly around each mound of filling to seal. Cut out the ravioli, using a fluted 5cm round cutter.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Drop in the ravioli and cook until al dente, about 2-3 minutes.


Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the sage leaves.

Drain the ravioli and divide between warm plates. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and drizzle with the sage butter.



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