No. 93 - October 2010

Welcome to the October 2010 Recipes4us Newsletter. If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at .


Happy Cooking!





Florence Sandeman,



October is Chilli Month

Did you know . . . .

there are around 400 different varieties of chillies grown worldwide, and that are one of the most widely cultivated crops today


Chillies are indigenous to Central and South America and the West Indies and have been cultivated for thousands of years. As with many other ingredients, they were introduced to the rest of the world after the Spanish conquest of the "New World"


In 1902 Wibur Scoville developed a method for measuring the heat strength of any given pepper. Whilst originally this was done by manual tasting, today it is done more accurately with the help of computers to gauge the parts per million of capsaicin, the potent chemical which gives chillies their fiery nature.  If you cannot find a particular chilli mentioned  in a recipe you can substitute with one of similar size and heat scale as shown in the chart below.


Scoville Scale (heat of chillies)

Scoville Rating

Type of Pepper

15,000,000 - 16,000,000

Pure capsaicin


Various capsaicinoids


Law Enforcement Grade pepper spray


Bhut Jolokia (Naga Jolokia)


Red Savina Habanero


Guntur Chilli, Habañero, Scotch Bonnet, African Birdseye


Bird's eye chilli, Thai Pepper, Indian Pepper,  Pequin


Cayenne Pepper, Ají pepper, Tabasco pepper


Serrano Pepper


Jalapeño , Guajillo pepper, Paprika


Anaheim pepper, Poblano Pepper, Rocotillo Pepper




Sweet Capsicum  (Bell pepper) - no heat


For lots of information about buying, preparing and cooking fresh chillies see Preparing Fresh Chilli Peppers and for lots of recipes using fresh chillies Chilli Recipes.  They are also easy to grow in containers so why not give it a go next year - see  How to Grow Chillies at our sister site Pots2Plots



Can't find where to buy particular chillies? Try....



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



History of Food



Click the picture to find the latest addition about food rationing in WWII



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 and to find a UK Farmers' Market near you. There are 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


   4th - 10th October is National Egg Week (UK)



When you think about it, eggs are remarkable things: they come in their own packaging, they don't need to be refrigerated, they are relatively cheap, a good source of protein and vitamins and incredibly versatile.

A little while ago, I set up a page about frittatas which are Italian flat omelettes, so I thought it was about time I did another feature about ordinary (French) omelettes which covers everything including step by step instructions plus a video showing how to make a basic plain omelette, hints and tips plus lots of recipes for filled omelettes, folded omelettes, omelette wraps and rolls like the one shown here courtesy of, and flat omelettes.

Click the picture to visit the new Omelette Page.

Rolled Ham and Cheese Omelette

2010 Garden Experiment

* * *  Extra  * * *


I know last month I said it would probably be the last report on this subject and indeed, I'm not expecting any more pumpkins. However both the pumpkin and marrow plants I have are still throwing up lots of flowers - mainly male ones with no fruit attached - so I thought I should mention that you can eat those too.  I should really have mentioned this earlier in the season....but I forgot....sorry.


There's a whole section about edible flowers on the site which includes some recipes, but here's a video I've done showing how to stuff, lightly batter and pan fry the flowers to make a delightful and unusual starter.

For the full sized video click here

October in the Kitchen Garden


Harvesting of summer fruit and veg will have mostly stopped by now, so you can start clearing the ground of finished crops. 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 - and to roughly dig over your plot or beds.


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. You 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.


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



Cooking Skills . . .

                           Chocolate Ganache

11th-17th October is National Chocolate Week (UK)

It may be my imagination, but it seems that every time I watch a cooking program on TV where someone is using chocolate, the term "ganache" is mentioned. This may seem confusing to many as the end recipes often vary quite drastically - from chocolate coated cakes to filled tarts to truffles. So what exactly is  Ganache?

Chocolate Ganache is basically a mixture of dark chocolate and cream which, depending on how it is further treated, can be used as an icing/glaze, as a filling for cakes similar to a butter cream (butter icing) consistency, or as a firm truffle mixture suitable for rolling or filling tarts. Other ingredients can be added to the basic ganache mixture including butter which makes the mixture very shiny, liquid glucose which makes the mixture more runny and flavourings such as liqueurs, vanilla extract, rum or brandy.

Ganache is widely used by professional chefs, particularly in the pastry kitchen but don't let that put you off, as making chocolate ganache for any of the above purposes is easy, although it helps to follow a few guidelines to ensure the end results are exactly what you want.

Having taken a look on the net, I found a lot of information about it quite misleading and unnecessarily complicated, with many articles giving different ratios of cream to chocolate and conflicting advice, so I've set up a page on the website dedicated to making Chocolate Ganache which includes hints and tips, a basic chocolate ganache recipe plus details on how to use it in all its forms.  Everything you'll ever need to know to achieve perfect results.


> > >  Go to the new Chocolate Ganache Page


   Focus on . . .                               


Have you ever seen these fruit in the shops and wondered what they are or what they taste like or even how you eat them?

Well here's the answer to all your questions.

Also known as Sharon Fruit, there are various varieties of persimmon grown in many countries including China, Korea, Japan, The United States, Brazil, Israel and Italy. However I am going to tell you about the Spanish persimmon as the season  begins soon and these are the ones you are most likely to come across in UK supermarkets shortly.

This refreshingly sweet variety of persimmon has a firm yellowy orange coloured skin and sweet, fragrant orange flesh, similar to a peach or mango. It can be eaten fresh like an apple with the skin on or used in a variety of sweet and savoury recipes. Persimmons are also a great fruit for children to snack on as they’re seedless and stone free. They can also be used as ‘mini pumpkins’ for kids during the Halloween season.

Nutritionally, persimmons are high in fibre, vitamins A and C  and contain anti-oxidant compounds including beta carotene and lycopene as well as minerals such as potassium, manganese, copper and phosphorus. They are also relatively low in calories at 70 per 100g/4oz.

Here are two recipes using persimmons  courtesy of

Seared Salmon with Persimmon Salsa - serves 2


For the salmon

3-4 tbsp Olive oil

2 Salmon fillets

1 Lemon, juice only

Salt & pepper

For the salsa

4 Asparagus spears, chargrilled and chopped

2 Handfuls fresh coriander leaves, chopped

2 Ripe Spanish persimmon, peeled and chopped into small cubes

8-10 Cherry tomatoes

Large pinch chilli flakes

A couple of dashes soy sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper

1 tsp honey

Lime and parsley to garnish



1. For the salsa, mix all of the salsa ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined


2. Season the salmon with salt and pepper then heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the salmon and fry on one side for 5-10 minutes. Turn the salmon over, squeeze over the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.


3. Serve the salmon with the salsa around it, or with the salsa piled on top of the salmon. Garnish with the lime wedges and parsley


 Honey Baked Persimmon - Serves 4



1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6. Slice the tops off the persimmons, add a clove to each fruit and scatter with crushed cardamom pods and cinnamon. Place in a shallow ovenproof dish and set aside.


Place the honey and water in a small pan, mix until well combined, pour  over the persimmons then bake in the oven for 1 hour.  Serve warm with cream or vanilla ice cream.


4 Persimmons

4 Cloves

4 Cardamom Pods, crushed

½ Teasp Ground Cinnamon

4 tbsp Clear Honey

270ml/9fl.oz. Boiling Water

Cream or vanilla Ice Cream to serve



21st October is Apple Day (UK)


Autumn is  the time for freshly picked apples - ideal for eating straight away. But what about cooking with apples?


Although you can use eating apples in recipes, cooking apples such as Bramleys or Granny Smiths generally give better results as they contain a higher acid content and lower sugar levels which produces a stronger apple flavour when cooked. Furthermore they retain a better texture.


If you are lucky enough to grow your own, you will no doubt have a glut. As well as making up and freezing pies and crumbles, freezing apple sauce or puree in portion sizes is a great idea - perfect for serving with roast pork or goose.


Watch me make an easy dessert using cooking apples in one of the latest Recipes4us videos. Eve's Pudding is a wonderful alternative to an apple pie. You could use dessert apples if you don't have cooking apples, but you'll need to go easy on the sugar. I've added a little extra to the traditional recipe in the form of flaked almonds sprinkled over the top before baking - gives  extra crunch and flavour.



For the full sized video plus written recipe click here


Readers' Questions


Question:  My family makes apple cider, both traditional and sparkling. All our products are non-alcoholic so I was wondering if your cider recipes called for alcoholic cider or not. and would it matter which I used.


Answer:    Not having used it myself, I'm not sure how recipes would turn out however, the alcoholic content isn't of that much importance in most recipes - whether it's wine or cider - so I would imagine they would turn out just as well. It's the flavour that's more important. In fact, in most recipes, the alcohol is mostly gone by the time the recipe is finished.

Other food celebrations in October include:-


6th - National Noodle Day

22nd National Nut Day (UK)

25th World Pasta Day

26th National Pumpkin Day

28th Wild Foods Day

National Pasta Month

National Pork Month

National Cookie Month


 Torsten Schon -


October is Cider Month


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



3 ways with . . .



25-31 October 2010 is National Avocado Week

Britain celebrates the second Avocado Week this autumn taking place from October 25th to 31st this month.

To celebrate Avocado Week, TV chef and owner of London’s Wahaca restaurants, Thomasina Miers, has developed some delicious avocado recipes. Below are three very different recipes by Thomasina using Maas avocados. Click the pictures to go to the recipes.

Mozzarella, Avocado & Potato Pizza

Grilled Chorizo & Avocado Sandwiches




Avocado Nutritional Values

Amount Per 100g/4oz - Calories 175

% Daily Value*   *
Total Fat 12.87g 20%
    Saturated Fat 2.05g 10%
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1.64g  
    Monounsaturated Fat 8.07g  
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8.4mg 0%
Potassium 503.16mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 6.21g 2%
    Dietary Fibre 4.2g 17%
Protein 1.66g 3%
Vitamin A 37 %     Vitamin C 40 %
Calcium 3 %     Iron 17 %
Vitamin D 0 %     Vitamin E 9 %
Thiamin 16 %     Riboflavin 19 %
Niacin 29 %     Folate 47 %
Vitamin B-6 43 %     Vitamin B-12 0 %
Phosphorus 12 %     Magnesium 30 %
Zinc 9 %     Copper 40 %

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



Food in the News . . .



Why Nigella Lawson can’t stand 'food elitism'

As Nigella Lawson returns to TV, the ‘Domestic Goddess’ reveals why her new series is about real cooking, not fads, and why she doesn't want to be like her mother.

> > > >  More (external link)


Recipe of the Month


Frankenstein Fingers and Sheep’s Eyes

For a bit of Halloween  fun on 31st October, try these spooky ideas!

They are quick and easy and get the kids eating veg too!
Courtesy of


Fill a small bowl with ready-made guacamole, hummus or other favourite dip. Take 5 baby carrots and take a thin slice off the tip of each. Then use the knife to make a small incision at the base of this cut and push a flaked almond into the slot to look like finger nails! Arrange the carrots into the dip so they look like fingers. For the sheep’s eyes, peel 4 carrots and thickly slice. Slice a few green stuffed olives and red grapes. Top each carrot slice with a blob of sour cream and the sliced grapes or olives. Arrange the eyes in pairs on a serving plate.


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