No. 102 - October 2011

Welcome to the October 2011  Recipes4us Newsletter.   You'll notice the appearance of a small shopping trolley graphic at the end of some of the pieces in this newsletter. This is just to highlight the fact that kitchen items related to the article are featured in the shopping arcade  section from where you can buy them direct from Amazon.  If you click on the graphic it will take you to the shopping arcade.


* * * Please note* * *  

The next newsletter will be a Winter Special covering  December and January, and will be sent out towards the end of November.  Hopefully there is enough in this month's issue to keep you going until then.  If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at .


Happy Cooking!





Florence Sandeman,





The term "retro food" has been bandied about a lot in the last few years, but I am having more and more of a problem with it as I'm not sure exactly what comes under that umbrella.


The other morning I was watching BBC Breakfast and they did a feature about  corned beef with Pru Leith, during which it was referred to as a "retro" food.  Not in my house !   I may not eat it every week, and I may buy the sliced variety from the deli counter rather than tinned, but it makes an appearance in my fridge at least once a month...and always has done. Corned beef and tomato sarnies is one of my favs.


For me things like corned beef are not retro foods as they have never been unavailable or out of favour. Now Arctic Roll is another matter, and in my opinion is a true retro food.


If you're not familiar with (or not old enough to remember) Arctic Rolls, these were a frozen dessert consisting of vanilla ice cream wrapped in a thin sponge which had been spread with jam. They first went on sale in 1958 and by the 1970s  became a very popular dessert with more than 25 miles' worth being sold each month.

Did you know . . . .


Arctic Roll was invented in the 1950s by Dr Ernest Velden, a Czechoslovakian lawyer. Dr Velden fled the Nazis in 1939 and set up an ice cream factory the following year in Eastbourne, Sussex. His invention apparently helped earn him the OBE in 1983 !


Eventually sales fell and production was stopped in 1997, however  the product was relaunched in December 2008, apparently due to cost-conscious shoppers turning to the frozen treat as a cheaper alternative to fresh or chilled varieties as well as Britons seeking comfort foods in troubled times.


Check out this old advert: might bring back memories!

For those of you who can't find Arctic Rolls in your local store, or who don't like buying ready made desserts, here's a recipe explaining how to make your own.


One good thing about making your own is that you can experiment with the ingredients. Why not have a chocolate sponge encasing a coconut ice cream?


Culinary Videos



Click the picture to find the latest Recipes4us additions plus the latest celebrity chef videos



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


   10th - 16th October is British Egg Week



A medium sized egg contains less than 80 calories and is a good source of high quality protein. Naturally rich in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12 and vitamin D, they also contain vitamin A and a number of other B vitamins including folate as well as  minerals and trace elements such as phosphorus, iodine and selenium.

Egg consumption limits have been lifted in the UK
Over the years eggs have come in for a real bashing in the UK with recommendations limiting their consumption to as low as  one per week.  Gone were the days of "going to work on an egg" which was an old advert back in the 60s suggesting you should eat at least one egg a day.

Today, all major UK heart and health organisations including the Food Standards Agency and the British Heart Foundation have lifted previous limits on egg consumption, though obviously it would be unwise to eat an excessive amount of eggs.

NB   Since writing the above, there has been yet another scare relating to eggs and prostate cancer.  I just can't keep up!

5 Eggy Tips

Eggs can be kept at room temperature 65°F (18°C) for about 10 days and as long as 2 months in a refrigerator


To test eggs for freshness, lower them into a bowl of water. If they lie on there sides at the bottom they are quite fresh, if they float to the top they are stale and probably bad.


When boiling eggs, add 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice to the water if you suspect an egg is cracked. It will coagulate any white escaping into the water thus preventing any more white getting into the water


Plunge hard boiled eggs into cold water for a few minutes as soon as they are cooked to prevent a dark ring forming round the yolk.


To shell hard-boiled eggs, plunge into cold water as above, roll on a hard surface to crack the shells  then remove the shells under cold running water. 

Coddled Eggs
A forgotten method?

Coddling is a method of cooking that produces very lightly set eggs.

Although you can coddle eggs in a ramekin or even directly in their shells, using an egg coddler is an attractive way of serving eggs.

Coddlers are porcelain cups with a lid and are often highly decorated.  The inside of the egg coddler is buttered in order to flavour the egg and to allow it to be removed more easily then a raw egg  is broken into the coddler, which is then stood in a pan of nearly boiling water for about 7-8 minutes. The water is never boiled which produces a very softly cooked egg. Additional seasonings can be added to the egg before cooking.

NB  Children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are advised not to eat very lightly cooked eggs.


31st October is Halloween
5th November is Guy Fawkes Night

Is it just me or is this recipe a little weird? It was sent to me courtesy of

"Give your taste buds a kick with this impressive Beef Pattie Toffee Apples with Spiced Pumpkin Dip. The recipe combines all those seasonal favourites such as bonfire toffee apples, seasonal pumpkins and home-made burgers.  It’s fun to make, an ideal way to get your little monsters ready for trick or treating and guaranteed to impress guest of all ages"

Beef Pattie Toffee Apples with Spiced Pumpkin Dip

Serves: 4-6

450g/ 1lbLean beef mince
Pumpkin dip:
1 Small pumpkin or butternut squash, cut lid off and scoop out seeds
¼ Cox’s eating apple
1 clove garlic, squashed
Sprigs fresh thyme
10ml/ 2tsp Olive oil
Toffee apples:
225g/ 8oz Caster sugar
120ml/ 4floz Water
25g/ 1oz Butter
30ml/ 2tbsp Golden syrup
3 Cox’s eating apples
Wooden ‘lolly’ stick or similar


Preheat oven to 180C, 350F, Gas 4-5.  Place the pumpkin or squash on a baking sheet lined with foil. Inside the pumpkin place all the ingredients, place a splash of water on the tray and loosely cover with foil.

Cook for about 50 minutes or until the flesh is soft. Remove the apple skin, garlic and thyme and carefully scoop the flesh from the sides of the pumpkin – mix this around to make a soft spoonable dip (and serve it from the skin).

Take mince and season. Make into 25g (1oz) patties and cook under a preheated grill for about 3–4 minutes each side until browned and cooked through. Put to one side - you will need these as soon as the apples have been dipped.

Toffee apples: Place sugar and water into a saucepan and dissolve sugar.

Add the butter and syrup. Boil and then don’t stir – boil for about 10 min until a dark golden colour. (If you drop a spoonful of the mixture into a jug of cold water it should form stringy droplets of solidified toffee when ready – about 290C if you have a sugar thermometer.)

Have ready the apples, which have been cut horizontally into 3, push the wooden sticks through the centre (have ready a tray covered with non-stick paper).

Take the toffee off the heat and carefully dip the apples and thoroughly coat in toffee.

Place the patties onto the prepared tray and as the dipped apple slice is removed place it on top of the cooked patties. Push the stick through the burger to create a toffee apple/patties.

Serve the beef pattie toffee apple with the pumpkin dip.


Cooking Skills . . .

                           Tempering Chocolate

10th-16th  October is National Chocolate Week (UK)

In recipes where chocolate needs to be added to other ingredients as a flavour, nothing more needs to be done than merely melting or chopping/grating it. However,  when an ultra smooth and shiny effect is required, such as coatings on cakes or confectionary, tempering the chocolate is key to achieving the desired finish.


What is tempered chocolate?

Chocolate naturally contains six different sized cocoa butter crystals, but it is only a particular size of crystal which gives the characteristics required for tempered chocolate.  Tempering chocolate increases the amount of those particular crystals whilst reducing the other five, making the chocolate more stable, particularly at room temperature.


Bought bars of chocolate have already been tempered which is why they are shiny and have a snap to them however, in order to use chocolate for coatings, it must first be melted and the process of melting chocolate  "un-tempers" it as it melts all the crystals, resulting in chocolate which is dull and soft once it re-solidifies.


Much is spoken/written about using thermometers however, like jam making and sugar craft, with a little practice it is not absolutely necessary provided the mechanics of the task are understood. 

As this is a major technique in chocolate-craft, I've set up a page on the main website dedicated to tempered chocolate. To find out how to temper chocolate with or without a thermometer visit the new Tempering Chocolate page. Alternatively, if you're in a hurry,  watch this video in which I show you how to do it.

For a full sized video click here.



Uses for tempered chocolate


Dipping Coating Moulding Receptacles Toppings/ decorations


Book Review ....

Auberge du Chocolat
By Anne Scott
Price £16.99 | ISBN
9781847738202 | Hardback 144 Pages

Auberge du Chocolat means Inn of Chocolate and as the name implies, this book is purely about making chocolates. However, as it covers the major techniques involved when working with chocolate, it is a book worth owning by all cooks, whether you intend making homemade chocolates or not, though I bet once you've read it, you'll be eager to give it a go.


Although written by a professional chocolatier, it is easy to understand with all steps written in clear and uncomplicated language.

Once again, I've managed to get a 49% discount for UK readers! Sorry subscribers from the rest of the world, couldn't swing that,  but it's worth paying the full price and you'll probably get a reasonable discount on Amazon .

Enter the discount code
ar4us to get the 49% discount  when ordering the book through the Publishers website. Click here to order.

(Offer valid until 31st December 2011 to UK residents.  Discount cannot be used in conjunction with other offers)

There are short chapters on the history of chocolate, where chocolate comes from and how it's made before going on to full chapters covering chocolate techniques and presentation.

The techniques section explains procedures such as tempering, dipping and moulding and the presentation chapter illustrates lots of ideas to make your homemade chocolates look beautiful with various types of decorations, piping and packaging.  There's also information relating to equipment needed to create professional looking chocolates . . . . which is surprisingly little.  The book is fully illustrated with colour photos and is peppered with hints and tips  throughout, like using bubble wrap to create a textured finish as shown in this picture.

Then comes the actual chocolate recipes which are divided into six sections namely dipped chocolates, truffles, moulded chocolates. flavoured chocolates, dairy free chocolates and chocolates for children. They range from easy to relatively complicated, plain to fancy - so there really is something for everyone. The one shown on the left is an orange and cinnamon dipped chocolate from the dairy free section.

I am very happy to add this book to my cookbook collection and have certainly learned a thing . . . or two.

About the Author
Anne and Ian Scott set up Auberge du Chocolat in 2005 and have rapidly established a significant presence in the premium chocolate community with their prize-winning chocolates and bars. Their workshops, parties and corporate events are designed to be fun.  The company is committed to sourcing products in a sustainable and ethical way.


   Even more chocolate for National Chocolate Week . . .

A rich chocolate ice-cream isn't that easy to achieve just by using chocolate as a basic ice-cream mixture can only take a certain amount of chocolate before its texture is compromised.

For this reason in this recipe a small amount of pure unsweetened  cocoa powder is added - just 1 tablespoon - which is enough to "top up" the chocolate to give a full, rich flavour with a beautifully smooth texture.

As with all things chocolate, use as good a quality chocolate as you can afford.

Click here for a full sized video plus written recipe


Recipe of the Month #1

Smoked mackerel with horseradish and avocado
As horseradish and apples are in season, I thought I'd feature this recipe by celebrity chef Thomasina Miers. It also contains avocados in celebration of Avocado Week 24th - 30th October courtesy of

Cooking time: 30 minutes     Serves 4 as a light lunch

4 pieces of brown pitta bread
1 clove garlic, cut in half
75ml extra virgin olive oil
6 x 125g/5oz  fillets smoked mackerel
For the avocado relish:
3 Hass avocados, peeled stoned and roughly diced
½ small cucumber, seeds removed and diced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced finely
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Juice of a lemon
A small handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
For the horseradish cream:
100g/4oz crème fraîche
3 teasp freshly grated horseradish or  horseradish sauce
Squeeze of lemon juice
Dash of olive oil, salt and black pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. In a small bowl mix all the horseradish cream ingredients together and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice if you think it needs it.

2. Mix all the avocado relish ingredients together starting with the juice of half a lemon and only adding more if you think the relish needs sharpening up a little. Set aside.

3. Cut the pittas open along the long edge with a sharp knife and then cut each one in half across the middle. Brush the pieces with olive oil and toast in the oven until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes, watching them like a hawk as they burn very easily!

4. Remove from the oven and immediately rub the garlic gently over the warm toast to give it the merest hint of garlicky flavour.

5. Break up the mackerel into small chunks and mix it into the horseradish cream. If needed, season with a little more lemon juice and a good sprinkling of chopped parsley.

6. Stuff the mackerel into the pittas and top with the avocado relish. Serve immediately.


  Focus on . . .                               

                        Long Pasta


Not only is 25th October World Pasta Day  but October is also Pasta month. You can visit the official website at


The subject of pasta is so huge, I couldn't possibly cover everything here, so instead, I'm just going to showcase long pasta.


Most of us will have come across spaghetti, tagliatelle and linguine but there are quite a few others, and whilst some varieties may not be easy to obtain outside of Italy, as they can often be substituted  it's worth mentioning them.


When substituting one long pasta for another, it is as well to remember certain things e.g. thin, delicate pastas like angel hair or capellini are best served in soups or with very thin, light sauces and thicker pastas such as tagliatelle or  fettuccine are best served with heavier sauces.

One other thing I'd mention is that long pasta often doesn't work as well as short-cut pastas in baked dishes. Having said that, there's always an exception to the rule to prove me wrong . . . . in this case lasagne.


Long pasta can be divided into two main groups - Rods and Ribbons. Rod pasta is round and very occasionally hollow and ribbon pasta is flat.  Below is a list of long pasta shapes which is by no means definitive. How many of these have you even heard of, let alone seen? 


Rod Pasta   Ribbon Pasta  

angel hair




lasagne  &

laganelle &






mafalde &


fedelini / fidelini  



reginette / reginelle

spaghetti &



vermicelli  &



trenette / trinette






2 in 1 . . .


17th – 23rd is National Baking Week in the UK and October is National Cookie Month in the US.

I've not come across Baking week before, however according to the official website, the theme this year is Bake and Share – whether sharing with family, friends or even the office. The word "baking" in this instance covers any type of recipe which is baked - sweet or savoury from cookies to crumbles.

What's the difference between a cookie and a biscuit?


I suppose in truth there isn't a difference however, for some reason in my own little mind, the word cookie conjures up thoughts of a large, thick, sweet biscuit, with bits of things in them such as chocolate chips rather than dainty little thin biscuits.


Below are a couple recipes for that type of cookie,  which would be great for sharing with kids and adults alike.



Chocolate and Hazelnut Chip Cookies Veg CD N American 35mins


Berry Oat Biscuits Veg CD CBF 45mins


Food celebrations in October include:-


6th - National Noodle Day

10th - 16th  British Egg Week

10th - 16th National Chocolate Week (UK)

17th - 23rd National Baking Week (UK)

21st Apple Day (UK)

22nd National Nut Day (UK)

24th - 30th National Avocado Week (UK)

25th World Pasta Day

28th Wild Foods Day

30th Pumpkin Day

31st Oct - 6th Nov British Sausage Week

31st Halloween

Chilli Month

Cider Month (UK)

National Pasta Month

National Pork Month

National Cookie Month



3 ways with . . .



31st Oct - 6th Nov 2011 is British Sausage Week


Now in its 14th year, British Sausage Week is celebrating the legend that is the great British Sausage and this year the theme is  great sausage hits remixed.

Bangers (the British nickname for sausages which originated from the Second World War when the high water content made them tend to explode during cooking as the water turned to steam) are apparently the nation’s favourite meat-based dinner, outselling chicken or minced beef and accounting for 854 million meals every year. They play a starring role in some all-time classics, such as toad in the hole, sausage casserole and  sausage rolls.

Below are three recipes which are a twist on the above classics courtesy of



Readers' Questions


Question:  I've been reading your recipes for razor clams and wondered if they are seasonal or can be eaten all year round?


Answer:    As far as I am aware, there isn't a "season" for razor clams although I have read that one should avoid harvesting juvenile specimens although how one can tell whether it's a young one before it has been harvested is a mystery to me.  


Does anyone reading this know?



Food in the News . . .


Supermarkets drag their heels on food date labels reform

Supermarkets are threatening to wreck plans to kill off confusing food date labels.  Ministers want to simplify a system in which products can be marked with either sell by, display until, best before or use by.  They say the bewildering array of labels helps explain why the average family bins £680 of perfectly good produce every year.

> > > >  More (external link)


Food date labelling explained


Use by


This is a very important label which applies to fresh highly perishable products and relates to the safety of products.  Food or drink should be consumed by the end of the "use by" date  even if it looks and smells ok. This is because certain bacteria may be present which cannot be detected by smell, taste or appearance but which may be harmful. In addition, storage instructions must be adhered to such as "keep in a refrigerator" as non-adherence can result in  the food spoiling before the use by date has been reached. Furthermore,   make sure you follow any instructions on the pack, such as "freeze on day of purchase", "cook from frozen" or "defrost before use and use within 24 hours".


Very important  Once a food with a use by date has been opened, you need to follow any additional  instructions such as "eat within three days of opening" however make sure it is still eaten by the use by date. As an example -   The use by date is 3rd June. Instructions are "use within 3 days of opening".  Product is opened on 2nd June. It must still be eaten by 3rd June not 3 days after i.e. 5th June.


Best Before

"Best before" dates appear on a wider range of foods from frozen to dried; tinned to fresh.   Apart from eggs, "best before" dates are about quality, not safety. When the date is passed, it doesn't mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavour, texture, nutritional value or appearance.  This is one of the most confusing date labels which leads to  8.3 million tonnes of food and drink being thrown away in the UK, most of which could have been eaten. Fresh vegetables such as carrots fall into this category as do many cheese and dairy products. Use your eyes and nose. Once again, the best before date will only be accurate if the food is stored according to the instructions on the label and storage instructions should be carefully adhered to.

When it comes to eggs, it's best not to eat them after the "best before" date because they can contain Salmonella bacteria, which could multiply to dangerously high levels if you keep them after this date.

Sell By and Display Until

These often appear near or next to the "best before" or "use by" date but are of no real use to the consumer as they are instructions for shop staff to help them to stack the shelves. IGNORE THEM. The important dates for you to look for are the "use by" dates and to a lesser extent the  "best before" dates. Having said that, if there is no use by or best before date, then treat the sell by date as the use by date.




   Shopping Arcade  


Below are some items you may need to purchase in order to more easily prepare,  cook or serve recipes or ingredients featured in this newsletter. They are all available from Amazon - click the links/pictures and get them delivered direct to your home or office.


Pasta   Eggs      
Chocolate       Sausages  


Napkin Fold of the Month

Gathered Fan

This is an informal fold suitable for soft thin fabrics such as organza as shown here, using a matching fabric napkin ring. There’s no need to be too precise about the pleats which can be as large or as small as you like.

The larger the pleats, the softer the look. You'll need a napkin ring to complete the fold.











Napkin Size

Suitable Materials

Napkin Design






Thin Cotton






1. 1. Lay the napkin front side up in a square and make horizontal pleats all the way up.

2. Press along the folds then holding the pleats together, fold in half from right to left.

3.  Take a napkin ring and push the folded edge of the napkin through the ring just far enough to hold the pleats together







4.  Turn the napkin so the open ends are facing away from you and fan out.


Recipe of the Month #2


Spicy Pumpkin and Cauliflower Soup


30th October is Pumpkin Day and a jolly good date it is too especially as they are in season plus it's the day before Halloween which means those of you who will be carving jack-o-lanterns will probably have lots of pumpkin flesh available for cooking.


Here's a recipe using pumpkin  courtesy of The original recipe used butternut squash however, I have substituted pumpkin. In fact, any type of squash can be used.



1 tbsp olive oil
1 Onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Red Chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 medium Cauliflower, broken into florets
1kg Pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 litre veg stock
salt and  pepper to serve
sour cream to serve

Lime and parsley to garnish

Prep and Cooking time 55 minutes       Serves 4



1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, cook over a low heat until softened.

2. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 1 minute, add spices and cook for a further minute.

3. Add the cauliflower and squash and toss to coat in spices then add the stock bring to the boil then simmer over a gentle heat for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

4. Remove from the heat and puree in a blender until smooth, reheat if necessary and serve with a swirl of sour cream.

Per serving: 202 calories, 5.8g fat, 0.4g saturates, 30.2g carbohydrate , 2.6g salt  Contains a over a third of your RDA of calcium, folic acid and vitamin C and counts for 3 of your 5-A-DAY

Cook's Tip....


Don't throw away the seeds as they make a wonderful snack once washed, dried and lightly toasted .


Nutritional values of Pumpkins

Amount Per 1 cup    -   Calories 48.81

% Daily Value *

Total Fat 0.171g



Saturated Fat 0.0903g


Cholesterol 0mg


Sodium 373.07mg


Potassium 561.38mg


Total Carbohydrate 11.93g



Dietary Fiber 2.68g


Protein 1.76g


Vitamin A

53 %


Vitamin C

19 %


4 %



8 %

Vitamin D

0 %


Vitamin E

6 %


4 %



10 %


5 %



5 %

Vitamin B-6

5 %


Vitamin B-12

0 %


7 %



5 %


4 %



11 %

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



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




As the next newsletter won't be until the middle/end of November, here's a reminder of some food celebration days in November.


1st  National Vinegar Day

1st – 7th  National Fig Week

4th  Leftovers Day

4th National Stuffing Day

8th -14th National Split Pea Soup Week

9th    British Pudding Day

2nd Week  Split Pea Soup Week

14th    National Pickle Day

17th   Homemade Bread Day

21st   Gingerbread Day

21st- 27th Curry Week (UK)

22nd    National Cashew Day

24th   National Sardine Day

24th Thanksgiving

30th   St. Andrew's Day

National Pomegranate Month

National Pepper Month

Vegan Month



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



Next Newsletter due to be sent towards the end of November  - to unsubscribe click here

To change your email address write to clearly stating your old and new email address