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    Newsletter #16 - September 2003

Welcome to the  Recipes4us.co.uk free monthly newsletter.  If you have any suggestions for additions to this newsletter, or if you wish to submit a culinary related article,  please write to me at Newsletter@Recipes4us.co.uk .        


Happy Cooking ! 



Florence Sandeman, Editor


Food Funny   

Why is a tomato round and red?

Because if it were long and green it would be a cucumber

Reader's  questions




QI'm looking for the exact temperature I need to warm my oil to in order to obtain a very fragrant mixture of oil and any herb.


A. The normal way of infusing oils with herbs is to bruise the leaves of the herbs in a mortar with a little of the oil (or a little vinegar) and then to add them to the preferred oil, place in a glass bottle with an air tight stopper and leave in a relatively warm place (such as a coolish airing cupboard) for 2-3 weeks. However, if you are in a hurry, I suggest you place the bruised herbs in the oil and heat to no hotter than 38C/100F then leave it to infuse for as long as possible before using. This may not seem very hot, but it is to ensure the integrity of the oil remains, whilst still taking on the flavour.


  There's Still nothing to get into a pickle over.....if you don't want to


Last month I wrote an article about making jams pickles and preserves. Now, I fully understand why that may not have appealed to everyone. But what else to do with all the fine produce this time of year brings forth? I don’t know about you, but much as I love courgettes (for example) I don’t relish the thought of eating them twice a day, 7 days a week in order to get through the glut in the garden. Well, most of us have freezers nowadays, so that’s got to be the most obvious choice.

The terms “blanching”, “rigid containers” and “head space” are synonymous with freezing vegetables. The problem with some fresh vegetables, is that they lose their texture.  The answer is to cook them completely before freezing… and not just in complete dishes such as stews.

How many recipes can you think of which call for frying onions until soft and transparent? That process takes between 5 and 10 minutes - time you could save by doing a whole load then freezing it in portion sizes. Or why not add tomatoes and use as a base for pasta sauces and stews.

Talking of pasta sauces, these open up a veritable Pandora’s Box when it comes to freezing. All sorts of vegetables can be used and they are a great way to get kids (or even adults) to eat vegetables without them even knowing it! Vegetables such as carrots, courgettes, aubergines, celery, onions, tomatoes, capsicums, mushrooms  can be grated or chopped and added to minced meat which not only makes it go further, but adds extra vitamins and flavours. And if you have an abundance of fresh herbs even better.

Talking of things which are thoroughly mixed up, with the nights closing in and winter approaching, homemade soups are  a warming prospect. As many of these end up being pureed, so what if the pre-cooked vegetables are very soft.


There are so many possibilities, I don’t have room to do them all justice here, but with a little imagination the options are (almost) endless. So next time you’re shopping for fresh vegetables to make a pasta sauce, casserole or stew, if they are a good price, buy/cook 4 times as much as you need and freeze the rest. Oh, don’t forget to buy extra freezer bags!


Happy Freezing!




What's New This month


Cooking by Country


Click the picture to find out about South African culinary culture and history, present day cooking and customs plus lots of recipe



The term "Rainbow Nation" is the perfect description of the South African population which is made up of many different peoples. As would be expected, with such diversity comes an explosion of culinary cultures forming a unique cuisine worthy of note


The South African Speciality Dish POTJIEKOS

The South African Speciality Ingredient BILTONG

Ingredient of the month



Click the picture to find out all about Baking Powder/Soda plus lots of recipes

For culinary purposes, Baking Powder and Baking Soda are classed as leavening agents, and can therefore be grouped in with ingredients such as yeast except it is purely chemical. 


Widely associated with cakes and breads, most of us will have used one or other of these ingredients  at some time,  and the use of sodas in cooking dates back to ancient civilisations. But the difference between Baking Soda and Baking Powder walks the tightrope between success and failure in a recipe.


We'll explain exactly what these constituents are and how they work. And we've included some non-cake/bread recipes too.


Fruit and Vegetables in Season


Aubergine,  Beetroot, Blackberries,  Cabbage, Capsicum, Cauliflower, Celery, Chilies, Courgettes, Cucumber,  Figs, Garlic, Grapes, Green Beans, Leeks, Lettuce, Melons,  Mint, Morello Cherries, Onions,  Peppers,  Potatoes, Pumpkin,  Runner Beans, Perpetual Spinach,  Tomatoes, Turnips, Vegetable Marrow, Walnuts



Recipe of the Month




Staying on the theme of what to do with the profusion of fresh produce around this time of year, here's a simple and tasty recipe from the Tuscany region of Italy which makes the most of ripe tomatoes. It's traditionally made with bread which is 2 days old and make sure you use only the best quality olive oil and  red wine vinegar to taste this at its best. It  can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated before serving, but the flavours are best appreciated when it is served at room temperature.


Serves 4     30 Minutes 



75g/3oz Onion, thinly sliced

8 x 5cm/2-inch thick slices French  bread (pref. 2 days old)
4 tbsp Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar 
900g/2lb Fresh Ripe Tomatoes, diced
3 tbsp Fresh Basil leaves, shredded
Salt and Black Pepper


1.  Place the onions in a small bowl, cover with cold water and 1 teaspoon salt and leave to soak for about 1 hour. Drain the onions well then pat dry on kitchen towels.


2. Place the bread in a bowl, just cover with cold water and leave to soak for about ten minutes.


3. Remove the bread from the water, squeezing out as much moisture as you can then coarsely crumble the bread into a large serving bowl.


4. Add the tomatoes, onion and the basil, toss to mix well then drizzle the olive oil and the vinegar over the top.


5. Season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper, toss to thoroughly coat the bread and tomatoes with the oil and vinegar. Serve at room temperature.

New and Featured Recipes      V = Vegetarian


Onion Bhajis     V

Aubergine Tempura     V

Stamp and Go

Biltong Soup

Hake and Onion Soup

Biltong Pate

Snoek Pate

Peri Peri Chicken Livers



Naan Bread    V

Courgette Tempura    V

Chestnut Fritters

Self Raising Flour     V

Crumbly Pap     V

Train Smash

Yellow Rice     V

Chakalaka     V




Singing Hinnies    V

Ginger and Date Scones    V

Irish Soda Bread     V

Treacle Soda Bread     V

Saffron Biscuits     V

Cider Cake     V

Indonesian Soda Bread     V

Tahitian Sweet Bread     V

Blueberry Pound Cake     V

Eggless Sponge Cake     V

South African Rusks    V

Hertzog Cookies      V








Fish, Vegetarian/Vegan

Eggless Seafood Tempura

Potato Gnocchi     V

Vegetable Fritters      V

Gesmoorde Snoek

Crayfish Salad


Meat, Poultry & Game

Dairy Free Chicken Tempura

Neck of Lamb Potjie

Ostrich Potjie

Venison Potjie

Cape Malay Lamb Curry

Cape Meat Balls


Cape Malay Kebabs

Boer Chicken Pie




Banana Fritters    V

Hazelnut Pancakes    V

Poor Man's Pudding    V

Moroccan Date Pudding    V

Cherry Cobbler     V

Koeksisters       V

Sweet Dumplings      V

Melktert     V

Buttermilk Pudding     V




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


Food shopping has never been easier!

Don't forget to visit our new ONLINE SHOP. 

For the moment we are offering our own range of  mixed herbs/spices under our brand name Cuisine Select, available for purchase ONLY through this site or by mail order from Recipes4us. However, we hope to be offering other exclusive culinary related items in the near future. Unfortunately, due to customs restrictions we are unable to deliver to certain countries outside of the UK and Europe, but even if you live elsewhere, if you'd like to order any of our goods please contact us as we may be able to deliver to your country. Some of the packs make GREAT gifts!  Take a peek HERE

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