No. 81 - September 2009

Welcome to the September 2009 Recipes4us Newsletter. If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at .


Happy Cooking!





Florence Sandeman,



Cooking Skills . . .

  Home made Sun Dried Tomatoes

If you've got a glut of home grown tomatoes or can get them cheap, here's a great way to use them up....better still, they'll keep for 6 months in the fridge.   You don't even need any sun !


 Simply  place halved tomatoes on parchment lined baking sheets cut sides up, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and a little castor sugar then place into a pre-heated oven at  50-60C/122-140F and leave to dry out for at least 7 hours or until most of the moisture has evaporated. The texture should be akin to that of raisins. Remove the tomatoes from the oven, leave to cool then place into sterilised jars with seasonings such as peeled garlic,  thyme or  chillies and pour in enough olive oil to completely cover them. They'll keep for six months in the fridge so long as the oil still covers them.



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


British Food Fortnight

19th September - 4th October 2009

Running from 19th September to 4th October 2009 and now in its eighth year, British Food Fortnight is the biggest national celebration of the diverse and delicious range of food that Britain produces. 

This year British Food Fortnight is challenging schools to use British seasonal food to design and cook a meal that contains a healthy balance of the food groups the body needs (carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre, minerals, vitamins) and contains at least two portions that count towards our 5 A DAY.

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You can still save 32% on every issue


Find the best of UK produce online  Food shopping has never been easier !



New English breed of Broccoli


Over the years farmers and breeders have invested time, effort and money on research programmes to develop a less bitter, sweeter tasting broccoli, and in the end nature came up with its own solution with Bellaverde®.


The young shoots are hand picked after just 10 days of growth and have a delicate, clean, fresh sweet taste, quite unlike any other broccoli.


Although broccoli originates from Italy where the name means ‘little shoots’,  this variety is a new sweet tasting long stemmed broccoli, fresh from the fields of Lincolnshire and the name Bellaverde® which is Italian for "beautiful green", was chosen due of its vibrant colour.


Bellaverde® was launched in the supermarkets across the country from early July with the UK season lasting right up until the end of November when production switches to Spain to ensure a year round supply.


To celebrate the launch, Italian chef Gino D’Acampo (isn't he gorgeous!) has devised some delicious family recipes a couple of which are featured below plus an extra one which looks so delicious I just had to include it.


By the way, don't worry if you can't get Bellaverde®  where you are, these recipes will work just as well with any tender-stem broccoli.


Gino D’Acampo’s Warm Bellaverde® with Mint, Goat’s Cheese and Pine Nuts


Difficulty: Easy 

Prep Time:  5 mins Cooking Time: 4 mins

Servings: 4






400g bellaverde® broccoli
1 garlic clove
6 fresh mint leaves
60ml/4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
30ml/2tbsp balsamic vinegar
100g/4oz goats cheese
45ml/3tbsp pine nuts, toasted
salt and freshly ground black pepper




1. Wash the bellaverde® and trim the base of the spear. Cook in a saucepan with salted boiling water for 4 mins until just tender. Drain and then rinse in cold water to cool slightly, then, drain again.

2. In the meantime finely chop the garlic and the mint together and place in a large bowl. Pour in the oil and the balsamic vinegar and mix until well combined.

3. Add the warm bellaverde® to the bowl with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and toss all together until evenly coated.


4. Place on a serving plate. Crumble over the goat cheese and scatter  over the pine nuts and serve.

2 courgettes, trimmed
200g bellaverde® broccoli
450g/1lb dry spaghetti
90ml/6tbsp extra virgin olive oil
25g/1oz walnut pieces, roughly chopped
zest of a lemon
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
60ml/4tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese



1. Coarsely grate the courgettes then place them in a clean tea towel and squeeze dry. Meanwhile, wash the bellaverde® and prepare by trimming the base of the spear. Chop in diagonal slices about 3cm long with the leaves.


2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the courgettes and fry for 7 mins on a medium heat. Stir occasionally. Add in the bellaverde®, chilli flakes, walnuts and lemon zest and continue to cook for a further 3 mins. Season with salt and stir.


3. In the meantime cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted, boiling water for 8-10 mins or until just tender and ‘al dente’.


4. Drain in a colander. Add the spaghetti to the frying pan and toss all together on a medium heat for 30 secs. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese on top


Gino D’Acampo’s Zesty Bellaverde® and Courgette Spaghetti

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 10 mins Cooking Time: 18 mins

Servings: 4







Roasted Vegetables and bellaverde® with Halloumi


Time required to cook:40 - 45 mins





200g Bellaverde® broccoli
500g/1lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
2 small red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
150g/5oz baby carrots, scrubbed
30ml/2tbsp olive oil
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 (260g) halloumi cheese, cut into 1cm cubes, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, chopped
a small handful fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1.Preheat the oven to 200C/180CFan/400F/Gas Mark 6. Prepare the bellaverde® by trimming a little off the end of each spear. Place the sweet potatoes, onions and carrots and oil in a large roasting tin, season well and toss together. Roast for 10 mins or until nearly tender.

2.Add the bellaverde®, peppers, garlic and thyme leaves and toss together. Roast for a further 15 mins or until all the vegetables are tender. Arrange the halloumi on top of the veg and return to the oven for 5 mins until melted and golden. Serve with salad and crusty bread.



 Broccoli Nutritional Values

Amount Per 1 cup - Calories 90.58

Broccoli is high in Vitamin C, fibre and the B vitamin folate as well as being a source of potassium. An 80g serving counts as one of your 5-a-day and contains just 26 kcals

Total Fat 5.06g 8%
    Saturated Fat 0.951g 5%
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1.53g  
    Monounsaturated Fat 2.19g  
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 534.24mg 22%
Potassium 534.96mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 9.28g 3%
Dietary Fibre 5.29g   21%
Protein 5.48g 11%

Vitamin A

55 %


Vitamin C

227 %


9 %     Iron 9 %

Vitamin D

0 %     Vitamin E 8 %


5 %     Riboflavin 10 %


5 %     Folate 23 %

Vitamin B-6

13 %     Vitamin B-12 0 %


11 %     Magnesium 11 %


5 %     Copper 4 %

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


Other food celebrations in September include:-


 4th - 20th September National Seafood Week (UK)


National Chicken Month


National Mushroom Month


National Rice Month

 3 ways with . . .



September is National Honey Month

      A few Honey Facts
  • Honey is a natural ingredient - nothing is ever added or taken away

  • The bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man

  • Bees can fly for up to six miles, although one or two is more common.

  • Honey has antiseptic properties and can be used to treat sore throats, burns and cuts


Figs with Goat Cheese

Honey Glazed Squash



 2 in 1 . . .

26th Sept - 4th Oct 2009 is British Cheese week and September is National Biscuit Month so to celebrate watch me make an old time favourite - Cheese straws....with a twist.

Ok . . . I know cheese straws are really pastries rather than a traditional biscuit, but they are eaten like biscuits so I'm exercising my poetic licence - big time - as these particular little gems are made with the King of English Cheese,  Stilton.

You can substitute the Stilton with any other hard cheese, including the traditionally used Cheddar.

Click here for the full sized video and written recipe.  They really are delicious !



* * * September Feature * * *


Back to School with luscious lunch boxes

                    ( just as well for adults!)


Early September sees the return to school of most children. Even if it's not the first time you will be making up packed lunches for your kids, below are some ideas you may find of interest to ensure your child has safe, nutritious but interesting food to tuck in to.


Keep it cool - keep it safe


With today's centrally heated buildings, even cold winters can be hazardous to packed lunches, so the first thing to think about is how to make sure your child's pack lunch is safe.  It's therefore worth investing in an insulated lunch bag or box.

There are lots on sale - from pretty girly ones to more macho boy ones - which are specially designed for children.


A good way of keeping the interior contents cool is to include a very cold bottle of water or fruit drink, however you can also fun buy mini plastic ice blocks in a variety of little shapes from cars to fruit which won't add too much weight to your child's lunch box/bag.


Finally, it's a good idea to place softer foods in rigid plastic boxes and apart from the usual Tupperware  boxes  which  you  may


already own, there are containers which are specially designed for the purpose as shown above right.


Keep it interesting - keep it nutritious


Before I continue, some of you may have heard the recent report by the Cancer Research Fund about not giving children ham and other processed meats in their lunch boxes. Later in this newsletter, there's a response from the Food Standards Authority (FSA), quite rightly in my opinion, putting things into perspective. The key to healthy eating is "moderation in all things" and a balanced diet. So ham will be included in this editorial!


Here are some ideas for your children's lunch boxes. In general, if you include carbohydrate in the form of bread, rice, cereals or pasta;  protein in the form of meats, poultry, eggs, cheese or nuts;   fresh produce in the form of fruit and/or vegetables and a drink, you won't go far wrong.


Although "easy to eat" items such as sandwiches are great, you can make it a little more interesting by simply putting all the ingredients into containers and letting kids make their own concoctions on site.


Also, try not to include the same protein ingredient every day, for example a balanced weekly menu may consist of the list on the right.

Same goes for fruit and vegetables. If you vary the colours of fruit/vegetables, your child will be more likely to get the complete range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Monday - Egg
Tuesday - Sliced Meat
Wednesday - Cheese
Thursday - Chicken
Friday - Fish e.g. Tuna

September Site Updates


Culinary Videos


Click the picture to find the latest Recipes4us additions plus the next in the Phil Vickery pudcast series



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.



September in the Kitchen Garden

By now most of the hard work has been done and you should be harvesting the fruit (and veg) of your labours.


Remember to keep tomatoes, peppers and aubergines fed every week and water all plants regularly until fruiting finishes.


To aid the ripening of cordon tomatoes, remove some of the leaves or branches which may be shielding the tomatoes from the sun.


Brussels Sprouts.

The main thing about these is to make sure the plants are anchored firmly by bringing up the surrounding soil and firming. You should keep an eye on this right up until you harvest them which could be as late as December.



Continue to protect the white curds from the elements by gently folding the leaves over the top of them.


Oh, and you might as well clear the plot of spent vegetation as you go. Not only saves a mammoth job in the future but it also helps protect against disease.


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





Mini Pitta Breads,  Tortilla Wraps,  Mini Bagels,  Small  Rolls, Sliced Bread, Pasta Salad,  Rice Salad, Bulgur Wheat salad

(packed separately or combined with a carbohydrate)

Small chicken drumstick, A small wedge of Frittata,  Tinned Tuna, Tinned Sardines,  Egg Mayonnaise,  Hard Boiled Eggs, Slices of Chicken fillet, Grated Cheese, Soft Cream Cheese, Mini Cheeses, Sliced meats such as HAM and Beef, Cubes of Corned Beef,  Peanut Butter, Hummus or Bean Dips plus Crackers or Vegetable sticks for dipping

Fresh Produce

Carrot Sticks,   Cherry Tomatoes,   Slices of Cucumber,   Slices of Sweet Peppers,    Celery Sticks
Whole fresh fruit such as small bananas, pears, apples, kiwi or a few small fruit such as grapes, cherries or blueberries, chunks of melon


Fromage Frais, Fruit Yoghurts, cubes or slices of Cheese, Cottage Cheese


Water, Flavoured Waters, Fresh Fruit Juices,  Squash, Milk or Flavoured milk


Healthier snacks include dried fruit such as raisins, nuts, cereal bars, Olives (why not?!)

And for older students......


The book can also be bought direct from  Need2KnowBooks

If your "kid" is about to enter university or college life, this book could prove invaluable to them, and take a weight of your mind at the same time.


It's packed with informative information about all aspects of student life from financial advice to general "living" advice.


Although it does have a small section on cooking, you might also want to visit the Student Cooking section on Recipes4us and perhaps print off some of the advice and recipes for your offspring to take with them.


Recipe of the Month


Tuna, Bean and Egg Salad

With the credit crunch continuing to bite, times are still proving increasingly difficult when it comes to feeding your family healthy and wholesome meals on a budget. However, thanks to the British Leafy Salads Association, the whole family can enjoy tasty and nutritious meals, without blowing the weekly budget. This great combination of tuna beans and eggs is makes an excellent packed lunch.

Serves: 2    -    Prep & Cook time: 15 minutes

2 medium eggs
150g/5oz fine green beans trimmed
50g/2oz Sweet Romaine lettuce, trimmed
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
30ml/2 tbsp capers in brine, rinsed and drained
1 (160g) can tuna in spring water, drained
30ml/2 tbsp light mayonnaise
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper



1. Place the eggs in a small pan, cover with water, then slowly bring to the boil. Simmer for 7 mins, then drain and peel, then cut the eggs into quarters. Cool.

2. Blanch the beans in boiling water for 3 mins or until just tender. Drain, rinse in cold water until cold, then drain.

3. Tear the lettuce into pieces then place in a plastic container. Top with the pepper, capers, beans and eggs.


4. Mash the tuna with the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Heap the tuna on top of the salad. Chill until required. Lightly toss together before eating.

Cook's Tip....


To easily peel boiled eggs, place the cooked eggs under cold running water for a minute or two, then tap the shells all over. The egg shells will then peel away easily.




Food in the News . . .


FSA hits back at World Cancer Research Fund processed meat findings

The Food Standards Authority has sought to reassure parents it is safe for children to eat processed meats after controversial research published today suggested it can increase their risk of developing cancer later in life..

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