No. 92 - September 2010
Welcome to the September 2010 Recipes4us Newsletter. If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at Newsletter@Recipes4us.co.uk .
4th - 19th September is Scottish Food Fortnight
Scottish Food Fortnight is a national promotion of Scottish food and drink organised and funded by the Scottish Countryside Alliance Educational Trust. The campaign was established in 2003 to raise awareness of the quality and variety of food and drink and has grown to be one of the key events in Scotland's food calendar.
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18th Sep - 3rd Oct is British Food Fortnight
Now in its eigth year, British Food Fortnight is the biggest national celebration of the diverse and delicious range of food that Britain produces. This year the Department of Health has teamed up with British Food Fortnight to promote the importance of its 5 A DAY
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Many people pass over British cheese for French or Italian cheese, but with over 700 cheeses being made in Britain today, and with a very long history in cheese-making, they shouldn't.
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Find the best of UK produce online
UKFoodOnline.co.uk Food shopping has never been easier !
September Site Updates
Click the picture to find the latest Recipes4us additions plus the next in the Lesley Waters webisodes and Phil Vickery pudcast series
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.
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
3 ways with . . .
Did you know . . . .
Mushrooms are not a vegetable, but the fruiting body of a fungi, and it is believed that they have been in existence on earth for 90 million years
The Gluten Free Grain
September is National Rice Month
Rice is one of the most important staple foods in many cultures and regions, especially in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies. It is a gluten free grain which belongs to the the grass species Oryza sativa of which there are more than 40,000 cultivated varieties grown in over 100 countries on all continents except Antarctica.
In many cultures, rice is linked to fertility which is why the custom of throwing rice at newly wedded couples exists. In India, rice is always the first food offered by a new bride to her husband, to ensure fertility in the marriage. In Louisiana folklore, the test of a true Cajun is whether he can calculate the precise quantity of gravy needed to accompany a crop of rice growing in a field !
For lots of information about rice, its origin, cultivation, processing and how to prepare and cook the different types of rice available, visit the brand new Rice Page.
In the meantime, here's one of the latest Recipes4us video productions in which I cook a Coconut Honey rice pudding. Not only is this dessert completed gluten and dairy free, it's cooked on the stove-top in less than 40 minutes. Better still it's served with caramelised oranges, which I also demonstrate in the video. It can be served hot or cold and you can substitute the oranges for any soft fruit such as mango or pineapple. Click here for the full sized video plus written recipe.
* * * Seasonal Feature * * *
Hints and Tips for Cooking & Storing Blackberries
© Blazej Pawlica - Fotolia.com
Although I featured this article a couple of years ago, I think it's well worth repeating especially as now is the time to collect blackberries for storing over the winter.
Some interesting facts
A cup of blackberries has about 60 calories
In the US during the Civil War, blackberries were used to cure dysentery
In the past, blackberries have been used as a hair dye
Blackberries are high in antioxidant
When should you pick your blackberries?
Harvest them in the afternoon when the dew has evaporated and the sun is drawing all the flavours into the little pockets of juicy goodness. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have blackberries growing in your backyard then look for firm plump blackberries when purchasing at you local market. If they are packaged in clear plastic then check the bottom of the container to ensure that the fruit isn’t beginning to rot and secrete juices.
How to store your blackberries
The best way to keep blackberries for later use is to freeze them, unless you are going to make preserves or jam. The berries tend to spoil very quickly if left for more than 2 -3 days.
Gently place the berries on a tray, arrange them so they are not touching each other, they should be dry so they don’t stick to the tray; and put into the freezer. Using this free flow method of freezing the berries ensures that you have individual berries to use as the decoration on your apple tarts and pies over winter and for that special blackberry and apple sauce with roast pork or pork loin chops.
Another way to preserve the berries is as juice in the freezer or as fruit leather. For fruit leather you will need to mix the berries with apples and pears as these fruits won’t overpower the berry flavours and will give substance to the finished leather. This is a healthy way for children to enjoy a chewy treat full of fibre and nutritious food value and natural sugar.
A cocktail or two…
Blackberries that have been frozen in ice cubes make attractive decorations in punch or as a garnish in your blackberry nip cocktail for when you are sitting on the patio on warm summer evenings. Macerate blackberries in grand Marnier or blackberry nip for an hour and add a bottle of sparkling wine, a perfect tipple for a barbeque and a heavenly way to enjoy blackberries.
Or why not make your own Blackberry Liqueur!
The ingredients you’ll need include:
1 lb of blackberries
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
3 cups of gin.
Bring the first three ingredients slowly to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Simmer about 20 minutes or until syrupy.
Strain through a muslin cloth into a jug and add the gin.
Stir and put into bottles.
Seal and leave for at least a month before using.
I love a berry summer!
Written by Nia Snowden
Author Bio - Nia Sowden is a freelance author for Only
Cooking Skills . . .
September is National Biscuit Month
Did you know . . . .
Biscotti is the plural form of biscotto and that the name comes from the medieval Latin word biscoctus, which means "twice-cooked/baked".
Also known as biscotti di Prato they originated in the Italian city of Prato and are indeed baked twice to achieve the right texture so they can be kept for a longer period of time.
In past times this which was particularly useful when journeys could take a long time and items similar to biscotti are believed to have become a staple for Roman legions during their extensive campaigns.
Today biscotti have become a popular sweet biscuit primarily for dunking in coffee and certainly in the UK, are a common item sold in most coffee shops as well as many supermarkets and grocers. In Italy they are often also served with sweet wine.
Making them at home is a relatively simple affair and can be done quite quickly, with no special equipment required. There's the added bonus that you can use a variety of flavourings to suit your own taste.
Watch me make some delicious Cherry and Pistachio biscotti in this video - although you can use any nuts or fruit....or leave them out altogether. I've also set up a whole new Biscotti page on the main site, where you can find lots more biscotti recipes.
For the full sized video and written recipe click here.
Recipe of the Month
Did you know . . . .
Clementines are prized for being seedless (among other things) and in 2006 growers in California threatened to sue local beekeepers to keep bees away from their crops to ensure they wouldn't be cross-pollinated and end up containing seeds.
Roast Beetroot, Clementine & Goats Cheese Salad
Here's vibrant, fresh salad by chef Sophie Michell. Beetroot is a fashionable and healthy ingredient in its own right, but the zingy addition of the ClemenGold* clementines makes it very special.
Salad lettuce leaves
1 head of fennel
1 bunch of watercress, washed and trimmed
4 medium sized, ready-cooked beetroot
300g of soft rind-less goats cheese
Sea salt and black pepper to season
25ml white wine vinegar
75ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of finely chopped chives
1. For the dressing, zest and juice the clementine a small saucepan, add the vinegar, bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced by half. Then take off the heat, cool completely, add the olive oil and chives.
2. For the salad, take the lettuce leaves, trim and slice the fennel as thinly as possible, then mix with the dressing and the watercress. nel and top with the beetroot and clementine, then crumble over the goats cheese.
3. Slice the beetroot into six and peel the 4 clementines, then slice through the middle, to get lovely flower like slices.
To serve, plate up a pile of the leaves and fen
This would be great served as a light lunch or a side to grilled Chicken, duck or even fish.
*ClemenGold is a juicy and sweet-tasting Clementine, with an outstanding taste and a fresh, citrus scent. It has an eye-catching bright, orange skin, is virtually seedless and is easy to peel. ClemenGold is available in UK supermarkets throughout the summer, until late September
Food in the News . . .
Food cans reach 200th birthday
The US Can Manufacturers Institute is inviting the world to celebrate the two hundredth birthday of the food can on August 25 2010.
It traces the advent of the food can to the patent granted to British inventor Peter Durand on August 25, 1810 for his idea to store preserved food in tinplate vessels.
Two hundred years later, there are more than 600 sizes and styles of cans being manufactured, according to the institute. Consumers worldwide buy more than 1,500 different food items from all over the globe at any time of year.
Innovative design still continues in the form of moulded and shaped cans, cans with multiple graphic capabilities, easy-open cans, and microwavable cans, said the institute.
* * * * *
To celebrate the food can, or tin as we call them here in the UK, here's one of my favourite everyday recipes which I've been cooking for many many years. It uses tinned tuna and tinned tomatoes plus seasonal courgettes.
Tuna Stuffed Courgettes Au Gratin
Serves 4 as a light main course
1 x 400g/14oz tin Chopped Tomatoes
½ Teasp Sugar
2 teasp Worcestershire Sauce
2 teasp Dried Basil (or 1 tbsp Fresh)
Salt and Black Pepper
4 Medium sized Courgettes (about 24cm/8-inches long)
1 x 200g/8oz tin Tuna
4 tbsp Finely Grated Cheddar Cheese
4 tbsp Fresh Breadcrumbs
2 tbsp Freshly Chopped Parsley
1 Garlic Clove, Crushed
Olive oil for drizzling
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 250F, Gas Mark 4. Mix together the tomatoes, water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, basil, salt and pepper and place in a shallow ovenproof dish which is wide enough to accommodate the courgettes halves in one layer. Set aside.
2. Halve the courgettes lengthways and scoop out the middle seedy parts which can be discarded. Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix together the tuna, egg, 2 tablespoons of the cheese, 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper and mash together with a fork until relatively smooth.
4. Fill the hollowed out courgette halves with the mixture and place on top of the tomato sauce in the ovenproof dish.
5. Mix together the remaining breadcrumbs and cheese, sprinkle over the courgettes , drizzle with a little olive oil then cover with a piece of foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the courgettes are just tender.
6. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes to brown the breadcrumb topping. Great served with plain boiled rice.
The Kitchen Garden
* * * 2010 Garden Experiment * * *
RECAP - This year I decided to try growing summer pumpkins. I've chosen the variety "Summer Ball (Sahara)" because not only will the plants produce 1kg/2lb pumpkins, but the fruit can also be cut when they are small and used like courgettes (Zucchini). Suitable for containers or open ground, I will be trying both methods.
Unless something extraordinary happens with the weather, I think this may be the last report on my experiment with growing these summer pumpkins as they will probably start losing vigour with the weather getting cooler. I should also have mentioned, that these pumpkins will not store for any length of time (unlike winter pumpkins).
All in all I am very pleased with the results especially the fact that despite having left some to get to full size on the plant, it still continued to produce more pumpkins which I cut and used as "courgettes" unlike the courgette/marrow plant (which can also be seen in this picture (click on it for full size). That wonderful marrow is the only fruit on that plant.
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.
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
The pot grown plants performed very well indeed - just as well as the one grown in open ground as can be seen from the picture, so it is definitely a candidate for people who only have containers or who don't want to take up valuable space in a very small garden bed. The largest specimen I harvested weighed almost 675g/1½lb and I ended up stuffing it as per the tuna stuffed courgette recipe above. It served two of us amply. The only thing was that the skin was at that size, too hard to eat.
If you're interested in how the rest of my new garden is doing, visit my blog at http://cepsinthecity.blogspot.com/
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