No. 109 - September/October 2012


Welcome to the September/October 2012  Newsletter. 


Since the last newsletter, I've succumbed to social media and set up Recipes4us pages on Twitter and Facebook and would like to invite you to follow the site on both - your support would be much appreciated. You can easily do so by using the follow/find us buttons below as well as sharing this page with your friends and family by using one of the share buttons.


If you have any suggestions, additions or interesting questions for the newsletter, please write to me at .


Happy Cooking!





Florence Sandeman,



 Follow/Find us   



Key: = Veg/Vegan    DF = Dairy Free    GF  = Gluten/Wheat Free



Perfect Pairings


I've been wracking my brains to figure out why trout goes so well with almonds but other than to say the flavours and textures compliment each other perfectly, I can't think of anything else to write....which is really boring of me.


I've been cooking straight-forward pan fried whole trout with almonds (GF) in lots of butter which is cooked until browned for many many years, however now I am forced to think about it, it occurs to me that many won't like the idea of a whole fish on their plate. So here's a couple of alternative ideas how to serve trout with almonds which, if prepared properly, won't involve people having to deal with bones.

  • Trout fillets baked in the oven with an almond crust - simply mix finely chopped almonds with some parsley, seasoned breadcrumbs and finely grated lemon zest and press onto the top of trout fillets which have been brushed with melted butter.


  • Mix some flaked cooked trout with seasoned mashed potatoes  Form into patties and coat with a mixture of ground almonds, breadcrumbs and dried herbs then fried on all sides until crisp and heated through.


Autumn Food and Recipes

There are many foods which are at their best during the Autumn months - September to November in the UK. 

In particular, the game bird season is well under way and although the "Glorious 12th" kicked off the grouse shooting season in August, many experts believe it's better to wait until September before buying/shooting them. If you are lucky enough to be able to get hold of them, below are some recipes for you to try.

Editor's Choice Top 3 Autumn Season Grouse Recipes



Tipsy Grouse Casserole  GF

This Scottish recipe is ideal for older birds and uses Rowan Jelly and wild mushrooms to flavour and interest. If you can't get Rowan Jelly, redcurrant jelly can be substituted.




Grouse With Raisins GF

A roast grouse dish suitable for younger birds. The creamy sauce made with crème fraîche is flavoured with raisins and sherry.




Grouse with Pear Sauce  GF

This recipe uses the breast of the grouse and marries it with tinned pears and a sauce made with the syrup from the pears and white wine.

> > >   More information about grouse

For more information on seasonal ingredients and recipes
visit the Autumn Season Page



Cooking Skills . . .

                              Homemade Biscuits


As September is Biscuit Month  and  17-23 October is National Baking Week I thought this would be a good time to do a feature on homemade biscuits. Also, Macmillan's Cancer Charity have designated  28th September for their "Worlds Greatest Coffee Morning" but more about that later in this newsletter. On with the biscuits.


There's such an array of biscuits on sale in shops, many people don't even think about making their own any more, especially as recipes are often enough to make dozens of biscuits. However if you can buy it, you can bake it, or at least something similar and homemade biscuits can still be made cheaply especially as most recipes can be adapted to make smaller quantities.


There are lots of biscuit and cookie recipes on the site, but once you've got the basics off pat, making your own variations will be a doddle, so I'm going to concentrate on the different types of biscuits which can be made at home which form the building blocks of homemade biscuits and cookies. 


Having thought about it, it seems more simple to divide the "types" my means of the method in which they are made so below is a chart showing the four main methods plus examples of the types of biscuits which can be made using those methods.

Top tips for perfect biscuits


Weigh ingredients accurately


Do not overwork the mixture once the flour has been added


Make sure the oven is preheated and that the temperature is accurate. Buy an oven thermometer if in doubt


Line baking sheets with parchment paper to help prevent biscuits sticking


Did you know that white sugar helps make biscuits crisper whilst brown sugar helps create a moister chewier biscuit?


For more interesting facts plus detailed information about the types of biscuits, how to make them (including example videos), what part the basic ingredients used play, plus lots of biscuit recipes visit the brand  new page I have just set up - BISCUITS



The World's Biggest Coffee Morning


Macmillan's are a leading cancer charity in the UK who have helped  thousands of people with cancer to cope  including counselling, practical assistance, medical aid and even  financial support and are constantly pushing for better cancer care.

As part of their current drive, they have designated 28th September as the worlds biggest coffee morning when individuals and organisations are being encouraged  to invite friends, family, colleagues and even strangers for a coffee and refreshment morning on the 28th September, during which they can donate to Macmillan's.

Macmillan's are sending out free coffee morning "kits" which contain lots of goodies to help make your coffee morning a success, including a guide with ideas on how to organize it, themed items so your room looks great namely paper doilies, balloons, bunting, posters, card labels for your cakes or biscuits or for awards if you're having cake/biscuit making competitions, invitations, a guest book, a small collection box for coin donations and attendee stick-on  badges. And to make things easy, they've also included information on how to get your donated money to them quickly and easily. There's even a free sample of Millicano coffee from Kenco, one of their sponsors.

There's still time for you to get your free kit and plan your very own coffee morning where you can show off your cake and biscuit making skills ! Visit the sign up page to get yours.


Delicious & Nutritious lunch ideas

Although I ran a similar piece this time last year, it received such good feedback, I thought it merited running again especially as new school terms are starting.


Lunches should include: Carbohydrates 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  Fluids in the form of water, squash or tinned drinks. For children in particular, the addition of dairy products such as yoghurts or fromage frais is also desirable.


Although "easy to eat" items such as sandwiches are handy, you can make lunches a little more interesting by simply putting all the ingredients into containers so you or your family can make their own concoctions "on site". Kids will love that.



Vary the type of protein supplied from day to day  e.g. Monday - Egg,   Tuesday - Sliced Meat,   Wednesday - Cheese,  Thursday - Chicken,   Friday - Fish e.g. Tuna



Vary the type of fruit and vegetables from day to day. If you vary the colours of fruit/vegetables, it's more likely that the complete range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients will be provided during the week.



In warm conditions, keep the contents of lunch boxes cool by including a bottle of frozen water or juice. Wrap it in  clingfilm or kitchen paper so any condensation doesn't transfer to the food. By the time lunch comes around, the drink will be mostly defrosted.

How's this for a novel idea - it's, practical, environmentally friendly and doesn't cost a penny.


Use  old CD spindle cases to transport your filled bagels. Stops them getting squashed.

Here are some ideas for foods to include for lunches at home, in the office or in kids' lunch boxes


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

Veggies: Carrot Sticks,   Cherry Tomatoes,   Slices of Cucumber,   Slices of Sweet Peppers,    Celery Sticks
Fruit - 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


As 22nd - 28th October is Avocado Week (UK) it has reminded me what a fabulous addition they make to lunch boxes for kids and grownups alike.  Hass avocados are a good source of fibre, contain monounsaturated fats, which helps to lower cholesterol and tryptophan, which boosts endorphins in the brain, vitamins E, B6 and B5 and 12.5% more potassium per gram than a banana - great for replacing potassium lost by the body during exercise, and staving off cramp.  One half counts as one of your five-a-day, and contains just 137 calories. 


Here is an interesting way of including avocado in a lunch box. There are three versions so there's bound to have something for everyone.


NB: Hass avocados from Peru are widely available in the UK until late September however you can use other types of avocados if you can't find Hass ones.  All 3 versions are shown in the picture.


3 Avocado Wraps

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes

All versions
½ Very ripe Peruvian Hass avocado, halved, peeled, and stone removed
A Squeeze lime juice
3 x white or wholemeal wraps

1. For Cheese  & Tomato Wraps
A Handful grated cheddar cheese
2 x Cherry tomatoes, sliced
2. For Egg Mayonnaise Wrap
1 x Boiled egg, shell cracked & removed, cut into chunks
1 tbsp Half-fat mayonnaise
3. For Tuna Mayonnaise Wrap
½ 185g Tinned tuna chunks in brine, drained
1 tbsp Half-fat mayonnaise


1. Mash the avocado in a bowl to a spreading consistency, then thoroughly mix in the lime juice and season with a little salt and pepper.

2. Cut each wrap in half and spread the mashed avocado over each half

Cheese & Tomato Wrap

 Follow steps 1 & 2 above then arrange the grated cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes down the centre of 2 wrap halves, leaving a space at the bottom

 Fold over the circular base of the wrap, then roll up from one side to the other, forming a pocket


Egg Mayonnaise Wrap

 Follow steps 1 & 2 above, then in a bowl, mash the boiled egg into small chunks, mix with the mayonnaise and season with a little salt and pepper

 Spoon the egg mayonnaise down the centre of 2 wrap halves, leaving a space at the bottom.

 Fold over the circular base of the wrap, then roll up from one side to the other, forming a pocket


Tuna Mayonnaise Wrap

 Follow steps 1 & 2 above, then in a bowl, combine the tuna chunks and the mayonnaise, mix well and season with a little salt and pepper

 Spoon the egg mayonnaise down the centre of 2 wrap halves, leaving a space at the bottom.

 Fold over the circular base of the wrap, then roll up from one side to the other, forming a pocket


In My Kitchen

I bought these well over a year ago, but they continue please me every time I use them.  I know.... little things... However, I cannot praise these plastic food storage boxes enough for a number of reasons.

Although it is possible to buy boxes separately, I bought this "value pack" which contained 6 boxes of varying sizes namely 1 x 2 litre, 1 x 1 litre, 2 x 400ml, 2 x 200ml. I especially appreciated the 200ml ones: think of a teacup then halve it. That's pretty small for a food storage box, but ideal for small quantities of leftovers such as egg yolks or egg whites, baked beans, cold salads such as potato salad or coleslaw, grated cheese etc.  Really useful to have such small airtight boxes.

The lids are really easy to get off. They actually clip on by means of the sturdy blue plastic clips which are attached to the main body of the box as can be seen in the picture. . Furthermore, the lids have extra  head-space so you can fill the boxes right up to the brim.

They are freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe and are stackable which saves storage space.

No more prising, broken nails or trying to find the right corner; no more wrapping little bits of food in clingfilm then losing them at the back of the fridge; no more storing small amounts of food in bowls or boxes which are far too big and take up too much space. Al in all,  the best product of its kind I've ever bought. Highly recommended.

Recipe of the Month - September

Roast pears and olive oil cake

With pears now in season, here's a splendid dessert recipe created by award-winning South African chef Reuben Riffel courtesy of


Serves 8
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes


For the Roast pears
4 Pears
80ml dessert wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp caster sugar

For the Cake
115g caster sugar
2 eggs
185ml olive oil
125ml dessert wine
80ml milk
The finely grated zest of 2 lemons
185g plain flour
2½ tsp baking powder

For the Syrup
115g caster sugar
125ml dessert wine



1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Cut the pears in quarters lengthways, leaving the stalk in tact, cut out the cores then place the pears in a roasting tin, drizzle with the wine and oil and sprinkle with the sugar. Roast for 45 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and starting to caramelise. Allow to cool to room temperature.


2. Meanwhile, to make the cake, lightly grease an 11 x 22cm loaf tin, and line the base and sides with baking paper. Beat the sugar and eggs together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.

3. Add the oil, wine, milk and lemon zest and beat until well mixed. Add the sifted flour and baking powder and slowly beat until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake alongside the pears for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, to make the wine syrup, place the sugar and 2 tbsp water in a small pan and stir constantly, over a very low heat, without letting it boil, until the sugar has completely dissolved.

5. Increase the heat and allow the syrup to simmer, brushing the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush if necessary, until the syrup turns a golden colour. It is important to keep an eye on the syrup at all times, as once it starts to colour, it will continue to darken very quickly.

6. Turn off the heat, add the wine and stir to combine. Some of the syrup may solidify at this point. If this is the case, return it to a very low heat until it dissolves again. Set aside to cool.

7. Serve the cake with the pears, drizzle with the syrup and add a dollop of cream or crème fraîche.

Cupcake Corner



29th  September is National Coffee Day and 22nd October is National Nut Day so here's the recipe for a snazzy little cupcake which marries the two beautifully.


Coffee Walnut Cupcakes


Veg   CD   25mins plus cooling


4 teasp Instant Coffee granules
Boiling Water
50g/2oz Self Raising Flour
50g/2oz Margarine
50g/2oz Caster Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
For the topping ( Icing frosting)
50g/2oz Icing Sugar (confectioners)
½ - 1 teasp Instant Coffee
2 teasp Boiling Water
9 Walnut Halves


1. Preheat the oven to 190C, 375F, Gas mark 5 and place 6 paper fairy cake cases on a baking tray, evenly spaced apart.

2. Mix the coffee with just enough boiling water to dissolve then place in a large mixing bowl together with the remaining cupcake ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon until well blended.

3. Place 1 tablespoon of the mixture in each paper case, smooth the tops, then bake towards the top of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until well-risen, golden and firm to the touch. Cool on wire racks.

4. Cut the walnut halves in half so you have 18 quarters. Set aside.

5. Once the cupcakes and cold, mix the instant coffee with the hot water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve then add the icing sugar and beat together until well blended and smooth.

6. Place a teaspoon of the glacé icing over the top of each cupcake, immediately press 3 pieces of walnut into the icing then allow to set before serving.


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

21st Apple Day (UK)

22nd National Nut Day (UK)

22nd - 28th National Avocado Week

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



What's in Season in October



Click here to see what's in season 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


  Focus on . . .                               

                        Short Cut Pasta


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


As mentioned last year, the subject of pasta is so huge, I couldn't possibly cover everything here. Last year I concentrated on long pasta so this year it's the turn of short cut pasta: Pasta Corda.


There are literally hundreds of types of short pastas and supermarkets, delis and even corner shops now carry many different types.  Every store cupboard should have at least one short cut pasta in store as an essential standby ingredient.


Short pasta can be divided into three main groups - soup, shaped and tube.


Soup pasta can be any shape but is generally small to enable it to be added to soups easily and to ensure every spoonful has some pasta in it.  One of the best known soups with pasta is minestrone.


Shaped Pasta come in many forms including  farfalle (bows),  conchiglie (shells) and fusilli (corkscrews) which are very easy to come by.

Tube Pasta is hollowed out and comes in different shapes and, to a certain extent, sizes. Well known tubular pasta types include macaroni, rigatoni and penne.

You can also buy packets which contain three different coloured pastas - red, white and green - often labelled tricolour. These are pastas traditionally made with spinach for the green type and tomatoes for the red type. However, there are many more coming on the market which have been flavoured/coloured with other foods such as squid ink (black, beetroot (purple) or garlic flavoured.  Whole wheat pasta is also now available.


Uses for short cut pasta - how many of these have you heard of?


Soup Pasta - In general,  the thinner the soup, the smaller the pasta should be used so tny shapes should be used with clear broths and light soups and larger shapes such as ditali  should be used for hearty soups such as minestrone. Examples include:-

acini di pepe/peperini alfabeto anelli /anelletti anellini conchigliette ditali  /ditalini
orzo/ rosamarina risi /risoni stelle/stellette stortini tripolini  tubetti/tubetitni


Shaped Pasta

Shapes are easier to manage - both cooking and eating - than long pastas, so they're a great choice if you're serving children or at large get-togethers. Many are suitable for use in cold pasta salads and hot bakes. Examples include:-

cavatelli conchiglie farfalle fusilli gigli/campanelle malloreddus
orecchiette radiatori   ruote/ruotine strozzapreti torchio   trenne


Tube Pasta

Once again, tube pastas are easier to cook with and eat than long pastas, so once again, they're a great choice if you're serving children or at large get-togethers. In addition to being suitable for use in cold pasta salads and hot bakes the larger ones tend to be sturdier than many shaped pastas which, together with the hollows, make them ideal for use with thick sauces.  Tubes with grooves on the outsides tend to hold sauces better. Examples include:-

calarametti canaroni cannolicchi elicoidali garganelli macaroni /maccheroni
maltagliati mostaccioli paccheri penne rigatoni tortiglioni



3 ways with . . .



Autumn apples are bang in season now, so October is the perfect time to celebrate with National Apple Day on the 21st  October.  Below are three recipes using apples including a video showing how to make toffee apples - perfect for Halloween.

Nutritional values of Apples

Amount Per 1 cup sliced    -   Calories 73.8

% Daily Value *

Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A
Vitamin D
Vitamin B6
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin B12

A taste of the Orient

Did you know  . . .

The word teriyaki actually refers to a specific type of cooking method, rather than just the name of a sauce?


Although you can buy ready made Teriyaki sauce, it really is very quick and simple to make your own at home with just 3 ingredients : Soy sauce, Mirin and Sugar. Here's a video in which I show you how to make it and give some tips about variations. The great thing about this recipe is that you can make as much or as little as you need so you don't have to have loads of teriyaki hanging around  although it will keep in the fridge for many weeks. If you do decide to make a larger amount, then you might be interested in this page I've just set up  Teriyaki sauce : Ideas and recipes.

Sceptical about spending money on a bottle of mirin?

Here are 5 ways to use Mirin


In most stir-fry's which use soy sauce


As a Sherry substitute


In salad dressings


In marinades


In desserts and cakes


For more information, ideas and recipes using mirin, click HERE


Click here for full sized video plus written recipe




   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 In my kitchen Biscuits   Packed Lunches  


Recipe of the Month - October


Carrot, Lentil and Bacon Soup


With the nights closing in and the days getting more chilly, here's a tasty quick to make soup courtesy of




15ml/1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 rashers of smoked bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
450g/1lb carrots, washed, trimmed and chopped
100g/4oz red lentils
1.4ltr/2 ½pt vegetable stock
15ml/1tbsp tomato puree
5ml/1tsp medium curry paste
yogurt, fresh coriander and croutons to serve

Prep and Cooking time 30 minutes      

Serves 6



1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the bacon and onion and sauté over a medium heat for 4-5 mins or until pale golden.

2. Stir in the carrots, lentils, puree and curry paste and mix well. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Boil uncovered for 5 mins, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 mins or until the carrots and lentils are tender.

3. Blitz the soup with a stick blender until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then serve with a dollop of yogurt, a scattering of coriander and croutons if liked.

Per serving: 149 calories, 4.8g fat, 0.5g saturates
Counts at two of your 5-A-DAY


Cook's Tip....

This recipe is suitable for freezing. Once cold, transfer the soup to freezer-proof containers and freeze for up to 3 months. .



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



 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, courgettes, marrows 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.




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


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