Welcome to a special Spring
2011 edition of the Recipes4us.co.uk newsletter. This
edition replaces the usual March and April issues, but I'll
hopefully things will be back to normal in time for the May
Spring cooking is the order of the day, so much of this newsletter is dedicated to
recipes using ingredients which are in season now. Sorry if
it's not spring where you are, but you can probably get some
of the ingredients anyway, so hopefully, there will be
enough to keep you going until spring visits your part of
the world .
Below are some of my favourite recipes to whet your appetite, plus
some extra information about selected seasonal produce which
I hope you will find both interesting and informative.
I've also set up a whole new section
on the main website,
Spring Cooking & Recipes which includes a collection of
specially selected spring recipes including spring lamb,
crab, mackerel, sea trout, wild salmon, asparagus, spring
greens, new potatoes, cherries and rhubarb, plus
individual ingredient pages with additional information
Brown Crab: Season starts
Although you can buy crab throughout
the year, they are at their best in spring when the meat is
sweet and flavourful, making them excellent for more simple
preparation such as in salads and sandwiches such as the one
and Lime Sandwich
2 Thin slices
white or Wholemeal Bread
100g/4oz Fresh Crab Meat (white or mixed
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 teasp finely grated Lime Zest
1 teasp Fresh Lime Juice
Coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 Spring Onion, finely chopped
½ a small Avocado Pear, thinly sliced
Salt and Black Pepper
1. Combine crab meat, mayonnaise lime zest, lime
juice, coriander, green onions in a bowl. Season
2. On one slice of bread place crab mixture and
top with avocado slices and remaining bread
Morel Mushrooms have always been a
highly prized fungi. From the same family as truffles, they
are found in moist areas, often around dying or dead Elm
trees, Sycamore and Ash trees and are in season in the UK
between April and July.
1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add
the shallots and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes
over a medium-high heat, stirring from time to
2. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 5
minutes, stirring frequently, until the juices
released by the mushrooms have evaporated.
3. Increase the heat to high, add the sherry,
bring to the boil and continue to boil for 3-4
minutes until the sherry has reduced by about
4. Add the cream and boil for 4-5 minutes,
stirring from time to time, until sauce thickens
and coats the mushrooms. Preheat the grill to
5. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a shallow
heatproof baking dish, sprinkle the top evenly
with the cheese and grill until the cheese is
golden brown and bubbling.
pigeon is relatively cheap to buy, making it ideal for
a more unusual mid-week supper.
deep crimson colour is an indication of its depth of
flavour, despite the fact it doesn't need to be hung some
like other game birds. There are only two ways to cook wild
pigeon: long and slow until very tender, or very quickly
which produces quite rare flesh. Here's a long and slow
recipe for you to try.
Wild Pigeon in
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large
saucepan, add the bacon and fry over a medium
high heat for 2 minutes.
the pigeons and brown on all sides. Remove from
the pan and set aside.
3. Add the onions, carrots, herbs, salt and
pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring from
time to time before adding the flour. Mix
well and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring.
4. Add the stock and the wine, bring to the boil
stirring, then return the pigeons to the pan.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer very
gently for 1½ hours, until the birds are tender.
2 Whole Wood
Pigeons, cleaned and gutted
2 large Onions, chopped
4 Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 Bay Leaf
2-3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
Salt and Black pepper
25g/1oz Plain Flour
300ml/10fl.oz. Meat Stock
120ml/4fl.oz. Red Wine
Garlic: Season Starts in March
In season from March to May,
wild garlic can be found in woodlands and hedgerows and is
easily identified by its distinctive garlicky smell. It is
also possible to grow your own wild garlic if you don’t have
access to a local wood and I've seen plants for sale online.
Wild Garlic ,
Watercress and Leek Soup
Serves 4 Ingredients
1 tbsp Olive Oil
75g/3oz Watercress, washed and coarsely chopped
450g/1lb Fresh Leeks, washed finely chopped
1 Large Potato, peeled and diced
900ml/30fl.oz. Fresh Vegetable Stock
180ml/6fl.oz Double Cream
Salt and Black Pepper
6 Wild Garlic Leaves, finely shredded
1. Heat the butter
and oil in a large saucepan, add the watercress,
leeks and potatoes and sauté over a low to
medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring from time
2. Add the stock, bring back to simmering point
and to cook for 10 minutes or until the
vegetables are tender.
3. Remove from the heat, allow to cool a little
then transfer to a liquidiser and process until
4. Return the soup to the saucepan, stir in the
cream and reheat gently.
5. Stir in the shredded wild garlic leaves, cook
for 30 seconds only, and serve immediately.
known as Ocean Trout, Sewin or Salmon Trout this much sought after wild fish has
a bright pink-red flesh due to its diet of crustaceans. As
the name implies, sea trout migrate to the sea, unlike the
more common brown trout. The season runs from March to
Wild Sea Trout
with Pistachio Butter
1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6 and butter a
shallow ovenproof dish which is wide enough to take the fish
in one layer.
2. Place the pistachios, basil and garlic cloves in a food
processor and process until finely chopped.
3. Add the butter and lemon juice and continue to process
until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Place salmon in the prepared dish in single layer, pour
the wine over the top and bake for about 10 minutes.
5. Remove the fish from the oven and divide the pistachio
butter between the fish, spreading it to cover most of the
top of each piece.
6. Return to the oven and continue baking for a further 5-8
minutes or until salmon filets are just opaque in the
centre. Serve immediately.
Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes
50g/2oz Unsalted Pistachio Nuts
10 fresh Basil Leaves
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
100g/4oz Softened Butter
1 teasp Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper
4 Se Trout Cutlets or Fillets
180ml/6fl.oz. dry white wine
Jersey Royal Potatoes are
famous for being the UK’s favourite new potato and
are renowned for their unique taste, flavour, and
delicate skins. Furthermore, they are the only
vegetable to have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
status, meaning they can only be grown on Jersey. They are a good source of vitamin C
especially the skins and also contain vitamin B.
700g (1 1/2lb) Jersey Royal potatoes, gently
rubbed to remove flaky skin
1 red pepper, deseeded and halved
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and halved
3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
110g (4oz) feta cheese, cut into small cubes
50g (2oz) marinated black or green olives
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
a few basil leaves, to garnish
1. Cook the Jersey Royals in boiling water until just tender
- about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, grill the peppers, skin side up, until
blackened - about 6 - 8 minutes. Cool, then peel them.
3. Mix together the sun-dried tomato paste and lemon juice
in a large serving bowl. Drain the cooked Jersey Royals and
add them to the bowl whilst they are still warm. Tear the
peppers into the bowl and toss everything together gently
4. When the potatoes have cooled, add the feta cheese and
olives, stirring gently to mix. Season to taste with salt
and pepper, then serve, scattered with the basil leaves.
Do not peel Jersey Royal potatoes - simply rub any flaky
skin gently from the surface. Always put Jersey Royals into
boiling water to seal in the flavour.
Adding the Jersey Royals to the dressing whilst they are
warm means that they absorb the flavours as they cool.
24th April is Easter Day
Spring Easter Menu
Staying on the Spring season
theme, below is a tasty Easter Menu which features current
seasonal produce in all the courses. A fabulous Easter
Sunday luncheon for family or friends.
here to see what's in season this month,
how to cook it and to find a UK Farmers' Market near you.
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 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. Most of the main courses are ready to
serve in less than 40 minutes - great for working people.
Easter Teatime Treats
Indulge yourself, your family
and your friends with some truly scrumptious teatime treats
from traditional Easter cupcakes to American Easter Whoopie
Pies (which are all the rave) to lavish layer cakes.
Below are 5 delicious recipes guaranteed to make your Easter
here to find lots of other Easter recipes plus general
information about Easter food traditions.
3 in 1 . . .
April 23rd is
St. Georges Day
Birthday and . . .
In case you are thinking this is a repeat from last
year's April newsletter, then think again as the third
of the 3 in 1 is (back to the spring seasonal food
theme) English Native Oysters and now is your last
chance to eat them at their best as the season finishes
Recent unearthed items has shown that theatre goers
during the times of Shakespeare would snack on native oysters
(amongst other things) whilst watching the performances.
Although they are currently considered a luxury food, native oysters
used to be a cheap food eaten by the working classes.
oyster connoisseurs tend to eat our expensive native specimens raw,
just laced with lemon and pepper or Tabasco, however for those of us
who are a little more squeamish (including me) they can also be
steamed then grilled, baked or deep-fried.
The recipe I've
chosen dates back to Shakespearean times when it was widely eaten by
the masses. It has the added advantage that not many oysters are
used, making it a little more economical for our times.
Other Food Celebrations in April
4th Cordon Bleu Day
8th Empanada Day
11th - 15th Allergy Week
14th National Pecan Day
19th National Garlic Day
26th -2nd May National Bread Week
30th Raisin Day
Steak and Oyster Pie Serves Two
Cooking and Pre Time - 2 hours
Steak, cut into 2.4cm/1-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, for shallow
1 large Onion, sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Large Carrot, diced
225g/8oz Button Mushrooms
1 teasp Dried Mixed Herbs
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper
300ml/10fl.oz. Beef Stock
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
300g/11oz Puff Pastry
1. Toss the beef in the flour and shake off the
excess. Heat the oil in a large saucepan until very hot
then fry the coated beef in batches to brown on all
sides. Transfer the meat with a slotted spoon to a large
plate and set aside.
2. Reheat the oil in the saucepan, adding a little more
if necessary, then add the onion, garlic and
carrot and sauté over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
3. Raise the heat to high, add the mushrooms and fry for
a further 3-4 minutes, stirring freom time to
time, until the mushrooms and browned.
4. Return the meat to the pan together with the herbs,
tomato paste, salt, pepper, stock and Worcestershire
sauce, mix well and bring to the boil stirring, then
reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer for at least
1½ hours. The longer the better.
5. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6. At the
end of the cooking time, if the liquid hasn’t reduced,
remove the meat and vegetables, bring the liquor to the
boil and boil hard until there is just enough liquid to
coat the meat.
6. Return the meat and vegetables to the pan, stir well
then transfer to a pie dish. Place the whole oysters on
top of the meat evenly space apart.
7. Roll the pastry out thinly on a floured work surface,
large enough to cover the top of the pie dish,
then bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is well
risen and golden brown.
The Kitchen Garden
Spring is the traditional time to sow
outdoor vegetable seeds and there's still plenty of time to plan
your plot, buy your seed and sow both outdoor hardy veggies and
the more tender veggies such as tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes
and peppers indoors to get them off to a good start.
Indeed, the "unforeseen circumstances"
which prevented me from doing the February and March
newsletters, have also prevented me from doing any gardening.
However, nature has her way, and despite the later start, I am
sure things will catch up throughout the season.
This year I am going to try
another vegetable which I've never grown before.
Well, I say vegetable however it's better described as a
salad crop although officially it's classed as a
herb, namely watercress.
I have grown land cress before
and whilst quite tasty, I found it to be a little
coarse, so when I came across this cultivar of
watercress, I just had to buy some seed to see if it
will be more delicate as promised in the blurb.
Under normal circumstances, true
watercress grows in shallow water. The instructions for
the variety I've purchased - Watercress: Aqua - suggests it is
sown in pots and that the pots are stood permanently in trays of
water. It also recommends growing in a shady place which suits
me down to the ground as parts of my little plot doesn't get
that much sun. I'm looking forward to try this especially as
shop bought watercress seems to go yellow quite quickly.
April in the Kitchen Garden
Sowing is still the order of the
day but unlike March, April is a time when you can sow the
majority of vegetable and herb seeds outdoors unless there
is an unusually long cold snap.
Start thinning out seeds
which were sown in pots or trays last month once they
are about 12mm/1/2" tall.. Don't delay too long as
crowded plants not only fight for light, making them grow
tall and spindly, but they are also more prone to damping