Newsletter #24 - June 2004

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Happy Cooking ! 



Florence Sandeman, Editor


Food Funny

Q:   What did the grape say when he was sat on?
A:   Nothing, he just let out a little whine

What's New This month


31st May to 6th June is National BBQ Week. Unfortunately, some still don't seem to have got the hang of it here in the UK. Over the years I've been to many barbecues with a song in my heart and taste buds eagerly looking forward to new delights, only to find my plate scantily dressed with a charred  burger  or sausage abutted with a dreary salad. I'm not saying I want to be presented with a whole suckling pig on a spit roast,  but there are so many gourmet recipes suitable for the barbecue it makes me want to weep.

Now, in our defence, I have to admit that summers here are a bit hit and miss and often not always conducive to spending long lazy days/evenings sitting outside with friends or family. However,  this defence is so weak as to be laughed out of any culinary courtroom. Besides I'm sure basic barbecuing is not confined to the UK. Yes, a good quality steak slapped on the baaarbeeee and cooked to perfection is a pleasure, but oh to be offered with something a little different.


Why confine gourmet food to the kitchen? It really is very easy to prepare a whole Gourmet dinner on the barbecue from starter to dessert. All that's needed is a little forethought. But hey - Its what we do when we invite friends over for 'in-house' dinners so it shouldn't be too alien.


Many of you will have already visited the BBQ and Picnics page on the site, but even if you have,  take another look. There you will find many recipes fit for a gourmet dinner party from Brie stuffed Vine Leaves to Mango Glazed Duck to Peaches with Mascarpone...... all cooked on the barbecue.


There are also vegetable accompaniments such as Ceps with herbs or chargrilled Asparagus as well as a host of sauces, and marinades and  we've got Vegetarian barbecue recipes.


So, next time you're having a barbecue, think GOURMET and surprise your guests with stunning bbq creations.


Happy Cooking!



Recipe of the Month


In keeping with National Barbecue Week and our gourmet theme, below is a recipe which I think encapsulates the whole idea. Serve it as a starter or accompaniment. It goes particularly well with Swordfish or Tuna steaks.


Barbecued Artichokes

Serves 4     60mins



4 Artichokes
4 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and Black Pepper
1 Lemon, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

2 teasp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
180ml/6fl.oz. Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Pine Nuts

Extra Olive oil for drizzling




1. Preheat barbecue to medium hot. Remove about 2.5cm/1-inch of the pointed tops of the artichokes. Place in a pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan turn upside down to allow the water to drain of then set aside.


2. Place the garlic, salt, pepper, chopped lemon, balsamic, thyme and olive oil in a food processor and process until well mixed.


3. Add the pine nuts to the food processor and blitz a couple of times. The pine nuts should be chopped but still discernable.

4. Spread the leaves of the artichokes apart so they look like petals and remove the inside pale leaves and fuzzy choke. Stuff the thyme mixture in the centre and between the leaves.


5. Drizzle more  olive oil over each artichoke,  place directly onto the barbecue grill and cook, turning occasionally, for  about 30 minutes. The outsides will become charred and inedible but the insides will be soft and succulent.




For UK Residents only


This competition is run by Win4Now. To enter,

click on the ad and you'll be taken to the Win4Now site


What's in season


Artichokes, Apricots, Asparagus, Carrots, Cherries, Cucumbers, Gooseberries, Green Beans,  Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Peas, Radish,  Raspberries, Sea Kale, Spinach, Strawberries


Cooking by Country



Click the picture to find out about Venezuela's culinary culture and history, present day cooking plus lots of recipe

Venezuela has a diverse geography which includes Amazonian rain forest, dessert, mountains and plains. Put these together with a  tropical climate and a coastline on the Caribbean Sea, and you have all the  ingredients to produce a fine cuisine from a diverse assortment of home grown produce and livestock.


Also in this section, we give you comprehensive information  about a typical Venezuelan dish and a widely used ingredient. 


The Venezuelan Speciality Dish:    Arepas

The Venezuelan Speciality Ingredient:    Plantains

Ingredient of the month



Click the picture to find out all about Figs plus lots of recipes

Figs are one of the earliest fruits cultivated by man. The fig tree was mentioned very early on in The Bible and some scholars believe the forbidden fruit picked by Eve was a fig rather than an apple, which would actually make more sense as it’s supposed to be a fig leaf which Adam chose to ‘protect his modesty’.


Eating a fully ripe fresh fig is an almost sensuous experience but fresh or dried, they also add a rich sweet flavour to both sweet and savoury recipes and go particularly well with Procuitto and Cheese.

New and Featured Recipes      V = Vegetarian


Parma Ham With Fresh Figs

Figs Stuffed with Tapenade

Pan Fried Figs With Chorizo

Figs with Goat Cheese   V

Prosciutto Roasted Figs

Cheese Arepas      V

Meat Arepas

Tostones   V

Chicken and Cheese Soup

Black Bean Soup   V




Fig and Pistachio Couscous      V

Dessert Fig Sauce      V

Gingered Figs    V

Fig and Wild Rice Salad      V

Honey Baked Stuffed Squash      V

Basic Arepas     V

Guasacaca     V

Venezuelan Salsa     V

Black Beans and Rice     V

Rice with Plantains     V

Baked Plantains     V

Stewed Black Beans     V








Oriental Chicken Salad

Duck Breasts with Figs

Roast Salmon with Caramelised Fig

Lamb with Figs

Jabalí con Higos en Rioja (Wild Boar)

Prawns with Peppers

Snapper Crillo

Caracas Chicken

Carne Esmechada

Pabellon Criollo  



Figs with Raspberry Cream      V

Whiskey Baked Figs      V

Dessert Fig Sauce    V

Fig Soufflé      V

Fig Cake      V

Corn Pudding      V

Venezuelan Chocolate Ice Cream      V

Basic Arepas      V

Venezuelan Butter Biscuits     V

Creamed Rice     V

Custard Pudding      V




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

Food shopping has never been easier!

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