NEWSLETTER - JULY 2011
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There is always something happening in supermarkets
- new products, product demonstrations, shelves reorganised
so you can't find anything. Not always interesting,
quite often boring and sometimes a chore but just occasionally
something catches your eye, something is interesting
. . .
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In search of top quality fresh food
Thinking about the supermarkets and what to write
led me to start remembering back to how things used
to be. I grew up in or near a small country town in
Mid Wales. When I say it was small it was the biggest
town in the county but the population was only about
6,500 . . . the whole county was only 50,000 so I
guess it would qualify as small. Looking back to that
time, around the late 50s early 60s, food shopping
was a lot different and choices were often limited.
But the quality was first class.
There were no supermarkets just individual shops
for everything you needed like the greengrocer for
all your fresh veg, the butcher, the baker and for
your more general supplies there was the grocer, probably
referred to as a master grocer*, a rather grand name
but usually lived up to. Our master grocer certainly
lived up to the name. I can still picture the double
fronted shop on the High Street, now home to a well
known building society, and the smell that greeted
you when you walked in of cheeses, freshly ground
coffee . . . just heavenly. And back then there were
no Off Licenses so the grocer would often sell wine
and spirits. Sherry came in big packs and you took
your own bottle in to be filled.
The weekly shop was an easy job, for those that could
afford the higher prices, as all you had to do was
drop off your order book and everything would be boxed
up and delivered straight to your home. Funny how
things have come full circle with the supermarkets
offering the same service via online shopping.
The grocer has of course disappeared with the advance
of the supermarkets and, whilst a lot of us complain
about them, supermarkets do provide us with a choice
of food that was just not available a few years ago.
So where am I going with all this? Well I think the
quality of the original top High Street grocers is
coming back only none of us seem to realise it, either
because we are too young (not me) to remember
grocery shops or because they are under a different
guise. It is the new breed of farm shops.
Farm shops used to be housed in small wooden sheds,
have a few shelves with home-made this or that on
them and large bags of potatoes and boxes of whatever
veg was in season. Since then they have come a long
way and they are a great source of quality food, selling
fresh meat and veg as well as having fine cheese counters
and good range of wines to choose from. You will find
quality products throughout the range of foods.
If you have not explored the farm shops in your area
make it a must as you may be missing out on some great
food. I decided last month to see for myself by visiting
one I had heard about (through Twitter yes
it does work) near Newmarket . . . La Hogue Farm
They say an image is worth a thousand words . . .
Take advantage of your local farm shop.
If you want to know more about La
Hogue Farm Shop or find out how to get there
then take a look at www.lahogue.co.uk
Editorial note: This site is not
paid to promote any of the products or places featured
in this newsletter.
THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN
Chicken and Chorizo
chorizo is one of those cured sausages that is right
at home being used as an ingredient. A Spanish sausage
with a punchy flavour, fabulous colour and perfect
in a number of Spanish dishes. Chorizo is of course
the ideal tapa, easy and quick to make, a couple of
lightly cured chorizos sliced up and placed on cocktail
sticks with some Manchego cheese and marinated olives
makes for tasty Spanish tapas.
Some foods just represent a marriage made in heaven
with little or no effort, the humble Spanish chorizo
goes very well with chicken. One easy hot Spanish
tapa is chorizo slices pan fried with chicken pieces,
simply drizzle some olive oil in a frying pan and
let those fabulous juices from the chorizo sausage
infuse with the chicken. Spanish chorizo also has
the advantage of coming in various different strengths,
choose a hot one or picante version to
add some heat or keep things calm with a sweet or
Mildly cured chorizos are also great on the barbeque,
try chicken and chorizo kebabs using rosemary sticks
for the skewers and you will be in Spanish foodie
heaven. Chorizo is also a flavoursome addition to
chicken casseroles helping to add a spicy kick to
tomato based casseroles or in chicken and herb combinations
where the paprika works very well indeed. In Spain,
no butchers would be complete without strings of chorizos
hanging behind the counter, quietly curing and producing
that wonderful aroma that can only be found in quality
delicatessens. Choose your Spanish chorizo carefully,
fresh and sourced directly from the Spanish butcher
and your chicken dishes, tapas or kebabs will have
a flavour like they have
from Spain >>>
TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING
Remember with most recipes you do not have to be
precise with the ingredients - you would go mad otherwise
and it would take away half the fun. At the end of the
day the recipe is only a guide and you are the artist.
And why is it called 'Normandy'? Because of the French
Cider which comes from Normandy - it is strongly recommended
that you stick to using French Cider as it is very different
to the English Cider.
OF PORK NORMANDY
1/2 kg Fillet of Pork
4 shallots chopped
12 medium mushrooms quartered
6 cloves garlic crushed (British supermarket garlic
250 mls French Cider
500 mls Chicken Stock (fresh or from stock cube)
1 tbspn olive oil
125 mls double (thick) cream
How to make:
all your ingredients before you start.
your fillet of pork across the grain into 1/4 inch
thick medallions (any fat should be trimmed off
shallots and crush garlic cloves. Sauté in
olive oil and butter for 2 to 3 minutes.
pork medallions and sauté until sealed (outside
of meat no longer pink).
quartered mushrooms and sauté for a further
2 minutes on medium heat.
you cider and increase heat to reduce.
it starts to thicken add chicken stock and continue
with high heat until reduced to a thick, syrupy
your cream and again heat until sauce reaches the
consistency you want - a creamy texture.
ground pepper and sea salt to season to your liking.
It got seriously hot here in the UK . . . for a
couple of days! Not the weather for soup except perhaps
that most famous of Spanish soups. This recipe comes
Orce Serrano Hams.
"Gazpacho Andaluz or Cold Tomato Soup is a
very typical summer dish and appears in restaurants
and bars from about May. It is generally eaten as a
starter and is very refreshing in the heat of the afternoon."
4 large tomatoes
1 small cucumber peeled
1 clove of garlic
half a small onion
1 small red pepper
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
water amount depends on desired consistency
ice cubes to serve
chop the tomatoes, pepper, onion and cucumber.
all the ingredients in a large bowl or food processor.
a hand blender or food processor, blend the ingredients
together to form a thick paste.
the oil, vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
for a second time, adding water little by little
until you achieve the desired consistency.
in tall glasses with crushed ice.
As the newsletter is a work in progress I have
decided that the Food Calendar section is probably
something that can come out as there is nothing in
it which is not listed elsewhere on the internet,
and no-one is sending in details of events. If you
have any thoughts or comments send an email to email@example.com
SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE
1 tsp baking powder
3 - 4 tbsps golden syrup
2 heaped tbsps fresh white breadcrumbs
Splash of lemon juice
the flour with a pinch of salt and the baking-powder.
the butter and lard into the flour. (Be careful
not to rub too much)
2 3 tablespoons of water to moisten so tat
it binds firmly together.
a floured board roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness
and then line a large pie or dinner plate and trim
round the edge.
together the syrup, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and
the tart case with the mixture.
out the trimmings and cut into strips and lay them
criss-cross to create a lattice effect, pressing
down at edges.
one final strip around the edge.
in a moderately hot* oven for about 35 minutes
190°C or Gas Mark 5
MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES
10 Garlic Cooking Tips
purchasing garlic look for bulbs that have plump,
firm cloves with the papery outer sheath intact.
Avoid garlic that is soft, spongy or shrivelled.
the bulbs in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.
Garlic needs air circulation so don't store in a
plastic bag, keep it on your shelves or window sill
(out of the sun).
separate the cloves from the bulb, place the bulb
on a solid surface, place both hands on top and
apply pressure. You will hear the crack as they
start to separate.
peel a large number of cloves, drop them into a
pan of boiling water for 10 - 20 seconds (known
as blanching), drain and plunge into iced water,
(known as refreshing), drain and the skins should
just easily slip off.
peel a small amount; place the blade of a large
knife on top and smack the blade with your fist,
the peel is then easily removed and you will have
partly crushed the clove.
smaller the garlic pieces, the stronger the flavour
that is imparted into the foods.
you want a nice mild flavour, lightly perfumed
food, even a sweetness use whole, unbroken garlic
cloves (they may even be left with the peel
a slightly stronger nuance is required thinly
a fuller flavour, finely chop it (also known
as minced garlic)
it’s a full on, in your face, vampires won't
come near taste you want then crush the bulbs
to a pulp
crush the garlic with a knife, first lightly chop
it, sprinkle on a big pinch of salt (which releases
the garlic juices) and then by rub the flat of your
knife back and forth over it.
longer you cook garlic, the less astringent it becomes
and the flavour will soften. When sautéing garlic,
be careful not to burn it, burnt garlic has an unpleasant
remove garlic odour from your hands, rinse your
hands with fresh lemon juice or scrub with a bit
of salt, then rinse with cool water.
freshen your breath after eating garlic, chew on
a sprig of fresh parsley,
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