NEWSLETTER - MARCH 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
. . .
Anyone fancy Spag Bol?
month's product under the spotlight is Oxo's Spag
Bol. I don't biggest new on the shelf but I spotted
it for the first time last week. I'm always keen on
any food product which makes cooking easier for those
who are learning to cook or for when you are pushed
Spag Bol has always seemed a horrible name for a
dish but it is something very British and all it really
owes to Italy is the fact that it is served with pasta.
I think everyone in the UK instantly knows what to
expect when they hear the mention of Spag Bol. I also
think there are any amount of versions and no one
version is the correct one. It is a dish that everyone
and their own twist to.
I think I cook a very good Spag Bol, and my daughters
generally enjoy eating it. Last Saturday they had
to get their own evening meal so I thought I would
give them a choice one of which would be the Oxo Spag
Bol. I cooked it in advance so all they would have
to do would be reheat it and cook some pasta.
Oxo Spag Bol recipe
500g minced beef
2 x Oxo Spag Bol cubes
1 x Oxo beef stock cube (optional)
1 x onion
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp of tomato purée
mince and onions with one Oxo beef cube (optional).
in 1 to 2 Spag Bol recipe cubes and stir well.
a tin of chopped tomatoes and tomato purée,
simmer for 5 minutes.
with spaghetti and enjoy!
in 15 minutes
So what was it like?
One of my daughters said it smelt so disgusting
when she lifted the saucepan lid that there was
no way she was going to eat it, and that was without
even tasting it. I did taste it . . . and it was
To my mind the flavours were all wrong and something
like that cooked in only 15 minutes is not going
to develop any real flavour.
Recommendation: Don't buy Oxo Spag Bol cubes.
If you scroll down further you will find the recipe
for my version of Spag Bol so you can judge for
yourself which you think would be the more enjoyable.
THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN
Terracotta Cazuelas ~ The Spanish Clay Dish
Spanish cazuela . . . a magic terracotta cooking dish
from Spain that is so versatile that no Spanish kitchen
is without them. Cazuelas come in various sizes, the
smallest being 6cm which is great for serving tapas
like almonds or olives. On the other end of the scale
you can buy cazuelas up to 47cm complete with
four ceramic handles and a very impressive piece of
Cazuelas are suitable for a multitude of uses, they
can be used indoors over the gas hob, outdoors on
the barbeque, over hot coals and even placed in the
oven. Cazuelas also have excellent insulating properties
so if your are making for example individual pies
then they will remain piping hot. One of the more
popular Spanish recipes cooked in these terracotta
dishes is gambas al pil pil or chili garlic
prawns, the recipe is usually cooked outside where
the cazuela is filled with olive oil and fresh chili
before the prawns are dropped in to furiously sizzle
away in the chili infused olive oil simply
Although seemingly fragile cazuelas are tough and
at their toughest once used. The top tip for cooking
with cazuelas is to soak them in cold water (overnight
is best) where they can then be used over any heat.
Soaking only needs to be done once as after the dish
has been used it will retain its heat resistant qualities
ready for next time.
So which to choose, what are the most popular sizes?
For serving tapas then the 10cm mini cazuela will
add a real touch of Spain to your table, all you need
to do is think of which tapas to put in each one!
General cooking will require something larger, 14cm
dishes are good all rounders for individual servings
and for something larger to marinade meats or perhaps
cook a stew then the 18cm or 23cm are good and also
deeper. Not forgetting variations . . . the tagine
which originates from Morocco is a superb cooking
dish, retaining flavour and ideal for slow cooking
and also the sartena, a cazuela with a handle
for ease of use especially over the gas hob or barbeque.
TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING
Having gone to town on OXO's Spag Bol product I
thought I might share my easy version with you!
Remember you can vary the recipe to suite your tastes,
for example you might add real garlic or you might add
fresh chopped Basil just before serving.
250g lean minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes (with garlic if you
500g passata (pureed tomatoes)
2 beef OXO cube or 1 Knorr beef cube
2 tbsp Oregano (quantity to your taste)
1 or 2 tsp Gia Garlic paste (or use real thing)
2 tbsp olive oil
How to make:
slice onion and gently fry in a large saucepan for
3 or 4 minutes.
the oregano and continue to fry for a further minute.
the mince and continue to fry, stirring all the
time until the meat is browned.
in the Oxo cubes and stir until incorporated into
the garlic paste.
this in tomatoes and stir together.
the tin that contained the tomatoes, add a tin full
of the passata to the pan. (You should have some
of the passata left which you can keep to one side
in case your source becomes too dry.)
your sauce to the boil and then lower the heat to
let it gently simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes.
sauce is now done and can be served with spaghetti
or pasta of your choice. When serving you can sprinkle
on top some ripped basil leaves and freshly grated
always make the sauce well ahead so that it can stand
for a few hours before it needs to be served. I think
this gives it more flavour.
Remember this is only a guide. You can vary the
recipe to suit your own tastes . . . how about adding
some sliced mushrooms or some diced red pepper? If
using fresh garlic add it to the onion just before
you add the minced beef.
Potato and Ginger Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
200g new potatoes, par boiled for 15 minutes until
100g watercress, stalks and leaves separated
1 1/2 tsp Schwartz Ginger Ground, Ground
1 1/2 tbsp Schwartz Parsley Flat Leaf
Schwartz Sea Salt and Pepper to season
How to make:
1 tbsp of the olive oil in a saucepan.
the onion and gently fry until softened, but do
the garlic and fry for a further minute.
the potatoes roughly and add to the pan with watercress
stalks, ginger and milk and boil for 3 - 4 minutes.
with salt and pepper, add the watercress leaves
and half of the Parsley, stir.
into a blender and blend until smooth then divide
between 4 bowls.
the remaining olive oil with the remaining Parsley
and drizzle over the soup to serve.
courtesy of www.schwartzspicesandhealth.co.uk
is Veggie Month!
There are many reasons to go veggie including
animal welfare, health, environmental protection
and cost. If you are concerned about one or more
of these issues, why not take the opportunity
to try some more meat-free meals during March
or take the veggie challenge?
art and poetry competition
Brought to you by Animal Aid
of Anglia is gearing up for its 2011 show where
you can enjoy wonderful, locally-produced food and
drink from the six counties of the East of England.
There will be a wide range of produce including
cakes and bread, ham, soups and beer with demonstrations
and masterclasses from the regions best chefs.
Shrove Tuesday is traditionally Pancake Day in
the UK. The custom arose because of the need to
use up food items forbidden during Lent
Italy to London it also features delicious Italian
del Gusto Cooking Theatre
Enjoy daily demonstrations from top chefs from
some of London's best Italian restaurants. Get
cooking tips from award-winning chefs including
Giorgio Locatelli, Francesco Mazzei, Michael
Brown, Paolo Barone, Marco Torri, Theo Randall,
Andy Needham and many more . . .
Back by popular demand, this treasure trove
of delicacies is where you will find some of
Italy's best kept food and drink secrets, right
in the heart of London! From Olive Oil to Italian
preserves be sure to fine something to tickle
week is now approaching it's fourth year. Full details
of all activities coming soon
Butchers' Week was set up by leading trade magazine
Meat Trades Journal to provide the retail butchery
sector with a platform to promote their business.
The aim of the week is to raise the profile of
the trade among consumers, promoting butchers
as a beacon of excellence for all things meat,
and as a potential career to young people.
Bacon Connoisseurs' Week
This year, Bacon Connoisseurs' Week is all about
celebrating the amazing range of premium bacon
available. There will be a celebrity Bacon Ambassador
on board, exploring the many flavours and uses
of one of Britain's best-loved ingredients. The
Love Pork chef has also created some new bacon-based
recipes for you to try plus there will be bacon-themed
events and promotions at pubs, restaurants and
in stores all around the country.
SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE
3/4 lb cooked potatoes
2 ozs butter
3 ozs flour
the potatoes through a sieve or mash finely.
the butter into the potatoes.
the flour and salt into the potatoes until a dough
dough in a polythene bag and leave in fridge 30
out the dough thinly.
into round cakes and cook on a hot griddle for about
10 minutes, turning them once.
the scones and serve hot either on their own or
to accompany a cooked breakfast of bacon and sausages,
MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES
The fastest way to bake a Potato!
Wash the potato, coat it with butter. Stick a nail
into the centre and bake on a sheet pan so that the
potatoes do not touch each other. This should reduce
cooking time by at least 20 minutes. The butter will
keep the skins from cracking and add flavour.
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