NEWSLETTER - NOVEMBER 2010
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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
. . .
you use instant mashed potato?
really rate this product for when you want to prepare
a meal in a hurry. Microwaveable mashed potato tastes
almost as good as the mash you make yourself and it
can be a whole lot quicker to prepare.
Aunt Bessies web site describes the product:
selected only the simplest and finest ingredients
to create my delicious homestyle mash and now its
over to you! Microwave in just 3 1/2 minutes for a
perfect rich and creamy texture without the mess.
you open the bag you will find large tablets of potatoes
- 5 are suggested per portion but I have found 7 gives
a more generous serving. But don't be misled by the
microwave times. A single portion can be done quickly
but if you are doing 2 portions (14 tablets) it takes
8 minutes in the microwave . . . and 4 portions takes
longer. However it is still quicker and less mess
than making you own when you need a meal in a hurry.
Makes great sausage & mash with onion gravy!
touch of Sea Salt
gave into my addiction to chocolate during all that
bad weather last winter - one way to get rid of the
winter blues! Ever since I have enjoyed sampling the
different chocolates on offer or being promoted in
weeks ago Morrison's were promoting Lindt's Dark Chocolate
with Sea Salt. My initial reaction was that it might
be a bit "Yuk" but always ready to give
something a go I popped half a square in my mouth.
A true revelation! If you like chocolate you just
have to try this one.
In typical Morrison's style there was none in stock
I had to wait a further week to buy a bar. Mind you
I haven't looked back since, buying two or three bars
THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN
What is Iberico Ham? (part 1)
The confusion that surrounds Iberico ham seems to
be becoming an even more complex issue than it already
is but why is this? Surely a Spanish ham is Spanish
hams account for only 8% of cured ham production in
Spain, the other 92% is the more common but still
very good Serrano ham. What really counts
in this equation is the pig
Iberico pigs are
relatives of the native wild boar, usually black in
appearance with black hooves (but not always) by law
Iberico hams must come from a hog that is no less
than 75% pure Iberian, in other words they can and
usually are a mixture of breed with the likes of the
Large White or Landrace pigs. With me so far?
The good news is that for the Spanish ham enthusiast
this is not a problem as the industry is heavily regulated.
The confusion however comes with some recently banned
terminology the main contender being Pata
Negra. This literally means Black foot
and has in the past been commonly used to describe
Iberico ham. There are however different grades of
Iberico ham, you can indeed buy an Iberian ham described
as a pata negra quite cheaply but do not assume that
the pig it came from has been fed on acorns . . .
after all, you get what you pay for.
For the serious ham buyer knowledge is power so make
sure you know what and who you are buying from, a
simple description like pata negra nowadays is too
broad a term to describe a premium ham. There are
different ham grades and the terms to look out for
are, in the main, Bellota, Recebo, Cebo and Puro
all are Iberico, all come from predominantly black
pigs with black feet but feeding regimes, husbandry
and breeding are very different.
In the next issue we will discover the differences,
how each choice will affect your wallet and your
TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING
Do you have trouble making a nice meat pie? Soggy pastry?
My wife is really fussy when it comes to her pastry
so I use a little trick used in the catering trade .
. . and here's a recipe to go with your pastry!
There will be no messing about. Buy ready made pastry
and if you are in a real hurry buy the ready rolled
and Ale Pie
1 kg braising steak
500 ml dark beer
500 ml water (approximately)
3 beef stock cubes
2 1/2 heaped tbsp plain flour
2 large onions
Cooking oil or beef dripping
2 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
Ready made puff pastry (ready rolled preferably, for
How to make:
and chop the onions. Cut up the braising steak into
some oil in a large and deep saucepan. Add the onions
and sauté gently for about five minutes until
the meat and cook to seal.
the flour and stir in to meat juices.
to cook to cook out the flour, adding the beer gradually
to prevent sticking to the pan until all the beer
has been added.
beef stock cubes and stir until dissolved.
water to thin down the gravy. The amount will vary
according to how much juice has come out of the
meat so add gradually until the right consistency
Dijon mustard (English mustard can be used if preferred).
boiling reduce the heat, cover and simmer very gently
for at least two hours.
cooked, cut your pre-prepared pastry into rounds
or squares (the shape and decoration is down to
your imagination) and bake for approximately 10
minutes on a tray.
serve your Steak and Ale Pie ladle the meat and
gravy on to each plate and top with pastry.
You can prepare and part cook your Steak and Ale
Pie on the one day and then complete the cooking
on the following day which will allow the flavours
to come out even more.
Broccoli and Stilton Soup
2 oz / 50g butter
2 large onions
1lb 5oz / 600 g broccoli, trimmed
1/2 tsp each of salt, sugar and nutmeg
2 pts / 1.2 litres weak vegetable stock or chicken
3 tbsp double cream
5oz / 150g blue Stilton, crumbled
How to make:
the butter in a large saucepan.
onions, broccoli, salt, sugar and nutmeg.
and steam gently on a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring
the stock to the pan and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat immediately and simmer for 10 minutes.
to the pan and stir in the cream and Stilton.
over a low heat until the cheese is well combined
giving a lovely smooth soup.
soup freezes well.
Sausage Week is now in its 13th fabulous year.
This year the celebrity judge for British Sausage
Week 2010 is Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel
Horwood! From 1st November, everyone's favourite
Dancing judge will be fox trotting his way around
the country in search of Britain's Star Sausage.
everyone else there will be events and special
offers at independent butchers and supermarkets
from mid-October. Also look out for sausage themed
menus in your local pubs and restaurants.
Taste of Game Fortnight
Taste of Game Week in 2009 was so successful that
this year The British Association for Shooting and
Conservation [BASC] are extending the promotion
by a week and renaming it National Taste of Game
Live is a three day food extravaganza with celebrity
chef demonstrations, expert advice, the chance to
master new skills and techniques, and your chance
to see MasterChef Judges John Torode, Gregg Wallace,
Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galetti. And that's not
all - we have superb shopping with 100s of exceptional
producers, delicious and unusual ingredients and
the latest gadgets.
Curry Week was started in 1998 to promote the cuisine
and to raise funds for charities concentrating on
hunger, malnourishment and poverty. During the week,
curry lovers can get out and visit their local curry
houses, some of which will be staging special events
and fun challenges.
Good Food Show
Producers Village, Celebrity Chefs, Shopping,
MasterChef Experience and much more.
SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE
This recipe comes form a little cookery book entitled
The "AL" County Cookery Book compiled by a
County Education Secretary and Domestic Subjects Staff.
The book was actually my wife's grandmother's from when
she left school in 1913.
lb minced raw meat
2 ozs bread-crumbs
1/2 lemon rind
1/2 onion (chopped)
1/2 pt stock
1 oz flour
1 dried egg
1 oz fat
2 ozs bacon (chopped)
A little ketchup
the minced meat, bacon, onion, seasoning and nutmeg
the mixture with the egg and roll it into balls.
these with egg and crumb and fry them in hot fat;
then drain them well.
a brown gravy with the fat, flour and stock.
this up and add the lemon rind, ketchup and seasonings.
the balls in the gravy.
them for from half an hour to three-quarters.
dish the balls up and pour gravy over them, also
adding a little lemon juice, if desired.
MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES
Cleaning a wooden cutting board
Most health inspectors will not allow wooden cutting
boards in commercial kitchens any more, but if you
have one in your home and it gets mold and / or mildew
on it . . . scrub it with salt and lemon juice.
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