What on earth can I give my lovely dad on Father’s Day?
With two weeks to go why not choose food? There’s time enough to order and receive a pie or two from Adams & Harlow.
An interesting variety of pies with unusual ingredients to choose from we rather liked the sound of the pie with seasoned pork and a layer of Lincolnshire Poacher cheese through the middle, topped with sweet roasted baby onions. It looks very tasty. We were rather taken with the named pies with pastry lettering.
You might even be interested in the hamper entitled The Way To A Man’s Heart… £35.00, consisting of the following;
- 2 x 1lb Traditional Pork Pies (Serves 2-3) The most extraordinary of all pork pies.
- 1 x 1lb Huntsman Pork Pie (Serves 2-3) A jellyless pie, layered seasoned pork meat and tender chicken breast topped with a classic sage & onion stuffing.
- 1 x 1lb Poachers Pork Pie Seasoned pork with a layer of Lincolnshire Poacher cheese through the middle, topped with sweet roasted baby onions.
- Sloe Gin Chutney (220g)
- 2008 Berrys’ Good Ordinary Claret (75cl)
Where to buy: The Father’s Day Pork Pies will be available from www.britishfinefoods.com & Fortnum and Mason. The full range of pies and where to buy on www.adamsandharlow.co.uk
Another suggestion: Take your dad to a Fyne’s restaurant for some super fish dishes. We’ve eaten twice here and both times loved the menu offering interesting and tasty dishes. The presentation is always excellent.
Their menu is seasonal and for Father’s Day a Specials Menu has been carefully put together. Could be brunch, lunch or dinner. Dining after 6? Then you will receive a complimentary glass of prosecco or a bottle of Old Golden Hen beer.
The specials on offer include the Fisherman’s Plate starter, a feasty combination of potted and peppered Scottish mackerel, classic Loch Fyne smoked salmon with capers, Brandan Rost fillet, Kinglas fillet sashimi style, rollmop and Madeira-marinated North Sea herrings with crusty brown bread.
Mains include a half lobster tail with chargrilled octopus and clams and, for those unable to decide between the delicious meat and fish dishes, there is a Father’s Day Surf & Turf option, tender sirloin steak with a half Canadian lobster tail served with bernaise sauce and french fries.
There are some mouthwatering desserts, or a luxurious cheese choice served with a dram of Glenfiddich whisky.
If your dad isn’t a fish lover there is an a la carte menu that includes a large selection of meat, poultry and vegetarian dishes.
To find out more information or to make your reservation visit:http://www.lochfyne-restaurants.com/
However if pies and restaurants are not your thing, why not make him a really luscious strawberry dessert.
Sweet Eve is a new variety promising a sweet full flavoured berry. This impressive Strawberry Victoria Sponge is easy to make, so great for kids to prepare ahead for Father’s Day, with a little help from Mum. Serve Dad up a mighty, manly slice.
There are more recipes to choose from, have a look at http://www.sweetevestrawberry.co.uk/recipes/serving-ideas.html We were impressed!
Whatever you choose for your dad I’ll bet he’ll love it! It’s good for you both to make him feel special.
Lucy Trengar Guest Food writer
Organic, tasty and colourful soups and sauces
I really like to add fresh ready made sauces to my cooking but making my own is sometimes difficult to make small enough quantities for a meal for two. As I look for as many organic ingredients for our meals as possible discovering some new additions to Tideford organic soups, sauces and a pudding were welcome finds especial for anyone wanting products that are gluten-free, low in salt, low fat, with mainly vegetarian & vegan products and no additives or preservatives.
Of this new summer range the Westcountry Cheddar Cheese Sauce went very well with ham steaks, and the Carbonara with Bacon and Nutmeg was excellent with chicken breasts, new potatoes and broccoli. Both sauces are made with organic, vegetarian Westcountry cheese.
Others to choose from include:
Jalapeno Salsa Mediterranean Vegetable Sauce Tomato & Basil Sauce
They all retail at £2.59 with the Ragu a la Bolognese £2.99 and Basil Pesto at £3.75.
Of the two new soups our favourite was the Pea & Mint Soup. There was some left over so next day we added a few frozen peas, grated cheese and more mint and hey, we had a light starter for lunch. The other soup, Minestroni with gluten-free Pasta went down well with the men, can’t imagine why! Must be the chilli!
The tasty soup range includes
Farmhouse Chicken with Lemon & Thyme Italian Tomato with Lentil & Red Pepper Beetroot with Crème Fraiche & Dill Spicy Butternut Squash with Sweet Potato All retailing at £2.79.
We absolutely loved the new Chocolate Rice Pudding, suffice it to say we have tracked it down and it seems to regularly appear on the shopping list! It’s delish hot or cold. We love the Classic and Butterscotch Rice Puddings which are also gluten and wheat-free and oh so creamy.
All these super products can all be found at Ocado, Waitrose, Sainsburys, Abel & Cole, Wholefoods, Booths and independent retailers.
It’s possible to follow Tideford on Facebook Tideford Organics Ltd and Twitter @TidefordOrganic.
Have a look at their very informative website. You will get a good look at their products and an insight into their ethos.
Charlotte Singer Guest Cookery Journalist
Favourite Best Foods for Health : Honey
Honey: We love Honey and we really love Manuka honey. It has quite a strong flavour but one it’s easy to become accustomed to. Used for a lot of skin problems there is always some in our bathroom cabinet.
Manuka honey mostly comes from New Zealand and has a guide as to its strength, you will see UMF 16+, 25+, 10+ included on the label. UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor, used to indicate how bioactive it is. So which to buy for what?
We keep a pot of Spirit’s Bay Manuka Honey UMF25+ in a kitchen cupboard for burns and cuts. It really works, I wish I had known about it when I badly burned the inside of my wrist some 15 years ago. I still have a scar, whereas now whenever I burn myself – and how easy it is in the kitchen – I quickly dab some on, cover it with a piece of lint and tape to keep it in place and within 12 hours you wouldn’t know anything had happened. It’s that good.
For general wellness we keep a pot of Goldenhills Manuka Honey UMF16+ to eating on bread and butter, or with a hot lemon drink for sore throats.
For particularly sore throats we have some Comvita propolis herbal elixir in the medicine cupboard. It includes Manuka Honey UMF10, multiflora honey, apple cider vinegar, Vit C, and peppermint.
All in all, honey is a unique food and Ogilvy’s are able to provide really unusual honeys – Balkan Linden honey, well known for its lightness and woody scent, is especially good in tea. Other unusual honeys include one from the Himalayan Highlands – light and delicious, remarkably floral. Another we tried comes from the Zambesi Plains. Different again in flavour due to the plants the bees gather the nectar from, this is gathered at the head of the Zambesi River by local beekeepers.
Ogilvy honeys are a special gift for any honey aficionados – yes there are lots of them! You might be surprised if you asked around. Widely available – their website most interesting.
Spirit’s Bay 25+ and Goldenhills 16+ are widely available in health food stores and their websites.
Joan Marshall, Contributing author
Just who benefits most from Food Supplements?
The latest ‘warning’ that low levels of selenium in British soil* are having a damaging effect on our health as we are not getting enough of the mineral through the food we eat, is yet another spur to buy yet more supplements.
Most people I talk to about this find the whole subject confusing. Many friends say they take a multi vitamin tablet every day just to be on the safe side. And yet we hear from scientists that our diet is quite adequate and multi vitamin tablets are unnecessary and natural sources are far easier for our bodies to digest.
So this latest selenium information is I feel just adding to the confusion and for manufacturers to benefit from our anxiety.
A nutritionist has pointed out that natural sources of selenium include sardines, sunflower seeds, prawns, eggs, wholemeal flour and lean meat. Brazil nuts are an especially concentrated source of selenium.
So as brazil nuts, sardines and prawns don’t grow in British soil I’ll be eating some of each every week.
PS Brazils are high in fat – 10g = 6.8g fat, 68kCal and even higher if surrounded by chocolate!
Val Reynolds Brown, Editor
*With so much fruit and veg imported from abroad I wonder just how valid this ‘warning’ is.
Can Eating Breakfast Make You Fat?
One of the authors of The Serotonin Diet, Dr Nina T Frusztajer MD, regularly writes a blog we always read for its insights into human behaviour. Her latest blog Can Eating Breakfast Make You Fat? is thought provoking. Directly relevant to the US way of being which is interesting in itself, the article included a couple of points worth remembering for all of us:
Your body needs to be rehydrated after a night of slumber
The brain needs protein to make the chemicals that make you quick thinking and sharply
The blog is freely available and easily subscribed to.
Can Eating Breakfast Make You Fat?
My early morning trek to the gym takes me past a Dunkin Donut shop and a long line of sleepy commuters waiting to buy breakfast. The shelves of this franchise coffee shop are stocked with varieties of doughnuts, muffins, bagels and breakfast sandwiches of an egg with cheese and fatty meat. As I continue down the block, people are standing in long lines at MacDonalds so they can eat a hot meal of scrambled egg and hashbrowned potatoes, or cream saturated oatmeal, pancakes and syrup, or egg, ham and cheese breakfast sandwiches, along with their coffee. Two blocks away, an up-scale neighborhood bakery-coffee shop sells fatty, chocolate filled croissants or butter laden, gigantic cranberry scones and gourmet coffee to people working at a nearby hospital. And at a convenience store across the street from my gym, high school students filter in to buy a bottle of soda and bag of Doritos to eat on the way to school.
Nutritionists tell us (and in the interests of full disclosure, I have written about this myself) that breakfast is the most important meal of the day or at the very least, just as important as lunch and dinner. ‘Start the day off right’ or ‘Fuel your body’ or ‘Don’t eat breakfast and you will overeat later on’ are just a few of the Eat Breakfast mantras sent in our direction for several decades. Yet is it possible that eating breakfast may not be beneficial? Is it possible that breakfast may be contributing unnecessary calories without contributing necessary nutrients? Could it be that eating breakfast might actually put us back to sleep rather than activating our cognitive centers and mental acuity? Can breakfast be bad for us?
Of course the answer is that it depends on what is eaten. As I pointed out in a book written many years ago (Managing Your Mind and Mood Through Food), your brain needs protein in the morning which can and should be supplied by breakfast, if only to set you up for success.
The two brain chemicals involved in thinking quickly and sharply (dopamine and norepinephrine) are made when the amino acid tyrosine is eaten. Tyrosine is found in protein, and when these two brain chemicals are in short supply, eating protein will activate their synthesis. Presumably anyone going off to a job or school requiring some thinking and mental responsiveness would benefit from a breakfast containing protein.
Carbohydrates tend to make people feel calm and mellow; and fat goes further in this behavioral direction and leaves the eater dull and tired. Although these feelings might be appropriate as a prelude to sleep, this is not the way we want to feel early in the morning as we set out to face the obligations of the day. Do we really want a surgeon, teacher or airline pilot to eat a breakfast of sugary doughnuts fried in fat, buttery croissants, or pancakes drenched in butter and syrup? Should we with lesser, but nevertheless important, jobs be eating these foods?
We know that a functioning digestive system needs fiber and water. Fast food breakfast menus rarely if ever feature high fiber cereals or breads. Do any people order a large cup of water along with their coffee? Might the digestive problems constantly talked about in television advertisements be caused, at least in part, by dehydrated morning folk who don’t drink enough fluids or eat enough fiber?
Those who eschew dairy products such as milk and cottage cheese often suffer from lactose deficiency. They will rarely find lactose-free milk for their coffee, and dieters who want fat free yogurt will have to settle for the full fat variety in the few coffee shops and fast food chains that carry that product. Want cottage cheese? Better bring it from home. But if you want your morning dairy food to be whipped cream, you need only go to your local Starbucks or fast food chain to find it on top of a sugary syrup and chocolate filled coffee drink, a nutritional wasteland.
Fruit cups, sold everywhere, may compensate somewhat for the nutritional limitations of take-out breakfasts. But do they? Regardless of season and state in which they are sold, most fruit cups contain the same variety of fruit: chunks of cantaloupe and honey dew, a few grapes, one sliced strawberry and three blueberries. High vitamin C fruits like oranges and grapefruits are rarely included, and the high fiber blueberries and strawberries are provided in miniscule amounts even when the supermarkets are filled with them. Are they mass-produced in a factory somewhere or is the selection of fruits based on their resilience to being turned into mush if the cup is stuffed into the bottom of a knapsack?
It strikes me that a lack of time is usually the reason breakfast is purchased rather than eaten at home before leaving for work. But how much time is actually saved by purchasing breakfast? The ten minutes standing in line to order and pay for coffee and bagel at Dunkin Doughnut could be spent at home eating a container of yogurt with fresh blueberies or bowl of high fiber cereal, milk and banana . The ten minutes it takes to order, pay and receive the egg or pancake platter at MacDonalds is more time that it takes to scramble an egg and toast an English muffin at home. Buying cut up fresh or frozen fruit and plastic cups in the supermarket and spending a minute making a fruit cup at home may take more time but at least you get to choose the fruit rather than someone in a factory.
Not hungry early in the morning? Bring breakfast foods with you to eat later on in the morning. Bring single size servings of yogurt and cottage cheese and fruit to work or school. Keep a bowl and spoon in your desk drawer along with a box of high fiber cereal. Store milk and fruit ( not bananas) in the office refrigerator, or put blueberries in a sandwich bag in the freezer to add to the cereal. Another option is to make your own breakfast sandwich on whole grain bread with soft low calorie cheese like Laughing Cow and lean breakfast meat. And make sure to drink water even if you are not hungry. Your body needs to be rehydrated after a night of slumber.
The right breakfast foods will not only nourish your body, they will have a positive effect on your ability to concentrate and think rapidly. So instead of standing in line for ten minutes to get your morning coffee, stand in your kitchen and eat breakfast there or take it with you to work. Your brain and body will thank you.
At Elizabeth David’s Table – her very best everyday recipes
A copy of French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David was on my shelf for years and years, and when it disappeared I didn’t notice for a long time! Enough to say I had used it so frequently it was falling to bits, her philosophy and recipes the basis of my own cooking, with adaptations of course, and gradually I didn’t have need to refer to it very often.
What a joy it was to get a copy of Elizabeth David’s Table – her very best everyday recipes compiled by Jill Norman. Reading it I got that comfortable feeling of meeting up with an old friend and read it cover to cover. The inclusion of some down to earth features she wrote for various papers and publications over the years placed at the beginning of the various sections of the book made it a joy to read. Her distinctive, no nonsense way of describing a recipe and how to make it remains in my memory.
I loved her description of the market town of Cavaillon and history of the surrounding area. Full of imagery, her writing is inspirational.
I immediately started adding PostIt notes to mark recipes, Coriander Mushrooms, Aubergine Chutney, Chicken Liver Pate, Pork and Liver Pate – this recipewas one I used at a party many years ago, although I never got to eat any, it went so fast! Rillettes, Green Gnocchi, Broad Beans with bacon, egg and lemon, so many recipes I had forgotten. Those broad bean recipes in particular stimulated my purchase of some “http://realseeds.co.uk/”>Aquadulce Longpod seeds; well adapted for winter sowing and early spring eating.
I love this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in tasty, no fuss cooking, and wanting to experiment without making a hash of things!
Published by Penguin in hardback and softback editions
Lizbeth Canvey, Contributing author and professional cook
Seduced by Reduced! Making a Bargain into a Real Treat
How often have you been seduced by the REDUCED label in a supermarket – say ten or more onions, or like today, twenty limes – in your supermarket and find it irresistible and confidently expecting to make something of it? But it gets put to one side, gradually to the back of the fridge, forgotten and then discarded, optimism lost in the chasm of inertia! Well it has happened to me of course. The good news is that it happens less often now. Why? I can explore the web for ideas of what can be done with whatever I have bought.
Today I have twenty limes – these are going to be either made into lime curd (my mouth is watering at the prospect!) which takes very little time, or lime chutney – here’s a Google page with lots of recipe sites to choose from.
I collect jars to re-use and buy new tops from Lakeland. Jam and curd take time but very rewarding and make good standby gifts for many occasions.
A recent cookery course I attended included truffles – three different flavours, one including lime zest* which gives me the excuse to make some. They are so luscious I’m not sure they will get to their intended recipients … we just love ‘em! We rolled the truffles in a mix of plain and toasted coconut.
Here’s a recipe I found on the web which is similar to the one I used on the course.
Celeriac, not as often used by home cooks here as they do say in France, is frequently reduced in my local supermarket and it gives me the opportunity to produce Salmon with mustard coating, potato, pea and celeriac mash found on the BBC Good Food website. Again a recipe that works very well.
It’s this time of year when I look out for peaches and nectarines getting lower and lower in price and especially in the Reduced section. Then I usually reach for Elizabeth David’s cook book – At Elizabeth David’s Table – for her easy recipe Peaches in Wine. She tells us the best peaches for this dish are the yellow-fleshed variety. Dip the fruit in boiling water so the skins can be easily peeled off. Slice them straight into big wine glasses, sprinkle with sugar and pour a tablespoon or two of white wine into each glass. Preparing them too far ahead will make the fruit go mushy. If you would like to give the glasses an attractive look, before you start working on the fruit, put a little water in a saucer, put sugar in another saucer, holding the glass upside down gently dip the glass in the water, shake it to remove any excess water, dip the glass in the saucer of sugar, shake off any excess. Voila! You can now add the fruit and wine, carefully! This works with lots of different fruits and you could experiment with flavoured liqueurs – Cointreau and oranges, raspberries and pear vodka! Pears and raspberry liqueur, the list could go on … and on. Just experiment, great fun.
By the way, my favourite prune sweet is to use prunes soaked in white wine – could be red – for at least 3 months. I use screwtop jars, covered with cling film and the cap screwed on lightly, no need to tighten hard. This is so easy to do and makes a wonderful treat with custard! or cream or even better fromage frais, unsweetened. I keep them in a cupboard out of sight otherwise they are just too easy to dip into and devour the lot!
* For any recipe using lime zest be sure to remove the wax generally added to citrus fruit, unless marked as unwaxed. The easiest way to do this is to dunk the fruit in boiling water for 5 minutes, twice if needs be.
Katie Simpson Guest writer, Caterer for the Choosey
Successful Watering with Seeper Hose System
Last year I ran the bath water on the front garden via a hose connected to seeper hose but it took a long time for the water to filter through. So I finally got round to organising a watering system for the front and back garden using rain water from the roof and what a difference it has made. All my plants made much better growth than in any previous years.
I don’t have the patience to stand watering the garden with a hosepipe and have never had a spray system, if I had I’m sure I would have left it on by mistake and racked up a terrific water bill – we are on a meter, so a seeper hose system was the obvious answer. It was reassuring to read a typical drip irrigation system uses up to 92% less water than a hosepipe and is a far more efficient way of watering the garden – www.the-hta.org.uk/water.
The system I devised for the back garden, after a lot of head scratching and frustrated thought, was to put in place rain diverters on the downpipes from the roof, attach a hose to that which led to the seeper hose system. When that overflowed the rain was diverted back to the downpipe and on to another diverter that was connected to a water butt. When that overflowed the water then feed back into the downpipe to the main drainage system.
The roof on a house collects about 85,000 litres of rain each year in the UK which runs straight into the sewers. This could fill 450 water butts which can be used to water garden lawns, vegetable patches and house plants.
Altogether I used 6 x 15 metres of hose and linked up some small supplementary hose to water the pots on the patio via a separate water butt which made a huge difference to those plants.
Then in times of drought the water butts are linked up to the seeper hose. I generally leave them on for about 4 hours when needed. Now you may feel this sounds all rather complicated and at the time I thought so too, but it in reality it works and is very simple in action. The key is to make sure the water flows in at a slightly greater height than the ground you are watering.
At the moment although there is a hosepipe ban, seeper hose systems are exempt where we are, so when the water butts are empty, I can link the outdoor tap to the seeper hose system and to the water butts. Check the website of the water company in your district to be sure.
Not all parts of the garden need to be watered, for instance the peripheral areas with the wild flowers – bluebells, muscari, oxalis – that look after themselves, so I inserted sections of ordinary hose to bypass those areas. It meant adding connectors which increased costs.
What is important to remember is to cover the hose with mulch or set it into the ground and cover with earth and then mulch – by far the most efficient arrangement, it keeps the moisture in the ground which evaporates very slowly.
Overall, when it rains the garden gets about third extra which is all stored under the mulch. Another important point is to water at night, again to reduce evaporation.
So what plants are important? Fruit trees, crops like peas, climbing beans and broad beans, broccoli, cabbages, spinach, carrots, beetroot, onions, tomatoes, salads, kale. All these came good last year even when we had extended periods of drought. This spring I have noticed the fruit trees all have much more blossom than in previous years.
I have been really interested to see that plants grow slowly but steadily through the winter. I think it might be because the thick layer of mulch keeps the cold off the roots. I try, but seldom succeed, in putting at least a depth of 8-9 inches of mulch/compost/manure, which by spring time has been processed to some extent by the worms which means the ground is very easy to prepare for seedlings and plant plugs.
I sow annuals in with my vegetables to make it look less like an allotment. Nasturiums look really good, loving the extra moisture.
This year I have seeds of african marigold, red cornflowers, calendula, nigella and poppy to scatter through the garden. Attracting beneficial insects makes a difference to the life of the garden, they attract birds, making the garden more alive. Better than just putting out nut and seed feeders.
This year I interplanted self sown garlic plants found all over the garden with Malwinnie strawberries as they help the berries to fight disease. I had tasted these at the 2011 Thompson & Morgan Press Event and they were dribblingly good! Will have to think of some surefire way of keeping away the mice, birds and other creatures that know a good strawberry when they taste one!
Carrot, beets, kohlrabi, brassicas, dill, lettuce and tomatoes all do well when interplanted with the onion family.
A water saving tips poster and up to date information on the current water restrictions can be found at www.the-hta.org.uk/water