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September sees both the beginning of harvest and the first signs of autumn. Game is at its best this month as are our home grown leeks, marrows and tomatoes. Vegetables in season are: aubergines, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, celery, chanterelle, courgettes, cucumbers, fennel, garlic, green beans, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mangetout, marrows, okra, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, sweet corn, swedes and tomatoes. Fruits in season are: apricots, Asian pears, bilberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, cherries, damsons, figs, gooseberries, melons, nectarines, peaches, pomegranates, plumbs, raspberries, redcurrants and strawberries. Seafood’s in season are: Dover sole, grey mullet, haddock, halibut, herring, lobster, pilchards, plaice, prawns, red mullet, sea bass, sea bream, shrimps, skate, squid and turbot. Meats in season are: duck, grouse, guinea fowl, pigeon, quail, rabbit and venison.


Christmas cake is a rich dark fruitcake
usually fortified with brandy or dark rum, coated with an apricot
glaze, marzipan and covered in a white icing. Traditionally eaten at
Christmas. Several recipes
exist for Christmas cake, however I have only come across one that
works without fail. The following family recipe is based upon the
classic English Be-Ro recipe. To produce take 350g/12oz of plain flour,
225g/8oz of unsalted butter, 225g/8oz of caster sugar, 4 medium hens
eggs, 225g/8oz of currants, 225g/8oz of sultanas, 225g/8oz of raisins,
100g/4oz of glace cherries, halved, 100g/4oz of cut mixed peel, 100g/4oz
of ground almonds, a teaspoon of mixed spice and a quality brandy.
Macerate the currents, sultanas and raisins with the brandy overnight.
Preheat an oven to 150° C/300° F gas mark 2. Grease and line a cake tin, use either a 23cm/9inch round or 20½
cm/8inch square tin. Sieve the flour and mixed spice into a bowl. Add
the almonds. Beat the eggs together with the milk. Soften the butter.
Cube and cream together with the sugar. Slowly stir in the flour and
then the egg mixture. When completely mixed, add the dried fruit,
cherries and mixed peel. Stir until evenly distributed. Place the
mixture into the prepared tin and protect with brown paper. Bake for
about 3½ to 4 hours. Remove from the
oven and allow to cool slightly. Turn onto a wire rack. Pouring a small
amount of brandy over the cake whilst warm. Allow to cool thoroughly.
Wrap with greaseproof paper and then tinfoil, store in an airtight
container. Store for at least 4 weeks before use.

This is a classic hot German dessert consisting of apples, flavoured with cinnamon and raisins, baked within a crispy pastry case. To produce strudel take 500g of cooking apples, 150g of melted butter, 150g of demerara sugar, 100g of raisins, 100g of toasted and chopped walnuts, 50g cake crumb and 1tsp of ground cinnamon and prepared strudel paste. To produce strudel paste take 300g of strong plain white flour, 200ml of warm water, 40ml of quality vegetable oil, 1tsp of salt and icing sugar for dusting. Sieve the flour and salt together into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and water. Work into a ball and knead for upto 10 minuets until smooth. Cover with a moist cloth and allow to rest for 2 hours. Preheat an oven to 190°C gas mark 5. Roll out the pastry as thinly as possible on a floured surface, cover with a damp tea towel and rest for 15 minuets. Using the floured backs of the hands stretch the pastry, working from the centre of the dough out to the edges. Do this gently and slowly until almost transparent, you should just be able to see the backs of the hands. The apples should be pealed and cored, then sweated in butter until soft. Next add the remaining ingredients and stir. Remove from the heat. Brush the strudel paste, which should be in a rectangular shape, with melted butter. Sprinkle the apple filling evenly over the dough, and starting at one end roll the dough and filling into a sausage shape. Lift onto a baking tray and brush with melted butter. Cook for 30-40 minuets. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm with ‘Chantilly’.

The body of an acclaimed French chef has been found hidden in a freezer, two years after he went missing. Detectives discovered the frozen corpse of
Jean-Francois Poinard after his girlfriend Guylene Collober, 51, told
her daughter "something unfortunate" had happened to him. The 71-year-old’s body is believed to have been secreted in a freezer at their home in Lyon for up to two years. He was found in the foetal position and covered with plastic bags. Ms Collober is said to have made the revelation to her daughter during a night out. Her daughter told police, who found Mr Poinard’s body at the flat. Ms Collober is said to have collapsed in tears when officers arrived, saying: "I think you’ll find what you’re looking for." A police spokesman said: "An initial examination suggests the body could have been there for up to two years. "A full post-mortem examination will be carried out to discover the precise cause of death." He
said Ms Collober had been taken into custody and charged with hiding a
body and that further charges would depend on the findings of the
post-mortem. Mr Poinard was a famous chef in the 1970s and 80s, and ran a series of restaurants in the French culinary capital of Lyon. He has been described by food critics as one of the ‘great names’ in gastronomy.

You don’t have to have an expensive machine or a magic ball in order make your own ice-cream, a freezer will do just as well. Home-made ice-cream is healthier and tastier than anything you could find in the shops. The flavour possibilities are endless: brown bread, chilli chocolate, golden syrup, liqueur, soft fruits, marmalade, etc, etc. A basic vanilla flavoured ice-cream is easy to make. Begin by setting your freezer to -21°C. Next gently heat 300ml/10fl oz of full fat milk. It should be allowed to simmer but not boil. Meanwhile place a bowl onto a damp cloth. Add 100g/3½oz of castor sugar. Separate 4 medium eggs and whisk the yolks. Discard the whites. Combine the egg yolks with the sugar in the bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk into the combined sugar and eggs, whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan. Heat gently. Stir continuously until thickened. Remove from the heat. Slice 2 fresh vanilla pods lengthways and remove the seeds with the tip of a knife. Add the vanilla seeds to the mixture in the pan. The vanilla flavour will infuse into the mixture. Allow to cool. While still warm blend 300ml/10fl oz of double cream into the mixture. Return the pan to a low heat. Whisk until the ingredients are fully combined. Remove from the heat. Next pour into a shallow container and cover. Place in the freezer for 2 hours. Remove from the freezer and mash the mixture with a fork. Make sure to break any ice crystals which have formed along the sides. Cover and return to the freezer. After a further 30 minutes again remove from the freezer and mash with a fork. Repeat this process for up to 4 hours, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Keep covered in the freezer until ready to serve.

Heinz have developed a new style container for its iconic brand, the baked bean. The new plastic ‘fridge pack’ is a screw-toped jar which allows the
contents to be used a little at a time, with the remainder being kept in a fridge until required. The new fridge pack contains the equivalent of just under two and a
half standard tins. Consumers will be able to serve exactly the quantity they require, putting the remainder back into the fridge. Lid firmly in place. Heinz said: ‘The fridge pack has been designed primarily for busy
families looking for convenience and flexibility when it comes to
consuming beans, as well as the opportunity to reduce waste and

What will they think of next, home-made cupcakes without having to turn on an oven? May well sound too good to be true, but the electric cupcake machine from Lakeland does just that. As simple as making cheese toasties and  ready in no time. Simple to use. Prepare your cake mix using one of the included recipes.Plug in and wait for the lights to indicate when it is ready to go.Pour the prepared cake batter into the paper lined moulds and in about 10 minutes your cupcakes are baked to perfection. Fantastic…

Click here to see more of Lakelands electric cupcake maker


The Food Standards Agency is reminding caterers to make sure chicken
livers are handled hygienically and cooked thoroughly when used in
products such as pâté or parfait. This follows a number of outbreaks of
campylobacter food poisoning linked with chicken liver products where
the livers may have been undercooked. Some recipes indicate that searing chicken liver is enough to kill
any bacteria that may be present. However, food safety experts at the
Agency advise that chicken liver should not be treated like a piece of
steak and must be cooked all the way through. Campylobacter can be
present throughout the liver, not just on the surface. The most recent figures suggest that 65% of shop-bought chicken is
contaminated with campylobacter. The bug is responsible for more than
300,000 cases of food poisoning and 15,000 hospitalisations a year in
England and Wales. The FSA has identified the reduction of human
foodborne disease, and in particular tackling campylobacter infections
acquired from chicken, as a key priority for the next five years. Data provided by the Health Protection Agency shows that during 2009
the number of outbreaks of campylobacter associated with chicken liver
products increased substantially: nine of the 15 outbreaks reported
between 2005 and 2009 occurred during 2009. An additional five outbreaks
associated with consumption of chicken liver pâté or parfait were
reported in the first half of 2010. The majority of the outbreaks between 2005 and 2010 associated with
pâté or parfait products have been at catering establishments, like
restaurants and hotels, and have involved products that have been
prepared on site as opposed to purchased ready-made.
The Agency advises that liver, kidneys, and other types of offal
should be handled hygienically to avoid cross-contamination and cooked
thoroughly until they are steaming hot all the way through, reaching a
core temperature of 70°C for two minutes.

Traditionally the holiday month, August sees the beginning of the fresh game and shooting season. As with July, eating in the open air is common practice. This a fantastic month for both salad vegetables and fruit salads, and the abundance of quality foods make crudités a must. Vegetables in season are: aubergines, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, courgettes, cucumbers, fennel, garlic, green beans, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mangetout, marrows, okra, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, radishes, sweet corn and tomatoes. Fruits in season are: apricots, Asian pears, bilberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cherries, gooseberries, grapes, loganberries, mangos, melons, nectarines, peaches, plumbs, raspberries, redcurrants and strawberries. Seafood’s in season are: Dover sole, grey mullet, haddock, halibut, herring, lobster, pilchards, plaice, prawns, red mullet, salmon, sardines, sea bass, sea bream, shrimps, squid and turbot. Meats in season are: duck, grouse, guinea fowl, quail and rabbit.

Marmite may well be an iconic British brand but its Oven Baked Cashew Nuts are just a step to far. Why ruin a perfectly good nut by flavouring it with the distinctly strong savoury tang of our much-loved yeasty extract? No, no and again no. Cashew Nuts (88%), Marmite Yeast Extract (8%), (Yeast Extract, Salt,
Vegetable Extract, Niacin, Thiamin, Spice extracts (contain celery),
Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12), Marmite Yeast Extract Flavour
(Yeast Extract, Lactose (from milk), Salt, Sugar, Citric Acid, Onion
Powder, Garlic Powder, Flavouring)