new potatoes seasonal food May

Seasonal Food in May

new potatoes seasonal food May

Historically many Cheshire dairy farmers would grow potatoes.  They would use the manure from the cows to feed the crop and any potatoes not fit for sale would be then be fed back to the cows.

May is the time when we can expect to see the first new potatoes.  Don’t peel them (all the nutrients are just under the skin). Just scrub them and then simmer gently for approximately 15-20 minutes until they’re just tender. You can also cook them in a microwave. If you’ve got a few left over, add a bit of mayonnaise and some fresh herbs, and you’ll have a wonderful potato salad.

Issue 3 Seasonal Food asparagusDid you know that asparagus are the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant?  If you don’t have any in your garden, you’ll find local asparagus in the markets in May. After eating asparagus, some people find their urine has a strong, unusual odour.  There’s a debate among scientists, as to whether some people don’t make these sulphur compounds, or simply just can’t smell them. Anyway eating asparagus helps you fight cancer and reduce heart disease as well as boosting your immune system.  It’s been described as a super food (

If you’ve not eaten asparagus do try some (don’t over-cook it). I think it tastes nice and it’s definitely different and greener than the asparagus that’s been flown in from Peru!


Have a look on the web for more ideas:

Bill Pearson

Douglas Ewen 782 KB issue 3

Reaseheath Welcomes New Butchery Course Manager!

Douglas Ewen 782 KB issue 3

Hello everyone, my name is Douglas Ewen.

l am the new butchery lecturer and course manager at Reaseheath Food Centre. During my short time at the College,( apart from setting off the fire alarms…) I have carried out various butchery demonstrations using animals reared from the College farm. This meat served to supply the staff Christmas dinner and College canteen. I am currently developing various butchery courses for students, which will hopefully be interesting, informative and hands on.

I’m particularly excited to be teaching the brand new Level 2 Diploma in Professional Butchery at Reaseheath, starting in September 2014. This course aims to provide students with a realistic overview of butchery to help them move forward into their careers.

l have been involved in working to the highest of standards in various butchery roles both traditional and modern European for over twenty five years. During that time l managed a business which won Scotland’s best butcher for three consecutive years, along with UK’s best butcher. I have worked in various fresh food positions throughout both the UK and Ireland and for major retailers including: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Tulip and the Vion food group. I have also carried out meat quality assurance for ALDI supermarkets, to ensure that their suppliers, provided products to ALDI’s strict guidelines. You may not know that a number of major retailers sell their excess stock to ALDI, which in turn they label and sell cheaper! Aside from my passion for butchery, I have enjoyed many sports over the years and was a swimming, ski, gym and martial art instructor, training myself and others to various regional, national and international levels. These days l still enjoy going swimming and keeping fit at the gym. As you may be aware, eating a balanced and healthy diet is extremely important. Here are two of my favourite recipes that l enjoy which are nutritious, cost effective, tasty, quick and easy to prepare. All ingredients are ready available or you may laready some of these ingredients in your cupboards or fridge!

Doug’s Favourite Chicken Recipes

Sweet Sticky Chicken Thighs

1lb or 460g British chicken thighs skin on (£2.75 per pack)

2 tbsps clear honey (£1.40 for 340g jar)

2 garlic cloves –  crushed (30p)

200g/7oz basmati rice – cleaned and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes  (£1.50)

365ml/ 13fl oz water

Salad bag (£1.50)

Thai sweet chilli sauce (£1.50)

Total approximate cost for 3 people £7.85 – that’s just £2.60 per person!


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (gas mark 6) or 180C for fan oven.
  2. Rinse rice well and then soak for 15 minutes in cold water and then drain.
  3. Whilst rice is soaking, place honey, crushed garlic and chilli sauce into a bowl and mix together.
  4. Place the drained rice into a pot with 365ml/13 fl oz of fresh water and place onto the heat. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Whilst the rice is simmering, place the chicken into the oven wearing oven gloves for 15-20mins and cook until golden colour, making sure juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
  6. Once the rice has simmered,  remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes
  7. Serve the chicken with rice and add salad for a little extra crunch.


Spicy Chicken Tikka Kebabs

1lb or 460g British chicken thighs skinless -cut into cubes (£2.75 per pack)

2 tbsps tikka paste (£1.80 jar)

Natural yoghurt (£1.50)

1 lime (30p)

4 spring onions (70p)

Metal (reusable) or bamboo skewers (£1.50)


Total cost: approximately £8.55 for 3 people – that’s less than £3.00 each!


  1. Pre-heat the grill.
  2. Place tikka paste, yoghurt, spring onions, half the lime juice in a bowl and mix together.
  3. Carefully thread the chicken pieces onto skewers.
  4.  Use the juice of the other half of lime sprinkle to on the top.
  5. Grill for approximately 10 minutes on each side, turn and baste with the paste mix, until cooked through.
  6. Serve with salad or rice.

For any help, advice or support my door is always open in the food department. Please come and say hello and I hope you enjoy my recipes.

Douglas Ewen

Butchery Lecturer/Course Manager

Recipe scones

Recipe of the Month: Cheshire Cheese & Spring Onion Scones

Recipe scones

The following recipe is reproduced with permission from the CPRE Cheshire Local Foods website. Their web site is all about helping you find and buy great food from the many local producers in Cheshire. It also lists local food events, such as farmers’ markets  and there is a free newsletter you can sign up to. If you’re interested in local foods, complete their Local Food Survey on attitudes to food miles.

The cheese and spring onion scones make a great packed lunch with tomatoes, watercress and a slice of cheese or ham.


250g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g butter

150ml milk

little extra milk to brush the tops

50g Cheshire cheese grated

3 spring onions, finely chopped

½ tsp mustard, mixed with the milk


  1. Preheat oven to 220C
  2. Sieve the flour and the baking powder together into a large bowl
  3. Rub in the butter so that the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese and chopped onions.
  4. Add milk with mustard and mix together quickly with a knife.  When just mixed turn on to a floured surface and lightly pull together.  Do not knead or overmix.
  5. Roll into a circle 3cm thick.
  6. Either cot with a cutter to make 8 rounds or cut into 8 wedges.
  7. Brush with milk and place on a baking tray.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes.  They will be firm to the touch and lightly brown
  9. Cool on a wire rack before serving.


(Image credit: Hector Robb, CPRE Cheshire volunteer)