Back to school with Scrumptious Lunchbox Muffins by Dairy Diary


Back to School with Scrumptious Lunchbox Muffins

Those brand new shoes are shiny and there’s that familiar scent of new stationery with a perfectly organised pencil case nestling in a pristine (for one day only!) school bag.

It must be back to school time!

Make their first day back at school even more memorable with a scrummy homemade muffin.

With fresh blackberries it should pass muster with even the most vehement lunchbox police.


Lunchbox Blackberry Muffins - a Dairy Diary recipes

Lunchbox Blackberry Muffins

Makes 12–14
Time 30 mins
Calories 225 Fat 9g of which 5.5g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Self-raising flour 300g (11oz)
Baking powder 1 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda ½ tsp
Ground mixed spice ½ tsp, optional
Demerara sugar 200g (7oz)
Fresh blackberries 250g (9oz), very large ones halved
Full fat milk 300ml (½ pint)
Butter, 125g (4½oz), melted
Eggs 2 large, beaten

1 Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6 and line a 12 or 14 hole muffin tin with paper cases. Stir together dry ingredients and sugar in a bowl, then add blackberries and mix.

2 Whisk together milk, melted butter and eggs. Gently fold liquid into dry ingredients, taking care not to over-mix.

3 Divide batter between muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen and golden. Serve warm or cold.

A Dairy Diary recipe.



Read the blog on www.dairydiary.co.uk/

Dairy Diary 2015 website

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Strawberry Pimms Trifle

And here’s my favourite new Dairy Diary recipe.

Strawberry Trifle with Pimms 

Time: 25 mins plus chilling
376 Kcals/portion
Fat 19g (10.9g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians

Trifle sponges 4, about 110g (4oz), broken into pieces
Strawberries 350g (12oz), sliced
Caster sugar 2 tbsp
Pimms 4 tbsp
Reduced fat custard 425g can
Double cream 200ml (7fl oz)
Low fat natural yogurt 150g (5oz)
Orange, grated rind of half
Lemon, grated rind of half
Halved strawberries and orange rind curls to decorate

1 Arrange trifle sponges in a single layer in the base of a 1.2 litre (2 pint) glass dish. Place strawberries on top and then sprinkle with sugar. Spoon Pimms over the sponges.
2 Spoon custard over fruit and spread into an even layer. Whip cream until it just forms soft swirls then fold in yogurt and fruit rinds. Spoon over custard and chill until required.
3 Decorate with strawberries and citrus rind curls.

A Dairy Diary 2015 recipe.




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Be the first to own a copy of the best Dairy Diary yet. We have 25 advance copies to give away.

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Amazing Anti-ageing Foods


Amazing Anti-ageing Foods

Hmmmmm, would I like to look younger and keep wrinkles at bay?

Yes!!! Well, with regular exercise and the right foods we can grow older gracefully. The Dairy Diary shares with us what to eat and why (take note, chocolate is on the list!):

Antioxidants, which zap
cell-damaging free radicals,
are vital.

Acai berries are jam-packed with antioxidants, omega oils, dietary fibre, amino acids, calcium and B vitamins. Blueberries are a great source of anthocyanidins. They may also help brain function, keep eyes healthy, help lower cholesterol and protect against cancer.

Broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are rich sources of fibre, vitamin C, carotenes andother anti-cancer compounds.

Carrots are powerful antioxidants, protect skin from sun damage and wrinkles, and help maintain a healthy heart. They are one of best sources of betacarotene, which your body converts into vitamin A.

Cherries contain plenty of anthocyanidins, as well as vitamin C; strongly antiinflammatory, they reduce the risk of heart disease.

Chinese leaves are a rich source of betacarotene, help control blood pressure, improve digestion and help combat asthma and bronchitis.

Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant, and helps balance sugar in the blood.

Dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa solids) – two squares give you a dose of anti-ageing flavonoids, and a good measure of antioxidants.

Fish, especially oily fish, contains essential fatty acids, and vitamin D for bones and joints. It also helps your body to eliminate fat-soluble toxins and maintains lipid supply in the outer layers of your skin, which some say smooths wrinkles.

Garlic helps maintain healthy circulation and lowers cholesterol, plus having beneficial antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

Green tea comes from the same plant as black tea but the leaves are less processed and so the tea is higher in antioxidants. It may help lower cholesterol, speed metabolism (for weight loss), protect teeth and joints and reduce sun damage to skin. White tea, from the concentrated buds of the plant, is even less processed and more beneficial.

Honey boosts the immune system and improves brittle nails.

Nuts and seeds are a great source of vegetable protein, fibre and essential fats and minerals.

Walnuts are full of antioxidants; Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, important for the immune system; almonds contain vitamin E; pumpkin and hemp seeds and linseeds provide skin-plumping essential fatty acids and valuable minerals, such as zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium.

Oats contain soluble fibre that helps reduce cholesterol, and B vitamins that, with silicon, help keep skin, hair and nails looking good and bones strong.

Amazing Anti-ageing Foods are full of vitamin E and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fat) and help keep skin
hydrated. They also have antiinflammatory properties.

Onions help maintain a healthy heart, and may slow bone loss. They contain vitamins C and B6 (good for muscles) and have anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Quinoa is an excellent source of protein and, unlike wheat or rice, contains all the essential amino acids, as well as the whole range of B vitamins.

Tomatoes are full of vitamin C, potassium and lycopene, an antioxidant that protects skin and eyes from sun damage and helps ward off certain cancers. More lycopene is absorbed if tomatoes are heated, canned or made into ketchup, or eaten with olive oil.


Homemade Muesli

Dairy Diary Homemade MuesliMakes 18 portions
Time 30 mins
Calories 152 per portion
Fat 4g of which 0.5g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Ready-to-eat dried apricots 110g (4oz)
Ready-to-eat dried prunes 110g (4oz)
Ready-to-eat dried figs 110g (4oz)
Seedless raisins 110g (4oz)
Sultanas 50g (2oz)
Walnuts 50g (2oz), finely chopped
Rolled porridge oats 375g (13oz)
Oranges 2, finely grated zest only
Lemon 1, finely grated zest only
Ground cinnamon or mixed spice 1–2 tsp, optional

1 Roughly chop apricots, prunes and figs and place in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and mix together thoroughly.

2 Store muesli in an airtight container, in a cool place.

3 To serve, spoon into serving bowls, barely cover with milk and allow to stand for 5–10 minutes. Serve topped with natural yogurt and, if you like, blueberries or a little honey.

A Dairy Diary recipe.






The Rainy Day Box


What every parent holidaying in the UK should have:


The Rainy Day Box

Britain is unbeatable in terms of beauty. I feel extremely lucky to live in such a gorgeous country, full of contrasting landscapes.

Of course, I love the excitement of foreign travel but I adore Great Britain and so this year we have decided to holiday at home. We’re visiting the stunning Gower peninsula for some gloriously sandy family fun.

This particularly beautiful part of the UK is very special to me as it’s where my grandmother originated from and where I spent many a happy childhood holiday.

BUT with every British holiday,
we need to be prepared.
That includes waterproofs
and wellies and our savour
– the Rainy Day Box.

The Rainy Day Box is essential for keeping the children amused indoors (as there’s only so many times you can endure the beach in the pouring rain). I prepare it in advance of the holiday so it’s ready in case we need it.


To make a Rainy Day Box:

Sturdy cardboard or plastic box (I label mine, but this is not essential)

And some or all of the following (age-appropriate for your child or children):

The Rainy Day Box

  • Colouring or activity books (I get mine when they are on offer in The Works)
  • Crayons, colouring pencils or felt tip pens
  • A board game (charity shops are great places to pick up board games)
  • Loom bands or beads for bracelet making

The Rain Day Box

  • A new DVD (I bought this one cheap from the Supermarket, but you could hire one for a week from your local library)
  • Indoor games such as jacks, dominos or jigsaws
  • Reading books
  • Craft kits (we still have some left from Christmas that we have never got around to making but you could easily make your own. In a zip lock bag put some pieces of card and paper, lollipop sticks or pipe cleaners and stickers, buttons etc. with some glue and scissors. Help your child to cut out a shape of their choice; this could be a mask or wand, or a butterfly or dinosaur. Attach pipe cleaners or lollipop sticks for the handle/antennae or legs and then let your child go wild with decorations.)


If you are self-catering you could also take a ready-made recipe kit.

Buy one or create your own by putting all the dry ingredients in a tub and wet ingredients in a small bottle. Print out the recipe and pack into your Rainy Day Box. This recipe is perfect as it doesn’t use any ingredients that require chilling.


Honey Flapjack Cookies 

Honey Flapjack Cookies

Both wheat and dairy free, these little oaty crunchies are completely irresistible.

Time 25 minutes plus cooling
Calories per cookie 72 Kcal
Fat per cookie 4g of which saturated 0.5g
Makes 30 cookies
Suitable for vegetarians

Porridge oats 125g (4½oz)
Medium oatmeal 50g (2oz)
Light soft brown sugar 110g (4oz)
Heather honey 2 tbsp
Vanilla extract a few drops
Vegetable oil 110ml (3½fl oz)
Egg 1, beaten

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and line two large baking trays with baking parchment.

2 Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Then put heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture, well spaced apart, on the baking sheets and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon – you should be able to make 30 cookies.

3 Bake for 12–15 minutes until they are a rich golden brown. Leave them to cool for 10 minutes on the baking trays before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Cook’s Tip
For the best results, choose a stronger tasting variety of honey and add a teaspoon of cinnamon or ground mixed spice for a different flavour.

Good Food Fast recipe.


Have fun everyone. You may even hope for a rainy day so you get to do all these activities!






Top Five Barbecue Favourites


Top Six Barbecue Favourites

Us Brits love a good barbecue don’t we? 

As soon as the sun peeps from behind the clouds we dash off for supplies and the scent of burning charcoal drifts across the land. 

This relaxed, informal way of eating is a great way to unwind and enjoy the company of good friends, but it needn’t be boring beef burgers – jazz up your barbie with these Dairy Diary favourites.


Fish Kebabs

Fish KebabsServes 1
Preparation 25 mins
Cooking 10 mins
Per portion 268 kcals, 4g fat (1.5g saturated)

110g (4oz) white fish fillet, cubed
4 unpeeled prawns
1 pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 small courgette, cut into chunks
1 tsp lemon juice
Cayenne pepper
65g (2½oz) natural yogurt
½ tsp grated lemon rind
½ tsp chopped dill

1 Thread fish, prawns, pepper and courgette on to 2 skewers, brush with lemon juice and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

2 Place under grill and cook for 10 minutes or until fish is cooked, turning occasionally.

3 Blend together yogurt, lemon rind and chopped dill.

4 Serve kebabs with yogurt dip.

Mixed Fish Kebabs Variation. Follow recipe for Fish Kebabs. Omit prawns and pepper. Use 75g (3oz) white fish fillet and 75g (3oz) smoked fish fillet, cubed. Thread on to 2 skewers with courgette, 4 cherry tomatoes and 4 button mushrooms.


Chicken Satay with Indonesian-style Salad

Succulent, nutty chicken served with a bowl of crunchy finely chopped vegetables.

Chicken SatayTime 25 minutes
Calories per portion 325 Kcal
Fat per portion 13.6g of which saturated 7.5g
Serves 4

Skinless chicken breasts 4 large, cut into strips about
1cm (½in) thick
Peanut or satay cooking sauce 150-200g (5-7oz)
Coconut milk 175ml (6fl oz)
Lime 1, grated zest and juice of ½ and the rest cut into wedges
Mixed vegetable stir-fry 350g pack

1 Toss the chicken strips in half of the peanut cooking sauce in a bowl and set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.

2 Meanwhile, soak 12 medium-length wooden skewers in hot water. Preheat the grill to hot and line a baking tray with foil.

3 Thread the chicken onto the drained skewers (2–3 strips on each) and lay on the tray. Grill for 8–10 minutes, turning halfway, until lightly charred and cooked through.

4 Meanwhile, put the remaining peanut cooking sauce in a saucepan with the coconut milk and lime zest. Place over a medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Then stir in the lime juice and set aside to cool and thicken slightly.

5 Divide the uncooked mixed vegetable stir-fry between four bowls and serve alongside the chicken satay skewers and lime wedges. Drizzle some warm peanut sauce over each salad and serve the rest in bowls for dipping the satay in.

6 Some supermarkets sell a 165ml mini can of coconut milk, which is ideal for this recipe. Otherwise, use part of a can and use the rest with Thai curry paste for another meal.


Apple Pork Burgers

Pork & Apple BurgerMakes 4 burgers
Time 20 mins
Calories 328 per burger
Fat 23g of which 10.1g is saturated
Suitable for freezing

Butter 25g (1oz)
Eating apple 1 large, peeled and chopped
Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and crushed
Minced pork 450g (1lb)
Chopped sage 2 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried
Mozzarella 75g (3oz), cubed, optional
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Cheese-topped burger buns to serve
Chunky apple sauce to serve
Mixed salad leaves to serve, optional

1 Melt butter in a frying pan and fry apple and garlic for 3–4 minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

2 Stir in pork, sage and seasoning. Mix together thoroughly.

3 Divide mixture into four and shape into balls. Push mozzarella into centre, if using, then form into patties.

4 Heat olive oil in pan and fry patties for 3–4 minutes on each side over a low heat until golden.

5 Serve in cheese-topped burger buns with apple sauce and salad.


Sweet & Spicy Beef Skewers

Here is an interesting and zesty way to enliven beef kebabs by adding fruity orange and the subtle spiciness of Worcestershire sauce.

Spicy Beef Skewers20 minutes preparation time plus marinating
5 minutes cooking time
187 Kcal per portion
6g fat per portion of which 2.1g is saturated
4 servings

Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp
Orange juice 1 tbsp, freshly squeezed
Sesame oil 1 tsp
Clear honey 1 tsp
Garlic 1 clove, peeled and crushed
Lean sirloin steak 450g (1lb), trimmed and very thinly sliced into ribbon-like shreds
Red pepper 1 small
Yellow pepper 1 small

1 Place eight bamboo skewers in a dish, cover with water, and set aside to soak. In a small bowl, mix together the Worcestershire sauce, orange juice, oil, honey and garlic. Place the steak in a shallow dish and gently turn it in the Worcestershire sauce mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

2 Meanwhile, halve and deseed the peppers and then cut them into even-sized chunks.

3 When ready to barbecue, drain the skewers and thread the pieces of steak on lengthwise – bending each piece to form an ‘S’ shape – along with chunks of pepper. Brush with any remaining marinade and cook, turning frequently, over hot coals for about 5 minutes or until done to your liking. Serve immediately with salad and rice.

Cook’s tip. Alternatively, place under a hot grill for about 3–4 minutes on each side, until tender and cooked to your liking.


And on the side, this fruity coleslaw is just perfect!

Florida Coleslaw

Florida ColeslawServes 4
Time 15 mins
Calories 99 per portion
Fat 3g of which 0.9g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

White cabbage 225g (8oz), finely shredded
Dessert apple 1, peeled, cored and grated
Carrot 1, peeled and grated
Raisins 25g (1oz)
Orange ¼, finely grated rind and juice
Plain yogurt 110g (4oz)
Light mayonnaise 2 tbsp
Lemon juice 1 dsp

1 Combine shredded cabbage with grated apple and carrot, raisins and orange rind and juice.

2 Add yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper and toss well together.


Refreshing and delicious, this grapefruit drink just perfect for a summer’s day in the garden.

Pink Grapefruit Crush

Pink Grapefruit CrushMake 1 litre (1¾ pints)
Preparation 15 mins
Per glass 67 kcals, 0g fat (0g saturated)
Suitable for vegetarians

50g (2oz) caster sugar
Handful of mint leaves
1 litre (1¾ pints) pink grapefruit juice
Crushed ice

1 Place sugar in a saucepan with 200ml (7fl oz) water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3–4 minutes.

2 Add mint to sugar syrup. Cool.

3 Remove and discard mint leaves. Add juice and stir.

4 Divide ice between glasses and pour over juice.


Visit the Dairy Diary recipe collection for more inspiring ideas.




Recipe for Lime & Mint Sugar Scrub

This is a bit of a girlie blog I’m afraid, but men can use it too!

As it’s summer and limbs
are on show, a good shower
scrub is essential.

I am a huge fan of Soap & Glory Products but after a spectacularly horrific garage bill we are tightening our belts quite considerably. So, when my gorgeous sugar scrub ran out, I decided to be uber-sensible and make my own. I (and secretly my other half) love it!



Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients for Lime & Mint Sugar Scrub

  • Coconut oil 110g (4oz) (available from Holland & Barratt)
  • Granulated sugar 110g (4oz)
  • Lime 1, zest and juice
  • Spearmint or peppermint oil 10 drops

In a saucepan, heat coconut oil gently until melted. Stir in sugar, lime zest and juice, and oil.

Decant into a jar and store in the fridge.

Use twice a week for invigorated and super-soft skin.

Tip: You could use olive oil in place of the coconut oil (it doesn’t need to be heated). Simply add enough to the sugar to make a thick paste.







Seasonal Garden Garden


Fabulous Patio in One Weekend

We seem to have inadvertently created a bog in our garden by taking up some horrid old flagstones, so next weekend we plan to tackle this gorgeous project from our Seasonal Garden Ideas book.


I may even paint the bench too.
Doesn’t it look fabulous?


Granite Setts Paving

Make a private little patio corner for yourself – a perfect place to retreat to in the garden for a few quiet moments. A circular area gives a feeling of completeness and repose.
This project can be carried out at any time of year. Allow 1-2 days to complete the work.


What you need


  • A purple/mauve/pink colour theme has been chosen for the planting, with purple-leaved Heuchera, mauve-pink thrift (Armeria maritima), black Mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) and Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’.
  • A spot planting of scented pink ‘Stargazer’ lilies makes a bold summer statement.


  • 60-100 granite setts.
  • Builder’s sand to cover the patio area to a depth of at least 15cm (6in).
  • More sand to brush over the complete patio to fill in between setts.
  • Wheelbarrow, spade, rake, piece of batten, mallet, trowel and garden broom.

1 Measure the area you want to cover (total circumference), then plan out how many granite setts you will need. Order these from a garden centre or builder’s merchant.

2 Dig the entire area to a depth of 15cm (6in) PLUS the thickness of the granite setts you are using. Ensure the site is level, firm and solid. Even out any bumps with a spade, then firm the soil by treading.

3 Spread sand over the entire area to a depth of 15cm (6in), then rake it smooth and level.

4 Start laying the outermost rings of setts, butting them up to each other as closely as you can while still maintaining the circular shape. Lay the batten on top as you go and tap the setts into place with the mallet.

5 Continue with the pattern, offsetting each ring of setts slightly for stability and using the same batten and mallet technique. Again, position the setts as close together as you can but not touching.

6 When the pattern is complete, spread a layer of sand on top and brush it into the crevices between the setts with a broom.

7 To complete your secret little corner, make a narrow circular flower bed around the patio – here, garnet-coloured decking has also been installed behind the circular setts area.


Tip An alternative to granite setts would be a pattern of bricks.

Note This isn’t a patio for heavy usage – if you require a firmer base for your granite setts, then lay a footing of ready-mixed concrete.

Aftercare If any of the granite setts settle down unevenly, lever them out, adjust the level of sand underneath, then replace. Remove any weeds that spring up in the sand between the setts.


Seasonal Garden Ideas £3.99You can buy Seasonal Garden Ideas
for just £3.99 (plus P&P).

It’s packed with fabulous and practical
projects that be tackled in less than a day.

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