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British Pie Week

Chicken, Mustroom & Ham Pie

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Celebrate British Pie Week with this incredible chicken pie – it’s SO simple!

Pastry is an everyday no no in our house, and so when I eat out, I will often choose a scrumptious pie as it’s a real treat.

This recipe is so simple however, that I can make it at home really easily. All food rules are thrown out on a Friday evening and we eat whatever we please, so this week, British Pie Week, I will definitely be baking this beauty.

It’s sure to be a winner with the whole family.

 

Chicken, Mushroom & Ham Pie

This gorgeous pie is from in Fantastic Food for Less, our raved-about cookbook, which is packed with delicious recipes that won’t break the bank.

Time 55 minutes.
Per portion: 657 Kcal, 48g fat (23.6g saturated)
Serves 6
Suitable for freezing

Cooked chicken or turkey 225g (8oz), chopped
Ham, thickly sliced 150g (5oz), chopped
Button mushrooms 200g pack, wiped and quartered
Sweetcorn 198g can, drained
Soft cheese with herbs 200g tub
Stock cube 1 ham or chicken
Double cream 150ml pot
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Puff pastry 375g packet, thawed if frozen
Egg 1, beaten
Mash and cooked carrots and green beans to serve (optional)

1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Place the chicken, ham, mushrooms and sweetcorn in the base of a pie dish (about 1.25 litres/2 pint capacity), and stir them to mix. Spoon over the soft cheese.

2 Dissolve the stock cube in 4 tbsp boiling water and then stir in the cream and seasoning. Pour this mixture into the pie dish.

3 Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is just larger than the pie dish. Cut around the edges to give a 1.5cm (½in) strip, brush water over the rim of the pie dish and then stick the strip of pastry on it. Brush water over the pastry rim and then lift the large piece over the top. Press it well around the edges.

4 Trim around the dish with a sharp knife to remove any excess. Use a sharp knife to make lots of cuts around the pastry edge to help the pastry rise. If liked, add decorative pastry leaves. Make a hole in the pastry in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape. Brush with beaten egg and then bake in the centre of the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden in colour and the filling is bubbling hot.

5 Remove the pie from the oven and serve with mash, steamed carrots and green beans, if you like.

Cook’s tips
Shop-bought pies can be pretty tasteless, and if you buy from an artisan producer, very expensive.
Treat yourself to this homemade version. It’s very filling and so you will only need mash as an accompaniment if your guests are very hungry, otherwise just stick with steamed vegetables.

#britishpieweek

 

 

 

 

Bramley Apple Week and the Prettiest Apple Tart

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Bramley Apple Week and the Prettiest Apple Tart

The Bramley is recognised by professional chefs and home cooks alike as the best apple for cooking. Grown only in Britain, the Bramley’s unique qualities make it a versatile ingredient, equally at home in a savoury stir fry or a traditional apple pie.

Bramley apples contain a higher acid content and lower sugar levels than other apples, which produces a stronger, tangier tasting apple whose flavour is retained when cooked.

Texture is also important and
Bramleys produce a ‘melt in the
mouth’ moist texture when cooked.

Caramelised apples set on top of a syrup-filled tart make this gorgeous dish a taste sensation!

 

Treacle Tart with Glazed Apples

Serves 6
1¼ hours plus cooling
555 Kcals/portion
Fat 16g (7.2g sat) per portion
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

Plain flour 175g (6oz)
Butter 65g (2½oz), diced
White vegetable cooking fat or lard 40g (1½oz), diced
Golden syrup 454g tin
Ground ginger 1 tsp
Lemon 1, grated zest and juice
Fresh breadcrumbs 110g (4oz)
Bramley apples 2, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Icing sugar 1 tbsp
Custard or ice cream to serve (optional)

1 To make the pastry, put the flour, 40g (1½oz) butter and fat in a bowl and rub in with your fingertips until you have fine crumbs. Gradually add 2 tbsp water and mix to a smooth dough. Alternatively, you could use a food processor.

2 Knead the pastry briefly, then roll out on a lightly floured surface until a little larger than a 24cm (9½in) diameter fluted loose-bottomed flan tin. Lift the pastry over the rolling pin, place in the tin then ease up the sides, pressing it in place. Trim the top of the pastry so that it stands a little above the tin. Chill for 15 minutes.

3 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Pour the syrup into a saucepan, add the ginger, lemon zest and half the juice and gently heat. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs. Leave to cool.

4 Pour the syrup into the tart case. Toss the apple in the remaining lemon juice. Arrange the slices, overlapping, in rings over the top of the tart. Then melt the remaining butter and brush it over the apples. Bake for about 35 minutes until the apples are golden.

5 Sift the icing sugar over the top and return the tart to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the sugar has caramelised. Leave to cool for 30 minutes, then remove the tart from the tin and cut into wedges. Serve with ice cream or custard, if you like.

Cook’s tip
Place any stale bread you have in a food processor and whizz into breadcrumbs. Separate into portions and freeze in polythene bags so that you have a ready-made supply.

Recipe taken from Fantastic Food For Less cookbook.

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Making laundry easier and faster

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Make laundry easier, simpler and faster (part 1)

Plus THE definitive guide to stain removal


As someone who has to juggle a LOT of washing, I know from bitter experience that it’s vital to make things as easy and as pleasant as possible.

Back in the ‘olden days’
the laundry was forgotten
about until the weekend.

But with a much larger family that’s unthinkable and I soon realised that to keep on top of it I needed a system to make the task much quicker.

Firstly, it’s important to get organised, and to do this you need to take each task one step at a time.

 

1 Collecting and sorting dirty laundry

Use a laundry bagI used to spend quite a lot of my time collecting everyone’s washing from their bedroom floors (bad parenting!) as well as reminding them that they should do it themselves.

This was annoying for all concerned and so I had a rethink. I didn’t want to put baskets in each bedroom as this would create more work for me. The easiest option for the children was a basket on the landing but as we have no floor space I decided to hang a hook and pretty wipe clean bag on the bathroom door.

Each evening, I empty the bag into two larger baskets (one for pale colours and one for darks). I also check for stains before they become ingrained in the fabric. I wouldn’t trust the children to do this! Anything that has a stain is taken to the utility room for stain removal:

 

2 THE definitive guide to stain removal

The key to tackling stains effectively is to act quickly! And the other key is to use the Dairy Diary Stain Removal Guide.

These pages from the diary have been helping DD fans to remove stains effectively for over 30 years!

And here it is, the best guide to stain removal that you’ll ever need (I have mine printed off and stuck on a cupboard in the utility room for quick reference):

 

Stain removal guide

What to do

Remove any solids with a blunt knife, and blot liquids with white kitchen paper.

If you’re unsure about the fabric, apply stain remover to a small, unseen area and wait 5–10 minutes. If the fabric reacts, seek dry-cleaning advice. Avoid treating delicate or expensive fabrics, or those that require dry cleaning only.

Don’t over-soak the fabric with a cleaning agent. To avoid making a ring mark, use a soft, absorbent cloth to apply the cleaning agent and work in a circular motion from the outside inwards. Dab, rather than rub, because rubbing can damage the fabric and it can also spread the stain.

Cleaning Kit (store safely away from children)

  • Detergents: Biological and heavy-duty liquid detergents.
  • Eucalyptus oil: Available from essential oils section of major chemists.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Ask your chemist for 20 volume strength. Mix 1 part to 6 parts water; soak item for 30 minutes or until the stain has cleared.
  • Lighter fluid: Apply neat with cotton wool.
  • Methylated spirits: Available from chemists. Apply with cotton-wool buds.
  • Pre-wash treatments: Some of these are formulated to treat a whole raft of common stains, some are more specific. Follow the instructions on the container.
  • White spirit: Dab neat on to grease stains.
  • White vinegar: Mix 15ml vinegar to 300ml water (3 tsp to ½ pint).

Personal

  • Blood: Soak in biological detergent and cold water, or cold water with salt added, and wash in heavy-duty biological detergent. Or try rubbing a mixture of cornflour and cold water into the stain, leaving to dry and brushing off.
  • Collar and cuff dirt: Apply liquid biological detergent directly with an old toothbrush. Wash as usual.
  • Deodorant: Sponge with a hydrogen peroxide solution (see box); apply heavy-duty liquid detergent to the area; wash.
  • Perspiration: Dab with white vinegar solution (see box); leave for 5 minutes. Soak and wash in biological detergent.
  • Urine and vomit: Soak in biological detergent and cold water, and wash in heavy-duty biological detergent.

Foodstuffs

  • Egg, milk and gravy: Soak in biological detergent and cold water, and wash in heavy-duty biological detergent.
  • Chewing gum: Freeze to make the gum brittle, using an ice cube inside a plastic bag; scrape it off, dab with methylated spirits (see box) and wash as usual.
  • Chocolate: Apply biological liquid detergent to the area; wash in heavy-duty detergent (containing bleach). On white items, soak in hydrogen peroxide solution (see box) and wash. Or soak in milk and wash in washing-up liquid; dab any remaining stain with white vinegar (see box), leave and wash as usual. Also good for coffee marks.
  • Oil/salad dressings: Sprinkle with cornflour to absorb grease, brush off, soak with washing-up liquid and then wash as normal.

Beverages

  • Tea, coffee, soft drinks: Soak in cool water, use a pre-wash treatment and wash in heavy-duty detergent (with bleach). Or use a hydrogen peroxide solution (see box) before washing.
  • Red wine: Mop up excess liquid and treat as for oil. Or cover stain with salt and leave for 30 minutes. Sponge with a warm solution of biological detergent (with bleach), rinse with cold water and wash as normal. If the stain has dried, treat as for blood. On upholstery and carpets, blot with white kitchen paper. If it cannot be rinsed, spray with soda water, or white wine, then mop with kitchen paper.
  • White wine: Rinse with plenty of warm water, or treat as tea.

Grease, glue, wax, oil and tar

  • Oil, fat, grease and tar: Dab the area with eucalyptus oil; wash in water as hot as the fabric allows.
  • Glue: Try to remove glue before it sets; apply methylated spirits (see box) for natural fabrics, or lighter fluid for synthetic fabrics.
  • Wax crayons, cosmetics and shoe polish: Treat with white spirit (see box) to remove the wax stain. Apply a pre-wash treatment and wash in heavy duty detergent (with bleach).

Miscellaneous

  • Grass and mud: Dab on methylated spirits (see box) and rinse off with warm soapy water. Apply a pre-wash treatment and then wash in heavy-duty detergent (with bleach). For a new stain, try soaking in white vinegar (see box), or squeeze on some lemon juice.
  • Ink, ballpoint and felt tip: Dab stain with methylated spirits, and then wash. For washable ink, soak in milk before laundering.
  • Mildew: Bleach white fabrics, or soak, then wash in heavy-duty detergent (with bleach).
  • Nail varnish: Mop up liquid, then with stain side facing down on kitchen paper, flush with nail polish remover (this is quite strong, and should not be used on some man-made fabrics – be sure to test first). Use methylated spirits (see box) to remove remaining nail-varnish colour.
  • Rust: Cover with salt, squeeze lemon juice over the salt and leave for about 1 hour; wash.

 

Don’t miss part 2 coming soon.

 

Read this blog on our website.

 

 

Buttermilk Pancakes with Bacon & Maple Syrup

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Buttermilk Pancakes with Maple Syrup

I discovered this recipe on a recent trip to London (after a rather over-indulgent night out!) and I have been hankering after it ever since.

Shrove Tuesday has given me to perfect opportunity to try it at home and share it with the rest of the family.

Be warned, it’s naughty,
but very VERY nice!

 

Buttermilk Pancakes with Bacon & Maple Syrup

Serves 4
Time 30 mins

Plain flour 110g (4oz)
Baking powder 2 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda ½ tsp
Caster sugar 1 tbsp
Salt ½ tsp
Eggs 2 large, beaten
Buttermilk 284/300ml tub
Butter 25g (1oz), melted, plus extra for frying
Streaky bacon 8 rashers
Maple syrup to serve

1 Sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Stir in sugar and salt.

2 Whisk in eggs, buttermilk and butter, taking care not to over-whisk.

3 Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a tiny amount of butter. Pour in 2-3 spoonfuls of batter and cook for 1-2 minutes until bubbles appear and edges start to turn dry.  Flip and cook for 1 minute more, until golden underneath. Keep warm.

Buttermilk Pancakes with Bacon & Maple Syrup

4 Repeat until batter is used up.

5 Place bacon rashers side-by-side in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, turning halfway through, until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

6 Serve pancakes topped with bacon and drizzled with maple syrup.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

#pancakeday

Eat Out, In this Valentine's Day

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Eat Out, In: The easiest and tastiest Valentine’s Day menu ever

The whole point of Valentine’s Day is to enjoy time with your other half. So if you choose to eat at home rather than visit a restaurant (who may well inflate their prices for the privilege of dining with them on February 14th!), you will want a menu that gives you maximum time together rather than hours slaving in the kitchen.

These delicious recipes deliver maximum
flavour but allow you to prepare ahead, so
that you can enjoy each other’s company.

 

This speedy salad takes only 5 minutes to prepare yet tastes divine. The mix of textures and the contrast between the sweet pears and the salty Stilton works beautifully.

Pear & Stilton Salad

Starter: Pear & Stilton Salad

Time required 5 mins.
Per portion: 493 Kcal, 39g fat (11.4g saturated)
Suitable for vegetarians
Serves 2

Mixed leaf salad 50g (2oz)
Chicory 1 head, halved, leaves separated and torn into large pieces
Conference pears 2, cored and sliced
Stilton cheese 75g (3oz), crumbled
Walnut pieces 25g (1oz)
Walnut oil 1 tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
Lime 1, juice only
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Par-baked rolls 2, warmed, to serve, optional

1 Put the prepared salad and chicory leaves in a bowl. Add the pears to the bowl with the Stilton followed by the walnut pieces. Drizzle with the oil and lime juice, mix gently and season with salt and pepper.

2 Arrange the salad neatly in the centre of two large plates and serve at once with a warmed par-baked roll per person.

Recipe taken from Clever One Pot cookbook.

 

Cod loin is a really meaty fish, which works brilliantly with Pancetta. The veg is cooked in the oven with it, so all you need to do is heat a pre-prepared packet of rice or mixed grains and your whole meal is done.

Cod in pancetta

Main: Roasted Cod Loin wrapped in Pancetta

Time required 30 mins.
Per portion: 358 Kcal, 23g fat (4.8g saturated)
Serves 2

Cod loin 2 pieces, 150–175g (5–6oz) each
Smoked sliced pancetta 8–10 slices, weighing about 50g (2oz)
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Asparagus tips 125g (4½oz), trimmed
Ready-to-eat mixed grains 250g packet (found in the couscous/rice aisle of the supermarket) to serve, optional
Light mayonnaise 2–3 tbsp
Lime ½–1, juice only

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Generously wrap the cod loins in pancetta. Drizzle a little oil in a roasting tin and pop the cod loins on top of the oil. Drizzle the loins with a little more oil, season with pepper and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

2 Meanwhile, tip the remaining oil into a plastic food bag. Add the asparagus tips and season with salt and pepper. Shake gently so the asparagus is lightly coated in oil.

3 Remove the cod loins from the oven, baste the pancetta with the juices in the pan and add the asparagus spears, making sure they are in a single layer. Roast for a further 8–10 minutes until the cod loins are cooked through and the asparagus is tender.

4 Heat the mixed grains (if using) in the microwave according to the packet’s instructions. Flavour the mayonnaise with lime juice, adding it gradually so it doesn’t split the mayonnaise, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5 To serve, set a spoonful of mixed grains on each plate, pop the cod loin on top and arrange the asparagus spears neatly to the side. Serve at once with the lime mayonnaise.

Recipe taken from Clever One Pot cookbook

 

Make ahead and chill until you’re ready to pop it into the oven and then take time to saviour this decadent treat, served warm with a good drizzle of ready-made custard.

Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding

Dessert: Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding

Time 45 minutes.
Per portion: 574 Kcal, 25g fat (13g saturated)
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians
Serves 2

White bread 6 slices, crusts removed
Butter 40g (1½oz), softened
Marmalade 2 tbsp
Caster sugar 2 tbsp
Sultanas 2 tbsp
Eggs 2
Milk 200ml (7fl oz)

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and lightly butter a 600ml (1 pint) pie dish.

2 Spread the bread with butter and then with the marmalade and then cut each slice of bread into four triangles. Arrange the triangles in the prepared dish, sprinkling the layers with sugar and sultanas.

3 Beat the eggs and milk together in a jug, then pour into the dish. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown and set. Serve warm.

Recipe taken from Fantastic Food For Less cookbook.

 

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Read blog on the Dairy Diary website.

 

Treacle-tart-with-glazed-apples

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Bramley Apple Week and the Prettiest Apple Tart

The Bramley is recognised by professional chefs and home cooks alike as the best apple for cooking.

Grown only in Britain, the Bramley’s unique qualities make it a versatile ingredient, equally at home in a savoury stir fry or a traditional apple pie.

Bramley apples contain a higher acid content and lower sugar levels than other apples, which produces a stronger, tangier tasting apple whose flavour is retained when cooked. Texture is also important and Bramleys produce a ‘melt in the mouth’ moist texture when cooked.

Caramelised apples set on top
of a syrup-filled tart make this
gorgeous dish a taste sensation!

 

Treacle Tart with Glazed Apples

Serves 6
1¼ hours plus cooling
555 Kcals/portion
Fat 16g (7.2g sat) per portion
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

Plain flour 175g (6oz)
Butter 65g (2½oz), diced
White vegetable cooking fat or lard 40g (1½oz), diced
Golden syrup 454g tin
Ground ginger 1 tsp
Lemon 1, grated zest and juice
Fresh breadcrumbs 110g (4oz)
Bramley apples 2, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Icing sugar 1 tbsp
Custard or ice cream to serve (optional)

1 To make the pastry, put the flour, 40g (1½oz) butter and fat in a bowl and rub in with your fingertips until you have fine crumbs. Gradually add 2 tbsp water and mix to a smooth dough. Alternatively, you could use a food processor.

2 Knead the pastry briefly, then roll out on a lightly floured surface until a little larger than a 24cm (9½in) diameter fluted loose-bottomed flan tin. Lift the pastry over the rolling pin, place in the tin then ease up the sides, pressing it in place. Trim the top of the pastry so that it stands a little above the tin. Chill for 15 minutes.

3 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Pour the syrup into a saucepan, add the ginger, lemon zest and half the juice and gently heat. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs. Leave to cool.

4 Pour the syrup into the tart case. Toss the apple in the remaining lemon juice. Arrange the slices, overlapping, in rings over the top of the tart. Then melt the remaining butter and brush it over the apples. Bake for about 35 minutes until the apples are golden.

5 Sift the icing sugar over the top and return the tart to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the sugar has caramelised. Leave to cool for 30 minutes, then remove the tart from the tin and cut into wedges. Serve with ice cream or custard, if you like.

Cook’s tip
Place any stale bread you have in a food processor and whizz into breadcrumbs. Separate into portions and freeze in polythene bags so that you have a ready-made supply.

 

Fantastic Food For Less cookbookRecipe taken from
Fantastic Food For Less
cookbook available now
at the Dairy Diary website
for just £7.99.

Breakfast recipes

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Breakfast Week. Win a spa weekend for two!

Hands up who eats breakfast? Me, me me!! I love everything about breakfast, the traditional breakfast foods and drinks and the fact that I wake up every morning ravenous enough to eat a horse (or maybe a bacon sandwich)!

Confession time, I adore junk cereal – particularly
that cinnamon one – but I have given up boxed
cereal entirely due to the fact that most of it is
packed with sugar.

Instead, I enjoy homemade porridge (see below) or wholemeal toast with fresh fruit or egg and bacon (or all of these!) and a mug of good strong coffee.

According to the BBC, breakfast as we know it didn’t exist for large parts of history. The Romans didn’t really eat it, usually consuming only one meal a day around noon.

In the Middle Ages monastic life shaped when people ate; nothing could be eaten before morning Mass and meat could only be eaten for half of the year. It’s thought the word breakfast entered the English language during this time and literally meant “break the night’s fast”.

Religious ritual also gave us the full English breakfast. On Collop Monday, the day before Shrove Tuesday, people had to use up meat before the start of Lent. Much of that meat was pork and bacon as pigs were kept by many people. The meat was often eaten with eggs, which also had to be used up, and the precursor of the full English breakfast was born.

After the restoration of Charles II, coffee, tea and dishes like scrambled eggs started to appear on the tables of the wealthy. By the late 1740s, breakfast rooms also started appearing in the homes of the rich.

The Industrial Revolution regularised working hours, with labourers needing an early meal to sustain them at work. All classes started to eat a meal before going to work, even the bosses.

And so our modern day breakfast routine was established.

 

 

Win a spa weekend for two

Win a spa weekendWhat’s your favourite breakfast? 

If you take a photo of it and upload it to the Shakeupyourwakeup campaign website you could win a spa weekend!

Enter the competition

They have lots of breakfast ideas on their website too.

 

 

Here are my two favourite Dairy Diary breakfasts:

 

 

Banana-Porridge

Banana Porridge

Serves 4
Time 8 mins
Calories 174 per portion
Fat 2g of which 0.4g is saturated

Porridge oats 110g (4oz)
Ground cinnamon 1 tbsp
Honey 3 tbsp
Banana 1 large, sliced

1 Put oats and 500ml (18fl oz) water in a pan and bring up to boil. Simmer for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2 Add most of cinnamon and honey and cook for 1 minute.

3 Add most of banana slices and stir.

Serve with remaining slices of banana on top, drizzled with remaining honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.

A Dairy Diary recipe.

 

Scrambled-Eggs-with-Smoked-Salmon

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

Preparation time 4 minutes
Cooking time 3 minutes
Calories per portion 766 Kcal
Fat per portion 55g of which saturated 25.2g
Serves 2

Butter 75g (3oz), softened
Tomato purée 2 tsp
Chopped dill 2 tbsp, plus a few fronds to garnish
Capers 2–3 tbsp, well drained and roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Mediterranean-style bread with olives 4 slices, approximately 2cm (¾in) thick, cut diagonally
Eggs 5 large, beaten
Smoked salmon slices 100g packet, cut into thin strips
Beefsteak tomato 1, deseeded and diced, to garnish (optional)

1 Put 50g (2oz) of the butter into a small bowl, then add the tomato purée, chopped dill and capers. Season with black pepper, then mix well together and set aside.

2 Toast the bread and keep warm.

3 Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan (preferably non-stick), add the eggs and half of the salmon strips. Then cook over a moderate heat, stirring continuously, until the eggs are softly scrambled – taking care not to overcook, as they will become dry.

4 Spread the toasted bread with the tomato butter and put onto two serving plates. Spoon the scrambled eggs on top, garnish with the remaining strips of salmon, dill and the chopped tomato, and serve immediately.

Cook’s Tip. For quick assembly, prepare all the ingredients before starting to cook and toast the bread while scrambling the eggs.

Recipe from Just One Pot Dairy Cookbook

 

 

#breakfastweek

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