Monthly Archives: June 2010

Sandwich Speculation

During my edit of the new Dairy Book of Home Cookery, I have come across some unusual sandwiches – combinations that surprised me but had some friends’ mouths watering.

Strange sandwichesIt seems that we have very wide ranging tastes when it comes to that humble of British inventions (introduced by the 4th Earl of Sandwich), the sandwich.

I was most sceptical about the DBoHC’s orange and mackerel, or bacon and banana ensembles but willing to give them a try (the latter, when toasted and drizzled with maple syrup is a bit of a revelation.) However, on browsing the Guardian blogs this morning, I was appalled to see that Tesco have launched a Lasagne Sandwich Initially, I checked the date of the blog assuming it was an April fool, but no, it was published in June. Surely no one with a tastebud would want it? Is it me?!

I would love to know if you have given it (or something equally bizarre) a try. When looking on Tesco’s website, it doesn’t seem to be there so perhaps it has made a rapid disappearance from their shelves – and no wonder!

For an appealing alternative to the ‘lasagndwich’ try this Chicken & Avocado Salad Sandwich from Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook.

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Chicken and Avocado Salad Sandwich

Avocados are a rich source of vitamin E, which is required for healthy skin and good cardiovascular health. When really ripe, avocado can be mashed and used as a tastier alternative to a low fat spread.

Chicken and advocado sandwichPreparation time 10 minutes
Calories per sandwich 397 Kcal
Fat per sandwich 16g
of which saturated 2.8g
Makes 4 sandwiches

Avocado 1 very ripe large
Lime or lemon juice 1 tbsp
Mint leaves 8 shredded, optional
Mixed grain bread 8 slices
Cooked chicken breast 200g (7oz), shredded
Cucumber slices 12
Baby spinach leaves 4 handfuls, rinsed and dried

1 Halve the avocado, remove the stone and scrape out the flesh onto a plate. Mash it with lime or lemon juice and add the shredded mint, if using. Spread the mashed avocado mixture over the 8 slices of bread.

2 Arrange the chicken evenly on 4 of the slices and season to taste. Put the cucumber slices on top and then pile up

the spinach leaves.

3 Place the other piece of bread, avocado side down on top to make 4 sandwiches. Press them together gently and cut each into two pieces.

Cook’s tip
Use fresh salmon or tuna instead of chicken in the sandwich.

Recipes taken from Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook.

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Celebrate Summer

It’s a celebration of summer this week with Midsummer’s Day on Thursday and the Summer Solstice today. Midsummer’s Day is primarily a Celtic fire festival, which represented the middle of summer.

It dates back several millennia, and many stone circles (such as Stone Henge) are aligned to the sunrise on this day.

Midsummer fires would be lit all over the countryside, and it was customary for people to jump through the fires, folklore suggesting that the height reached by the most athletic jumper would be the height of that year’s harvest. After Christianity was adopted in Britain, the festival became known as St John’s Day; the birthday of St John the Baptist. Traditionally St John’s Eve was seen as a time when fairies were thought to be at their most powerful (hence Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Back to reality and modern life, I don’t think too many of us will be jumping fires on Thursday, but we can enjoy today’s Summer Solstice. And what a glorious day for it! The sun is shining, and hedgerows and gardens bursting with flowers.

Why not make the most of the extra daylight and make the Foliage Fountain – it’s an elegant hanging basket and it only takes an hour. And for such minimal effort, what a result! The vivid colours will brighten up any porch or doorway.

Win a Portable Gardening Set with Dairy DiaryTo celebrate summer, we are giving away two portable gardening sets

Each portable set contains a handy pouch with a fork, trowel, dipper and secateurs. It takes just a few seconds to enter online – so why not do it now? Good luck.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas now available from the Dairy Diary store.

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Foliage Fountain

A bold and impressive array of plants spills out of this eye-catching terracotta hanger like a fountain in full flow – the striking purple, pink and blue colour scheme is not for the faint-hearted!

Plant in late spring or early summer for a display that will last throughout summer. Planting will take an hour or so.

Foliage Fountain from Seasonal Garden IdeasPlants required
Large black Mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’).
Sedge (Carex hachijoensis ‘Evergold’).
Coral flower (Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ or ‘Licorice’).
Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’).
Two deep pink busy Lizzies (Impatiens).
Fairy fan flower (Scaevola aemula ‘Blue Wonder’).

Large conical terracotta hanging container (or any other container of your choice), with hanging rods and hook and drainage holes in the bottom.
Broken crocks for drainage.
Potting compost with added sharp sand or grit.

1 Water all plants thoroughly the day before planting. If your pot is cone-shaped like the one shown here, prop it up securely while you plant it.

2 Line the bottom of the cone with broken crocks for drainage. Fill three-quarters full with the compost mixture.

3 Plant the black Mondo grass first, placing it at the back. Firm in well. Place the busy Lizzies next, one each side of the black Mondo grass. Firm in.

4 Adjust the level of compost as needed, then plant the coral flower directly in front of the black Mondo grass.

5 Now deal with the front planting. Adjust the level of the compost again as necessary. Position the fairy fan flower to the left, the sedge in the centre and the morning glory to the right. Firm in, then top up with more compost to within 2.5cm (1in) of the rim of the container. Insert a slow-release fertiliser spike.

6 Hang the container securely in its permanent position, in full sun or light shade. Ensure all hooks and fixings are strong enough to take the full weight of the pot and its plants. Water thoroughly.

A hanging container like this must have good drainage holes. If the pot you have chosen hasn’t got any, use an electric drill to make some in the bottom.

The fairy fan flower (Scaevola), flowering on the extreme left here, is a fairly new plant to become available in garden centres. It hails from Australia and is tender. The morning glory shown here on the right will come in to flower in late summer, bearing deep blue blooms that each last only one day, but are followed by more all the time.

Water well, especially in hot weather. Deadhead the flowers as they fade.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas now available from the Dairy Diary store.

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Make it a happy Father’s Day!

I’m sure I am among many others who don’t always show their love and gratitude for their fathers.

It’s not that I don’t feel it – every day I am thankful for such a wonderful dad (who is a fantastic grandad too), I just don’t say it very often!

So, if like me, you are lucky enough have a fabulous dad (and/or your other half is a wonderful dad) spoil him rotten on Sunday. Why not begin the day with this All-in-one-Brunch, an easy but scrumptious breakfast? Then take him somewhere special or do something he really loves (for me, this may involve a ride on a Harley Davidson, or scavenging for fossils somewhere!) Every dad certainly is different!

Just One Pot Dairy CookbookJust One Pot, Dairy Cookbook sale
For more one pot recipes, try Just One Pot Dairy Cookbook. It’s now only £2.99, for a limited time only at

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Hearty and delicious, the perfect weekend breakfast.

All-in-one-brunchPreparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
Calories per portion 543 Kcal
Fat per portion 43g
of which saturated 12.4g
Serves 2

Thick pork sausages 3
Vegetable oil 1 tbsp
Smoked back bacon 2 rashers, trimmed and halved
Large flat mushroom 1, peeled, wiped and thickly sliced
Large vine tomato 1, thickly sliced
Eggs 3 large, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the sausages through the middle lengthways. Heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan and gently fry the sausages, cut side down, for 5 minutes until lightly browned.

Turn the sausages over, add the bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes, turning the bacon over after 2 minutes. Using cooking tongs or two forks, transfer to a heat-proof plate and set aside.

Add the mushroom and tomato to the same pan and cook in the meat juices, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes until cooked through and tender.

Return the meat to the pan and arrange the contents evenly over the bottom. Then pour the beaten eggs into the pan, season well and cook gently for 3–4 minutes until the egg just sets.

Serve immediately, straight from the pan with freshly toasted bread.

Cook’s tip
Use a good non-stick frying pan so that the egg doesn’t stick to the bottom of it. Add a little wholegrain mustard to the eggs when beating.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot Dairy Cookbook

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