Monthly Archives: July 2010

Eating out with man’s best friend

I adore a proper country pub, complete with roaring fire, home-cooked food, slate floors and a couple of dogs dozing by their master’s knee.

I know at this point, I should probably advocate real ales – my boss would as many a business trip has involved a brewery ‘drive-by’ – but it’s not something I have ever had the correct palette for.

There is something really homely and loveable about a pub that welcomes dogs. On a recent holiday in the Cotswolds, one local whose dogs had made friends with us commented that it’s one of the best ways of meeting people. His dogs always made friends for him.

One pub chain has not only welcomes four-legged friends, but has gone one step further by offering their canine visttors delicious grub. What a fabulous idea! I don’t think I will go as far as taking my two cats out to my local, but if I ever have a dog then I will be seeking out gourmet experiences for both of us.

I’m afraid the Dairy Diary doesn’t offer canine recipes, but I am sure you will be delighted with the Salmon and Ginger Fishcakes from the forthcoming Good Food, Fast: Dairy Cookbook. It is a fabulous 30 minute recipe full of Thai flavours yet is quick and simple to prepare.

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Salmon and Ginger Fishcakes with Sweet-and-Sour Salad

Thai inspired flavours without fuss.

Salmon and Ginger FishcakesTime 30 minutes
Calories per portion 281 Kcal
Fat per portion 14.9g
of which saturated 2.6g
Serves 4

Red chilli 1, deseeded and finely chopped
Caster sugar 2 tsp
Thai fish sauce 1 tsp
Lime juice 1 tbsp
Rice vinegar 1 tbsp
Cucumber ½, halved and cut into long, thin strips
Yellow pepper 1 small, deseeded and cut into long, thin strips
Carrot 1 small, peeled and cut into thin strips
Cherry tomatoes 12, halved
Skinned salmon fillets 500g (1lb 2oz)
Root ginger 4cm (1¾oz) piece, peeled and very finely chopped
Spring onions 4, trimmed and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil 1 tsp
Coriander a bunch, stalks removed

1 For the salad, put the chilli, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and vinegar into a screw-top jar and shake well. Set aside. Toss the cucumber, pepper, carrot and tomatoes together in a bowl.

2 Chop the salmon until you have a coarse, mince-like mixture. Put into another bowl with the ginger and spring onions and season to taste. Mix together and divide into eight. Using slightly wet hands, shape into eight fishcakes.

3 Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the fishcakes for 1½ minutes on each side, until lightly golden and cooked.

4 Toss the dressing and coriander leaves through the salad. Divide between four plates and top each with two fishcakes.

Cook’s tip
Chopping and preparation is so much easier with good equipment. Buy good-quality knives and always keep them sharp.

Recipe taken from Good Food, Fast: Dairy Cookbook.

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Dairy Book of Home Cookery

Last Monday evening I took part in a very enjoyable research group with 13 ladies.

Each had been using the Dairy Book of Home Cookery over the past few weeks and had recorded their thoughts on it in the Dairy Diary.

Dairy Book of Home CookeryWe were trying to find out how to improve the book for its new launch next year – the overwhelming response was ‘don’t fix it if it aint broke’! Everyone who uses this book – from young to old – loves it! So with a few very minor teaks I think we can make a great book even better. The ‘tweaks’ we agreed on were:

  • Modern cover
  • New more contemporary recipe shots
  • Nutritional information for each recipe
  • Better portion sizes (this was its only criticism)
  • The addition of some new ‘classics’, such as wraps, tacos and risottos
  • Remove fondues!

As a Dairy Book of Home Cookery fan, do you have any suggestions for the new book?

Win a set of silicone cup cakesWin a set of muffin cases
Many like to use the book for baking. As a very special treat I have a set of 8 silicone muffin cases to give away.  To win visit

You will have to wait for a sneak preview of the Dairy Book of Home Cookery, but try these irresistible Orange Iced Cup Cakes from Good Food, Fast – Dairy Cookbook, available from September..

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Orange Iced Cup Cakes

Daintily iced buns, perfect for a girly coffee morning or tea party.

Orange Iced Cup Cakes

Time 25 minutes
Calories per cake 180 Kcal
Fat per cake 10.2g
of which saturated 6.1g
Makes 18 cakes
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing without the icing

Butter 125g (4½oz), softened
Caster sugar 125g (4½oz)
Self-raising flour 125g (4½oz)
Baking powder ½ tsp
Eggs 2, beaten

For the butter icing
Butter 75g (3oz), softened
Icing sugar 150g (5oz), sifted
Orange 1, grated zest and 1 tsp juice
Sugar flowers to decorate

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5 and line 18 bun-tin holes with pretty paper cases.

2 Tip all the ingredients for the cake mix in a bowl (it is very important that the butter is at room temperature and thus softened). Using a hand-held electric whisk, mix well until the cake batter is smooth and creamy.

3 Divide the cake batter evenly between the bun cases. There is enough mixture to three-quarters fill each bun case, so don’t over fill or the mixture will go all over the oven. Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes or until well risen, golden and cooked. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

4 Meanwhile, make the butter icing. Beat the butter with a hand-held electric whisk or wooden spoon and gradually beat in the icing sugar. Beat in the grated orange zest and enough orange juice to taste and give a soft but not runny consistency.

5 When the cakes are cold, spread the orange icing on top and decorate with sugar flowers. For a special event, pop the iced buns in a pretty tin and pipe a letter on each cake to spell Happy Birthday or Happy Christmas.

6 Check on the internet for some great mail order cake decorating suppliers who stock coloured paper cases and dainty iced flowers to decorate these cakes for a very special occasion.

Recipe taken from Good Food, Fast – Dairy Cookbook.

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Battle of the Boyne

Those of you lucky enough to live in Ireland have a bank holiday today – I hope you’re all having fun. The rest of us workers are very envious!

King William III

King William III

Today’s bank holiday commemorates the Battle of the Boyne. For many years I have edited this in the Dairy Diary but I have never really known much about its history. Time to find out…

This year’s bank holiday will mark the 320th anniversary of King William’s victory in Ireland. Interestingly, it is very important to the history of the British Monarchy (I think we should all be entitled to this bank holiday!)

Because of his old church beliefs, in 1688 powerful establishment figures forced King James to abdicate and invited William to take the throne. King William III was the Protestant head of the Dutch royal house of Orange. When James and his wife Mary landed in England, the royal army defected and James fled to France. James was deterrmind to win back his throne and, with the help of the French King, amassed an army of 25,000 (mainly Irish Catholics and French).

He landed in Ireland and fought against King William. William’s 36,000-strong army conisted of protestants from several European countries and both kings led their armies in person. It was a bloody battle at Oldcastle, near the mouth of the river Boyne, which saw a victory for William and it glued William and Mary firmly on the throne. It consolidated the momentous changes in the British way of government known as the Glorious Revolution.

Today’s fabulous Blueberry Crumble recipe comes from Just One Pot, Dairy Cookbook – still available for just £2.99 – and makes the most of this seaon’s delicious blueberries.

Clever Cooking for One or TwoWin a copy of Clever Cooking for One or Two
We have 5 to give away

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Blueberry Crumble

Blueberries given a sharp lemony edge beneath a comforting topping.

Blueberry CrumblePreparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 388 Kcal
Fat per portion 25g
of which saturated 10.2g
Serves 6
Suitable for vegetarians

Blueberries 450g (1lb)
Caster sugar 150g (5oz)
Lemon 1, grated rind and juice
Breadcrumbs 75g (3oz)
Ground almonds 75g (3oz)
Butter 110g (4oz)
Slivered or flaked almonds 25g (1oz)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Mix the fruit, 75g (3oz) of the sugar and lemon rind and juice in a shallow baking dish.

Make the crumble by mixing the breadcrumbs, ground almonds and remaining sugar in a large bowl. Rub in, or cut in, the butter roughly and spoon the mixture evenly over the fruit. Scatter with slivered or flaked almonds.

Bake the crumble for about 30 minutes, turning the oven heat down to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 after 15 minutes when the top has browned. Serve warm or cold with plenty of cream – clotted or double!

Cook’s tip
Crumbles are pretty flexible with the cooking temperature. If you’re cooking other things in the oven at the same time, the crumble will cope – just cook it until it looks good.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot, Dairy Cookbook

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