Monthly Archives: July 2011

Entertaining the kids in the summer holidays

So, the summer holidays are upon us again.

For people with no children this means everywhere is much more annoyingly busier. For us with children, we have to find lots of things to do to keep those immortal words ‘I’m bored’ at bay.

Working from home I can afford to take not quite so much work on over the next six weeks, so my children will be visiting holiday clubs just two days every week. Leaving me with another five to fill.

A holiday planner is already up on the wall with all the big booked-in events written in: the week at their Nan’s caravan in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, the morning going to look after and ride a pony, the cinema trip, the visit to The Deep aquarium and the play centre visit with cousin Emma.

However, there are still a lot of days when I need to think of something to enable us to turn the television off for a few hours: that’s the curse of having too many children’s channels!

Hidden away upstairs I have a few craft kits from the very child friendly Buttonbag company.
If I can keep my patience perhaps we can make knight peg people and put on a show one day? Perhaps we can sew a little felt mouse each without too many pricked fingers? Perhaps I can bear the mess of making my own papier mache again and make some balloon masks?

And most definitely we should get out some of their old-fashioned board games to play.

Just this weekend we were housebound due to the rain so the ‘Junior Monopoly’ came out. And do you know what? It was really great. Better than playing on the Wii. It had been so long since we’d last played it that I was surprised to find my six year old Finley could read the instructions himself, and my four year old daughter Elena could recognise the numbers on the money. Fun and educational!

 

Seeded Tomato Scones | A Dairy Diary recipeThen, of course, there is always some baking that can be done.
Two chairs squeezed in side by side into my tiny kitchen as we all take turns to weigh and mix. The great thing about the recipes in the Dairy Diary is that they aren’t too long or complicated, so with my young helpers to hand I may well give the Tomato Scones from the 2011 Dairy Diary, page 87 a go.

There’s nothing they like more than getting messy hands and being able to use a rolling pin. And of course the results are bound to beat ‘boring’ old sandwiches.

Good luck.

Karen Perry
Dairy Diary Team

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Tomato Scones

Simply irresistible, serve hot from the oven with a little cheese

Seeded Tomato Scones | A Dairy Diary recipeMakes 12
Time 20 mins
Calories 133 per portion
Fat 5g of which 2.7g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Self-raising flour 275g (10oz)
Salt ¼ tsp
Butter 50g (2oz)
Dried basil 1 tsp
Tomato purée 1 tbsp
Milk 275ml (9fl oz)
Egg 1, beaten
Sesame seeds 1-2 tbsp
Cherry tomatoes and Cheddar cheese to serve, optional

1 Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Place flour and salt in a bowl. Rub butter into flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2 Add basil, tomato purée and milk and half of the egg and mix to a soft but not sticky dough.

3 Roll out on a floured work surface into a rectangular shape about 2cm (¾in) thick and cut into 12 x 5cm
(2in) squares.

4 Place on a greased baking sheet, brush tops with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 10 minutes or until well risen and golden.

Serve with tomatoes and cheese, if using.

A Dairy Diary recipe.

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British strawberries are the best

Strawberries have been great this year, haven’t they?

British strawberries are the bestThat wonderful aroma makes them irresistible – in fact, they often smell better than they taste, but this year they’re full of flavour.

Apparently, we have the lovely weather earlier in the year to thank for that, all that glorious sunshine bringing on the English fruit and so not so many imports. And strawberries are so versatile. I love them just as they are, or with cream or yoghurt (or in a Pimms!) but you can make smoothies, tarts, cakes – jam if you’re very dedicated and have a glut.

I’ve come across a great idea in the New Dairy Cookbook – free-form pie. The idea is that you don’t have to worry too much about quantities, or rolling out the pastry to a precise shape. Music to my ears! The recipe uses rhubarb, apple and strawberries, and includes semolina or polenta to soak up the juices a bit and stop the bottom of the pie getting soggy. Why didn’t I think of that before?! This one’s definitely on the to do list.

Summer Pudding
A very British recipe is the simply stunning Summer Pudding – taken from the 2012 edition of The Dairy Book of Home Cookery, available in the autumn – easy to prepare and bursting with sunny goodness.

Apparently, centuries ago, an abbess decreed that strawberries were poisonous because they grow so close to the ground – how could they not be contaminated?

Actually, they’re really good for you – full of vitamin C and iodine and a natural remedy to help relieve inflammatory pain.

Thanks heavens we’ve seen the light!

Marion
Dairy Diary Team

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Summer Pudding

A simply stunning dessert packed with summer goodness

Summer PuddingServes 4–6
Preparation 25 min s plus chilling
Cooking 10 mins
Per portion 306 kcals,
1g fat (0.2g saturated)
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

9 large slices of bread, crusts removed
110g (4oz) sugar
680g (1½lb) soft summer fruits (rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, stoned cherries, black or redcurrants, or a mixture of fruits)
Fruit and a sprig of mint to decorate

1 Cut bread into neat fingers.

2 Put sugar and 5 tbsp water into a saucepan and heat slowly until sugar melts, stirring. Add fruit and simmer gently for about 7–10 minutes (gooseberries and blackcurrants may take a few minutes longer).

3 Reserve a few spoonfuls of the juice.

4 Line base and sides of a 1.25 litre (2 pint) pudding basin with bread fingers. Add half the hot fruit mixture. Cover with more bread fingers. Pour in remaining fruit mixture and top with remaining bread fingers.

5 Trim any excess. Cover with a saucer or plate. Place a heavy weight on top. Chill overnight.

6 Turn out on to a plate. If there are any white patches, spoon reserved juice over them. Decorate with fruit and mint.

Variation: Autumn Pudding
Follow recipe and method for Summer Pudding. In place of soft summer fruits, use 680g (1½lb) prepared mixed autumn fruit such as blackberries, apples, pears and plums.

Recipe taken from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery, 2012 edition.

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The joy of tents

Anyone who knows me will tell you that although I am not a high maintenance woman, I do like my creature comforts.

So, it has taken many months of persuasion from all members of my family and friends to entice me to give camping a go.

The fon of campingThe deciding factor was our friends buying a new tent. My husband’s immediate reaction to this news? “What are they doing with their old one?” Indeed.

So, last Friday I was home alone trying to pack for a completely alien experience. Me: ‘The Novice Camper’ forgot pillows, and towels, but did take fully packed swimming bags so covered myself. I did take proper wine glasses, which weren’t entirely practical, and all my winter layers which were (thanks Kathryn!).

The outcome? A very pleasant weekend thank you very much.

It was all the more alluring as the sun shone the whole time, quite a rare occurrence for the Peak District in July! Will I go again? Yes, another weekend is already in the planning stage for August.

What have I learnt to improve my trip away? To buy a sturdy table for my wine glass to sit safely on, and to research a good, easy to cook, quick outdoors meal to take with us. Last time it was meatballs and pasta, this time I may try the Brie Burgers from page 131 of the 2011 Dairy Diary as they won’t even require plates to wash. Perfect!

Enjoy your week.

Karen
Dairy Diary Team

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