Monthly Archives: August 2011

Open-air theatre, wine and salads

Crazy for You open-air theatre.

We were so lucky with the weather for our jaunt to the open-air theatre.

It was a lovely afternoon so we knocked off work early and had a wander round Queen Mary’s Garden in Regents Park beforehand.

The roses were still gorgeous, despite being end of season, and the atmosphere was quiet and relaxed despite all the noise and traffic just a shout away. The performance, Crazy for You, (runs until 10 Sept) was fantastic – all those familiar songs (‘I got rhythm’, ‘Nice work if you can get it’, ‘Someone to watch over me’), great production numbers and the costumes – my goodness, the costumes! Hollywood glitz and glamour on a small outdoor stage in the heart of London.

Surreal really – gradually fading light, a leaf or two falling,
then the odd firefly and great lighting on the trees – and no rain!
‘Who could ask for anything more …’

It was so busy in the café that we just grabbed some sandwiches to go with a bottle of wine. Next time (I hope there’ll be one) I’ll try and be organised enough to take a picnic. If you’re avoiding sandwiches and ready made, and don’t want to carry bags of ‘stuff’, they can be quite challenging (no cold meats or chicken legs for non meat eaters!)

Interesting salads may be a good bet – avocado and grapefruit sounds nice, or try this raspberry, mango and stilton salad (in the Just One Pot cookbook). Cheese, of course, is a picnic must-have. And then yogurt cake afterwards (from this year’s diary) – delicious and won’t crumble in transit. Can’t wait to see what the programme is for next year.

Have a great week.

Dairy Diary Team

Raspberry, Mango and Stilton Salad

Raspberry, Mango & Stilton salad 
A tangy yet fruity salad with the distinctive taste of Stilton.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot.

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Raspberry, Mango & Stilton salad

Raspberry, Mango and Stilton Salad


A tangy yet fruity salad with the distinctive taste of Stilton.

Preparation time 10 minutes
Calories per portion 279 Kcal
Fat per portion 21g of which saturated 7.8g
Serves 4
Suitable for vegetarians

Raspberry vinegar 6 tbsp
Olive oil 4 tbsp
Dijon mustard 1 tsp
Caster sugar 1 tsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Raspberries 250g (9oz)
Mango 1 peeled, stoned and cubed
Stilton cheese 110g (4oz), cubed
Salad leaves 150g bag

1 To make the dressing, pour the raspberry vinegar and olive oil into a bowl and add the mustard, sugar and seasoning. Whisk the dressing to mix together the ingredients.

2 Add half the raspberries to the bowl and use a fork to mash them slightly into the dressing. Stir the mango and cheese into the dressing.

3 Divide the salad leaves between four plates. Spoon over the mango and cheese and scatter over the remaining raspberries, drizzling over any remaining dressing

4 Serve immediately with some crusty bread to mop up the dressing.

Cook’s tip
If possible, choose a bag of salad that contains some shredded beetroot as the deep red colour looks good with the red raspberries and orange mango.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot.

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Walks, castles and coast

Before I start this I think I should point out that Northumberland is a beautiful place, well worth a visit if you like the outdoors. Lots of lovely walks, castle ruins and rugged shoreline.

Last year we spent three nights with friends near Bamburgh, and were fortunate to get some lovely days to explore. So, when offered the chance to go back this year, for a week on our own in a caravan this time, we were quite keen.

Unfortunately for us it was the week of the severe weather warnings in the area. And they were not wrong! 

The first evening we made a plan of action as it was obvious that my summer packing was not going to cut it, we needed more supplies! In the morning we went to the local camping shop to buy myself and my husband some wellies, that made wading to the shower block considerably easier.

Chris admitted that his top of the range waterproof he’d brought along was not doing it’s job, and bought a pack-a-mac. Then we had a clothes stock check, and on our next supermarket visit bought the children more trousers and ourselves more thick socks, to wear in the wellies.

All was not completely lost, we managed a couple of picnics.
One day it was actually dry and quite bright inbetween the clouds rushing along, and we found a sheltered sand dune at Cheswick to sit in to refuel before we got the kites out. Another day visiting Lindisfarne the picnic was a good old-fashioned British eat-in-the-car-admiring-the-coast-view-through-the-windscreen affair.

Instead of picnics what we could have done with was some warming soup, maybe something like the Curried Soup on page 145 of this year’s Dairy Diary? The caravan although well-equipped, was not the place to be trying out creative cookery though.

We cut our losses and packed up a day early to return home. What a relief that was! The sun came out and I managed to dry load after load of muddy, damp washing outside.

Have a warm dry week!

Dairy Diary Team

Currie Soup with Bacon

Curried Soup with Bacon
A super tasty soup that’s so easy to prepare.

Dairy Diary recipe.


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Curried Soup with Bacon

A super tasty soup that’s so easy to prepare.

Currie Soup with Bacon

Serves 4
Time 35 mins
Calories 171 per portion
Fat 9g of which 4.2g is saturated
Suitable for freezing

Butter 15g (½oz)
Carrot 1, peeled and chopped
Onion 1, peeled and chopped
Potato 175g (6oz), peeled and diced
Smoked streaky bacon 4 rashers, chopped
Korma curry paste 2 tsp
Chicken stock 450ml (¾ pint)
Milk 300ml (½ pint)
Chopped coriander 3tbsp

1 Melt butter in a large pan and gently sauté carrot, onion, potato and bacon for 10 minutes.

2 Stir in curry paste, cook 1 minute then add stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring up to boil, stirring, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

3 Purée with a stick blender or in a food processor. Add milk and coriander and reheat.

Dairy Diary recipe.

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The dog days of August

Here we are in the heart of summer, the dog days of August, and it’s dull, raining and chilly. No surprise there, then!

A trip to the open-air theatre in Regent’s Park is coming up, so we fully expect to be enjoying a bit of Gershwin while kitted up in all the wet weather gear.

At least they’ll probably have mulled wine on offer.

The occasion is my birthday, and I’m one of several among family and friends in the next few weeks, so the idea of cake is looming large (not too much cake, though, and not too large!)

One friend with a birthday soon has diabetes so I’m going to have to do some research on the internet to find a suitable recipe, or to see whether the Cider Apple Cake or Marmalade Cake in the new edition of The Dairy Book of Home Cookery (2012) would be OK.

Marmalade Cake from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery, 2012 editionI’m not a great baker of cakes – too much precision needed with the ingredients and following the recipe to the letter. I’m more of a chuck-it-in-and-see sort of cook. But the Marmalade Cake sounds delicious and don’t seem too complicated. I suppose I could push the boat out and make them both.

By the way, the term ‘dog days’ comes from the dog star, Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, part of the constellation Canis Major. It rises and sets with the sun during the summer and the ancients believed the two combined to create especially hot and steamy days. So what’s gone wrong?!

Have good weekends.

Dairy Diary Team

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Marmalade Cake

Simple to make and delicious on a summer afternoon.

Marmalade Cake from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery, 2012 editionServes 6–8
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 1¼ hrs
Per portion 264 kcals,
13g fat (7.7g saturated)
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

225g (8oz) plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp baking powder
110g (4oz) butter
50g (2oz) caster sugar
½ tsp grated orange rind
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp orange marmalade
2–3 tbsp milk

1 Grease and line an 18cm (7in) round cake tin or a 450g (1lb) loaf tin.

2 Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3 Add sugar and orange rind. Mix to a fairly soft batter with eggs, marmalade and milk. Transfer to tin.

4 Bake at 180°C (350°F) Mark 4 for 1–1¼ hours or until a wooden cocktail stick, inserted into centre, comes out clean. Leave in tin for 5 minutes.

5 Turn out on to a wire cooling rack. Peel off paper. Store cake in an airtight container when cold.

Recipe taken from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery | 2012 edition

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