Monthly Archives: September 2011

Battle of Britain Day

A Hurricane, a Lancaster and a Spitfire – what evocative names, and these old stalwarts are still flying with the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Battle of Britain DayThis comes to mind because 15 September was Battle of Britain day. And other aeroplanes of the era must still be operational, because several take to the skies at various locations around the country to commemorate the day.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust had a fly past over the national memorial to The Few on the white cliffs between Dover and Folkestone. Yeovilton had an air day with a Lancaster bomber. Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre staged a dogfight between a Spitfire and Me 109 last year and did the same again this year on 17 September. I’m sure plenty of other events went on, but they don’t seem to have been well publicised.

No really big national to-do is made about it, which I think is a shame – such an important few months, and just about in living memory.

My parents, uncles and aunts used to tell us stories about those days, so I feel a connection. The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust are trying to raise money to build a visitor centre by the national memorial (‘Lest we forget’!) Check the site for information:

Thinking about the Second World War reminds me of Marguerite Patten
One of her many cookery books was the first I ever had. She is acknowledged as one of the most influential cooks, probably the first TV celebrity chef, and still going strong in her nineties.

Apparently, she has a podcast showing us how to make a traditional Christmas pud in 12 minutes – so no excuses about not having the time. Can’t think about the festive season yet, though. I’m still hanging on to the idea of a beautiful autumn and making the most of all the fruit available while still having something warming.

Fruity Baked CustardThis Fruity Baked Custard is perfect autumnal comfort food and may just hit the spot.

Recipe taken from the Just One Pot.


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Fruity Baked Custard

This fluffy pudding is perfect autumnal comfort food.

Fruity Baked Custard

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
Calories per portion 289 Kcal
Fat per portion 17g of which saturated 8.2g
Serves 4
Suitable for vegetarians

Cox’s apples 2 large, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Plums 225g (8oz), halved, stoned and cut into wedges
Butter 15g (½oz)
Sugar 40g (1½oz)
Ground cloves ½ tsp
Ground cinnamon ½ tsp
Eggs 4
Soured cream 142ml tub

1 Put the apples, plums, butter and half of the sugar in a large frying pan. Cook over a low heat until the fruit is softened, stirring continuously. Add the cloves and cinnamon. Stir well and remove from the heat.

2 Separate the eggs, so the whites are in a mixing bowl and the yolks in a small container. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold the eggs very gently into the fruit. Wipe out the bowl and then beat the egg yolks with the soured cream and fold gently into the fruit.

3 Cook over a low heat until the mixture has set. Then sprinkle with the remaining sugar and brown under a hot grill. Serve immediately, while hot, with soured cream or natural yogurt.

Cook’s tip
If your frying pan has a plastic handle, take care it doesn’t melt when browning the custard under the grill.


Recipe taken from the Just One Pot.

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Hello autumn!

Finally my Dairy Diary tells me it is Autumn, here in Sheffield it has felt like it for weeks.

For once my husband has managed to do a little house job at just the right time, well, a year previously would have been more of the right time, but it’s the critical time of this year, and I guess that’s what matters. He has fitted the remote thermostatic control to our boiler. Hurrah!

Every year he is away the first week in October exhibiting his wares at The Goldsmiths Fair.  As soon as he has driven out the driveway I go into ‘winter mode’. The winter duvets go on all the beds and I set the heating to come on, just for a couple of hours, every morning and evening. Out go the light suppers and in come dishes such as ‘Ruby Beef Stew‘ (Page 93 of the Dairy Diary).

The trouble with living in a draughty old house is that some rooms feel tropical and others barely off-freezing.

18 months ago we bought the thermostat, with the hope that we could place the thermostat in the most used room of the house, leaving the heating to adjust itself accordingly. So, two weeks until he goes away, the thermostat has been fitted for three weeks already and he asked me if I’d used it yet. “No” I said quite truthfully, as that particular day it had been warm and sunny. “Will you?” he asked. “Now?” I said. “Yes” he replied. I fell off my seat.

As we all know most couples find the man is always hot and the woman always cold.
My man is no exception, wearing shorts from the end of the snow season until he returns from his October show, yet here he was asking me to put the heating on, on a mild September evening. On further discussion it came out that he wants me to use it to make sure it works before he goes away and this has led me to worry…. Could he be thinking of taking it with him? Will it work over a distance of 170 miles?

Wrap up warm.

Dairy Diary Team

Ruby Beef Stew

Ruby Beef Stew

Recipe taken from the Dairy Diary.

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Ruby Beef Stew

A hearty dish which is perfect for an autumn dinner

Ruby Beef Stew

Serves 4
Time 135 mins plus marinating
Calories 431 per portion
Fat 24g of which 6.5g is saturated
Suitable for freezing

Finely chopped sage 1 tbsp
Finely chopped thyme 1 tbsp
Olive oil 4 tbsp
Lean braising steak 600g (1lb 5oz), cubed
Onions 2, peeled and chopped
Garlic 4 cloves, crushed
Smoked streaky bacon 4 rashers, cut into strips
Plum tomatoes 2 x 400g cans, drained
Bay leaves 2
Red wine 300ml (½ pint)
Garlic bread to serve, optional

1 Mix herbs with oil and season well with black pepper. Add meat, cover and marinate for a minimum of 6 hours.

2 Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas3 Brown meat and herbs in a large flameproof casserole for 5 minutes.

3 Add onions, garlic and bacon, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, mashing with a spoon. Add bay leaves and wine. Cover and bake for 2 hours.

4 Remove bay leaves and serve hot with garlic bread.


Recipe taken from the Dairy Diary.

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There goes summer!

People are saying summer’s well and truly over now, which I think is a shame.

Apparently, it’s been the coolest since 1993 – can’t remember that one specifically, but it’s a bit disappointing, especially after such a wonderful spring.

I’m hoping for a few more days of sun to sit outside for lunch-time salads or sarnies. Sometimes early autumn can be warm and lovely, and we do still have a holiday in Greece to look forward to – booked in the early part of the year and now creeping up increasingly fast to catch us unawares. (Holidays are like that – it’s part of their charm!)

As well as sun, sea, lazing, walking and no pressure to do anything we don’t want to do, I’m looking forward to the food on the island.

All those fresh aubergines and courgettes, and olives and feta cheese, luscious tomatoes and beautiful sweet onions, not to mention freshly cooked chips from home-grown potatoes and fish straight from the sea.

I remember from my meat-eating days that lamb roasted Greek style is second to none (there’s a good recipe in Just One Pot, by the way – the secret, apparently, is to cook it very slowly). And who would think to add nutmeg or cinnamon to a stew? But it makes them so flavoursome.

These days, vegetarian moussaka is high on my list – those aubergines again. The Vegetarian Moussaka-style Bake (also in Just One Pot) is definitely worth a go. But it’s the herbs, really. They make the taste of Greece – marjoram, thyme, coriander. And oregano sprinkled over everything – you can even buy oregano flavoured crisps. Actually, I think I’d better bring walking to the top of the ‘things to do on holiday’ list, or ‘going on a diet’ will be top of things to do when we get back.

All best
Dairy Diary Team

Vegetarian Moussaka-style BakeVegetarian Moussaka-style Bake
Delicious Mediterranean vegetables layered with creamy sauce.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot.

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Vegetarian Moussaka-style Bake

Delicious Mediterranean vegetables layered with creamy sauce.

Vegetarian Moussaka-style BakePreparation time 1 hour
Cooking time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 401 Kcal
Fat per portion 24g of which saturated 8.8g
Serves 4
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians if using a Parmesan substitute

Butter 25g (1oz)
Plain flour 25g (1oz)
Milk 600ml (1 pint)
Vegetable stock cube 1
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg for grating (optional)
Aubergines 2 medium–large, trimmed and cut lengthways into strips, 5mm (¼in) thick
Light olive oil 4–6 tbsp
Onions 2 large, peeled and thinly sliced
Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Courgettes 450g (1lb), trimmed and cut lengthways into long strips, 5mm (¼in) thick
Artichoke hearts 240g can, drained and halved
Chopped tomatoes 400g can, slightly drained
Parmesan cheese 50g (2oz), grated

1 To make the sauce, melt the butter in a shallow flameproof casserole (approximately 25cm (10in) in diameter and 6cm (2½in) deep). Stir the flour into the butter and add the milk and vegetable stock cube. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens. Season with a little salt, pepper and nutmeg, then pour into a jug, cover the surface with cling film and set aside. Rinse and dry the casserole.

2 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Sprinkle the aubergine slices lightly with salt, leave to stand for 10 minutes and then pat dry with kitchen paper. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the casserole, add the onions and garlic and cook gently until softened but not browned. Then remove from the pan and set aside.

3 Heat a little more olive oil in the casserole, then adding a few at time, cook the aubergine slices for 2–3 minutes each side, until lightly browned. Remove from the dish and drain on kitchen paper. Cook the courgettes slices in the same way.

4 Arrange a single layer of aubergine slices in the bottom of the casserole, add a layer of courgettes, followed by some onions and artichokes and some of the chopped tomatoes, season with black pepper, then drizzle a little of the sauce over the vegetables. Continue layering the vegetables and sauce, ending with a layer of aubergine slices, if possible. Take care not to add too much sauce with each layer as at least half will be needed to pour over the top.

5 Spread the remaining sauce over the vegetables and then sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Place the casserole on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked. If the top is browning too quickly, cover with a lid or foil.

Cook’s tip
A can of chunky tomato soup or a small jar of tomato pasta sauce could also be substituted for the can of tomatoes. For extra flavour, choose a can of tomatoes with added herbs.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot.

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