Monthly Archives: February 2012

It’s St David’s Day but why the daffodil?

Not only is it new sofa day (sorry, I am quite excited!) on Thursday, it’s also St David’s Day.

David was a Celtic monk who lived in the 6th century. He was one of the early saints who helped to spread the word about Christianity in Pagan Britain. He also founded a monastery (in the place now known as St David’s), which helped to clothe and feed the poor.

St David’s Day has been celebrated ever since 1120, when David was canonised by the Pope.

St David’s is a lovely, miniature city, with a particularly spectacular cathedral. I have fond memories of wandering its lanes surrounding the ecclesiastic buildings, enjoying the sunshine and quiet whilst getting a very tiny little one off to sleep.

So, why is the daffodil worn to commemorate St David’s Day?

In comparison with the ancient Welsh associations of the leek, the daffodil has only recently assumed a position of national importance. An increasingly popular flower during the 19th century, especially among women, its status was elevated by the Welsh-born prime minister David Lloyd George, who wore it on St David’s Day in 1911.


Fancy a go at some St David’s Day crafts with the children or grandchildren?

I am going to give these Activity Village ideas a try: perfect for the twins. great for Isaac (provided he can be tempted away from the train track for long enough!)

Have fun!


Sausage and Leek Supper

I think this is the most requested recipe of all time. People absolutely love it and, despite mislaying their book, can’t live without it! Enjoy it everyone, it’s perfect for St David’s Day and it’s legendary.


Sausage & Leek Supper

I think this is the most requested recipe of all time!

Serves 6
Preparation 30 mins
Cooking 45 mins
Per portion 469 kcals, 26g fat (11.4g saturated)
Suitable for freezing

680g (1½lb) potatoes, peeled and sliced
25g (1oz) butter
450g (1lb) pork and herb sausages, sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
4 leeks, washed and sliced
40g (1½oz) plain flour
450ml (¾ pint) milk
110g (4oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
25g (1oz) fresh breadcrumbs


1 Cook potatoes in boiling water for 5–10 minutes. Drain.

2 Melt butter in a large frying pan, add sausages and cook for 5 minutes. Add onion and leeks. Cook for 5 minutes. Add flour, cook for 1 minute, then gradually add milk.

3 Slowly add milk, whisking continuously, until sauce thickens, boils and is smooth.

4 Remove from heat, add 75g (3oz) cheese and stir until melted.

5 Transfer to ovenproof dish, arrange potato slices on top, sprinkle over breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Bake at 200°C (400°F) Mark 6 for 30 minutes until browned.

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

Tips for a pretty garden display

After such a bizarre winter, we already have crocuses peeping though the turf in our front garden.

It is so lovely to see signs of spring already, but I must admit at this time of year I get impatient for REAL spring.

I want to be out in the garden having a good tidy up and making everything pretty once more. It looks so barren and untidy at the moment – especially as we are partway through laying a new patio.

This little project from our Seasonal Garden Ideas book will inject some spring colour into any dejected looking garden. Or even brighten up a window box.

Give it a try and cheer up
everyone in your street.

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink hanging basket

Make a pretty basket of pink hyacinths special by adding hoops of pussy willow twigs with the soft grey catkins just bursting out – a lovely display that should last for several weeks.

Pussy willow twigs are available in early spring, either in hedgerows or from florists. Pot-grown hyacinths can be found in garden centres from January through to May or even later.

Planting up a basket takes about an hour.

Plants required
Ten to twelve pink Dutch hyacinths just coming into flower.
Six to eight pussy willow twigs each about 45cm (18in) long.

Equipment required
Rustic-weave basket.
Hanging-basket liner (plastic, hessian, felt or moulded paper).
Bulb compost to fill.
Several handfuls of moss to tuck around the base of the hyacinths.

1 Place the liner you have chosen in the bottom of the basket, pricking holes through for drainage if needed. Fill the basket two-thirds full with bulb compost.

2 Carefully remove each hyacinth, one at a time, from their pots and plant in the basket, adding more compost and setting each one to the same depth as it was in its pot. Place them as close together as you can, so the heavy flowerheads will support each other, and firm in well.

3 Tuck moss loosely around the base of the hyacinths to cover the soil completely. Water lightly.

4 Wedge the bottom end of a pussy willow twig into the basket weave then bend it over to form a hoop. Tuck the tip of the twig securely into the basket, then repeat with the other twigs all round the basket, overlapping the twigs slightly as you go.

5 Position your basket in a sunny spot for best display. The furry grey catkins will eventually turn bright yellow as they open.

Take great care not to knock the pussy willow catkins off the twigs as you handle them – they are quite fragile. If the hyacinth stems start bending over, insert thin bamboo canes into the compost and tie the stems to them as discreetly as possible with soft string. Bring under shelter if heavy rain is threatened.

Reuse your rustic basket for a summer display by planting with nasturtiums or begonias.

By its very nature this is a temporary display. When the hyacinth flowers have withered, stop watering and allow the foliage to turn brown. Then remove the bulbs from the basket, clean them carefully and store in a dry, dark place until autumn, when you can plant them out in the garden. Discard the pussy willow twigs when the catkins have flowered.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas

And of course, don’t forget it’s Shrove Tuesday tomorrow.

Try this amazing recipe for Spinach Pancakes
(and follow with some plain ones sprinkled
with lemon and sugar!)

Let us know what your favourite pancakes are.

Spinach Pancakes

Savoury pancakes make a delicious light meal

Makes 8 pancakes
Time 20 mins
Calories 280 per pancake
Fat 16g of which 7.6g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Spinach 900g (2lb), stems removed, or 2 x 225g packets of frozen chopped spinach
Butter 25g (1oz)
Salted peanuts 50g (2oz), chopped
Paprika ½ tsp
Stilton cheese 50g (2oz)
Plain flour 4 tsp
Single cream 150ml (¼ pint)
Ready-made pancakes 8, warmed

1 Place spinach in a pan, sprinkle with salt (do not add any liquid) and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes. Drain well and chop.

2 Heat butter in a small pan, add peanuts and paprika and fry gently for 1 minute. Cut rind off Stilton and crumble most into pan. Stir in spinach, flour, cream and seasoning. Bring up to boil and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring.

3 Divide filling between pancakes and serve with remaining Stilton crumbled over top.

A Dairy Diary recipe

Handmade Valentine’s Card

There’s something really special about receiving a card that has been handmade.

It may not have cost as much, but the thought and time that has gone into it account for a lot more.

I have probably rabbited on about it in the past, but cardmaking is one of my favourite pastimes.

Here’s the one I have made for my fantastic other half (I hope he doesn’t read the blog today!)

If you would like to give it a go, just follow the steps below. It’s so simple; just make sure you have materials with different patterns of the same colour.

1 First cut a square of card and several pieces of ribbon a little longer than the length of the card. Using tape, attach several pieces of ribbon all along one side on the back of the card.

2 Stick down one length of ribbon on the back of an adjacent side and then weave through the other ribbons. Stick the other end to the back. Repeat.

3 Cut 2 or 3 pieces of paper that coordinate with your ribbons. Using double-sided tape, affix one on top of the other and fix onto a blank card.

4 Glue a heart embellishment in the centre of your woven ribbons. Tadaa!

I am sure your loved-one will love it. Enjoy your special time together.

Indulge in a decadent dessert on Valentine’s Day

Try this Chocolate Mousse
from this year’s Dairy Diary.





Win Clever Cooking for One or Two

Clever Cooking for One or TwoThis week, we have 10 copies of
Clever Cooking for One or Two
to give away.

Lots of perfect food for couples.

Click here to enter



Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

Choc Mousse

A yummy treat to share, but even better just for one!

Serves 2
Time 15 mins plus chilling
Calories 1173 per portion
Fat 92g of which 51.2g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Amaretti biscuits 50g (2oz), crushed
Miniature marshmallows 40g (1½oz), plus extra to decorate
Plain chocolate 110g (4oz), broken into pieces
Almond liqueur 1 tbsp
Double cream 250ml (9fl oz)

1 Mix biscuits with half of miniature marshmallows. Divide one half of mixture between bases of two serving glasses.

2 Melt chocolate, remaining marshmallows and almond liqueur in a bowl over hot water.

3 Remove from heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Whip cream and carefully fold into chocolate mixture.

4 Divide half of mixture over biscuit base, then add remaining biscuits and top with a layer of chocolate.

5 Place in freezer for 30 minutes and serve with extra marshmallows.

A Dairy Diary recipe.

%d bloggers like this: