Monthly Archives: July 2012

Your Holiday Checklist

We have just enjoyed a wonderful family holiday in Mallorca, which really helped me to relax and forget the stresses and strains of everyday life.

However, I felt more stressed than ever in the week before I went, trying to remember everything I had to do and pack.

Packing for a family holiday

This year, I have vowed to make a holiday packing list, laminate it and keep it in the suitcase so I don’t have to try and think about it each and every year.

To save you the job, here is the Dairy Diary’s list on what to remember and what to take:

Before you go

  • Check all passports, EHIC cards are up to date and you have any necessary visas
  • Book pets into kennels
  • Order currency
  • Book airport transfer or parking
  • Research your destination; where to visit, what to prepare for; what to avoid
  • Take out travel insurance (and leave a copy with a friend or relative)
  • Book your transfers/car hire at your destination

Dairy Diary Holiday Checklist

Have a wonderful time!

Shrewsbury BiscuitsAnd something to take on the plane/bus/car…

Shrewsbury Biscuits
from Around Britain
Dairy Cookbook



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Shrewsbury Biscuits recipe

Shrewsbury BiscuitsOriginally made in 1760 by a Mr Palin in Shropshire, these biscuits have a light texture and lemony flavour and are very simple to prepare.

Butter 110g (4oz)
Caster sugar 150g (5oz), plus extra for sprinkling
Egg yolks 2
Plain flour 225g (8oz)
Lemon 1, finely grated rind only
Chopped dried fruit 50g (2oz)

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and butter two nonstick baking sheets.

2 Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and add the egg yolks and beat well. Add the flour, lemon rind and fruit and mix to a fairly firm dough.

3 On a lightly floured surface, knead lightly and then roll out to about 5mm (1⁄4in) thick. Cut out 6.5cm (21⁄2in) rounds with a fluted cutter and place on the baking sheets. Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar.

4 Bake for 12–15 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Cook’s tip
If you enjoy spiced biscuits, omit the lemon rind and add 1 tsp mixed spice and 1 tsp cinnamon instead.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook.

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School Dinners

Have school dinners improved?

Tomorrow, we have been invited to lunch at my son’s school for his first visit.

I must admit, I am quite looking forward to it. It’s nice to be able to see the environment he will be eating in, but also to taste the food. I have high hopes!

After Jamie’s revolution of the school dinner, surely we must be in for a treat? Will it be like dining at Fifteen?!!

Possibly not. I doubt that they will serve the stunning shiraz I enjoyed when I ate at Fifteen many years ago. And perhaps beef carpaccio followed by goat’s cheese and pumpkin ravioli may be a little exotic for the palate of a four year-old!

In all seriousness though, after the many campaigns it does seem that food in schools has come a very long way since my day when the “salads were reserved for the teachers” and the chicken supreme looked like cat sick.

I was partial to the chocolate pudding
and lurid mint custard though!

In my son’s school the pupils help to devise the menu, which is healthy but realistic. It’s all well and good producing fabulous food, but it has to appeal to children too. Nowhere on the menu have I seen the infamous turkey twizzler, but instead there are nutritious dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs and lamb & vegetable kebabs with rice.

Some local councils still have some way to go with their ethics on school meals.
In the case of Martha Payne, her local council tried to ban her blog on school dinners, as they claimed it could lead to some catering staff losing their jobs. Martha built up an audience of more than six million people after she started posting pictures and marking her school meals out of 10. After the support of many children, parents and celebrities the council did a U-turn on their original decision and the blog has raised nearly £100,000 for the charity Mary’s Meals, which sets up school feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.


Cherry Cupcakes recipeThis weekend heralded the school summer
fair and my offering comprised these lovely
Cherry Cupcakes for the cake table.

I think they were quite a hit (but not as
popular as the prize-every-time brantub!)




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Cherry Cupcakes

Cherry Cupcakes recipeA favourite with children of all ages!

Makes 12 cakes
Time 30 mins
Calories 265 per cake
Fat 14g of which 8.5g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Butter 175g (6oz)
Caster sugar 110g (4oz)
Eggs 2, beaten
Self-raising flour 110g (4oz)
Glacé cherries 50g (2oz), chopped
Icing sugar 110g (4oz)
White chocolate buttons and halved glacé cherries to decorate

1 Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Spread out 12 paper cases on baking sheets, or put them into patty tins.

2 Cream 110g (4oz) butter and all caster sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs, beating well after each addition. Fold in flour, then chopped cherries.

3 Fill paper cases half full and bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

4 Beat remaining butter with icing sugar for butter icing and spread over top of cooled cakes. 5 Decorate with white chocolate buttons and glacé cherries.

A Dairy Diary recipe.


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