Monthly Archives: March 2013

Easter Recipes & Crafts

Easter Recipes & Crafts


Easter Recipes & Crafts

As a mummy (as of yesterday ‘Mum’! to my grown up five year-old) of three small children, I am usually insistent that we get outdoors and burn off some energy whatever the weather.

However, this weekend proved to be so bone-numbingly chilly that we retreated indoors and crafted. The final results were not always worthy of a country magazine, but we had fun none the less and our nearest and dearest will receive some almost-pretty Easter goodies next weekend.

Easter Bunny & ChickOne of our favourite projects was Easter Bunny & Chick from Buttonbag. They look very cute adorning the top of our mantelpiece.

I also treated myself to an hour alone (bliss) in our local town perusing the deli and flower shop for seasonal inspiration.

After choosing a few miniature daffs
and the ingredients for our famous
Simnel cake, our house is looking,
and smelling, particularly spring-like.

Shame the outside does not mirror this!


> Try the Simnel Cake for yourself, it’s delicious. And this Fish Pie is perfect for Good Friday.

Easter recipes from Dairy Diary


Have a wonderful Easter everyone.

Plant a spring flower medley in one hour

How to plant a spring flower medley


Celebrate the start of spring with these easy planted pots

Well thank goodness……..spring begins on Wednesday.

Let’s hope it heralds plenty
of sunshine and new growth.

I have already glimpsed swathes of crocuses and the daffodils are bravely shooting through our lawn at the moment. The front garden does need a little help though as it’s still looking pretty sparse.

Seasonal Garden IdeasThis easy project from Seasonal Garden Ideas
(£3.99 is perfect to brighten it up!





Spring Flower Medley

Spring-Flower-Medley-2The beauty of growing plants in pots is that you can bring very different species together to form interesting associations – as proved by this captivating little group themed around the colour blue.

Buy the different plants in March and pot up for flowering in April and May. Takes about one hour. Plant in full sun.

What you need


  • Three deep blue hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Delft Blue’), in leaf, flower buds showing.
  • Five to seven Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ in leaf.
  • Ten to twenty grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum).
  • Three small pots of Anemone blanda ‘Violet Star’.
  • One large pot of trailing variegated ivy (Hedera).


  • Three blue ceramic pots (or any other containers of your choice).
  • Two small terracotta pots.
  • One watering can with a wide mouth.
  • Enough soil-based potting compost to fill all the containers.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Horticultural grit or gravel (optional).
  • Trowel.


1 Water all the plants thoroughly so the rootballs are moist right through. Line all the containers with a layer of broken crocks for drainage.

2 Start filling each container with compost. About halfway up, place the plant in its pot into the container to check for the right level. The top of the rootball should be about 4cm (1½in) below the rim of the container. Add more compost as needed.

3 Carefully tip each plant out of its pot, supporting the rootball and compost with your fingers on each side of the plant stems. Place in the container, firming in gently, then top up with more compost all round the plant, aiming to keep the top of the compost 4cm (1½ in) below the container rim. Firm the plant(s) again, then lift the whole container and tap or bump it gently against the ground to settle the compost and even it out all round.

4 Repeat the planting procedure for all the containers and plants. Water them all thoroughly using a fine rose on your watering can. If you like, scatter a layer of horticultural grit or gravel on top – this will keep weeds at bay, help to retain moisture and give a neat appearance.

5 Finally, position the newly planted containers in their allotted spot and wait for them to flower.

Choose a spot in full sun for the Anemone blanda – these only open fully when the sun is shining right on them.

When choosing your containers, bear in mind overall size and height. The aim is to have a range of sizes from short at the front to tall at the back.

Support the top-heavy hyacinths with discreet bamboo canes and soft string ties if needed. As with most bulbous plants, when the hyacinths, grape hyacinths and iris have finished flowering, allow the leaves to die back completely before lifting the bulbs/corms/rhizomes and planting in the garden. Alternatively, discard the old plants and replace next year with new.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas.

Triple-Tested Recipes | Summer Herb & Smoked Salmon Pasta

Summer Herb & Smoked Salmon Pasta recipe


Triple-Tested Recipes

It’s been a frantic fortnight here in the DD office. The print deadline for our cookbook is looming and we are busy finalising its design, editing, doing nutritional analysis and reading tester comment sheets.

We have had a superb band of testers this year who have cooked every single recipe and given it marks out of 10 as well as checking everything is correct and the ingredients are easy to find.

There’s nothing worse than going to the trouble (and expense) of cooking a recipe only to find that it doesn’t work or that the results are disappointing. This is why I insist that everything is triple-tested – once by the writer, then by an amateur tester and finally by the stylist at the photo shoot.

Result? Tasty recipes that
work and happy customers!

(Drum roll)

Here’s the VERY first sneak preview of one of our cookbook recipes.

And this one got 10/10 from its tester, Kirstin! Enjoy folks……you’ll have to wait for the book for the rest.

Summer Herb & Smoked Salmon Pasta

Summer Herb & Smoked Salmon Pasta recipeServes 2
Time 15 mins

Fusilli pasta twists 200g (7oz)
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Spring onions 4, trimmed and sliced
Smoked salmon 120g packet, cut into strips
Lemon juice of 1
Chopped coriander 2 tbsp
Chopped parsley 1 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rocket leaves about 15g (½oz), to garnish

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water according to packet’s instructions, which usually takes 10–12 minutes. Drain the pasta and set it aside.

Heat the olive oil in the pan over a medium heat. Add the spring onions and salmon and stir-fry the mixture for about 1 minute until the smoked salmon turns pink.

Add the remaining ingredients (except the rocket), including the drained pasta and salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.

Serve on warm plates, garnished with a spiral of rocket leaves.

Recipe taken from Clever One Pot… coming soon!


Don’t forget to enter our latest competition

Dairy Diary is giving you the chance to win a £25 National Garden Gift Voucher.

Celebrate the start of spring with something special for your home or garden; treat yourself to a stunning bouquet or plant up a glamorous hanging basket.
National Garden Gift Vouchers are accepted at over 2000 leading garden centres, shops and nurseries across the UK.

Simply complete the form by 31 March and you will be entered into the prize draw. Good luck.

Enter here

Recipes for Mother’s Day

Recipes for Mother’s Day

Recipes for Mother’s Day

I have been a mum for just over five years now but I still get butterflies and that little flush of pride as Mother’s Day approaches.

Sorry to sound clichéd and slightly slushy here but there’s nothing more special than being a parent and when you have to wait a long time for little ones to come along as I did Mothering Sunday never loses its shine.

Of course, I have my own fantastic
Mummy who needs to be spoilt on
Sunday too, so this week will be a
flurry of craft and cooking.

With my card-making obsession, there’ll be a home-made card and some naughty-but-nice goodies too (as well as a rather beautiful Cath Kidston bag to take on her next holiday.)

Here’s what I have chosen to cook for our special Mum’s afternoon tea party:

Both these recipes come from Take a Box of Eggs. Of course my mum and I have one of these but there are many that don’t and would love one!

Take a Box of Eggs is our latest award-winning cookbook, which features 100 delicious easy and accessible dishes for all the family. Why not treat your mum or yourself?

This month postage is free! So you can pick one up for just £7.49.

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