Monthly Archives: August 2013

The evening that changed my life (well, perhaps my dessert!)

Oxwich Bay


The evening that changed my life 

(well, perhaps my dessert!)

When eating out I have always been inclined to opt for creamy desserts, such a tiramisu (my all-time favourite), crème brûlée or a decadent ice cream.

However, whilst on holiday enjoying a very rare meal out with my other half at the Coalhouse restaurant, Oxwich Bay (above), I threw caution to the wind (the sea air must have affected me) and chose sorbet for pudding.

In all honesty I was going to opt for the trifle but a helpful and very honest waitress kindly confessed that the trifle was ‘a bit of a disappointment to be honest’ and ‘I could have made a better one myself’ in her comforting South Welsh brogue.

Sorbet it was: a trio of rhubarb, mango
and pineapple globes arrived before
me and what a revelation!

What I had always imagined to be a freezing cold, icy, insipid experience was instead a culinary turning point. I savoured every mouthful of the soft velvety texture (how did it taste creamy?) and full-on fruit flavour.

Emily-with-sorbetI am a sorbet convert and am determined to have a go at making my own. I trawl through all our cookbooks and diaries to see if I can find a recipe (there must be one in the ubiquitous Dairy Book of Home Cookery) and lo and behold I find six recipes!

Cranberry, Lemon, Mango & Lime, Strawberry, Rhubarb and Citrus. Woopwoop.

I am torn between the lemon (which has the additional of elderflower cordial) and the rhubarb but as I loved the Coalhouse rhubarb so much I have decided to opt for the Spring Rhubarb Sorbet from the 2009 Dairy Diary (obviously using seasonal rather than spring rhubarb). I am approaching this with some trepidation as there’s nothing my fiancé hates more than rhubarb but I really fancy it, so I am sticking to my guns and, on the upside, I’ll be the one who can eat it all!

Here’s the recipe:

Rhubarb Sorbet

Did you try it? I loved it (maybe not quite as good as the restaurant version, but I blame that on the lack of ice cream machine).

Rhubarb Sorbet

Rhubarb Sorbet

Rhubarb SorbetServes 6
Time 35 mins plus freezing
154 calories per portion
0g fat of which 0g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Pink spring rhubarb 500g (1lb 2oz) washed, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm (1in) pieces
Caster sugar 225g (8oz)
Lemon 1, juice only

1 Put rhubarb, caster sugar, lemon juice and 150ml (¼ pint) of water into a non-reactive saucepan, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook gently for 15-20 minutes until rhubarb is soft.

2 Allow rhubarb to cool until cold, then pour all the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.

3 Freeze rhubarb mixture in an ice cream making machine. Or pour into a bowl and freeze, whisking frequently – around once an hour – to prevent ice crystals forming. When the sorbet is almost frozen, transfer to a plastic container, cover and store in the freezer until required.

4 Serve scoops of sorbet in chilled glasses.

A Dairy Diary recipe.



How to survive the school holidays!


Save your Sanity!

Top tips to you get through the rest of the school holidays

We’re over halfway through the school holidays now. And for those parents/grandparents who are looking after children, how are you doing?! As adorable as they are, week after week of entertaining our offspring can be challenging!

I have had a couple of weeks off with my children over the holidays but it’s their dad who is looking after them every day. Each evening, I tentatively put the key in the front door and peer round with trepidation wondering if he (and the house) has survived! They are all pretty well behaved but VERY demanding. Even if we wanted to ‘stick the kids in front of the tv’ we couldn’t. It just doesn’t keep their attention.

So, it’s crafts, jigsaws, walks, parks
and endless questions from dawn
to dusk – exhausting stuff!

What are your survival tips for the holidays? We have found the following very useful:

  • Charity shops – a cheap supply of ‘new’ games and puzzles works wonders.
  • Umbrellas and watering cans. This has entertained them in the garden for ages.
  • A daily trip to our local park or pool (it’s essential to get out of the house for a while).
  • Summer reading challenge – most local libraries offer a reward to children who read several books over the holiday. We have created our own chart with a Kinder egg reward for every five books read.
  • A holiday scrapbook – we save tickets, leaflets and postcards from everywhere we visit and stick them into a scrapbook and then encourage the children to write a little about each visit (helping to keep their writing skills active).
  • Local websites – to look out for free local events and places to visit.
  • Balloons – these have inexpensively entertained really well (when they’re not squabbling over who has which colour!)
  • A treasure hunt – we work out a route nearby or in a local park with five or six locations. Each location has a clue to the next location (with a little reward at each) until they find the final location with its treasure.  You can tailor the theme, location and clues to your child’s age and interests. Draw the treasure map and accompany them with helpful hints where needed and those rewards and treasure.
  • Colouring/painting/chalking/printing. Using ideas from craft books and online, we do something creative every day.
  • A hand-drawn/coloured train/race track for cars etc. Great fun to create and provides hours of fun even when it’s finished.
  • Play dough (see the recipe below).
  • Plant flower or vegetable seeds in individual pots, make pretty labels for them and nurture.
  • Fill ice cube trays with melted chocolate and dried fruit. Then encourage the children to be good all afternoon while they set in the fridge!
  • Build a den, indoors or out, dependent on the weather, using a clothes horse/washing line/old bedding/towels/cushions and pegs. Then enjoya picnic in the den (teddies optional).
  • Painting with feet – we place some old wallpaper on the grass and use a tray of paint (with a bucket of water nearby for cleaning their paws afterwards).
  • A mini beast hunt armed with paper and pencils (perfect for Isaac, but this one is not so great for our twins who are going through a phase of moaning about every tiny insect they see!)

Have fun everyone!


playdoughPlaydough Recipe

Plain flour 1 cup
Water 1 cup
Vegetable oil 1tbsp
Cream of tartar 2tsp
Salt ½ cup
Food colouring a few drops

1 Place all ingredients in a pan on a low heat.

2 Stir continuously until mixture thickens to a firm dough texture.

3 Store in an airtight container and keep away from pets.

Sneak Peek! Behind the Scenes at a Dairy Cookbook Photo Shoot

Behind the scenes at a Dairy Cookbook photoshoot

Sneak Peek! Behind the Scenes at a Dairy Cookbook Photo Shoot

Last week we began photography for the NEXT cookbook. Yes, we have only just launched the current book, Clever One Pot, but time doesn’t stand still in Dairydiaryland and we have the press on with the next products.

Although long days, I love going to photo shoots. I am a sucker for beautiful props and love to see the creativity going on all around me. We had a very successful couple of days (with a bonus delicious meal one evening) and have made a fantastic start on the images. Two days done, seven more to go!

I always get positive comments (and those that don’t are rewritten) from my recipe testers – a band of friends and family who happily cook all our recipes to ensure they work – but this year almost every single recipe has been given 9 or 10 out of 10 for taste! High praise indeed. In fact, my other half tested a Spiced Cottage Pie a couple of weeks’ ago that I still dream about now – we will never make the ordinary version again. It was visionary but so incredibly easy! I’m afraid, blogetts, you have another year to wait for this book, but believe me, it will be worth the wait.

Clever One Pot cookbook recipesIn the meantime, why
not treat yourself to
this year’s fantastic book,
Clever One Pot?

It’s beautiful, practical and
contains over one hundred
recipes for fabulous fuss-free food.

Try this seasonal salad from
Clever One Pot Salad Panzanella

Competition | Win a Meyer Circulon Premier Professional 24cm Sauté Pan

Win a Circulon Sauté Pan

To celebrate the launch of the Clever One Pot cookbook we are giving you the chance to win a Meyer Circulon Premier Professional 24cm Sauté Pan

This is the ONE pot our Managing Editor uses constantly. In her household it’s known as the ‘magic pan’ as it is suitable for so many different dishes and gives such spectacular performance.

Meyer have been developing cookware for over 25 years. The Premier Professional Range is designed to last for years and to be easy to maintain.

The heavy gauge cookware is anodised to ensure the heat is distributed evenly and the non-stick interior ensures cleaning is made easy.

Key Features

  • Total non-stick interior that provides outstanding performance.
  • Heavy gauge hard anodised cookware heats quickly and spreads heat evenly.
  • Stainless steel base for use on all hob types including induction.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Comfortable silicone and stainless steel handles are oven safe to 180oC / 350oF / Gas Mark 4.
  • Close fitting tempered glass and stainless steel lids for see through cooking convenience.

A must for every cook!

Take a look at the Clever One Pot cookbook and ENTER NOW!

Clever One Pot cookbook launched

Clever One Pot cookbook

Clever One Pot cookbook – on sale now!

Believe it or not, each of our books takes about a year from initial idea to finished product.

So when I get the final printed book in my hand I get very excited! It’s a fantastic accomplishment and this year, I think we have excelled ourselves. This new cookbook – launched today (woohoo) – Clever One Pot looks fabulous.

As the title suggests, this collection of mouthwatering ‘one pot’ recipes has been devised to save time and provide real, home-cooked food throughout the week. Something that many of us struggle to do as we all now juggle so much.

Clever One Pot cookbook

From tasty soups and snacks, to scrumptious stews, exotic curries and heavenly desserts, it brings together some of the best flavours from around the world.

As with all Dairy Cookbooks, all recipes are triple-tested so you KNOW they will work and Clever One Pot provides simple to follow instructions, easy to source ingredients and full nutritional information.

QR codes for ingredients shopping listAND to make life even easier, each recipe has an accompanying QR code, which when scanned with a smartphone provides a handy shopping list of ingredients. If only I could figure out my new smartphone I would be able to utilise it!

If that wasn’t enough, we have also (quite cleverly I think) split each chapter into two – Quick and Easy (on the table in 30 minutes) and Take it Easy (get on with something else while it cooks). So the recipes fit around your lifestyle.

With Clever One Pot everyone can create tasty
meals in a short space of time with little washing
up (or pans cluttering your dishwasher).

So what are you waiting for? It’s on sale now! ORDER HERE

Here’s a little taster and my particular favourites. I’m sure you’ll love them too.

Recipes from Clever One Pot cookbook

Grilled Goat’s Cheese Salad  |   Apricot & Almond Bake  |  Chinese lemon Chicken

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