Monthly Archives: November 2013

Perfecting Pickle and other Alliterations

Perfect pickled cucumber


Perfecting Pickle and other Alliterations

On a recent rainy trip to Chester Zoo, we had the ‘pleasure’ of eating in the restaurant there. Despite the chaotic surroundings and dubious looking burgers, they were served with the most delicious pickled cucumber.

In our house, Maisy and I are the only people who eat cucumber and so they tend to fester in a corner of the salad drawer until they ooze slime – nice.

So, I have decided it’s now
my mission to perfect pickled
cucumber….here we go!

Cucumber 1
Sea salt 2 tbsp
Sugar 2 tbsp
Rice vinegar 2 tbsp
Finely chopped stem ginger 1 tbsp

  1. Make pretty grooves down the edges of the cucumber with a fork and then cut into thin slices.
  2. Place a colander over a bowl and then pop the cucumber in the colander with the salt. Mix together and leave to stand for 2 hours.
  3. Rinse and drain the cucumber. In jar mix together the sugar, vinegar and stem ginger. Add the cucumber and mix well. Pop a lid on the jar (or it will taint other items in your fridge) and refrigerate. Enjoy with homemade burgers or hot dogs.
Competition | Win a Luxury Chritsmas Hamper

Competition | Win a Luxury Chritsmas Hamper

Don’t forget to enter the
Christmas Hamper competition!

Stir-up Sunday

Make a Christmas pudding on Stir-up-Sunday


Stir-up Sunday

Have you heard of Stir-Up Sunday? I think this is such as lovely idea.

It dates back centuries and was encouraged by The Church in its Common Book of Prayer.

It’s not a tradition that I
experienced growing up,
but it’s certainly one that I
would like to start with
my children.

Traditionally, on Stir-Up Sunday families gather together in the kitchen to create their Christmas pudding. Everyone should get a turn to mix, and the opportunity to make a wish. Some put coins in their pudding and it is believed that finding a coin brings wealth, health, happiness for the coming year. We could all do with some of that!

Christmas pudding is usually a mixture of dried fruit, nuts, alcohol and breadcrumbs though early versions, originally known as Christmas porridge, incorporated beef, mutton and wine. Yuk! In 1664, Cromwell, in typical-style, banned it as a lewd, sacrilegious custom. In 1714, George I reintroduced it, thankfully without the meat.

How to make Christmas PuddingThis Sunday is Stir-Up Sunday,
so why not gather in the
kitchen and make a
Christmas pudding with your family?

Here’s the recipe we will be
following from the legendary
Dairy Book of Home Cookery.


The Dairy Book of Home Cookery has been reprinted and is available to buy now

Christmas Pudding

How to make Christmas Pudding


Christmas Pudding

Makes 2;
Each pudding serves 8
Preparation 40 mins Cooking 6 hours plus 2 hours before serving
Per portion 452 kcals, 20g fat (7.8g saturated)
Suitable for freezing

110g (4oz) plain flour
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
225g (8oz) breadcrumbs
200g (7oz) shredded suet
225g (8oz) dark soft brown sugar
350g (12oz) raisins
350g (12oz) sultanas
50g (2oz) chopped mixed peel
50g (2oz) walnut halves or blanched almonds, chopped
Grated rind of 1 small orange
4 eggs, beaten
50ml (2fl oz) brandy or dry sherry
½ tsp almond essence
150ml (¼ pint) milk

1 Sift flour, spice and nutmeg into a bowl. Add breadcrumbs, suet, sugar, dried fruit, peel, nuts and rind and mix thoroughly.

2 Combine with eggs, brandy or sherry, almond essence and milk. Mix well.

3 Divide between two greased and base-lined 1.25 litre (2 pint) pudding basins. Cover with buttered greaseproof paper or foil. Pleat once to allow pudding to rise. Secure with string, using extra for a handle.

4 Place in a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water and cover. Alternatively, place on a metal trivet in a large saucepan and add boiling water to come halfway up the sides of basin. Add pudding and cover.

5 Steam for 5-6 hours, replenishing water. Remove from steamer, and leave until cold. Cover with foil. Store in a cool place.

6 To serve, steam for 2 hours or replace foil with cling film (puncture film) and microwave on medium-high for 6-8 minutes (depending on wattage).

Recipe taken from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery




Unleash Your Wild Side



Unleash Your Wild Side

Now I must admit, I am a bit obsessed about getting my children outdoors – primarily because I would go insane if we did not get out and about at least once every weekend. Therefore I was delighted to stumble across a fantastic film project, Project Wild Thing, which I thought would give us some extra inspiration. It did, but it also made me stop and think.

According to Project Wild Thing our children will be the first generation in history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. A terrifying prospect. I think it’s time we spread the word and did something to change this statistic before it’s too late.


The Project Wild Thing Manifesto

  • The Wild Network exists to champion and support connection with nature and wildness in children and young people.
  • The Wild Network mission is to support children, parents and guardians of children to roam free, play wild and connect with nature.
  • We believe all children should have the right to access the outdoors for play, learning, expression and development of healthy mind and body.
  • We encourage, provoke, nudge, support, innovate and campaign for children, kids and young folk to get up and outside.
  • To wander freely
  • To look up and around
  • To find wonder, awe and empathy in all life
  • To nurture, steward and protect
  • To run, jump, climb, crawl and explore the world on our doorsteps
  • To seek imagination in wildness
  • To find inventiveness in the woods.
  • To grow happy healthy minds and bodies.
  • To find comfort in solitude.
  • To become truly connected.
  • Roam Free. Play Wild.


I’m lucky, my children would much rather play outside than sit in front of a screen but I am sure that will change in time, and when it does I need to be ready. So I am going to download the App (having an app for this does seem quite ironic!) for some inspiration, both for now and for the future when my children just want their nose glued to a screen.

One thing I would really love to try
soon is a proper campfire, frying
sausages and roasting marshmallows.
Great food makes the great outdoors
even better!


I shouldn’t really do this, but it’s so relevant, I am going to break all the rules. This fab recipe is perfect for outdoors but is from the 2015 Dairy Diary so you are very lucky to get a special sneak preview ☺

Bonfire Sausages from the Dairy Diary

Bonfire Sausages 

Good quality pork sausages 6
Clear honey 2 tbsp
Tabasco sauce 1 tsp or to taste
Butter 25g (1oz)
Olive oil 1-2 tbsp
Onions 3 large, peeled and sliced
Caster sugar 1 tsp
Hot dog or crusty rolls 6, split

1 Place sausages in a frying pan. Mix together honey and Tabasco sauce and pour over sausages, turning to coat thoroughly. Fry sausages until cooked through, turning and basting during cooking. Wrap in foil.

2 Then melt butter and oil until foaming. Add onions and mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden.

3 Pop a sausage into each roll and top with caramelized onions.


Let me know what ‘wild thing’ you do!


Competition | Win a Luxury Christmas Hamper or £50

Competition | Win a Luxury Chritsmas Hamper

Competition | Win a Luxury Christmas Hamper


Win a Luxury Christmas Hamper

or £50 towards your Christmas shopping

To celebrate the launch of the Dairy Diary Set 2014 we are giving you the chance to win a Luxury Silent Night Christmas Hamper or a £50 supermarket voucher towards your Christmas shopping.

The Silent Night Christmas Gift Hamper
is a sublime selection of winter treats,
including three award-winning edibles
and a fine, warming wine.

This Christmas gift hamper features a dozen delicacies from top-tier food producers. Several have won gold awards for their quality, and the rest are sure winners-in-waiting. Each and every product has passed Regency Hampers’ rigorous taste tests – so you can be sure that the hamper’s lucky recipient will enjoy a feast fit for a king.

To top it all off, your can wash down the winter banquet with a beautiful shiraz wine from Penfolds Private Release.

Dairy Diary SetTo enter simply answer the question,
The Dairy Diary Set comes with pages
markers in how many colours?

The answer can be found on the
Dairy Diary Set website.

Win a Christmas Hamper or £50

Good luck!





And a freebie just for you!

It’s Christmas already!

Well, not quite but we have got a gift for you. For all our lovely online followers we have a free ebook for you.

This user-friendly little book contains a selection of our favourite recipe from the 2014 Dairy Diary and from Clever one Pot.

Free Recipe Sampler eBook

Download and enjoy!


The eBook has been formatted for easy reading on your PC, tablet or mobile.
Of course, if you prefer a paper copy you can easily print it.

The Dairy Diary 2014 and Clever One Pot cookbook are available now at





The Romance of Steam Trains

Llangollen Steam Railway


It’s all getting a little steamy

Steam trains have a certain romantic allure, especially if you sit in a carriage like this one depicted by one of my favourite artists, Eric Ravilious.

Eric ravilious trainI love to sit and watch the scenery go by whilst wondering what it would be like to go back in time and ride by steam during its heyday.

This year saw the 75th anniversary of the Mallard breaking the world speed record for steam on Stoke Bank just south of Grantham, Lincolnshire. And next year it is 100 years since the Flying Scotsman began its infamous Edinburgh to London route, clocking 100 mph – the first ever to achieve this speed. To commemorate this we have a feature on the joy of steam travel in the 2014 Dairy Diary, giving a brief history and lots of info on railway-related places to visit.

Llangollen in North Wales gets a mention
and quite rightly so, it’s fabulous!


I took the whole family to Llangollen railway last weekend for the fantastic Day Out with Thomas. The children got to ride on Daisy, Thomas and Douglas and well as enjoy Thomas-related crafts and face painting.


I’m not sure who was most excited, the children or their dad and grandad! It was a truly lovely family day out and we even got to enjoy the spectacle of a double rainbow sweeping over the river Dee.


For more information on where to ride a steam train visit or buy the 2014 Dairy Diary. It’s available now!

buy bow

Cherry Biscuits recipe

Cherry Biscuits recipe

Our picnic aboard Daisy include these scrummy Cherry Biscuits from the Dairy Diary.

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