Monthly Archives: December 2013

Favourite Recipes for New Year’s Eve

Favourite recipes for New Year's Eve


Favourite Recipes for New Year’s Eve

Did Santa bring you everything you hoped for? If a certain Dairy Diary was missing from your stocking then never fear, we have a few left.

Simply click to order your Dairy Diary and it will arrive in just a few days.

How are you celebrating New Year’s Eve? Although our evening will be spent at home (with three little people asleep upstairs), the occasion can still be special. I’m really looking forward to a cosy atmosphere with lots and lots of candles, Prosecco with a dash of elderflower cordial and some festive nibbles.

Here’s what I plan to make for
our New Year party for two.

Why not try these recipes too?

Parma Ham & Goat's Cheese Bruschetta

Parma Ham & Goats Cheese Bruschetta

Alaska Salmon & Halloumi Skewers

Alaska Salmon & Halloumi Skewers

Flambeed Cherries with Ice Cream

Flambeed Cherries with Ice Cream


What are your plans? A huge glamorous gathering? I’d love to know what you’re cooking.

Happy New Year everyone!






Crafting – Make these Super Cute Mice

Christmas Crafting with the Dairy Diary


Make these Super Cute Mice

How about trying this gorgeous craft project from the 2014 Dairy Diary? These adorable little mice will delight children and adults alike they’re so cute.

Super Cute Mice

Here’s a great way to brush up your crocheting skills. Use the techniques shown and pattern provided to make a whole nest of these charming little creatures – before you know it, you’ll be hooked!

The chain stitch forms
a chain of linked loops,
which can form a foundation
for the rest of your stitches.

Christmas Crafting InstructionsTechniques

Making a Slip Knot
1 Make a loop of yarn, insert the hook through the loop and hook the long end.
2 Draw the yarn back through the loop using the hook, then gently pull the short end of the yarn to tighten the loop.

Holding the Yarn
To keep the tension even and to control the flow of yarn, loop the short end of the yarn over your left forefinger, and take the yarn coming from the ball loosely around the little finger. Use the middle finger to hold the work. (If you are left handed, hold the yarn with your right hand.)

Making a Chain
1 The chain stitch forms a chain of linked loops, which can form a foundation for the rest of your stitches. Start with your slip knot on the hook then take the yarn over the hook.
2 Draw the hook back through the loop on the hook – you now have 1 chain stitch completed. Repeat to make as many chains as specified. Don’t pull the stitches too tight or they will become tight knots and you won’t be able to insert your hook back in later.

Working in Rounds
Using a marker
To avoid losing your place when working in the round, place a stitch marker or scrap of yarn in the first stitch of each round after completing it, then crochet all the way round to the marker. Move the marker at the start of each round.
Joining each round
1 At the end of the first round, the first and last stitches need to be joined to complete the circle. This is usually done by working a slip stitch into the top of the first stitch.
2 To make the second, and subsequent rounds, the hook must be raised to the height of the new stitches so start each new round with a turning chain. For double crochet, this is one chain.

Double Crochet
1 Insert the hook at the required point in the work, take the yarn over the hook and draw this new loop of yarn through the loop on the hook – there are now 2 loops on the hook.
2 Take the yarn over the hook again and draw this loop through both loops on the hook to complete the double crochet stitch.

Slip Stitch
1 This stitch adds no extra height and is used to join pieces together. Insert the hook into the work, then take the yarn over the hook.
2 Draw this loop through the work and the loop on the hook to make a slip stitch.

To increase one stitch in a row or round, simply work 2 stitches into the place where you would normally have worked 1. This can appear anywhere in the row or round. This is written as 2dc into next/every st.

To make a double crochet decrease, 2 stitches are worked together (dc2tog). Insert hook into the next stitch. Take the yarn around the hook and pull back through the stitch. There are 2 loops of yarn on the hook. Insert the hook into the next stitch. Take the yarn around the hook and pull back through the stitch. There are 3 loops of yarn on the hook. Take the yarn over hook and draw through all 3 loops. This leaves 1 loop on the hook.


Make a chain of 2 sts.
Round 1: 6dc in second ch from hook. (6 sts).
Round 2: 2dc into every st. (12 sts).
Round 3: [1dc, 2dc in next st] six times. (18 sts).
Round 4: [2dc, 2dc in next st] six times. (24 sts).
Round 5: [3dc, 2dc in next st] six times. (30 sts).
Round 6: [4dc, 2dc in next st] six times. (36 sts).
Rounds 7–14: 1dc into every st. (36 sts).
Round 15: [4dc, dc2tog] six times. (30 sts).
Round 16: [3dc, dc2tog] six times. (24 sts).
Round 17: 1dc into every st. (24 sts).
Round 18: [2dc, dc2tog] six times. (18 sts).
Round 19: 1dc into every st. (18 sts).
Round 20: [1dc, dc2tog] six times. (12 sts). Insert the eyes and secure. Stuff the body.
Rounds 21–22: 1dc into every st. (12 sts).
Round 23: [Miss 1 st, 1dc] repeat until the opening is closed.

Sl st into next st. Cut yarn and pull through st on hook. Pull tight to fasten off.

Ears (make 2)
Make a chain of 2 sts.
Round 1: 6dc in second ch from hook. (6 sts).
Round 2: 2dc into every st. (12 sts).
Round 3: 1dc into every st. (12 sts). Sl st into next st. Cut yarn and pull through st on hook. Pull tight to fasten off. Sew to body behind the eyes.

Make a chain of 20 sts, turn, sl st in each ch.
Cut yarn and pull through st on hook. Pull tight to fasten off. Pin and sew to body.

Nose and Whiskers
Cut a small felt triangle for the nose and stitch to the face with white thread at the point of the nose. Using white embroidery thread, stitch 3 whiskers to each side of the nose.

Use soft toy filling, such as fibre fill. Fluff it up with your fingers first so it is filled with air then place into your crochet. Add plenty so the pieces are stuffed firmly. To stuff small pieces, push the filling in with the end of a pencil or a chopstick.

Make these super cute miceNeed to Know


  • Pink, green and yellow double-knitting yarn; choose other/more colours, if you like.
  • White felt for the noses
  • White embroidery thread
  • 3 x pairs safety eyes
  • Toy filling


  • 3.5mm crochet hook
  • Embroidery needle


  • 10 sts and 11 rows to 5cm.

Finished size
6cm high and 9.5cm long. To create mice of different sizes, vary the hook size and yarn weights.

dc double crochet
ch chain
sl st slip stitch
sts stitches
2dc into next/every st – see increasing
dc2tog – see decreasing






Favourite Christmas Recipes

How to make the perfect traditional turkey roast for Christmas


Favourite Christmas Recipes

As you can imagine, I have tested and tasted a fair few recipes over the past fifteen (is it really that long?) years.

There have been many scrummy delights but, of course, like all our Dairy Diary aficionados I have my firm favourites, particularly for Christmas lunch.

This is my definitive selection
of recipes, which I think make
the perfect Christmas dinner.

  • Traditional Turkey Roast (Around Britain cookbook)
  • Treacle-Glazed Red Cabbage (Dairy Diary recipe)
  • Roast Potatoes (Dairy Book of Home Cookery)

I also like to serve steamed green vegetables, creamy mash and Yorkshire puddings. Not traditional I know but we all love them!

Have a delicious Christmas lunch everyone. Here are the three recipes…

Traditional Turkey Roast

Preparation time – 2 hours
Cooking time – 2 hours
Calories per portion – 1100 Kcal
Fat per portion – 50g of which saturated – 19.2g
Serves – 8 Suitable for freezing

Bronze turkey 6kg (12lb) oven-ready bird
Butter 25g (1 oz) softened

For the stock
Giblets from turkey, well washed
Onion 1 large, peeled and quartered
Carrot 1 large, peeled and sliced
Parsley 1 large sprig
Bay leaves 3
Rosemary 1 large sprig
Black peppercorns 1 tsp
Chicken stock or water 900ml (11⁄2 pints)

For the stuffing
Frozen peeled chestnuts 225g (8oz)
Chicken stock 300ml (1⁄2 pint)
Butter 50g (2oz)
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Smoked rindless streaky bacon rashers 225g (8oz), cut into thin strips widthways
Onion 1 large, peeled and finely chopped
Lean, good quality pork sausages 400g (14oz), skinned
Chopped parsley 4 tbsp
White breadcrumbs 110g (4oz)
Mixed dried herbs 1 tbsp
Lemon 1, finely grated rind only Egg 1 large, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cranberry sauce
Cranberries 250g (9oz), washed, any stalks removed
Orange 1 large, finely pared rind and strained juice
Caster sugar 175g (6oz)
Mixed ground spice 1⁄2–1 tsp

For the gravy
Roasting juices from turkey see method
White or red wine 2–3 tbsp, optional
Plain flour 2–3 tbsp
Chicken stock 500ml (1 pint)

1 On Christmas Eve, prepare the stock. Place all the giblets except the liver in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and skim off the scum that has risen to the surface. Add all the remaining ingredients, cover and cook gently for 11⁄2 hours. Strain through a sieve, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.

2 To make the stuffing, place the chestnuts in a saucepan, add the stock, partially cover and cook gently for 25 minutes, or until softened and most of the stock has been absorbed. Pour the nuts into a sieve placed over a bowl to drain, and leave until cold.

3 Meanwhile, chop the turkey liver and put into a large bowl. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan, add the bacon and cook until browned and crispy. Add to the turkey liver.

4 Add the onion to the fat and cook gently until softened, then add to the liver and bacon and cool. Add the chestnuts and all the remaining ingredients, season well and mix together.

5 To make cranberry sauce, place all the ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan, partially cover and cook gently until the cranberries are softened and the juices are reduced by half. Transfer to a serving bowl, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.

6 To prepare the turkey, wipe the inside clean with kitchen paper. Stuff the neck end only with the stuffing, but not too tightly. Make any excess stuffing into balls and cook separately.

7 Smooth the neck skin evenly over the stuffing and secure with fine skewers. Smear the turkey all over with the softened butter. Put onto a large plate, loosely cover with foil and refrigerate.

8 On Christmas Day, remove the turkey from the refrigerator early in the morning to allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Place a roasting trivet or wire rack in the roasting tin and put the prepared turkey on top.

9 Cooking times for turkeys will vary according to their size, and also their type. Generally, cook for 40 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and continue cooking for 11⁄2–2 hours, basting frequently until cooked. To test it’s done, pierce the thigh at the thickest part – the juices should run clear yellow.

10 Carefully remove it from the roasting tin onto a serving plate, loosely cover with foil and leave to stand. Cook the stuffing balls while preparing the gravy and attending to the vegetables.

11 To make gravy, skim the fat from the roasting juices into a bowl, strain through a sieve and set aside. Pour the wine into the roasting tin, and bring to the boil, scraping the browned residue from the pan’s bottom. Then strain into the bowl of juices.

12 Pour 3–4 tbsp of the turkey fat into a saucepan and stir in the flour. Add the stock and strained juices and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and allow to boil gently for 3–4 minutes, until reduced. Pour into a gravy boat for serving. Garnish the turkey with sprigs of rosemary and serve.

Cook’s tip
Grilled chipolata sausages and bacon rolls are a delicious and traditional accompaniment for a roast turkey. Cook with the stuffing balls: 35–45 minutes.


Treacle-Glazed Red Cabbage

Red cabbage 700g (1lb 9oz), cored and finely shredded
Red wine vinegar 4 tbsp
Demerara sugar 6 tbsp
Butter 25g (1oz)
Black treacle 1 tbsp

1 Put the cabbage, vinegar, sugar and 1 tsp salt into a non-aluminium saucepan. Add 225ml (8fl oz) water, cover and cook gently for an hour or until tender.

2 Drain the cabbage and then mix with the butter and treacle and serve.

Roast Potatoes

Serves 4
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 55 mins
Per portion 194 kcals, 8g fat (2.5g saturated)

680g (1½lb) potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp goose fat

1 Cut potatoes into quarters or leave whole if new.

2 Cook in boiling water for 5–7 minutes. Drain. Shake in saucepan to roughen surface.

3 Heat goose fat in a roasting tin. Add potatoes and turn in tin until well coated.

4 Roast at 200°C (400°F) Mark 6 for 45 minutes or until crisp and golden, basting at least twice during that time.

Have a very merry Christmas.





Chilled-Out Party Planning | Free delivery in time for Christmas

Part planning with Dairy Diary


Chilled-Out Party Planning

My other half will tell you that I’m a bit (or a lot!) of a perfectionist. That comes in pretty handy as a Managing Editor but is not quite so helpful at home.

This Christmas, however, I aim
to be a vision of calm and
tranquillity, even if everything
is going pear-shaped!

We are hosting a couple of parties, but instead of running around trying to cook 500 different foods whilst entertaining and topping up drinks. I am going to plan it so that everything can be made in advance and I can actually socialise and enjoy myself.

The easiest option is a buffet – no pressure to keep everything hot and no washing up! I have asked everyone to bring along a plate of goodies – anything goes – and I am going to make some mulled wine, a few nibbles and a couple of dishes that can be prepared in advance. I’ve also ordered some gorgeous festive disposable plates and napkins online so everything will still look pretty!

Here’s my selection from Dairy Diary. They might come in handy for your Christmas do too.

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

Serves 12
Time 5 mins, plus infusing time
Calories 131 per glass
Fat 0g of which 0g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Whole cloves 4
Oranges 2, cut into wedges
Lemon 1, cut into wedges
Red wine 2 x 75cl bottles
Orange juice 600ml (1 pint)
Water 900ml (1½ pints)
Clear honey 4 tbsp or to taste
Ground ginger 2 tsp
Cinnamon stick 5cm (2in) piece, plus extra sticks to serve, optional

1 Press 1 clove into 4 of the orange and lemon wedges.

2 Place all ingredients in a large pan and bring to a simmer, not a rapid boil. Leave to infuse at the lowest heat for 30 minutes.

3 Reheat as and when ready to serve. 4 Ladle into heatproof glasses or mugs and add a piece of cinnamon stick to each as a stirrer, if using.

Cook’s tip To make a non-alcoholic version, use cranberry juice in place of the wine.

A Dairy Diary recipe

Forestier PâtéForestier Pâté

Serves 6
Time 20 mins, plus chilling time
Calories 332 per portion
Fat 27g of which 16g is saturated

Butter 150g (5oz)
Onion 1 small, peeled and finely chopped
Garlic 1 clove, peeled and crushed
Chicken livers 450g (1lb), trimmed and chopped
Mushrooms 150g (5oz), chopped
Bay leaves 2, plus extra to garnish
Dried thyme ½ tsp, plus extra to garnish
Brandy 2 tbsp
Double cream 75ml (2½fl oz)
French bread and salad leaves to serve

1 Melt 25g (1oz) butter and gently fry onion and garlic. Add livers, mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme and season. Cover and simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until livers are tender. Remove bay leaves, then add brandy.

2 Cool slightly, transfer to a blender and whizz until smooth. Stir in cream and check seasoning.

3 Melt rest of butter and scoop off white sediment. Pour pâté into a large serving dish or 6 small pots. Pour over butter, add extra bay leaves and thyme and chill for 2–3 hours. Serve with slices of French bread toast and salad leaves.

A Dairy Diary recipe

Raspberry Trifle

Raspberry Trifle recipe

Serves 8
Time 20 mins
Calories 339 per portion
Fat 24g of which
13.4g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Trifle sponges 4
Raspberry jam 2 tbsp
Sherry 4 tbsp
Amaretti biscuits 25g (1oz), crumbled
Raspberries 150g (5oz), plus extra to decorate
Double cream 300ml (½ pint)
Custard 425g can
Amaretto liqueur 2 tbsp, optional

1 Halve trifle sponges and sandwich together with jam. Cut into quarters and arrange in a trifle dish.

2 Pour sherry over sponges and sprinkle with amaretti. Reserving a few raspberries for decoration, place remainder in dish.

3 Stir 3 tbsp cream into custard, then pour over fruit, cover and chill.

4 Whip remaining cream with liqueur, if using, until soft peaks form. Spread over custard and decorate with reserved raspberries.

A Dairy Diary recipe

Parmesan Crisp Canapes

Parmesan Crisp Canapes

Click here to view the recipe on the Dairy Diary website.

There is a great choice of sample recipes from Dairy Diary 2014 and Clever One Pot cookbook. Plus we have a huge selection for every occasion in the Recipe Library.

Where would I be without the Dairy Diary for all these ideas?

I’ll let you into a little secret…..
postage is free for the next week*.

So get your orders in for friends and family now – guaranteed delivery delivery before Christmas. You can buy the Dairy Diary Set for just an extra couple of pounds and get a pocket diary, notes organiser and a pen too. Bargaintastic and a beautiful gift!

Free delivery on everything at Dairy Diary!

* Free delivery on all UK orders placed before 18 December 2013.






Competition | Win a £300 Boots Giftcard

Win a £300 Boots Giftcard


Win a Boots Giftcard worth £300


How would you spend £300 in Boots?

Clever One Pot cookbookTo celebrate the launch of the Clever One Pot cookbook we are giving you the chance to win a Boots Giftcard worth £300 and treat yourself from the ultimate choice of fragrances, cosmetics or electricals.

Simply answer the question.
“Clever One Pot Quick & Easy recipes are on the table in how many minutes?”

Hint: the answer can be found on the Clever One Pot cookbook page.



Win a £300 Boots GiftcardEnter now for your chance to win a £300 Boots Giftcard delivered in time for Christmas.



Perfect gifts for loved ones





Pretty Edible Christmas Gifts

Edible Christmas gifts from the Dairy Diary


Pretty Edible Christmas Gifts

You won’t be surprised to hear that I give the Dairy Diary as a Christmas gift to many of my friends and relatives.

In addition to the diary, it’s lovely to give something homemade too, showing a little effort and thought. Though it adds an extra job to that list of ten thousand things – I’m sure all you mums out there can relate to that –it’s so pleasurable and rewarding it’s worth it.

This year, I have decided to
make these edible offerings –
all Dairy Diary recipes of course.

A few of each will be wrapped in cellophane, tied with a pretty ‘proper’ fabric ribbon, adorned with a gift tag and delivered to my loved ones.

And my gift to you?

In addition to all of these fabulous recipes, I have included these gorgeous printable gift tags. It’s much classier than my cut-out creations from last year’s Christmas cards! Click here to download the PDF file – Edible Christmas gift labels


Oaty Fudge Treats

Oaty Fudge Treats

Makes 36
Time 10 mins
Calories 110 per portion
Fat 3g of which 0.9g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Milk 150ml (¼ pint)
Brown sugar 450g (1lb)
Butter 15g (½oz)
Salt pinch
Vanilla essence ½ tsp
Crunchy peanut butter 175g (6oz)
Porridge oats 110g (4oz)
No added sugar muesli 110g (4oz)
Glacè cherries 75g (3oz), chopped

1 Place milk, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla essence in a pan and bring up to boil, stirring. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.

2 Add peanut butter and stir, then add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Place spoonfuls of mixture into petit four cases and leave to set.



Cherry Biscuits

Cherry Biscuits

Makes 12 biscuits
Time 40 mins
Calories 183 per biscuit
Fat 8.4g of which 5g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Butter 110g (4oz), softened
Caster sugar 75g (3oz), plus 1–2 tbsp for sprinkling
Egg 1, separated
Plain fl our 200g (7oz)
Ground ginger ½ tsp
Ground cinnamon ½ tsp
Dried cherries 75g (3oz)

1 Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Grease a baking sheet.

2 Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl and beat in egg yolk. Sift fl our, ginger and cinnamon into another bowl and gently stir into creamed mixture. Add cherries and shape the mixture into a ball of dough.

3 Knead dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 5mm (¼in) thickness. Use an 8cm (3¼in) cutter to cut out about 12 biscuits. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, lightly beat egg white. Remove biscuits from oven and brush with egg white. Sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for a further 5 minutes until golden.



Dainty Iced Gingerbread

Dainty Iced Gingerbread

Makes 18
Time 40 mins plus cooling
Calories 102
Fat 2g of which 1.5g is saturated

Plain flour 150g (5oz)
Ground ginger 1 tsp
Ground mixed spice ½ tsp
Butter 50g (2oz)
Soft light muscovado sugar 50g (2oz)
Milk 1 tbsp
Golden syrup 2 tbsp
Royal icing sugar 150g (5oz)
Edible silver sugar balls to decorate

1 Stir together flour, ginger and mixed spice in a mixing bowl.

2 Put butter, sugar, milk and syrup in a pan. Set over low heat and stir gently until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 2 minutes. Tip in flour mixture. Mix well to make a dough. Leave until cool enough to handle, then gently knead to make a neat ball.

3 Preheat oven to 180ºC/Gas 4. Roll out dough on a floured surface and stamp out 18 hearts or stars, measuring 5-6cm (2in). Re-roll trimmings as necessary. Transfer to baking sheets lined with baking parchment and bake for 10-12 minutes.

4 Leave to firm, then transfer to a rack to cool. Mix icing sugar with enough water to make a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe dots and squiggles on biscuits. Decorate with silver balls. Leave to set.


Happy making and baking everyone!




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