Monthly Archives: February 2014

Top Ten Feel-Good Tips for February

Feel-good-February

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Top Ten Feel-Good Tips for February

I am not a nutritionist, but in my job I do read a lot about food and I have a pretty good grasp of healthy eating.

When I look back at old photographs I can see the results of my lifestyle, particularly what I ate and drank, and I’m glad to say that now I understand nutrition better, I’ve never felt better. I’ve never been a naturally skinny person and have battled to control my weight from the age of ten.

As a young adult, I used to
always opt for ‘diet’ versions
of everything – something I
never do anymore. It just
resulted in my body craving
sugar and fat.

We often get requests from people asking us to add more nutritional information to recipes, particularly featuring the salt and sugar content. Whilst, I understand that everyone’s dietary needs are different, it’s important to look at the whole picture and view your consumption over a week, rather than meal by meal. We all know that eating a sticky toffee pudding with every meal is not a good idea, but one a week is fine. What’s most important is to think about getting an overall balanced diet, not eating too much and exercising regularly.

There are lots of little things that can make you feel great. Here’s my top ten (please note, this works for me, but is not for everyone, if you have specific medical issues, always check with your doctor).

  1. Eat from a small plate. Think about the plates our grandparents used, they were much smaller than most modern crockery. Fill half your plate with veggies or salad, a quarter with meat/fish/vege protein and the other quarter with carbohydrate.
  2. Snack on a few almonds and blueberries. These will fill the gap between meals and help avoid those blood sugar crashes that makes us reach for biscuits.
  3. Change to foods that release energy slowly – porridge for breakfast, wholemeal toast and veg soup for lunch and a meal with protein and carbohydrate for dinner.
  4. Enjoy a treat, but make sure it’s something you love (Dairymilk for me!) and only have it once or twice a week.
  5. Try to cook from scratch as much as possible. Processed foods contain so many hidden nasties.
  6. Dance! However you like – Zumba, disco, ballroom; revel in your favourite music and have a good old boogie.
  7. Drink 8 glasses of water a day – your skin will love you for it. Ice-cold water tastes much better, so keep a jugful in the fridge.
  8. Get as much fresh air as possible and walk, as fast as you can, as much as you can. It’ll make you feel great!
  9. Meet with friends, have a chat and a good laugh.
  10. Create. It could be a batch of cookies, a handmade card, a knitted scarf – whatever you enjoy doing. You’ll feel a huge sense of satisfaction.

And if you’re feeling in the mood for making that batch of cookies, here you are. This delicious recipe is perfect to share with family and friends.

 

Recipe: Honey Flapjack Cookies

Honey Flapjack Cookies 

Good Food, Fast Dairy CookbookThis recipe is taken from Good Food, Fast – a fabulous cookbook packed full of recipes that take 30 minutes or less.

It’s available now for just £7.00.

Buy Good Food, Fast cookbook

 

 

 

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Competition | Win £25 HTA Garden Gift Card

Win £25 HTA Garden Gift Card

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Win £25 HTA Garden Gift Card

Create a stunning spring display courtesy of the Dairy Diary.

Win the £25 HTA Garden Gift Card in our latest competition and you can choose from over 90,000 plants and products available at hundreds of garden outlets nationwide.

Anyone, anywhere in the UK can spend HTA Garden Gift Cards on pretty much anything to do with gardening.

Win £25 HTA Garden Gift Card

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Pretty in Pink – step-by-step guide to a wonderful late winter basket

Pretty-in-Pink

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I would love to be green-fingered. My attempts at gardening have varying success and our garden is prettily passable.

I do love planting up pots and baskets though as I can follow a failsafe method, which yields a beautiful display. I take much inspiration from our book, Seasonal Garden Ideas, as there are lots of step-by-step projects, which take only an hour or so to create but give stunning results.

 

This easy project takes less than an hour and gives instant impact.

Pretty in Pink Planted Basket

A step-by-step guide to a wonderful late winter basket

Make a pretty basket of pink hyacinths
special by adding hoops of pussy willow
twigs with the soft grey catkins just
bursting out – a lovely display that
should last for several weeks.

When to prepare the Pretty in Pink projectPussy willow twigs are available in early spring, either in hedgerows or from florists. Pot-grown hyacinths can be found in garden centres from January through to May or even later.

Planting up a basket takes about an hour.

Plants required

  • Ten to twelve pink Dutch hyacinths just coming into flower.
  • Six to eight pussy willow twigs each about 45cm (18in) long.

Equipment required

  • Rustic-weave basket.
  • Hanging-basket liner (plastic, hessian, felt or moulded paper).
  • Bulb compost to fill.
  • Several handfuls of moss to tuck around the base of the hyacinths.
  • Trowel.

Method

1 Place the liner you have chosen in the bottom of the basket, pricking holes through for drainage if needed. Fill the basket two-thirds full with bulb compost.

2 Carefully remove each hyacinth, one at a time, from their pots and plant in the basket, adding more compost and setting each one to the same depth as it was in its pot. Place them as close together as you can, so the heavy flowerheads will support each other, and firm in well.

3 Tuck moss loosely around the base of the hyacinths to cover the soil completely. Water lightly.

4 Wedge the bottom end of a pussy willow twig into the basket weave then bend it over to form a hoop. Tuck the tip of the twig securely into the basket, then repeat with the other twigs all round the basket, overlapping the twigs slightly as you go.

5 Position your basket in a sunny spot for best display. The furry grey catkins will eventually turn bright yellow as they open.

Tips
Take great care not to knock the pussy willow catkins off the twigs as you handle them – they are quite fragile. If the hyacinth stems start bending over, insert thin bamboo canes into the compost and tie the stems to them as discreetly as possible with soft string. Bring under shelter if heavy rain is threatened.

Note
Reuse your rustic basket for a summer display by planting with nasturtiums or begonias.

Aftercare
By its very nature this is a temporary display. When the hyacinth flowers have withered, stop watering and allow the foliage to turn brown. Then remove the bulbs from the basket, clean them carefully and store in a dry, dark place until autumn, when you can plant them out in the garden. Discard the pussy willow twigs when the catkins have flowered.

 

Seasonal Garden IdeasProject taken from
Seasonal Garden Ideas

Now available for just £3.99

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And don’t forget to enter our free prize draw to win a £25 national garden gift card.

Win a £35 National Garden Gift Card

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Ice Cream with Hot Chocolate Sauce

Ice Cream with Hot Chocolate Sauce

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Ice Cream with Hot Chocolate Sauce

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 5 minutes
Calories per portion 854 Kcal
Fat per portion 59g of which saturated 27.1g
Serves 2
Suitable for vegetarians

Dark chocolate 110g (4oz), broken into small pieces
Single cream 150ml (5fl oz)
Brandy 1–2 tbsp
Freshly squeezed orange juice 6 tbsp
Vanilla ice cream 6 scoops
Raspberry or strawberry conserve
2 rounded tsp, optional
Pecan nuts 50g (2oz), roughly chopped
Cherries and halved strawberries to decorate
Fan wafers to serve, optional

1 Put the chocolate, cream, brandy and orange juice into a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the chocolate melts and is smoothly blended, taking care not to overheat the sauce – it should be hot, but not boiling.

2 Put a scoop of ice cream into the bottom of two tall chilled sundae glasses or large wine glasses and then add the raspberry or strawberry conserve.

3 Add one or two more scoops of ice cream and then add half of the hot chocolate sauce. Top with the remaining ice cream and chocolate sauce, then sprinkle with pecans and decorate with cherries and strawberries. Add the fan wafers and serve.

Cook’s tip. 
Alternatively, arrange scoops of ice cream in the centre of large, individual plates and pour the chocolate sauce around.

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Rack of Lamb with Garlic Mash and Spinach

Rack of Lamb with Garlic Mash

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Rack of Lamb with Garlic Mash and Spinach

Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 757 Kcal
Fat per portion 52g of which saturated 21.9g
Serves 2

Rack of lamb 1x 6
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Redcurrant jelly 1 tbsp
Dried rosemary 1 tsp
Potatoes 2 large, peeled and roughly chopped
Garlic 1–2 cloves
Olive oil 2–3 tbsp
Baby spinach 180g pack, washed and trimmed

For the gravy
Redcurrant jelly 2 tsp
Lamb stock 150ml (¼ pint)

1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6. Season the rack of lamb with salt and pepper and place in a roasting tin. Spoon the redcurrant jelly and rosemary into a bowl and heat in the microwave on full power for about 30 seconds or until the mixture has melted.

2 Brush the redcurrant jelly mix over the fat side of the rack of lamb and cook in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes. The time the lamb takes to cook will depend on how pink you like your lamb and how much meat is on the rack. See the table on page 9.

3 Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water until tender. Drain well. Put the garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a processor and whiz to chop the garlic. Add the hot potatoes and plenty of pepper and, using the pulse button, whiz the potatoes to a smooth mash. Add the extra oil if needed.

4 Remove the lamb from the oven and transfer to warmed plates. Make the gravy by adding the redcurrant jelly to the pan juices and add the lamb stock. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring and scraping up bits from the base of the pan.

5 Pierce the spinach in the bag and cook on high in the microwave for 2½ minutes or according to the pack’s instructions. Carefully open the bag, drain the spinach and stir into the mash. Carve the lamb and serve the cutlets with a pile of the spinach mash together with the gravy.

Cook’s tip. 
To cook spinach on a hob, pop it in a non-stick frying pan with a knob of butter and cook, tossing with a spoon until the spinach is just wilted.

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Make a romantic candle centrepiece

Romantic Candle Centrepiece

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Make a Romantic Candle Centrepiece

For a really romantic evening, spend a little time giving the table a restaurant feel with this gorgeous romantic centrepiece. It’s so simple!

1 Half fill a small vase with water and pack with your favourite flowers.

2 Wrap a co-ordinated ribbon around the vase and secure with double-sided sticky tape.

3 Place the vase on a glass plate or a mirror.

4 Surround with tealights.

 

Don’t forget to enter our free prize draw to win a £25 national garden gift voucher. 

Win a £35 National Garden Gift Card

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