Monthly Archives: March 2014

Mark National Stationery Week with this easy 5 minute craft project

National Stationery Week


National Stationery Week

Mark National Stationery Week with this easy 5 minute craft project

It may be a girl thing, but ever since my friends and I were small, we have loved stationery.

The fruity aromas from scented erasers, the pretty patterned notebooks, gorgeous folders and the joy of a new box of pencil crayons – stationery provided endless delights.

It’s quite handy then that as
my chosen career I work on
several stationery products!

National Stationery WeekI also like to dabble in crafts now and again and have had a go at these cute little button paperclips. They’re ever so slightly fiddly but only take a couple of minutes and they’re so cute!

  1. Simply find a few pretty old buttons (the ones with sticky-out backs).
  2. Cut a narrow piece of masking tape and thread through the back.
  3. Place the curve of a (matching) paperclip over the back of the button and stick down the tape.

These are ideal for attaching to postcards and thank you cards with a small token gift.


  • Received flowers? As a thank you, post a card with a packet of flower seeds attached.
  • Enjoyed help from a friend? Send a card with a sachet of hot chocolate and the message, ‘Relax with a cuppa’.
  • Enjoyed a fabulous party? Say thank you with a card and bookmark.


Now, bag a bargain AND get a very handy FREEBIE.

Dairy Diary Address BookThe Dairy Diary Address book is back by popular demand, as an extra special treat we’re throwing in a FREE Notes Organiser with every purchase!

Get yours quick before they sell out –  at just £3.50 they won’t be around for long.

Buy Dairy Diary Address Book










Competition | Win an Ashley Thomas Designer Tea Set

Win an Ashley Thomas Tea Set


Competition – last few days to enter!


Win an Ashley Thomas Designer Tea Set

Take tea in style with this gorgeous designer tea set for two from Ashley Thomas.

Enter the latest competition at Dairy Diary to win this ‘At Home With Ashley Thomas’ porcelain bird tea set for two which includes a tea pot and two tea cups with green floral bird designs.

Win Ashley Thomas tea set









# compeition

Celebrate Mothering Sunday with a decadent afternoon tea

A Mother's Day Treat


Eat Out In: March

Celebrate Mothering Sunday with a decadent afternoon tea

Now I love my mum to bits, but she’s not a foodie. It’s a running joke in our house that whenever she eats out it will always be a cheese sandwich (Cheddar of course!)

Don’t get me wrong, I love a Cheddar and tomato sandwich but not really as my Mother’s Day treat! Now here’s where my cunning comes into play; I have decided to host an afternoon tea party. Mum can enjoy her cheese sandwich but also an array of other little delicacies as well.  And I can feel as though it’s been a little bit special.

I’m going to dust down
the best china, locate the
teapot and make her a
Mother’s Day tea to remember.

Why not try a few of these recipes yourself and don’t forget to enter the competition to win an Ashley Thomas designer tea set.


Cornish Splits recipeCornish splits

Preparation time – 10 minutes plus 30-40 minutes proving
Cooking time – 15 minutes
Calories per split – 187 Kcal
Fat per split – 4g of which saturated – 2.5g
Makes – 12
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Strong plain flour 500g (1lb 2oz)
Butter 50g (2oz)
Salt 1 tsp
Caster sugar 1 tsp
Fast-acting dried yeast 7g sachet
Milk 300ml (1⁄2 pint), warmed
Jam or syrup and clotted cream to serve
Icing sugar to dust

1 Tip the flour into a bowl, add the butter and rub it in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the salt, sugar and dried yeast and then add the warm milk and mix to bind the ingredients into a soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5–7 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.

2 Divide the dough into 12 and shape each into a round ball with a smooth surface and flatten them slightly. Place the balls on a buttered and floured baking sheet in three rows of four with about 2cm (1⁄2in) between them so that when they rise they will touch each other. Cover the baking tray with an oiled freezer bag or with a clean dry tea towel. Leave the splits in a warm place for 30–40 minutes or until they have doubled in size.

3 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Bake the splits in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes or until they are a light golden colour and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve the splits warm or cold, filled with jam or syrup and clotted cream and dusted with a little sifted icing sugar.

Recipe taken from Around Britain cookbook.



Mother's Day CupcakesMother’s Day Cupcakes

Makes 9
Time 45 mins
Calories 485 Fat 27g of which 16.9g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Butter, at room temperature and very soft 110g (4oz)
Caster sugar 110g (4oz)
Lemon extract 1 tsp
Eggs 2 large, beaten
Self-raising flour 110g (4oz)
Baking powder 1 tsp
Milk 1 tbsp

For the topping
Butter, softened 175g (6oz)
Icing sugar 300g (11oz), sifted
Lemon extract 1 tsp
Sugar flowers and sugar sprinkles (glimmer) to decorate

1 Preheat oven to 180ºC/Gas 4 and place cupcake cases in a muffin tin. Put butter and sugar in an electric mixer. Add lemon extract with eggs, flour, baking powder and milk. Using beater attachment, mix batter well until you have a smooth pale cake mixture.

2 Divide mixture between cupcake cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and firm to touch. Leave in the tin to cool.

3 Beat butter, using an electric whisk, until pale then add icing sugar and mix on lowest setting until blended. Then blend on full speed for a minute. Add lemon extract and beat again. Spoon buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe swirls onto cupcakes. Decorate with sugar flowers and glimmer.



Sumptious SandwichesSumptuous Sandwiches

Smoked salmon pin wheels

Butter 50g (2oz), softened
Lemon 1, finely zested rind and juice of half
Watercress 110g (4oz), chopped
White or brown bread 5 slices, crusts removed
Smoked salmon 200g packet, minimum 5 slices
Freshly ground black pepper

1 In a small bowl, mix together the butter, lemon rind and watercress. With a rolling pin, roll each slice of bread until it is about 3mm (1⁄8in) thick. Cut five sheets of greaseproof or non-stick baking paper, a little larger than the bread, then dampen with cold water – shaking off the excess.

2 Spread the slices of bread right up to the edges with the watercress butter, and then place each one on a sheet of the damp paper.

3 Cover the butter with the smoked salmon slices, trimming them to fit. Sprinkle with lemon juice, season with pepper and then, with the aid of the paper, roll up the bread and salmon together.

4 Wrap the rolls in the paper and twist the ends to seal, then chill well in the refrigerator for 1–2 hours, or overnight. Just before serving, cut the salmon rolls into slices, diagonally, approximately 1.5cm (½in) thick.

Cucumber sandwiches

Cucumber ½ large (about 225g/8oz)
Butter 75g (3oz)
Finely shredded mint 2 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
White or brown bread 6 slices

1 With a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the cucumber, and then cut it into very thin slices, using the oblong cutting blade on a grater, or with a knife. Place the sliced cumber in a bowl, sprinkle with ½ tsp salt, cover and leave to stand for 10–15 minutes.

2 Blend together the butter and mint and season well with pepper.

3 Transfer the salted cucumber to a sieve, rinse under cold running water, and then drain well on kitchen paper.

4 Spread each slice of bread with the mint butter. Arrange the drained cucumber on half of the slices and then cover with the rest. Stack the sandwiches, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1–2 hours.

5 To serve, remove the crusts from the sandwiches and then cut into triangles, squares or oblongs as wished.

Curried egg mayonnaise sandwiches

Eggs 3 large, hard-boiled and shelled
Mayonnaise 3 rounded tbsp
Curry paste, medium or hot 1–2 tsp
White or brown bread 6–8 thin slices
Mustard and cress 1 punnet

1 On a board, finely chop the eggs and then place them in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise and curry paste and mix together well.

2 Spread half of the bread with the egg mixture, add the mustard and cress, and then cover with the remaining slices of bread. Stack the sandwiches, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1–2 hours.

3 To serve, remove the crusts from the sandwiches and cut into triangles, squares or fingers as wished.

Crab mayonnaise sandwiches

Crabmeat 175g (6oz)
Mayonnaise 1-2 tbsp
Root ginger 1–2 tsp, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
White or brown bread 8 slices
Butter 50g (2oz), softened
Crisp lettuce leaves 4–6

1 Place the crabmeat in a bowl and remove any pieces of shell, if necessary. Add the mayonnaise and ginger, season with pepper and mix well.

2 Spread each slice of bread with butter, and then spread half of the slices with the crabmeat and cover with the lettuce.

3 Cover the lettuce with the remaining slices and press well together. Stack the sandwiches, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1–2 hours.

4 To serve, remove the crusts from the sandwiches and then cut into quarters diagonally, or cut into three to make oblongs.

Cream cheese and prawn sandwiches

Fresh or frozen prawns 175g (6oz), thawed and drained
Cream cheese 150g (5oz)
Finely snipped chives 3 tbsp
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Freshly ground black pepper
Brown or white bread 8 thin slices
Butter 50g (2oz), softened
Crisp lettuce leaves 3–4, finely shredded

1 Finely chop the prawns and mix with the cream cheese, chives and lemon juice. Season with pepper.

2 Very thinly spread the bread with butter, and then spread half of the slices with the prawn mixture. Cover with the shredded lettuce, and then cover with the remaining bread. Stack the sandwiches, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1–2 hours.

3 To serve, remove the crusts from the sandwiches, and then cut into quarters diagonally or into four squares. Or, cut in half and then cut each half into fingers.

Recipes taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook.



Win Ashley Thomas Tea SetWin an Ashley Thomas designer tea set

You too can take tea in style. Enter this month’s competition to win this gorgeous designer ‘tea set’ from Ashley Thomas.

Enter now.









Spring lamb recipe | Roast Lamb with Apricots

Roast Lamb with Apricots


Spring has sprung!
Celebrate with
tender spring lamb.

Inspired by the Herdwick sheep grazing on the Lakeland hills, this recipe using saddle of lamb was devised for a country house hotel in Cumbria as their signature dish. This is a modern, simplified version of that dish.

Roast Lamb with Apricots

Cooking time – 13⁄4 hours plus standing
Calories per portion – 499 Kcal
Fat per portion – 24g of which saturated – 11.3g
Serves – 8

Leg of lamb 1.8kg (4lb), or shoulder, boned out
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Spinach leaves 110g (4oz)
Ready-to-eat dried apricots 175g (6oz), chopped
Onion 1, peeled and finely chopped
Breadcrumbs 75g (3oz)
Chopped mint 2 tbsp fresh or 1–2 tsp dried
Egg 1, beaten
Olive oil
Lamb or vegetable stock 300ml (½ pint)
Port 150ml (¼ pint)
Cornflour or gravy granules
Mint sprigs to garnish

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Flatten the lamb as best you can, check for tough tendons or bones and remove them. Season well. Wash the spinach leaves and then put them in a large pan over a fairly high heat and let them wilt down for a minute. Cut out thick stalks. Arrange half the leaves to cover the inside of the lamb.

2 To make the stuffing, in a bowl mix the chopped apricots, onion, breadcrumbs, mint and just enough egg to make a light stuffing. Spread the mixture over the spinach layer on the lamb then cover with the rest of the spinach leaves. Roll it up, securing with string.

3 Put the stuffed lamb in a roasting tin, sprinkle with a little oil and seasoning. Cover with foil and cook for 90 minutes. Remove the foil and cook another 15 minutes to brown the meat. Leave to stand, wrapped in the foil, for 10 minutes before carving.

4 Bring the lamb stock and port to the boil in a saucepan and reduce it by a third. Add any meat juices from the roasting tin without adding too much fat. Thicken with cornflour or gravy granules. Serve with roast potatoes and parsnips together with some green vegetables and mint sprigs to garnish.

Recipe taken from Around Britain.








Irish Soda Bread with Rosemary | A St Patrick’s Day recipe that’s definitely worth the effort

Irish Soda Bread with Rosemary recipe


A St Patrick’s Day recipe that’s definitely worth the effort

As I am a breadmaker owner (and I don’t even use that, as my other half makes all the bread!), I have to confess that I haven’t baked much of the stuff since school.

However, I happened to be at the photography studio when this recipe was being shot and so I watched Sara, our food stylist, make it and it did look incredibly simple.

It tasted absolutely gorgeous too
and we enjoyed with a delicious
potato and leek soup
(DD recipe
of course). 

As today is St Patrick’s Day I thought it the perfect excuse to have a bash at Irish Soda bread. It worked and trust me it really is worth the effort.


Irish Soda Bread with Rosemary

Makes 1 loaf
Time 45 mins
Calories 140/slice Fat 2g of which 1.2g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Plain flour 450g (1lb)
Irish porridge oats with multi seeds 50g (2oz)
Salt 1 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
Butter or white fat 25g (1oz)
Finely chopped fresh rosemary 2 tbsp
Fresh cultured buttermilk 300ml pot
Whole milk 100ml (3½fl oz)

1 Preheat oven to 200ºC/Gas 6. Mix together flour, porridge oats, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Add butter or fat and rub in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in rosemary.

2 Add buttermilk and enough milk to make a soft but not sticky dough. Transfer to a greased and floured baking sheet and shape into an 18cm (7in) round. With a knife, score into four and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

3 Serve bread warm with a delicious soup (such as Creamy Leek & Potato Soup) or a selection of Irish cheeses and pickled onions.

Cook’s Tip
If can’t find oats with seeds, use plain Irish porridge oats instead.


Organise your kitchen in 3 easy steps



Spruce up for spring:

organise your kitchen in 3 easy steps

(no DIY skills required!)

I know how you love to be organised – you use the Dairy Diary after all! So I thought I would share a few clever ways to organise your kitchen.

There’s nothing worse than wanting to whip up a few fairy cakes, then all your baking equipment topples out of the cupboard the moment you try to retrieve something. This can be remedied in just a few hours.

I spent a morning, and just a few pounds creating a much more user-friendly kitchen. I can’t wait to get cooking! (Or will I not want to disturb my beautifully arranged cupboards?!)

 1.    First declutter:

Before you begin to re-arrange things, first go through everything you have. If there is any crockery, kitchen equipment etc. that you haven’t used for over a year donate it or recycle it. Check use-by dates and throw out any foods past their date. Then think about putting items nearest to where you actually use them and swap the contents of a few cupboard/drawers around. Change the height of shelves to best fit what they contain.

 2.    Invest a few quid:

Spend a few pounds (in one of those bargain shops that only charge a £1) on baskets of various sizes and jars. Or keep any baskets, tins and jars from packaging – they can be much prettier than bought ones too.

 3.     Now organise:



Under the sink

Roll up cloths neatly and pop into a tray, use a bucket or box with a handle for cleaning equipment, use a plastic shower box with suckers to attach to the door for dishwasher tablets and pop any other bits and bobs into baskets.



Baking equipment and ‘Tupperware’

These work much better in a deep drawer if you have one. Sort into shapes, then sizes, and stack neatly inside one another. Line trays and larger thinner tins up on their side so that they are easy to access and don’t take up a lot of space. Do you same with sandwich box lids. Squeeze any drinks bottles into spaces you have left. Use a box or tray for cookie cutters and cake decorating equipment.



Food stuff

Sort into food types – cans and packets of convenience food; cooking sauces and ingredients; herbs and spices; oils and vinegars, baking ingredients; cereals etc. Pack into various trays, tins or baskets suitable for the shelf and food, then label (you can download free labels from here. Pop measuring spoons with the ingredients that require them. They are much easier to find that at the bottom of the utensil drawer!





Cookery books

Arrange by colour, type or size and pop into a cupboard or on a shelf. Place any loose recipes inside a file or stick into a book and keep take-away menus in a folder.




If you end up with post and notes piled up on the work surface, invest a couple of pounds in a letter rack. File away items from it once a week so that it doesn’t overflow and keep a notebook in the front for shopping lists. Stick your weekly meal planner and current shopping list onto the fridge with a magnetic clip. You could also store a list of your favourite meals here for useful reference.


Now, make yourself a cuppa and chill out. You deserve it!








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